Grouping students by ability: Is there a difference in academic achievement?




Baker, Nicole

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Upon the renewal of international competition based on standardized assessments, grouping students by ability has been reintroduced into the education system. In this paper, I review the literature on grouping students and its impact on academic achievement. Within this review, it has been found that generally there is no overall affect to academic achievement when students are grouped by ability. However, if one were to break down the data to consider each ability level, it would be found that there are positive implications for students who are deemed gifted when placed in a homogeneous grouping, and positive implications for students in the low ability group when placed in a heterogeneous grouping. Also, other issues have emerged from this research that could potentially impact student achievement depending on the group in which they are placed. The issues that will be included in this review are: peer effect, teacher impact, quality of instruction, and stigma.



heterogeneous grouping, homogeneous grouping, similar-ability, mixed-ability, inclusion, peer effect, achievement, differentiation, stigma