The study entitled “Förderung leistungsstarker und leistungsschwacher Schülerinnen und Schüler in jahrgangsgemischten Lerngruppen im Schulanfang” (“Support for High-Performing and Low-Performing Students in Multi-Grade Learning Groups at the Beginning of School Education”) is underway at six elementary schools in Berlin, which have introduced and begun to experiment with mixed-age learning in connection with the “Verlässliche Halbtagsschule” (“Reliable Half-Day Schools,” VHG) or “Jahrgangsübergreifende Lerngruppen” (Multi-Grade Learning Groups, JÜL) model experiments. The study is being conducted under the auspices of the Berlin Senator for Education, Youth, and Sports.
The aim of the JüLiSA research project is to observe the practice of multi-grade learning groups in a longitudinal study over two years, document the practice, and consider it from a critical standpoint. The main focus of the project’s inquiries will be how low-performing and high-performing students are supported in learning groups of this kind. In the first step in the study, the interactions between the children were of particular interest. These interactions are centrally important in the research context because the learning process takes place in large measure through discussions and exchanges of information with others, meaning that the process itself is socially constituted. In a multi-grade group, communication between the children takes on an additional aspect. In this regard, researchers are interested in a number of questions, above all: Do interactions take place between children of different ages, and what is the nature of those interactions? What is the nature of the help that older children provide to younger ones?