Friday, 12 April 2024
    Expert calls for age-based grades to be abolished

    Expert calls for age-based grades to be abolished

    School students would progress through levels similar to music lessons or video games, rather than aged-based grades, under an overhaul of education aimed at moving away from the “conveyor belt” model that can leave many students behind, The Age reports.

    Professor Geoff Masters, chief executive officer of the internationally recognised Australian Council for Educational Research, has proposed a revision of schooling, saying the system is stuck in a 19th-century, assembly-line model that pushes students through grades at a fixed pace without considering their individual proficiency.

    Masters, who led a review of the NSW curriculum in 2020, said there could be up to six years’ difference in the levels of knowledge in each class, which was impossible for many teachers to manage.

    He said the current system was beholden to an overloaded curriculum that dictated what children would learn according to their age, rather than their readiness, then automatically pushed them to the next stage at the end of each year.

    “The consequence ... is that students who don’t master content in the time that’s given often lack the prerequisites for what comes next,” he said.

    More than a quarter of the nation’s year 9 students were performing below expected proficiency in this year’s NAPLAN test. For writing and grammar, it was higher than 40 per cent.

    The results of the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) shows the average 15-year-old Australian student was 3½ years behind the average Chinese student who sat the test.

    Masters said the best predictor of where students would be at year 9 was where they were at an earlier age. He said the key to helping children learn was early intervention, then constant monitoring to assess their progress.


    Level up: Why this expert thinks age-based school grades should be abolished (The Age)


    Professor Geoff Masters in 2020.CREDIT:JANIE BARRETT