Within-Class Ability Grouping Essay

2745 Words 11 Pages
Within-Class Ability Grouping

As a future educator ability grouping is more than likely going to be a part of my classroom. I think it can and will be a valuable tool in effectively teaching all students of varying abilities. Ability grouping is a greatly debated area in the field of education. Opponents to the practice believe ability grouping is detrimental to learning and student self-esteem, but ability grouping, specifically within-class ability grouping, can be very effective in teaching children. The students are able to learn at a pace that is suitable to their individual abilities and teachers are able to construct lessons that are specifically geared towards each level. Within-class ability grouping necessitates flexibility
…show more content…
This involves assigning students within the classroom to small groups based on ability with each group working on their own material according to their ability level. "Within-class grouping appears to be a useful means to facilitate student learning" (Lou, 451). "The positive effects are slightly greater for low-achieving students than for average or high achievers" (Hollifield). A child may have lower abilities in one subject, but be more proficient in another; the child should be placed accordingly. For example, an elementary child may be placed in a low ability group for reading and a high ability group for mathematics, but for social studies, spelling, and science be with the entire class. This enables the child to get needed help in the weaker area and extra stimulation in the stronger area while allowing the child to interact with all of his peers in other subject areas. Many elementary schools use within-class grouping and it has been effective.

W. R. Borg, educational researcher and author, examined the consequences of grouping systems by comparing two adjacent school systems, one using homogeneous (children of the same ability) groups, the other using heterogeneous (children of varying ability) grouping. Borg’s research concluded that "elementary level ability grouping provided the slower and average pupils with a better chance for social recognition than did random grouping"
Open Document