ERIC Number: ED426129
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998
What Research Says about Ability Grouping and Academic Achievement.
Nicholson, James A.
Ability grouping and the tracking of students have become traditional in the U.S. education system. In 1893 the National Education Association (NEA) demanded that every subject taught in secondary school be taught in the same way; but by 1918, the NEA supported academic tracks for some students and vocational tracks for others. Since then, the debate over tracking and ability grouping has continued, and arguments on both sides of the debate have remained essentially the same. Rosa Lee Weaver, in a 1990 report, summarized the argument of proponents of ability grouping that grouping is necessary to individualize instruction and accommodate the diverse needs of students. Advocates of ability grouping have been particularly concerned about the negative effects that heterogeneous classes might have on high achievers who would benefit from ability-grouped situations. On the other hand, opponents of ability grouping have been concerned about the negative effects of the practice on low achievers (low self-esteem, lower aspirations, and negative attitudes toward school) who might be denied access to high quality instruction. The pro-grouping argument has been primarily concerned with the issue of effectiveness, while opponents to grouping have been concerned with equity. Research on effective schools has identified high teacher expectations and students' expectations of themselves as essential for academic achievement. How students view themselves does affect their academic achievement. (Contains 22 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A