ERIC Number: ED215975
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Mar
Reference Count: 0
One Psychologist's (Not Very Representative) View of Teachers' Decisions about Grouping Students.
Shavelson, Richard J.
The use of ability variables for grouping students is pervasive in elementary schools. Teachers form these groups judgmentally, taking into account formal (e.g., test) and informal (e.g., personal observation) sources of information. Their judgments of students' abilities are reasonably accurate. Such grouping can be explained as functional on psychological grounds and can, in part, be justified pedagogically. Groups, and not individuals within them, serve as the basis for instructional planning. Teachers' plans exert an enormous influence on what happens during classroom instruction. There are, however, serious limitations attributable to grouping students on status variables: (1) Groups may serve as anchors to student progress; (2) Groups mask large individual differences among students within each group; and (3) Groups lead to prescriptions for instructional treatments and may severely limit the range of alternative groupings and treatments tried in the classroom. What is needed is further research on the link between grouping decisions based on status variables and the educational treatments received by students. Perhaps some of the complexity of deciding on appropriate groupings and treatments can be reduced by new computer hardware and courseware technology. (JD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, March, 1982).