ERIC Number: EJ720907
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Aug-1
Reference Count: 26
What Are the Effects of Ability Grouping on GCSE Attainment?
Ireson, Judith; Hallam, Susan; Hurley, Clare
British Educational Research Journal, v31 n4 p443-458 Aug 2005
The use of ability grouping is frequently justified on the grounds that it is an effective means of raising attainment. Little large-scale quantitative research has been undertaken since the introduction of the National Curriculum in England and Wales. The aim of this article is to examine the effects of setting on students' achievement in English, mathematics and science General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examinations. Data were collected from a cohort of over 6000 Year 9 students in 45 mixed secondary comprehensive schools who were followed up in Year 11 when they sat GCSE examinations. Multilevel modelling was used to estimate the effect of setting on GCSE attainment, taking account of prior attainment, social disadvantage, gender and attendance. There were no significant effects of setting in English, mathematics or science. Effects on higher and lower attaining students were not consistent in the three subjects. Socially disadvantaged students achieved significantly lower grades and girls achieved higher grades than boys, especially in English. In all three subjects, students of similar ability achieved higher GCSE grades when they were placed in higher sets. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed. (Contains 7 tables.)
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Disadvantaged Youth, Gender Differences, Ability Grouping, National Curriculum, Academic Achievement, Secondary School Students, Standardized Tests, Student Characteristics, Grades (Scholastic)
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Publication Type: Information Analyses; Journal Articles
Education Level: Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England); United Kingdom (Wales)