A California school district is grouping students by “content level” instead of grade.

The model is based on the idea that students learn at their own pace and should advance when they have mastered the material.

So, is content-based learning a good idea?

Former high school academic dean Jedediah Bila says the new plan means students have different lesson plans and more individualized learning.

“I think it challenges kids, I think it challenges teachers, and I think it keeps the classroom really interactive,” she said.

Amber Northern, Thomas B. Fordham Institute research director, disagreed. She said it’s a way for schools to “plump up their graduation rate” and said it threatens the integrity of the education system.

“I think with the right formula, this could be enormously successful. With the wrong formula, could it fail? Absolutely, but the system is failing now, so I think the desperation is ‘Let’s get in and try to switch things up and see what we can do’ because right now, kids aren’t doing so great in our educational system. So it’s worth a shakeup, in my opinion,” Bila said.

Watch the debate above.

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