The late 1950s and the 1960s witnessed the emergence of a series of educational innovations, which can be divided into the following four categories. First, concerns for equality of opportunity led to efforts at achieving desegregation and the use of extensive busing for transporting students to consolidated schools and/or districts (Carlson, 1996; Pulliam & Patten, 1999). Second, the successful launch of Sputnik led American secondary schools to increase the number of courses in math, science, and foreign languages, while the federal government sponsored a number of curriculum projects with an emphasis on the structure of discipline (Pinar, Reynolds, Slattery, & Taubman, 1995; Pulliam & Patten, 1999). Third, influenced by such sources as the civil rights movement, the English primary schools, and several critics of public education, a number of school districts established various forms of "open classrooms" across the nation (Cuban, 1993; Perrone, 1976). Fourth, a group of innovators tried to reorganize schools vertically into "multi-aged" or "non-graded" classes and horizontally into such instructional organizations as "team teaching" and "differentiated staffing" (Rippa, 1997).
Sharing an educational philosophy with the fourth group, the developers of Individually Guided Education (IGE) at the Wisconsin Research and Development Center (Wisconsin R&D Center, or Wisconsin Center, or Center hereafter), the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Institute for the Development of Educational Activities, Inc. (/I/D/E/A/), an educational affiliate of the Charles F. Kettering Foundation, designed the program as an alternative to the traditional age-graded, self-contained form of elementary schooling. In a typical IGE (multi-unit) school, according to Klausmeier, Rossmiller, and Saily (1977), the principal shares his/her authority with leaders of units in making decisions on managerial and technical affairs and reaches decisions by consensus rather than unilaterally. The leader of a unit shares his/her authority with unit teachers in making decisions on such unit matters as planning, grouping, instructing, grading, and reporting to parents; then unit teachers carry out and evaluate instructional programs cooperatively. Students in multi-aged (e.g., ages 6-8) units learn in various groups ranging from the whole unit meeting to large group, medium group, small group, and one-to-one. Students progress based on their achievement, not based on their age or grade. Building facilities are modified to meet these organizational and instructional needs. Finally, a group of IGE schools builds a network (called League) so that IGE practitioners share ideas, materials, and instructional approaches (Klausmeier et al., 1977).
"Challenging the Grammar of Schooling: Individually Guided Education, 1969-1979,"
Education and Culture: Vol. 20
, Article 4.
Available at: http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/eandc/vol20/iss1/art4