Continuous Progress through High School

Mary Elizabeth posted, today, the following on Maureen Downey’s  “Get Schooled” blog at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution regarding the need for a continuous progress instructional/educational model through high school:

“Although early childhood education will help to balance more the wide range of educational variances between the disadvantaged child and other children, we must not think in terms of one major solution to this ongoing problem.

There will always be a range of variances between students’ achievement levels through high school and that is because IQ variances, and other factors of need, will always be present among human beings, including among children and adolescents.

This is why failing students for a whole year’s work is not an enlightened way to comprehend educational growth and improvement.  If a child masters 50% of the content in 4th grade and we as unaware educators decide to fail him for the entire years’ work, we will have him repeat 50% of that curriculum that he has already mastered.  This is a waste of time (and boring) to the failed student, who now may also develop discipline problems because he knows he is ‘different.’

The more enlightened educational philosophy is to continuously teach every student where he or she is functioning at point in time at his or her diagnosed instructional levels, regardless of year in school (or grade level) demarcations.  We must teach every students’ mastery of skills and concepts at his/her individual rate of learning to that mastery.  This means that some students may take 13 or even 14 years of continuous progress growth to master all of the high school course requirements and some students may master the high school requirements for graduation in 11 or even in 10 years.  No one is ‘failed’ per se.  Each student keeps moving forward at his or her individual rate of learning to mastery until he or she masters the needed high school requirements to receive a high school diploma that has validity.  There should, also, be at least two types of high school curriculum courses offered to receive the valid high school diploma – those who are college-bound and academic in their unique gifts, and those who are gifted in the trade skills and who plan to further their skills in these areas in advanced trade schools and apprenticeships after high school, not through college/university advancement for academic prowess.”

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