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How are classes decided?
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#1 lovebeingamum76

Posted 30 January 2013 - 01:28 PM

Hi

Just wondered if anyone knows how classes are decided at school? Who goes into composites ect... My daughter is year 1 and all the girls that were in the same level as my daughter are all in diff classes.

TIA

#2 fancie

Posted 30 January 2013 - 04:19 PM


At my DD's primary school (she's now in yr 8) the school "mixed" up the classes each year so that there was a "spread" of academic performance and also of behaviour so that no one teacher got a class of easy to teach children or for that matter a class of children with learning difficulties or challenging behaviour.

When DD was placed in a composite 2/3 class I asked what criteria was used to decide which children were to be placed in this composite class, the reply was children who were able to work independently and had no learning difficulties were selected.  That proved to be alsolute bullsh*t.

While the class had a number of children from both years who were able to work independently there were 6 newly arrived refugee children who had no english language at all and 4 children whose behaviour regularly warranted the rest of the class being evacuated from the classroom safety reasons.

It was a very difficult year for DD not only due to the mix of students but also that the teacher was having to teach across 2 different stages - stage 1 (yr 1-2) and stage 2 (3-4) NSW.

#3 Sassy Dingo

Posted 30 January 2013 - 04:29 PM

This is a while ago so the info might not be current, but my mother was a teacher's aide and used to help do the class allocation each year.

Basically the children were divided into groups - easy high performance kids, standard run of the mill kids and kids who needed extra help. Then they evenly split each group among how many classes there were in the year.

#4 Belinda18

Posted 30 January 2013 - 04:40 PM

At my school it is a long and complicated process. First we ask the children who they think they would work well with in a class. They are asked to give the names of 3 boys and 3 girls who they would like to be with, with the understanding that we will do our best to put them with at least one of those people. Then the classroom teachers look at the kids' needs - to try and 'even things out' as far as special needs, and making sure that no one class has a large concentration of brighter kids or lower achieving kids. The current teachers of the classes going together (eg. The grade 1 teachers to make the grade 2 classes) get together and start making lists. Usually the lists begin with any children we feel need to be separated for any reason, such as personality clashes, avoiding family members being together, etc. Some parents also request that their child not be placed with certain others and we have to consider that too.

The first meeting to organise this usually finished with a rough draft of how we think its going to look. Usually takes about 2 hours. Then about a week later we meet again to re-jig things based on what we have thought of since. In recent years we have got the groups together for rotational activities to see if anyone can see any obvious reasons not to have certain children together.

The process generally takes about a month. If there is a composite class to be made when there are other straight grades, the children chosen to go in depend on the make-up of the class. For example a 1/2 class that has mostly grade 1s in would have independent working grade 2s that are not the lowest but working at the average level so they wouldn't be too bored with the grade 1s. If it is mostly grade 2s then the 1s chosen would be the kids who would cope well with some extension. Of course this is not to say its always done this way. It really can get rather complicated - I hope this makes sense as I'm on my iPhone! Oh and this is just how it's done at my school, of course other schools may be completely different!

#5 againagain

Posted 30 January 2013 - 04:40 PM

QUOTE
Basically the children were divided into groups - easy high performance kids, standard run of the mill kids and kids who needed extra help. Then they evenly split each group among how many classes there were in the year.


That was how our school explained it too. They also take into consideration making sure each child has a friend or two (from a list of 5 that the children choose) and being careful of any clashes of behaviour etc.

#6 mumto3princesses

Posted 30 January 2013 - 05:30 PM

At our primary school they try to do an even mix of abilities in each class unless they decide to do a gifted and talented class which they don't do very often. They will have a list of kids they need to be seperated for various reasons. Some need to be seperated as they may have had bullying issues while others like my DD#2 and her best friend need to be apart as they just can't leave each other alone and distract each other too much. There are others that tend to play off each other which need to be apart too.

Our years 3/4 and 5/6 are always composites (3 classes of 3/4 and 3 classes of 5/6) and they do other composites due to numbers. The K/1 or 2/3 composites are usually the more independant workers as they cover different work. The 1/2 composites are treated just the same as a normal year 1 or year 2 class.

Our classes are just temporary at the moment and won't be finalised until next week but my twins have been put in a class with no friends at all. They said there is just them plus 3 other girls from their year who aren't from either of their friend groups. (And 2 have never been in either of their classes before)

#7 Old Grey Mare

Posted 30 January 2013 - 05:37 PM

Don't they put kids into composite classes if they know their parents aren't the type to complain?

#8 .Jerry.

Posted 30 January 2013 - 05:39 PM

I am a primary school principal. ph34r.gif

Interesting to read the perspectives here...
Some are correct...

#9 R2B2

Posted 30 January 2013 - 05:40 PM

QUOTE (Old Grey Mare @ 30/01/2013, 06:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Don't they put kids into composite classes if they know their parents aren't the type to complain?


the parents at our school that found out today their kids are in composite classes are up in arms over it wink.gif

#10 Lucretia Borgia

Posted 30 January 2013 - 05:50 PM

Sorry this is a bit of a "I've been living under a rock" question but what exactly are composite classes...? Are they a combined yr 1, yr 2 class ( for example) ...

Why do schools have them? And indeed do all schools have them?

dS1 is in yr 1 local state school (nsw Sydney) ...as far as I know his school doesn't have them, does that sound right?

Why are they undesirable?

#11 kreme

Posted 30 January 2013 - 06:03 PM

At our school they have just abandoned their previous practice of letting the kids nominate  a couple of friends they would like to be placed with. So now it is solely the teachers who decide.

They sent out a document last year outlining the guidelines. Basically they aim to have parallel classes across the year, with a range of academic abilities. DD was at the top of her class last year (FYOS) and none of the other kids from the top group are in her new class.

With composites they said the criteria was ability to work independently, maturity, etc. But they also aim to not have kids in the lower grade who are likely to outperform the kids from the higher grade. There is a composite 2/1 class this year but DD isnt in it, which I am happy about.

One thing I was interested to see was that DD was the only girl from her class who was not placed in a class with a friend. There were 6 FYOS classes last year and 5.5 Year 1 classes. DD is the sort of kid who is very independent and mature and gets on with everyone. So I don't know whether it was deliberate to put her in a different class or just how things worked out. She had 5 good friends last year. 3 of them are in one class, 2 are in another class and DD is on her own. I know she'll be fine, but she's a little sad about it.

#12 hoohoobump

Posted 30 January 2013 - 06:05 PM

I don't get the huge issue with composites. Every class has a huge range of abilities, regardless of he exact age of the kids.

#13 Expelliarmus

Posted 30 January 2013 - 06:08 PM

Composite or multi year level classes are sometimes a numbers game and are not undesirable. Many parents still believe they are a bad thing but educationally they are valid.

The basic 'rule' is everybody has a friend, everybody has an academic peer and no class has too many challenging or complex children.

OP, what do you mean by same level as your DD? There must be more that one year 1 girl in the class.

#14 *Ker*

Posted 30 January 2013 - 06:43 PM

Both my kids are in composite classes - DD is R/1 (but there are only two receptions) and DS is in 2/3. I'm not entirely happy about DS, but all year 3 classes are composite 2/3 this year. His teacher, however, is the same one he had last year and she knows to extend him in maths.

With ours, we were asked who we wanted our kids with. I was explicit about him not having a particular teacher and also that he be separated from a friend. The friend is nice, but they muck up too much in class together and both get in trouble. I got what I asked for in both cases.


#15 Ritaroo

Posted 30 January 2013 - 06:59 PM

In my experience composite classes are just for numbers where they need to make classes smaller but there is too many or too little to make a full class of one year level. We organise our classes by evenly distributing academic abilities and behaviour as well. Then of course we have to go back to the drawing board several times due to parents turning up in tears in the principals office because their  child doesn't have enough friends in their class or they want a particular teacher.

Edited by Ritaroo, 30 January 2013 - 07:00 PM.


#16 Ianthe

Posted 30 January 2013 - 07:09 PM

Our school has 9 composite classes and 10 non composites. All the 5/6 kids are in four 5/6 classes. They had all 3/4 classes last year too. But this year there are two straight Year 3 classes and a 2/3. I wouldn't be thrilled with a composite across stages but I have seen no adverse affects with my kids being in a lot of composite classes (this year they have a K/1, a 2/3 and a 4/5 class).

#17 libbylu

Posted 30 January 2013 - 07:12 PM

Our kids were allowed to write down a list of names of kids they would like to be in a class with the following year. They were told by the teachers that they would try to put them in with three on their list. It is a big school, but DS is in with all five kids he wrote down. I don't know if this is a good thing or not, as three of the five have some behavioural issues, and I feel a bit sorry for the teacher who has copped all three of them.  They are also quite distracting to DS who has no issues himself.
I just have to trust that the school knows what they are doing.

#18 libbylu

Posted 30 January 2013 - 07:14 PM

QUOTE (Ritaroo @ 30/01/2013, 07:59 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
In my experience composite classes are just for numbers where they need to make classes smaller but there is too many or too little to make a full class of one year level. We organise our classes by evenly distributing academic abilities and behaviour as well. Then of course we have to go back to the drawing board several times due to parents turning up in tears in the principals office because their  child doesn't have enough friends in their class or they want a particular teacher.


Our school practices 'multi age learning'.  The preps are in single grade level classes, but all other classes are either composite 1,2,3 or composite 4,5,6.  It is a medium/large school and they do this because of the benefits they perceive.

#19 -*meh*-

Posted 30 January 2013 - 07:15 PM

our school is pretty much mostly composite classes... i think the only exception is a stand alone reception class (first year of school in SA)

i think the way they roughly work it (or so it seems) is that if your child is doing well academically they will go in to the composite with the higher year above them, and for those not so well the year below them. then from there they look at groups of children who should try and be separated for theirs and the classes/teachers benefits, then make sure they have the rough number of girls/boys and have tried to fit in to parent requests.

#20 Ritaroo

Posted 30 January 2013 - 07:33 PM

QUOTE (libbylu @ 30/01/2013, 07:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Our school practices 'multi age learning'.  The preps are in single grade level classes, but all other classes are either composite 1,2,3 or composite 4,5,6.  It is a medium/large school and they do this because of the benefits they perceive.


That sounds like a great idea. Composite classes do have great benefits.

#21 mumto3princesses

Posted 30 January 2013 - 07:38 PM

QUOTE (Lucretia Borgia @ 30/01/2013, 06:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sorry this is a bit of a "I've been living under a rock" question but what exactly are composite classes...? Are they a combined yr 1, yr 2 class ( for example) ...

Why do schools have them? And indeed do all schools have them?

dS1 is in yr 1 local state school (nsw Sydney) ...as far as I know his school doesn't have them, does that sound right?

Why are they undesirable?


Yes composites are combined classes. If they are a 1/2 or 3/4 or 5/6 and they really make no difference except for having kids a year younger or older in their class as those years cover the curriculum over 2 years. So say the solar system for example. Some may cover it in Year 3 while others will be in Year 4. The K(or FYOS)/1 or 2/3 or 4/5 are different as each year needs to cover different topics but with a good teacher its not an issue.

Some people can't see how big the differences are even in a straight year class I guess. Everyone is different and is at different levels for all subjects, even my twins.

My DD#1 went through years 3 to 6 in composites and having been in composites was good for her when she went to high school as she had a few friends from primary school that she could go to if she needed help finding where to go.

Then my twins were in a 2/3 composite and will be in composites for the rest of primary. That was actually a really good year for them and there was no issues. DD#3 was also in a K/1 in Kindergarten (so has only had Year 1 in a straight year class). Her twin sister was in a straight Kindergarten class and I honestly found there was no difference in regards to what they learnt except that DD#3 said that the Year 1's did different work to her.

#22 LittleMissPink

Posted 30 January 2013 - 07:40 PM

Our school only has about 140 students, so only 6 classes anyaway. K, K/1, 2, 3, 4/5, and 6.

We dont get a choice!

#23 Lucretia Borgia

Posted 30 January 2013 - 07:41 PM

QUOTE (mumto3princesses @ 30/01/2013, 08:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yes composites are combined classes. If they are a 1/2 or 3/4 or 5/6 and they really make no difference except for having kids a year younger or older in their class as those years cover the curriculum over 2 years. So say the solar system for example. Some may cover it in Year 3 while others will be in Year 4. The K(or FYOS)/1 or 2/3 or 4/5 are different as each year needs to cover different topics but with a good teacher its not an issue.

Some people can't see how big the differences are even in a straight year class I guess. Everyone is different and is at different levels for all subjects, even my twins.

My DD#1 went through years 3 to 6 in composites and having been in composites was good for her when she went to high school as she had a few friends from primary school that she could go to if she needed help finding where to go.

Then my twins were in a 2/3 composite and will be in composites for the rest of primary. That was actually a really good year for them and there was no issues. DD#3 was also in a K/1 in Kindergarten (so has only had Year 1 in a straight year class). Her twin sister was in a straight Kindergarten class and I honestly found there was no difference in regards to what they learnt except that DD#3 said that the Year 1's did different work to her.

Thanks for that original.gif


#24 kadoodle

Posted 30 January 2013 - 07:47 PM

When I was teaching, there was an emphasis in breaking up challenging cliques, spreading around the troublemakers and spreading around the students who needed extra support.  This was high school though, primary may be more nurturing in approach.

My kids' school has single sex classes for grade 6 this year, which is interesting.  4 classes of boys and one of girls.

#25 Expelliarmus

Posted 30 January 2013 - 08:10 PM

QUOTE (-*meh*- @ 30/01/2013, 08:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
our school is pretty much mostly composite classes... i think the only exception is a stand alone reception class (first year of school in SA)

i think the way they roughly work it (or so it seems) is that if your child is doing well academically they will go in to the composite with the higher year above them, and for those not so well the year below them. then from there they look at groups of children who should try and be separated for theirs and the classes/teachers benefits, then make sure they have the rough number of girls/boys and have tried to fit in to parent requests.

The bold is an urban legend and not at all true. It's widely disseminated between parents, but it is not part of the placement process in modern pedagogy.

My experience has been that the numbers of each year level per class are pre determined before the placement starts. It is then the responsibility of the teaching staff to spread the challenging behaviours, learning difficulties and sexes between the available classes.






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