Affordances and constraints of multi-age classrooms: an analysis of teacher and student experiences

This teacher action research study focuses on the experiences of both teachers and students in a multi-age classroom after teaching a combination classroom. A mixed-methods approach was selected for this study including qualitative and quantitative data. Grounded theory was chosen in order to examine interviews of students and teachers to retell their experiences. Additionally, STAR Reading, a district wide assessments, were retrieved to get a better understanding of how students compare academically with students not attending a multi-age class when students from the lower level were using upper grade level curriculum in the classroom or accelerated curriculum during their ELA time. As a result, the data showed that the students were progressing with or better than their grade level peers. Contributing factors that could be the cause of this could be the classroom community that a teacher builds or the accelerated curriculum that the fourth grade students used. However, concerns about managing a multi-grade classroom is still a concern that teachers face due to the added stress of planning and preparing for a combination classroom. Students had their own concerns about being grouped by grade level during split level curricular time.