As a parent, we understand that each child is unique and has a lot to offer. Each child is motivated in a different way and not all children learn in the same manner or at the same time. Keeping this in mind, I have often been puzzled at why schools work so hard to keep students on the same page. I just do not see how that is possible. Inevitably, what happens is that some kids are pushed too hard causing them to be frustrated and disheartened while not allowing other students to be challenged enough causing them to be bored. This often causes behavior problems with students on either end of the spectrum.
When I was younger, we had students leveled in classes. Over-achievers were in one class while students who needed more assistance were in another class. This allowed the teachers to teach to the class; challenging those that needed to be challenged while other teachers were able to slow down and provide more assistance to those that needed it.
School districts stopped this type of leveling years ago because they felt it labeled kids. While I don’t want students to be labeled, I do think that districts need to rethink their decision. What is the most important thing here? I was under the impression that our goal was to give students the tools they needed in order to be successful. As a high school teacher, I can tell you first hand that this is almost impossible to do with such a large academic gap between students in the same classroom. We are taught to teach to the middle of the class. In other words, what we teach is too advanced for some and too easy for others. We teach the standards no matter if some students are capable of more or if some students need more help. It would be great if we were able to work to the level of every student and not just those in the middle. Is average all we are shooting for? What happens when some students are achieving above standards and some are achieving below? What happens to them?