Grade levels were developed to help large numbers of unskilled personnel place students with a minimum of effort, ability, or understanding.
AT ODA: Faculty members are skilled practitioners of their discipline. They have the ability to assess each student’s needs, along with the time and desire to do so.
Grade levels were developed to promote a tight community, where students tend to develop along with everyone else.
AT ODA: We believe that each student is created uniquely by God and has a unique calling from God. Consequently, student development and placement in a specific discipline is defined by and dependent upon many factors other than age. Flexibility is the primary structure not the exception.
Grade levels were developed to protect the school and its teachers as the primary overseer and driver of student academic development. Teachers know best – parents need to live with it.
AT ODA: we believe that the parents are the primary overseer and driver of student academic activity and progress. Academic organizations should exist to serve families, not vice versa. Parents know best – teachers need to live with it.
Grade levels were developed to provide a stable primary social context for students outside of their families, where students learn to become peer driven, deriving their values and identity from their peers.
AT ODA: We believe that a student’s primary social context is his or her family. Students develop best emotionally and spiritually when family relationships are primary and when support relationships involve a wide spectrum of ages.
Grade levels were developed to protect students from extremes: from the (perceived) risks of advancing too quickly and from the (perceived) shame of advancing too slowly.
AT ODA: We believe that students develop at different rates in different subjects. They have the ability to do so without risk because God created them intentionally. Academic organizations need to be able to allow for students to progress at different rates in different subjects, and at different rates than their age-level peers.