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The Benefits of Ability Grouping

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Lakeside Lakeside is offline
 
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The Benefits of Ability Grouping
Old 01-13-2017, 08:25 AM
 
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This article on ability grouping showed up in my Science Daily feed:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0113094017.htm

I, personally, think it makes sense. Kids learn the most in their own "sweet spot" - where things are just challenging enough. The article also mentions the cost savings of acceleration compared to alternatives.

The article doesn't delve into student behavior, but I also think that is generally better in ability-grouped classrooms because you avoid the dynamic in which your top students are bored and your bottom students are drowning - both of which lead to discipline problems.

What do you think?


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I think that it is fine in moderation
Old 01-13-2017, 08:43 AM
 
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I know that it goes by a number of names at different levels and different schools. I know that it comes in comes in and out of favor as trends come and go.

I am a SpEd teacher and I know that my job would be impossible if I were not able to do lessons for certain groups at certain levels at once.

I do think there is much benefit to mixed ability groups as well. Students with poor social skills, adaptive behaviors, etc. do benefit from the exposure to those with better skills and learn by example. High functioning students also learn certain life skills, empathy, etc when exposed to those with less skills.

I think overall schools, classrooms and teachers just need to practice moderation and make sure that they are meeting the needs of all of the students.
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Like Lottalove said
Old 01-13-2017, 02:39 PM
 
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ability grouping comes and goes. I think I have done several rounds of this. The best way I have found for young children is whole group instruction and then skill groups which are flexible. Students are not assigned to a group and stay there, different groups are formed according to a skill they need to repeat or extend.
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Before this year
Old 01-14-2017, 06:50 AM
 
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I worked in a district with high poverty and very low scores. We had some high kids, but most of our kids were second language learners, high numbers of SPED, lots of poverty.

We went to competency-based education, which means that all kids are working at the level they tested into, in both math and literacy. On one hand, it's nice to keep ability groups together, because we're filling gaps and plugging holes. Or we're moving ahead in the higher classes. So it's nice that way.

The reality is also, though, that classes that are full of low kids tend to have more behavior issues. I don't mean that the higher kids are always angels, but sometimes behavior itself is the reason some kids struggle. Or behavior has emerged BECAUSE they struggle. This year, I teach RIDICULOUSLY HIGH kids--higher than you could even imagine. And they all act like they're 36 years old. The maturity is jaw-dropping.

I also taught differentiated classrooms and did not think differentiation was difficult at all. Kids can all be working on the same thing, just on different levels. Higher kids should not be bored and lower kids should be getting appropriate help. To be fair, I teach English, which I think is much easier to differentiate than other subjects.
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intervention. . .
Old 01-14-2017, 09:28 AM
 
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when done correctly can meet many of the needs of the individual learner. At our school we do intervention using the rti model as best as we can. We do have a very high poverty population so we have many low academic students with high needs. We wouldn't have enough students to fill an entire class of high academic students per grade level. At my previous school we did intervention (rti) in math as well as language arts. Ok, I just read the article. They are referring to students that have been hopefully GATE tested not just identified. In the education world ability-grouping is different than GATE grouping or even clustering. Of course GATE self contained classroom would best meet the needs of these students overall but that's not the reality for all districts. Our elementary GATE identified students are placed at one school where they have the option of Dual Immersion instruction ( very GATE driven with STEAM activities in a different language) or GATE clustering (used to be pull out).
Yes. . .acceleration can also meet the needs of the individual student but they must be identified first. The article doesn't address how they would be identified. What about the twice exceptional students?


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