The Instigator
emilyiscool
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
djwood
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

Should grade levels in schools be based on age?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
djwood
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/21/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,197 times Debate No: 59343
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (2)

 

emilyiscool

Pro

Yes, I think grade levels in schools should be based on age. With your age types with you, you are probably going to be able to blend in with kids your own age not students that are very much older than you, or little kids that are really small.
djwood

Con

In my opinion, grades in school should not be based on age because the primary objective of school is to educate the students. If students were not grouped into rigid grades based strictly on age (which really does not always correlate perfectly with educational ability) then it would place students in a more appropriate educational environment - students who learn faster will be grouped with other fast-paced students, and students who learn slower with other slower-paced students. This way, classes will not be held back by students near the bottom of the class, and those students who do find themselves near the bottom will be able to get the extra help they need without the other students breathing on their necks to hurry up.
So bottom line, students should not be grouped into grades by age but instead by educational ability because that is the primary goal of schools - to educate. By grouping students with other students that have similar educational abilities, it will allow students of all abilities to learn most effectively.
Debate Round No. 1
emilyiscool

Pro

Kids tend to work better and focus better with their friends around. Sure, schools' objective is to learn, but in order to learn you probably need support. It can also be more stressful for the child when too much pressure is put on them. Studying is not the first priority when you are stressful. Stress makes it even more harder to work. Because of these reasons I think grade levels should be based on age (public schools usually do this in the U.S.)
djwood

Con

"Kids tend to work better and focus better with their friends around."
Is that true? My experience in public schools has been that having friends around is more of a distraction. Also, just because you are with other students who are a few years older or younger than you does not mean you have no friends. It just means that you interact more with people closer to your intelligence level (which I think tends to happen anyway a lot of times).

"Schools' objective is to learn, but in order to learn you probably need support."
Support doesn't change as a result of having a different group of classmates. There is still a teacher and other students to support each other (it's not as if there is a large group of older kids and one younger kid; they're all in the same boat), plus it will be easier for students to help each other because they are at a similar level. This is a terribly exaggerated example, but let's say you're in math class, you are learning algebra, and the student next to you asks for help on a problem. His/her question how to multiply 3 x 14. Now you have to waste precious class time walking the student through each step of the problem, through things you should have learned years ago. Instead, envision a classroom where all the students are at the same level as you. When those students ask a question, it will challenge your thinking, and teach you as well as you have to walk them through steps you possibly didn't think about before. See how this would be beneficial to students?

For stress, I don't think a grade system where students are grouped by intellect instead of age would significantly increase stress, and if it did, I think that the decrease in boredom and time wasted in school would overcome that increase. Yes, students will be more challenged in the classroom, but it is a proven fact that if expectations are higher, students do better. I think that challenging students more in the classroom by changing the way grades are organized would give the public school system a significant boost.
Debate Round No. 2
emilyiscool

Pro

In schools, it is important that the students are able to focus. When there is age difference, it might create a distraction for the students. In a class of five 5th graders and two 1st graders, for example, even though the 1st graders may be a fast-paced students, it does not mean they are mature like the fifth graders probably are. The immature students, even though they are all fast learners, might create a big distraction for the ones that are trying to work. They might talk, play, or even pass notes to each other. The ones who are trying to complete a test or something, might be distracted. From my experience in schools, there are always students who do not focus because they are too busy doing things they are not supposed to be doing. Even though the teacher separates those who play and create distractions, they tend to always find a way to do this without the teacher noticing. For these reasons, I think grade levels should be based on age (except when someone is held back).

"Let's say you're in math class, you are learning algebra, and the student next to you asks for help on a problem. His/her question how to multiply 3 x 14. Now you have to waste precious class time walking the student through each step of the problem."(said Con)

Is that statement really correct?
You do not have to walk another student through a problem if you think that is a waste of time. You could always ask the student politely to go ask the teacher that is in the room with them. It is not wasting your class time, first of all. Second of all, you have a nice little option: to go help the student that needs help or ask them to go ask the teacher. Even if you decide to go help the student, you could always learn something from them that you did not know.

Grade levels should be based on age except when a student is held back.
djwood

Con

"In schools, it is important that the students are able to focus. When there is age difference, it might create a distraction for the students. In a class of five 5th graders and two 1st graders, for example, even though the 1st graders may be a fast-paced students, it does not mean they are mature like the fifth graders probably are. The immature students, even though they are all fast learners, might create a big distraction for the ones that are trying to work."

To this, I would first argue that age does not really play a large role - students will be distracting no matter what. In fact, there are many, 9th, 10th, or even 11th graders who are very immature and distracting as well (I know this from experience). In your argument, readers are to assume that all first graders are very immature in comparison to 5th graders. However, I argue that while this may be true for some cases, but not all, which brings me to my other argument. Students who are intellectually superior will tend to also be more mature (however, there will always be exceptions, which can be dealt with by dropping them down grades, etc...). Many times, students who are smarter became that way because they are better students - they know how to focus in class and learn information quickly. At the very least, smarter students must be able to pay attention in class to some degree better than their peers; information does not magically appear in their heads. As I stated before, there will always be exceptions to this rule, no matter what age, and those students can be dealt with accordingly.

"You do not have to walk another student through a problem if you think that is a waste of time. You could always ask the student politely to go ask the teacher that is in the room with them. It is not wasting your class time, first of all. Second of all, you have a nice little option: to go help the student that needs help or ask them to go ask the teacher. Even if you decide to go help the student, you could always learn something from them that you did not know."

Fair point - you could still learn something from someone below your abilities. However, students learn much faster if they are with students who are near their own skill level. Also, students at a lower level than the rest of their class many times feel discouraged, thinking that they are so far behind everyone else that there is not point in trying anymore. Placing these students with other students around the same level would be both encouraging to everyone and help them work together to build their knowledge up, rather than simply have someone tell them what to do. Everyone learns better when they collaborate, contribute, and are generally involved in the learning process. If students are at various different academic levels, it makes this process much more difficult.

Furthermore, I would like to ask the question, Why do we split students up by age? It really makes no sense, there is no logical reason to group students by age. Age does not determine maturity, size, athletic ability, study habits, or intellect, why should it determine a student's grade in school? Age is simply a meaningless, ceremonial number we put on a person.
For example, would a football coach determine his varsity team based almost completely on age? No, if the coach chose to simply put all of his oldest players on varsity and leave on the younger players on JV, he would have a much weaker varsity team. Age does not determine athletic ability, and most coaches logically respond by simply using athletic ability, the trait that matters most, instead of by meaningless age, in the same way that schools should group students by intellect, the trait that matters most, not age.
Debate Round No. 3
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2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 2 years ago
FuzzyCatPotato
emilyiscooldjwoodTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Ability + educational gain trump fitting in better.
Vote Placed by jackh4mm3r 2 years ago
jackh4mm3r
emilyiscooldjwoodTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Argued against age-based student levels and in favor for grouping students by ability. Pro attempted to use age as common factor, where con retorted effectively that intelligence is an important factor students agree with, adding in the last round that extracurriculars care not about age but ability. Both sides could have benefited with some sources; with education being age-based for so long, it would not be surprising to have sources on this very subject.