Should students be assigned to grade level based on their age?

The Hub, and JHU’s Institute for Education Policy

08/31/2016

Getting students to perform at grade level has been a focus of national education reforms. What does the science tell us about this practice?


As kids go back to school, the concept of “grade” is on everyone’s mind. America’s education system assigns students to grades based on their age (e.g. 6 year-olds in 1st grade) and performance expectations are set accordingly. What does the science tell us about whether this practice is effective?  A new study co-authored by Johns Hopkins University’s Jonathan Plucker estimates that 20-40% of elementary and middle school students perform at least one grade level above their current grade in reading, and 11-30% score at least one grade level above in math.

This raises some questions about the merits of age-based grade levels for student achievement. To find out more, check out the article in the HUB summarizing the research, and the original study published online on the JHU Institute for Education Policy’s website.