Ability Grouping: Is it Effective? by PL37mQi


									Ability Grouping: Is it
        Michelle Sendek
          Ron Lasko
        Jamie Williams
        Introductory Activity
• Pass out materials and discuss.

• Discussion: How did you feel
  being in the high and/or low
  achieving group?
     What is Ability Grouping?
• Ability grouping is the practice of placing
  students of similar academic ability level
  within the same group for instruction as
  opposed to placement by age and grade
    Types of Ability Grouping
• Within Class Grouping

  – Teachers will divide the class into small
    groups, particularly for reading and math
    instruction (Westchester Institute for Human
    Services Research, 2002)

  – Used more in elementary grades
    Types of Ability Grouping
• Between Class Grouping

  – School separate students into different
    classes, courses, etc. (Westchester Institute
    for Human Services Research)

  – Similar to tracking- grouping students who
    then take all high, middle, or low-level classes

  – Most common type of grouping in secondary
     Types of Ability Grouping
• Joplin Plan – Developed by Cecil Floyde

  – Students are grouped heterogeneously for
    most of the day, but are grouped by ability for
    reading instruction (Tieso, 2002)

  – www.cfhistorian.edublogs.org/
• Do you or your school use ability

• What types of ability groups are
  used in your schools?
Ability Grouping is Effective
  Yes, Ability Grouping is Effective
• Ability grouping supports learning (Edwards, Blaise,
  Hammer, 2009)
   – Teachers can provide more individualized attention to
     the smaller groups
   – Classrooms with grouping strategies tend to be more
       • Students become involved in their learning
• Ability grouping reduces stress on students
   – Students do not have to know the same material as
     students with higher and/or lower abilities
       Yes, Ability Grouping is
– Between class grouping reduces heterogeneity
  in classrooms without affecting students’ self-
  esteem (Tieso, 2003)
    – Student in primary grades may not notice
      differences in abilities
    – Students will not be labeled in class
        To Be Effective…
– Groups must be flexible and temporary
  (Tieso, 2003)
  • Assessments
  • Teacher cooperation
– Different groups may be developed
  depending on the subject area (McCoach,
  O’Connell, & Levitt, 2006)
  • Reading vs. Math groups
         To Be Effective…
– Adjustments must be made to the curriculum
  • Between class grouping
     – Teachers focus their instruction on the specific
       needs of the students in their group.
       Appropriate support can be given to the
  • Within class grouping
     – More planning and preparations are done by
       teachers to meet the needs of various groups.
       The time and effort are reward by the students’
    Research that says “YES!”
• Achievement Effects of Ability Grouping in
  Elementary Schools: A Best-Evidence

  – Robert E. Slavin (John Hopkins University)

  – Review of Educational Research 1987
    Research that says “YES!”
• Research supports the Joplin Plan
  – Reading

• Within-class ability grouping for math also
  instructionally effective

• Most effective when only done for one or
  two subjects and group assignments are
  frequently reassessed
Ability Grouping is Ineffective
 No, Ability Grouping is Ineffective
• Ability groups are destructive to the
  classroom community

• Teachers have lower expectations for
  lower achieving groups

• Low achieving groups continue to fall
  further behind
 No, Ability Grouping is Ineffective
• Possibility of being permanently placed in
  lower group

• Increases the responsibility of the teacher
  – # students may make it difficult to pay enough
    attention to each student and if they should be
    moved from one group to another
 No, Ability Grouping is Ineffective
• Stigma attached to low sections,
  discouraging the students

• Discriminates against minority and lower-
  class students

• Students in lower track receive lower
  quality of instruction
 No, Ability Grouping is Ineffective
• With all children performing at lower level, no
  opportunities for students to learn from others
  with higher skill levels

• Higher dissatisfaction as students get older

• Boys in secondary schools were more
  dissatisfied with ability grouping than girls
  because of the work assigned whether harder or
  easier (Hallam & Ireson, 2007)
         Who Else Says No!
• The following groups have called for an
  end to ability grouping:

  – National Governor’s Association
  – College Board
  – National Education Association
  – ACLU
    Research that says “NO!”
• Achievement Effects of Ability Grouping in
  Secondary Schools: A Best-Evidence

  – Robert E. Slavin (John Hopkins University)

  – Review of Educational Research Fall 1990
     Research that says “NO!”
• Ability grouping shows little to no effect on
  achievement of secondary students, as
  measured by standardized tests

• Ability grouping is equally ineffective in all
  subjects, except social studies where it
  has a negative effect
  Example of Ability Grouping Not
           Being Used
• Denmark

  – Classes consist of mixed backgrounds and

  – Classes typically are formed based on residential
    pattern (i.e. students who live near each other
    and play together)

  Morrill, 2003
  Example of Ability Grouping Not
           Being Used
• Denmark (Morrill, 2003)
  – Classes stay with the same “class teacher” (homeroom
    teacher) for all of primary school and part of lower
    secondary school

     • Promotes good relationships between teachers and students and
       teachers and parents

  – Danish do not test during primary grades

  – Enroll in school at age 7 without previous academic
• Do students in special education
  or “gifted” students count as
  ability groups?
  What about Gifted Students and
   Special Education Students?

• One question not asked in the Slavin
  research was whether programs designed
  to provide differentiated education for
  gifted or special education students were

• Kulik and Kulik’s meta-analytic reviews do
  address these students
        The Research Says…

• Gifted and high-ability children show positive
  academic effects from some forms of
  homogenous grouping

• The strongest positive academic effects of
  grouping for gifted students result from either
  acceleration or classes that are specially
  designed for the gifted and use specially
  trained teachers and differentiated curriculum
  and methods.
       The Research Says…

• Average and low-ability children may
  benefit academically from certain types of
  grouping, particularly elementary school
  regrouping for specific subject areas such
  as reading and mathematics, as well as
  from within-class grouping.
• The results of the educational research
  seems to have something to support each

• The effectiveness depends on the
  teachers implementing it

     What do we think…?
To view our resources and a list of pros and
cons, please visit our wiki…

•   Allan, S. D. (1991). What do they say about grouping and the gifted? Educational
    Leadership. Retrieved from http://www.donet.com/~eprice/sdallan.htm.
•   Edwards, S., Blaise, M., & Hammer, M. (2009). Beyond developmentalism? Early
    childhood teachers’ understanding of multiage grouping in early childhood education
    and care. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 33(4), 55-63.
•   Hallam, S. & Ireson, J. (2007). Secondary school pupils’ satisfaction with their ability
    grouping placements. British Educational Research Journal, 33(1), 27-45.
•   Jensen, A., & California Teachers Association, B. (1970). Parent and teacher
    attitudes toward integration and busing. Research Resume, Number 43. Retrieved
    from ERIC database.
•   Morrill, R. (2003). Denmark: Lessons for American principals and and teachers?
    Phi Delta Kappan, 84(6), 460. Retrieved from Education Research Complete
•   McCoach, B. D., O’Connell, A. A., & Levitt, H. (2006). Ability grouping across
    kindergarten using an early childhood longitudinal study. Journal of Educational
    Research, 99(6), 339-346. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.
•   McPartland, J. M., & Slavin, R. E. (1990). Increasing achievement of at-risk students
    at each grade level. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved
    from ERIC database.
•   National Education Association. (2010). Retrieved from www.nea.org.
•   National Governor’s Association. Retrieved from www.maec.org/tracking.html.
•   New York Times Company, The. (2010). About.com: Learning disabilities.
    Retrieved from http://learningdisabilities.about.com/od/ac/a/ability_grouping.htm.
•   Pallas, A. M., Entwisle, D. R., Alexander, K. L., & Stluka, M. F. (1994). Ability-group
    effects: Instructional, social, or institutional? Sociology of Education, 67, 27-46.
•   Slavin, R. E. (1990). Achievement effects of ability grouping in secondary schools: A
    best-evidence synthesis. Review of Educational Research, 60(3), 471-499.
•   Slavin, R. E. (1987). Achievement effects of ability grouping in secondary schools: A
    best-evidence synthesis. Review of Educational Research, 57(3), 293-336.
•   Tieso, C. (2003). Ability grouping is not just tracking anymore. Roeper Review,
    26(1), 29-36. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.
•   Useem, E. L. (1990). Social class and ability group placement in mathematics in the
    transition to seventh grade: The role of parental involvement. Boston, MA:
    American Educational Research Association. Retrieved from ERIC database.
•   Westchester Institute for Human Services Research. (2002). Research-based
    information on timely topics: Ability Grouping. The Balanced View, 6(1).

To top