The Hobbit Effect Part 7 and 8

#7 Mixed-ability classes avoid condemning some students to low expectations. Mixed-ability group is the practice of placing students with a wide range of abilities into the same setting and exposing all students to a similar curriculum. One study found that when mixed-ability grouping is combined with accelerated curriculum, academic achievement is higher across the board. Students from all backgrounds demonstrated higher achievement in mixed-ability classes than students in tracked classes.

#8 Multi-age classes promote personalized learning and encourage positive social interactions. Though research on the academic impact of multiage classrooms is mixed, the majority of studies indicate that they have a positive impact on academic achievement, and that these results are particularly pronounced for children of color, males, and poorer students.

Students in multiage classes “demonstrate more positive attitudes toward school, greater leadership skills, greater self-esteem, and increased prosocial and fewer aggressive behaviors, compared to peers in traditional graded classrooms” Educators believe these positive social results may reflect classrooms that mimic a more family-oriented climate,
with sharing and caring for others ingrained in the daily experience.

Excerpted from a report entitled The Hobbit* Effect: Why Small Works in Public Schools. The report focuses on attributes of small schools where there is a general consensus in the research about their positive impact for kids. They believe that good schools, close to home are the right of every child. In rural communities, that means keeping small schools open and making them the best schools they can be. They want to dispel the illusion that bigger is better. I’ll share their perspective on each of the Ten Research-Based Reasons Why Small Works. “The Hobbit Effect: Why Small Works in Public Schools,” by Lorna Jimerson

*The main characters of JRR Tolkien’s books, Hobbits are small in size, but huge in courage and unrelenting in their focus on attaining their goals. In addition, they fully appreciate their rural roots and gladly return home when their quest is fulfilled.

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