ERIC Number: ED348174
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
Ability Grouping and Student Achievement in Elementary Schools: A Best-Evidence Synthesis. Report No. 1.
Slavin, Robert E.
This report reviews research on the effects of between- and within-class ability grouping on the achievement of elementary school students. The review technique, known as "best-evidence synthesis," combines features of meta-analytic and narrative reviews. Overall, evidence does not support assignment of students to self-contained classes according to ability, but grouping plans involving cross-grade assignment for selected subjects can increase student achievement. Research particularly supports the Joplin Plan, cross-grade ability grouping for reading only, and forms of nongraded programs involving multiple groupings for different subjects. Within-class ability grouping in mathematics is also found to be instructionally effective. Ability grouping is held to be maximally effective: (1) when it is done only for one or two subjects, with students remaining in heterogeneous classes most of the day; (2) when it greatly reduces student heterogeneity in a specific skill; (3) when group assignments are frequently reassessed; and (4) when teachers vary the level and pace of instruction according to students' needs. (An 18-page reference list is appended). (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center for Research on Elementary and Middle Schools, Baltimore, MD.
Identifiers: Best Evidence Synthesis