A survey of organization and practice in several semi-nongraded school systems
Owens, Olive V.
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The purpose of this study was to obtain first-hand information concerning the organization and administration of nongraded school systems. Five semi-nongraded or nongraded schools were visited. Principals, personnel and parents were interviewed. Principals of the five schools also responded to a written inquiry. In addition, representatives of two schools not visited granted interviews and completed the written inquiry. All schools approached cooperated. Some similarities in operation and administration were evident: 1. All of the schools responding were organized on a 'levels' plan for reading skills. 2. Initial ungrading began with some or all of the primary years. 3. Thorough orientation of staff and community was deemed highly important. 4. Lack of appropriate materials was a limiting factor. 5. More funds for equipment, materials and additional personnel were needed. 6. Each school devised its own reporting plan. Operation and administration varied in these respects: 1. Bases for evaluation of pupil progress (teacher judgement, reading tests based on textbook, and/or general achievement). 2. Plans for reporting to parents (conference, card, anecdotal, and/or combinations of two or more). 3. Number of levels for each year's work (from four per year to as many as seven). 4. Financial support of initial innovation (district or foundation). 5. Source of instigation for the plan (administration or teacher-administration group). 6. Organization of groups within classes (by achievement and/or interest). 7. Basis for assignment to classrooms (achievement, age, personality). 8. Extent of curriculum and years which were ungraded at first and currently (only reading in one or more primary grades to all areas in entire school). There appeared to be no one 'best' plan for implementing a nongraded school. There was only a consensus of philosophy. Administrators, staff and parents were generally enthusiastic about the plan. There was a lack of objective evaluation, even in the schools which had operated the plan the longest number of years.