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Ability Grouping

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Synonyms

Setting (Great Britain); Streaming (Great Britain); Tracking

Definition

Ability grouping is a term referring to a wide variety of school practices that group students for instruction according to one or more measures of academic ability or achievement including their grades, teachers’ recommendations, measured IQ, standardized or locally developed achievement tests, etc.

Description

Ability grouping is intended to foster homogeneity in academic ability within educational environments. Ability grouping can occur within classrooms, between different classrooms or educational programs within schools, or even between schools, as is exemplified in countries like Germany. Sometimes students in different ability groups receive basically the same curriculum, with those in higher-ability groups just moving somewhat faster or covering topics in greater depth. In other situations, classes of different ability levels are presented with very different subject matter, such as math classes...

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-79061-9_12
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References

  1. Gamoran, A., Nystrand, M., Berends, M., & LePore, P. C. (1995). An organizational analysis of the effects of ability grouping. American Educational Research Journal, 32(4), 687–715.

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  2. Lucas, S. R. (1999). Tracking inequality: Stratification and mobility in American high schools. New York: Teachers College Press.

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  3. Oakes, J. (2005). Keeping track: How schools structure inequality (2nd ed.). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

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  4. Oakes, J., Gamoran, A., & Page, R. N. (1992). Curriculum differentiation opportunities, outcomes, and meanings. In P. Jackson (Ed.), Handbook of research on curriculum (pp. 570–608). New York: MacMillan.

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  5. Schofield, J. W. (2010). International evidence on ability grouping with curriculum differentiation and the achievement gap in secondary schools. Teachers College Record, 112(5), 8–18.

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  6. Slavin, R. E. (1987). Ability grouping and student achievement in elementary schools: A best-evidence synthesis. Review of Educational Research, 57(3), 293–336.

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Correspondence to Janet Ward Schofield Ph.D .

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© 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

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Schofield, J.W. (2011). Ability Grouping. In: Goldstein, S., Naglieri, J.A. (eds) Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-79061-9_12

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