Separating Students Based on Academic Skill Level

Khalid Sarsak 22 October 2012 Separating Students Based on Academic Skill Level Separating students based on academic skill level is a topic discussed by many people. I believe that junior high and high school students with special needs, as well as all other students, should be separated based on academic skill level because every person is different. All humans are unique which is what defines each person as their own being. Not separating students, in my opinion, can have negative results. First, advanced students get held back because teachers must go slower for the students that take more time to learn certain lessons.

They begin to get bored and tend to dose off because the material the teacher is going over is too easy for them. For example, when I was in my math class in 7th grade, I would always understand the lessons quickly. Math came easy to me so whenever the teacher was in the middle of a lesson, I would talk to my friends and distract them or I would draw goofy pictures. I wouldn’t take class seriously and sometimes I felt like I should just not come to class. A second reason students should be separated based on academic skill level is because students that need help can get it.

Some students that aren’t as academically gifted as others might get disappointed because they are not doing so well in a certain class. They might get stressed too much which can lead to depression and anxiety. If they are separated it would be easier for them to get individual help. Also they will be with students at their same skill level so the class will run more smoothly, they can help each other out, and they will feel more comfortable in class. These issues can be fixed by having all students take an assessment test to evaluate what level each person is in each class.

If this would have happened when I was in my 7th grade math class it would have helped me a lot because I would have been ahead in my math classes. Being ahead in my math classes would have helped me because I am currently majoring in computer engineering which needs many math classes. Another reason why students should be separated based on academic skill level is because students that need help or are struggling with a topic might get singled out and made fun of. Their peers might make them feel embarrassed and sometimes insecure to the point where they never ask for help.

Some kids are also very shy so they will have a difficult time keeping up with the rest of the class because they won’t ask for help. Similarly, David Raymond, a young dyslexic man, was made fun of and embarrassed in school. In his essay “On Being 17, Bright, and Unable to Read,” he talks about the hardships of dyslexia that he faced in school. He says “I just felt dumb. And dumb was how the kids treated me. They’d make fun of me every chance they got, asking me to spell “cat” or something like that” (197). He shows us how being in a class that he had trouble with caused his peers to single him out which made him feel like he was not smart.

He also says in his essay that he wanted to die (197). Anyone that feels like they want to die because of kids making fun of them is never good. However, Raymond attended a summer camp for kids that had dyslexia. He found out that he actually is a smart kid. All the kids at the camp had the same problems that he had so he felt better about himself. He begins to do well in school. In his essay, he says “Life began to change a little for me then, because I began to feel better about myself […] making vases and pots that teachers said were pretty good” (Raymond 198).

Separating David Raymond by putting him with other kids with the same problem helped him cope with his learning disability. He learned new hobbies and other activities that he succeeded with. It also helped him by showing him that he is an intelligent kid because he had a higher IQ than 90% of the camp (198). On the other hand, some people believe that separating kids based on academic skill level may cause some negative things. For example, in his essay “Of My Friend Hector and My Achilles Heel,” Michael Kaufman discussed how being separated based on academic skill level caused him to become prejudiced towards his friend Hector.

Michael Kaufman and Hector were two kids that became neighbors and friends at a young age and grew up together in school. Kaufman was placed in a higher class than Hector, which Kaufman believes, caused him to become arrogant and prejudiced towards Hector in their adult years (148-149). However, there are other ways to stop labeling and prejudices without completely stopping the separation of students by their academic skill levels. For example, schools can have teachers talk about stereotypes, labeling, and prejudices to show how it can negatively affect other kids.

This can teach students that labeling kids a hurtful name can cause them to distance themselves from people and become depressed. Also schools can try to teach students about a variety of different people and their cultures so they have a better understanding of their peers. All in all, this world has millions of different people that think differently and have different levels of intelligence. There are many jobs and careers that are different from each other and take different skills to do.

Separating students based on academic skill level will not only make a more organized schooling system, but it will also help the students learn at their own pace and set the sights toward their future careers. Works Cited Kaufman, Michael T. “Of My Friend Hector and My Achilles Heel. ” Models for Writers. Eds. Alfred Rosa and Paul Eschholz. 10th ed. Boston: Bedford, 2010. 146-149. Print. Raymond, David. “On Being 17, Bright, and Unable to Read. ” Models for Writers. Eds. Alfred Rosa and Paul Eschholz. 10th ed. Boston: Bedford, 2010. 196-199. Print.

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