This article examines a school within the Lindsay Unified School District in California that is experimenting with transitioning from an age-based school system to a competency system. In this system children are tested according to knowledge levels and are then placed with others at their same level as opposed to distributing students into classes by age. With the aid of the Obama administration in the form of a $10 million grant, this Lindsay school is yielding successful results. Progressively raising test scores and lowered suspension suspension and gang related rates are a few of these benefits. Critics such as Daria Hall say that there are indeed benefits, “”But the risky downside is that it could translate into lower expectations in terms of how fast low-income and minority students are expected to progress.”
Coming from an English Teaching major, I have always been interested in alternate methods to our obviously unproductive K-12 age-based system. I had considered this option, and was surprised at the legitimacy of the counter arguments. I do see how the age-based system can encourage low-income to progress at the same level, however, it is important to notice that there are both aspects of the scale. Do we limit those who are ready to progress in order to help those who are not?