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Heterogeneous Or Ability Grouping: What Is Best For All Students

1930 words - 8 pages

Ability Grouping (also known as Tracking) is a method of combining students of similar learning abilities in the same classroom. This is a method that is done in the hopes of continually challenging higher students so they can achieve at their highest level. Heterogeneous grouping on the other hand is grouping students into classrooms no matter the level of student achievement. The basis of heterogeneous grouping is to put students of all levels into a classroom.
A study of tracking in Kenya found some great results in support of this method. One of the strongest results of this study showed that students tracked in a high-ability classroom tended to score better on achievement tests at the end of the intervention than they did in their previous classroom setting. This also held true for the students in low-achieving classroom, meaning these students made the same amount of gains as students in the high-ability classroom. (Duflo, E., Dupas, P., Kremer, M. 2009) These students made no gains on the achievement gap that existed before the intervention began. When the tracking schools and the non-tracking schools compared students of the same ability level, the results of the achievement tests showed the tracking students scoring significantly higher. (Duflo, E., Dupas, P., Kremer, M. 2009) This suggests a tracking school as a better option for students academics. Another outcome of the study is that “students in tracked classes seem to have benefited from more-focused teaching.” (Duflo, E., Dupas, P., Kremer, M. 2009) Another finding in the study is the motivation of teachers. The study used contract teachers and civil-service teachers. Both types of teachers were placed in each type of classroom, but the data shows that teachers were more likely to be absent from school if they were teaching the low-achieving classroom. This shows that teachers are possibly less motivated to teach a lower-achieving class because they are starting off with lower scores. (Duflo, E., Dupas, P., Kremer, M. 2009) The research shows that students were successful in the tracking classroom.
Boredom is another factor that can affect gifted students. A study done in Austria in 2010 examined the effects of boredom on gifted students in a heterogeneous classroom versus a gifted ability grouped classroom. The findings of this study showed no significant differences in boredom of students of different abilities. There were some interesting findings for the students’ reasons for boredom. (Frenzel, A., Gotz, T., Preckel, F., 2010). When the gifted students were placed in the ability-grouped classroom, the students’ reason for boredom was due to the fact that they were over-challenged. As the gifted students were placed in the heterogeneous classroom, their reason for boredom was because they were under-challenged. The regular education students exhibited boredom with the same frequency, no matter the classroom setting, because they were over-challenged...

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