Is ability grouping a valuable practice for managing student differences? What are the benefits of this approach? Does this arrangement inequitably label students? There is much discord in the research, reasoning, and opinion associated with ability grouping. Read this article to discover answers to these questions and heighten your knowledge of the advantages as well as the drawbacks of ability grouping.
Flexible grouping strategies usually include a variety of patterns for organizing instruction. Students can be clustered and reclustered using identifiable goals, activities, and needs. As decisions are made about grouping students, there are details specific to each type of group that should be reviewed. Through this document, find out more about the roles and activities assumed by teachers and students in both teacher-led and student-led groups.
Take time to view this PowerPoint presentation and you will receive a solid overview on ability grouping. Different types of ability groups are described including With-In Class Grouping, Between Class Grouping, and The Joplin Plan. Also, there is a section with suggestions for grouping that was compiled from researchers committed to managing groups to best benefit student learning.
Using the Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Model (SCGM), this book offers strategies to motivate and challenge academically gifted learners, so every student has the opportunity to reach their potential. Along with this, it provides details on how to identify students for clusters, ensure support from parents, and maintain professional development for teachers. This book could be a great addition to your school resource library.
Why does tracking or ability grouping have a negative effect size? Watch this short video and find out what Professor Hattie has to say on this topic. He is a Professor of Education and Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute in New Zealand.
Created as part of WNYC's Radio Rookies program, this link provides an 8-minute podcast narrated by Jaimita Haskell. She is a high school student who was placed in the middle track but who wanted to be put in the upper track. She became her own advocate for moving into the upper level of instruction. Her story unveils serious problems with tracking and ability grouping, and she makes suggestions for teachers and students regarding this issue.
What does the research show about inclusion of ability groups and/or tracking? In what ways have you observed it being used or misused? What are some realistic alternatives to ability grouping? Learn more about this debate through this list of helpful resources and materials. Also, you can join in on the discussion of ability grouping by leaving comments and suggestions on this blog.