Raising Schooling Attainments by Grouping Pupils Within Each Class

Publication date: 1 Jul 1998 | Publication type: National Institute Economic Review | Journal: National Institute Economic Review

The object of this Note is to caution against accepting, at least in the context of English schooling policy, conclusions drawn by a group of Canadian educational researchers from their survey (a 'meta-analysis' - as they call it) of a mass of earlier classroom studies which, they say, on average significantly favour - not 'whole-class teaching' - but dividing pupils within each class into small groups according to their ability ('homogeneous within-class ability-grouping'). Issues of this kind have for long been of great concern to educational policy makers; in simplistic terms: those more anxious to advance social egalitarianism have tended to favour mixed-ability teaching of the whole class, while others - more worried about academic (or 'cognitive') attainments - have preferred some form of division of pupils according to 'general ability' (in whatever way that may be ascertained) or according to attainments in particular subjects.

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