Why Children Might Benefit From a “Combination” Classroom

9 Advantages of Split-Grade or Blended Classrooms

Posted May 18, 2015

Many parents are concerned when their child is placed in a combined class (i.e., first and second graders or third and fourth graders together).  While the demands on the teacher, and, to some extent, the students, may be greater, here are 9 advantages of “combo” classes:

  • Research has shown there’s no difference in academic achievement between children in split classes versus straight grades.
  • Split-grade students are less competitive with one another and more cooperative than students in same-grade classrooms.
  • Children learn at different paces.  Blended classes offer a wider range of curricula across 2 grade levels.  Advanced students can be more easily challenged with higher-level material; struggling students can more easily return to earlier material.
  • Younger children gain self-confidence and maturity by being exposed to older students; older students learn to be positive, mature role models for the younger students. (Most children come from a home environment with siblings of different ages).
  • Children are carefully selected for blended classrooms; younger children are more mature and ready to “stretch”; older students have demonstrated a pattern of good behavior and social skills
  • Some children will benefit by having the same teacher over two years, as the teacher comes to know the students’ abilities better.  This is called “looping.”
  • Students in blended classrooms tend to take greater personal responsibility for their learning.
  • There is greater peer-to-peer learning in blended classrooms. 
  • Students develop friendships across grade levels and blended classrooms instill a greater sense of responsibility for one another, and a better sense of community.  As one teacher tells her students, “we are like a family who cares for one another.”

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Resources (Read more about the benefits of blended classes)

http://www.todaysparent.com/family/education/split-classes/

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-03-14/news/ct-x-multi-grade-classes-20110314_1_multigrade-classes-mainstream-classes-grades-last-fall

http://thehive.edublogs.org/2010/07/29/doing-the-splits-a-case-for-combined-classes/

http://www.sjusd.org/willow-glen-elementary/docs/Combo_class_letter.pdf