According to a recent article by eSchool News, some Missouri schools will group students by ability instead of grade level this fall.
As Kansas City, Mo., students return to their age-assigned classrooms this fall, they will begin to take assessments in math and reading—tests that will determine their mastery of specific skill sets and, ultimately, where they will be placed.
Instead of simply moving kids from one grade to the next as they get older, Kansas City schools will begin grouping students by ability. Once they master a subject, they’ll move up a level. This practice has been around for decades, but was generally used on a smaller scale—in individual grades, subjects, or schools. Kansas City is believed to be the largest U.S. school system to try grouping by ability.
It’s the latest effort to transform the struggling Kansas City school system. Starting this fall, officials will begin introducing 17,000 students to the new system to turn around lagging schools and increase abysmal tests scores.
“The current system of public education in this country is not working,” said Kansas City Schools Superintendent John Covington. “It’s an outdated, industrial, agrarian kind of model that lends itself to still allowing students to progress through school based on the amount of time they sit in a chair, rather than whether or not they have truly mastered the competencies and skills.”