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Parents’ views of composite classes in an Australian primary school


Parents of children in a large primary school in New South Wales were asked questions related to their attitudes towards and beliefs about composite (multigrade) classes. Parental concerns about composite classes are commonly reported as negative and this study confirmed this concern. Issues identified as causing concern for parents were a belief that some grades and some children are more suited than others to being part of a composite class, position in the class (younger or older grade), cohesion both within the class (class identity) and with grade peers in monograde classes (grade identity), perceived choice (between composite and monograde classes) and selection bias. Selection of particular teachers and students for the composite classes had both positive and negative effects — a positive effect on the composite class but a negative effect on the monograde classes because of the removal of the good role models and the ‘best’ teachers. Many parents reported more favourable attitudes after a positive experience with a composite class but not all such parents were prepared to indicate their support for composite classes.

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Cornish, L. Parents’ views of composite classes in an Australian primary school. Aust. Educ. Res. 33, 123–142 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03216837

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  • Class Identity
  • Grade Identity
  • Composite Class
  • Rade Class
  • Lower Grade Student