By Judith Ireson
Skill Grouping in schooling presents an outline of skill grouping in schooling. The authors reflect on selective education and talent grouping inside colleges, comparable to streaming, banding environment and within-class grouping.
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Additional resources for Ability Grouping in Education
In addition, observational studies of classroom teaching in mathematics and science tend to substantiate this account (for example, Ball, 1981). Hacker and Rowe (1993) found that science teachers altered their pedagogy when they moved from sets to mixed ability classes. With mixed ability classes, teachers provided a greater variety of activities and more differentiated work, whereas they tended to use more whole class instruction with sets. Similarly, Boaler (1997c; Boaler, Wiliam and Brown, 2000) found that in mathematics, teachers took little account of the differences between pupils in sets, treating them as though there were identical in ability.
In our own research we have investigated pupils’ views of themselves in schools with a variety of grouping arrangements. At secondary level, we used a measure of self-concept in a questionnaire completed by all year 9 pupils in 45 secondary comprehensive schools. The questionnaire also included items on pupils’ views of school and their work in school. In our primary school research we interviewed children in six schools about their experiences of ability grouping and we also asked them about their experiences of teasing.
In England and Wales in the 1970s, when many schools became comprehensive, there was a plateau, whereas in Northern Ireland, where selection continued, examination results continued to improve. This is interpreted as demonstrating that selective schooling improves examination attainment. The explanation may be more complex, however, relating to the disruption in schools during the process of change in England and Wales. The impact of this reorganisation is well illustrated in the study of Treliw, referred to below (Reynolds, Sullivan and Murgatroyd, 1987).
Ability Grouping in Education by Judith Ireson