ERIC Number: ED363509
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Apr
Effects of Instructional Differences among Ability Groups on Student Achievment in Middle-School Science and Mathematics.
Hoffer, Thomas B.; Gamoran, Adam
This paper analyzes the effects of ability grouping on middle school math and science achievement, attempting to account for these effects in terms of measurable classroom experiences of students. It is hypothesized that grouping effects operate through classroom instructional differences. Data collected from a national sample of public school students and teachers reveal large effects of group placement on 8th-to-9th grade achievement growth, and substantial track differences appear for several instructional variables. Adding the instructional variables to the achievement models shows that 75 percent of the high-ability group effect on science achievement, but only 17 to 33 percent of the mathematics track effects are accounted for by the instructional variables. The largest instructional effects on mathematics achievement are associated with emphases on problem solving and understanding principles (as opposed to computational mechanics), the pacing of the course, and the use of lectures to present the material. The largest effects on science achievement are found for measures of "inquiry-based" instruction, the use of lectures and small-group projects, and student assessments of the accessibility of the subject matter. (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.; National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools, Madison, WI.; Northern Illinois Univ., De Kalb.