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Developmentally Driven Grade Levels

The level of cognitive perception of the information among the school students has now become a subject for a continuous discussion over the past years due to the rapid development of sociological studies and views on education in general. Previously, the children groupings at schools were unanimously formed according to the age frame so that the students could potentially perceive knowledge on the same level as their peers. Such an approach was considered as the most beneficial before various theories on the impact of the social environment emerged in the field. The prime example of such a theory is Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model of human development. According to the scholars, this theory can be explained as “a series of environmental layers, beginning with influences that most directly affect the child and extending to factors more distant” (Eggen & Kauchak, 2019, p. 37). As a result, children of the same age can act and think quite differently in relation to the same scenario due to the difference in environmental influence.

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In the process of defining the most beneficial way of learning, some educators have proposed the model of developmentally driven learning groups. The very notion of a developmentally driven grouping stands for the process of partition of the individuals according to their cognitive abilities rather than to some physical characteristics (Sanders & Farago, 2018). When considering this model as an opportunity to divide children into groups according to their cognitive abilities, developmentally driven education seems like a step toward productivity enhancement. While being surrounded by children with similar knowledge level, students might find the lessons more interesting, engage in competition, and improve one’s decision-making skills (Reichelson, 2017).

However, such a shift would be a challenge for the educational facilities, as there would be the need to sort the school curriculum according to the existing student groupings and their competence level. The instructions in terms of the classroom interaction would also be irrelevant due to the absence of necessity to engage the students of different cognitive capabilities. Moreover, such a structure would also create social discrepancy and even discrimination because of the knowledge level. Hence, however proficient developmentally driven groupings could be for the productivity rates, various issues might arise once age-driven grade levels are abolished.


Eggen, P., & Kauchak, D. (2019). Using educational psychology in teaching (11th ed.). Pearson.

Reichelson, S. L. (2017). Partition dependence in development: how groupings of options influence decision making in children and adults.

Sanders, K., & Farago, F. (2018). Developmentally appropriate practice in the twenty-first century. In International handbook of early childhood education (pp. 1379-1400). Springer, Dordrecht.

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