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ERIC Number: ED408085
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997
Pages: 58
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-1-86003-033-5
Setting and Streaming: A Research Review.
Harlen, Wynne; Malcolm, Heather
The findings of a review of research into setting and streaming (ways of grouping pupils according to ability) in primary and secondary schools in Scotland are presented. The review was conducted according to the best evidence synthesis model, as set out by Slavin (1986). The review relied on findings of Slavin's meta-analyses, as well as adding studies which have been carried out since his reviews and studies that have incorporated qualitative findings. The review found that in primary schools, the strongest evidence for the effect of ability grouping was in mathematics. Pupils of all abilities gained from within-class ability grouping compared to whole-class mixed-ability teaching. In secondary school, where ability grouping is formed by setting (pupils are placed in ability classes for certain subjects only) or streaming (pupils remain in ability-based classes for all subjects), the social disadvantages of these forms of organization made ability grouping hard to defend. Yet mixed-ability grouping had its own drawbacks. Mixed-ability classes are hard to manage and teach. There was evidence that teachers aim lessons at the middle of the ability range, sometimes treating mixed-ability groups as though they were low-ability streams. Research showed that even teachers with substantial experience working with mixed-ability classes frequently use whole-class teaching methods which are inappropriate for mixed-ability groups. Overall, what goes on in classrooms seems likely to have more impact on achievement than how students are grouped. (Contains 133 references.) (WJC)
Scottish Council for Research in Education, 15 St. John Street, Edinburgh EH8 8JR, Scotland, United Kingdom; phone: 0131-557-2944; fax: 01310556-9454; e-mail:; www: (SCRE Publication No. 137).
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Scottish Council for Research in Education, Edinburgh.
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Scotland)