ERIC Number: ED303553
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Equal Access to Education. Alternatives to Tracking and Ability Grouping. Practitioner's Monograph #2.
Cooperative learning and heterogeneous ability grouping meet many of the goals of middle grade education while avoiding the discriminatory effects of tracking and homogeneous grouping. Poor and minority students are overrepresented in lower track classes, and are, therefore, more likely to be denied equal access to education. Arguments in favor of tracking and ability grouping include the following: (1) students learn better; (2) slower students do not have to compete with their brighter peers; (3) placement is accurate and fair; and (4) teachers find heterogeneous groups are easier to teach. Arguments against tracking and ability grouping include the following: (1) no group of students has been found to benefit consistently; (2) isolation from better students does not help the academic self-concept of those placed in lower ability groups or tracks; (3) standardized placement tests are not objective since they are designed to serve the needs of the tracking system; and (4) the more experience that teachers gain with heterogeneous grouping, the better they like it. Tracking and ability grouping have also been found to be a major force for resegregation of supposedly integrated schools. Cooperative learning is the most frequently recommended model for mixed ability grouping. Implementation of heterogeneously grouped classroom techniques requires inservice training for teachers and administrative support. Thirty-four footnotes are included. (FMW)
Descriptors: Ability Grouping, Classroom Techniques, Cooperative Learning, Elementary Secondary Education, Equal Education, Grouping (Instructional Purposes), Heterogeneous Grouping, Middle School Students, Middle Schools, Minority Group Children, School Resegregation, Track System (Education)
California League of Middle Schools, 1107 Ninth Street, Suite 150, Sacramento, CA 95814 ($4.25).
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: California League of Middle Schools, Sacramento.