Are you concerned that a multi-grade classroom will not challenge your students? Will they achieve the same academic succcess that students in a single grade classroom have the potential to achieve? Will the range of abilities be so great that it's impossible to meet all their needs?
Research evidence indicates that being a student in a multigrade classroom does not negatively affect academic performance, social relationships, or attitudes. For example, Miller (1990) reviewed 13 experimental studies assessing academic achievement in single-grade and multigrade classrooms and found there to be no significant differences between them.
Last year my district took a hard look at our students' spring data from NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association) that was gathered from our 21,000 elementary students and found that our students in multi-grade classes achieved just as well academically as our single grade classes. In fact a tiny bit better overall. We haven't analyzed the data from this year yet, as it has been so busy finishing the 2010-11 school year, but we will soon and I'll report our findings to you.
Though I work mainly as our District's Mathematics Instructional Coach, I mentor the 178 multi-grade teachers in our district. I want to learn more and I want to share what I've learned these past years, so post your thoughts and questions and let's learn together!