Attitudes of students, parents, and teachers toward multigrading

Date of Completion

January 1989


Education, Curriculum and Instruction




Whether it be multigrading modeled on the British philosophy or patterned after the traditional, single-grade approach, research in this area has been sparse and limited in scope, focusing mainly on its cognitive effects.^ The purpose of this qualitative study was to determine the attitudes toward multigrading held by the students, the parents, and the teachers actively involved in this organizational setting. In order to clearly define these attitudes, the investigator also sought to determine if certain variables appeared to be directly related to the attitudes expressed. Variables considered were those of age, sex, position within the multigrade (upper grade versus lower grade), and reading ability of the youngsters in the study. Additionally, the researcher attempted to extract from the data those suggestions which might serve as guidelines for organizing these classes in the future.^ The investigation was focused on 308 elementary students enrolled in multigrade classrooms in a low socioeconomic, urban public school district adhering to the traditional, single-grade approach. The study also involved the parents of these students, as well as the fifteen teachers assigned to work with them. This was accomplished by means of individual interviews and questionnaires.^ An analysis of the trends in the data disclosed agreement among participants in three areas: (1) the greatest advantage of multigrading is the opportunity for students at the lower level to advance academically due to exposure to the curriculum of students at the upper level; (2) lack of teacher time is the major liability of multigrading; and (3) no group of participants would choose this grouping arrangement again. The student variables of age and particularly position within the multigrade were the two most frequently associated with the attitudes expressed throughout the study.^ Components of the "preferred model" for multigrading which emerged from the suggestions offered included well-trained teachers, mature, independent students of average-to-high ability, and limited class size. Respondents recommended only the 3/4 and 4/5 combination classes for future multigrading. ^