Ability grouping is the best way for students to learn (6). Homogeneous grouping is the best way to help a class experience the most successful learning (4,12). When new experiences are presented to a heterogeneous group the group experience is disappointing and not everyone reminds on the same page (3, 413). When you put heterogeneous grouping in use the class slows down and the teacher has to develop two lesson plans one for the advance students and one for the low level students (7, 207). Heterogeneous grouping is an ideal that does sound good but it usually leads to the low end kids pulling down the high level kids (5, 166).
An experiment was used to determine the advantages of homogeneous grouping. The first year the students were placed in groups based on their composite scores rather than on their intelligence. The second year the students were put in a group based on the teacher’s selection. The experiment was done over a two year period to determine weather the test was accurate or not. There were 132 students that were involved in the study. The homogeneous grouping gave the slower students an advantage. The test also showed that not one slow student would have been misplaced in the group selection based on composite score that would not have been there based on the teacher selection. It also showed that the fast homogeneous groups scored higher on tests than the heterogeneous groups (8, 8-9).
There are five different types of homogeneous grouping, which include XYZ classes, cross grade grouping, within class grouping, accelerated classes, and enriched classes (2, 284). The XYZ classes are classes that divide student up into three levels high, middle, and low (2, 284). These levels are then instructed in separate rooms either for the full day or for a single subject (2, 285). The cross grade grouping is when students from several grades who are on the same level of achievement in a subject are placed in a group. These groups are then instructed in different classrooms (2, 285). The third type of homogeneous grouping is within class grouping. This is when a teacher forms ability groups within a single classroom and provides instruction for each (2, 289). Within class grouping is the most common grouping that we as future teachers are acuminated with. Accelerated classes are classes that allow high level students to receive instruction that allows them to proceed more rapidly through school (2, 291). The final homogeneous grouping is enriched classes were the student receives a higher level of instructional that would have been available to them in a regular classroom (2, 294).
Some people believe that once a student is in a homogeneous group they will be in the same group for the rest of their educational career (1, 28). This is not true based on a study done by the Elementary School Journal. The average intelligence for all homogeneous groups was tested and the groups showed no statistically significant difference in their test results(10).
1. Balow, H. I., (1962). Does homogeneous grouping give homogeneous groups? The Elementary School Journal, vol63, n1, 28-32.
2. Barthelmess, H. M., & Boyer, P. A. (1932). An evaluation of ability grouping. Journal of Educational Research, 26, 284-294.
3. Berkun, M. M., Swanson, L. W., & Sawyer, D. M. (1966). An experiment on homogeneous grouping for reading in elementary classes. Journal of Educational Research, 59, 413-414.
4. Borg, W. R. (1965). Ability grouping in the public schools: A field study. Journal of Experimental Education, 34, 1-97.
5. Billett, O. R., (1928). A controlled experiment to determine the advantages of homogeneous grouping. Educational Research Bulletin, vol7, n8, 165-172.
6. Cromwell, S. (2004). Homogeneous or heterogeneous: Which way to go? Retrieved March 3, 2006, from http://www.education-world.com
7. Hoffer, T. B. (1992, Fall). Middle school ability grouping and student achievement in science and mathematics. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 205-227.
8. Kulik, A. J., (1993). An analysis of the research on ability grouping. The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented Newsletter. 8-9
9. Rogers, K. B. (1991). The relationship of grouping practices to the education of the gifted and talented learner (RBDMS 9102). Storrs, CT: University of Connecticut, The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented Newsletter.
10. Smith, Deborah. (2005). Heterogeneous grouping: Is it best for all students? Retrieved March 3, 2006, from http://www.middleweb.com