Grouping Which Abilities?

January 4th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

It gets very frustrating when doing research on “best practices” for teaching math and in different books I get completely different viewpoints while being backed up by research and studies. The latest practice that falls into this frustration is ability grouping. I have read authors in favor of mixed ability grouping and authors in favor of similar ability groupings. The latter seems to be the new trend in differentiation that students working in similar ability groupings are easier to differentiate for. There are of course several other caveats of mixed ability grouping that similar ability groupings are supposed to solve – like a higher ability student dominating a lesser ability student.

The majority of my students sit in mixed ability groupings in which they do new lesson work when time and behavior allows. I normally do similar ability behavior only during specific differentiation days. As I work towards differentiating on a more regular basis I guess I shall try same ability groupings more often and see how the results compare.

OpposingĀ research has made it so I have to do my own research in my classroom which I guess is not such a bad thing. It is possible that also depends on the students in the class and their interactions, we shall find out. Anyone have experiences to share?