Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

Progress, ‘Grade Level,’ and Chronological Age

October 29, 2007 1 min read

To the Editor:

It seems to me that there is a very easy way to obviate some of the problems with the No Child Left Behind Act, and that is to simply redefine the notion of “grade level.” Why shouldn’t we determine grade level (which is an arbitrary and artificial construct anyway) not in terms of chronological age, but in terms of a student’s actual level of achievement?

Clearly, a student could be at different grade levels from subject to subject. But if curricula were constructed in such a way that students could move through subjects at relatively independent paces, achieving “certifications” as they mastered given bodies of knowledge, I don’t see that as being a problem. It is exactly what we do within certain realms of the corporate world, such as information technology or human resources.

We need to decouple the notion of academic progress from its present lock-step relationship to chronological age. If we can do this, I believe we can strip the people presently trying to cripple public education by means of the NCLB law of their most potent tool, while still allowing educators to be evaluated on their effectiveness and establishing realistic standards for student progress.

Skip Mendler

Honesdale, Pa.

A version of this article appeared in the October 31, 2007 edition of Education Week as Progress, ‘Grade Level,’ And Chronological Age

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Data Analyst
New York, NY, US
New Visions for Public Schools
Project Manager
United States
K12 Inc.
High School Permanent Substitute Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
MS STEM Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read