Why do so many teachers group students by ability for reading?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Tyler B., Feb 26, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,270
    Likes Received:
    443

    Feb 26, 2012

    I was doing some research for a paper and noticed that an enormous body of research points out that grouping students by ability does not result in any improvement in learning.

    This is especially true for the low group, whose members actually read far less and make fewer gains in ability-grouped classrooms. There's some evidence to suggest that the high group suffers too.

    Despite this, the majority of elementary classes in our district have the three reading groups. Some teachers group across the entire grade level.

    Why does this persist?
     
  2.  
  3. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    3,060
    Likes Received:
    538

    Feb 26, 2012

    I group by ability because I use levelled texts to teach reading. I want the students in each group to be able to read the same text. These texts allow students to learn about the patterns and vocabulary that they are ready for.

    Now that my students have really taken off with their reading I have a wider range of abilities. I am going to group students by the skills they need to work on so I can teach those skills specifically.
     
  4. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

    Joined:
    May 16, 2007
    Messages:
    2,771
    Likes Received:
    52

    Feb 26, 2012

    I can't speak for other districts but for mine they're only grouped for a small portion of Language Arts. Every day we have language arts for 2 hours. On Mon and Tue they're in small groups for 15 min and Wed-Fri it's for 40 min. During the small group time I have an ELL group, a below level, an at level and an above level. During that time they use leveled readers and do other reading/writing/fluency activities geared towards their levels. This way the lower readers have an opportunity to read at more of a comfort level. Also my above level group is also at grade level fluency so they don't need additional fluency practice so that's never part of their small group time but it's done regularly with my below level group who struggle with fluency. But the bulk of the instruction is done at a fifth grade level for the whole class which ranges from limited English to above level reading.
     
  5. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    3,060
    Likes Received:
    538

    Feb 26, 2012

    Yes! This is important information. My students are only in their reading group for 10-15 minutes. The rest of my ELA is whole group instruction, guided practice and independent practice. They are not in their group for all of my instruction. I still do whole class lessons where everyone is exposed to the same skill or strategy.
     
  6. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2002
    Messages:
    3,274
    Likes Received:
    38

    Feb 26, 2012

    You've talked about ability-grouped classrooms and ability grouping in classrooms. 2 different things in my mind.

    In any classroom you have a range of abilities. In my mind you need to do both small group work and whole group work. I can't expect my kiddos who are struggling to learn letter sounds to do the same work as those kiddos who are reading. It's not fair to either group. Therefore, I have to do some grouping. It's called Guided Reading, putting just right books in their hands.
     
  7. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    3

    Feb 26, 2012

    In my experience, WITHOUT QUESTION, ability grouping yields better results. I could go on and on about this because I feel quite strongly about it...
     
  8. queenie

    queenie Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,392
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 26, 2012

    I have five reading groups- one below level, two on level, and two above level. The below level group cannot read grade level texts comfortably, so our small group time is geared toward better fluency throught phonics and read aloud practice. The first on level group struggles with comprehension, so we work on that. The next two groups read fluently and have pretty good comprehension, so we work mainly on other skills/concepts like strategies that good readers use. The upper group is very advanced for our grade level, so they participate in a literature circle. They read on Tuesday, do a "job" on Wednesday that involves higher level thinking skills, and share their "jobs" on Thursday each week.

    I group the students for two reasons- first, it is mandated by my county; second, it allows students in the same ability level with similar needs to be taught specific skills through differentiation.

    It's important to note (as previously posted) that my groups last 10-15 minutes each and are only 3 days a week. The rest of our literacy activities are whole group or heterogeneously grouped.
     
  9. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Messages:
    2,397
    Likes Received:
    4

    Feb 26, 2012

    Because students reading on different levels need to work on different skills...
     
  10. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,813
    Likes Received:
    52

    Feb 26, 2012

    Me, too....I also give reading homework by these groups.
     
  11. Gareth

    Gareth Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2011
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 26, 2012

    I believe it persists because it's easier teaching that way. It doesn't mean it's right though.
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,468
    Likes Received:
    2,485

    Feb 26, 2012

    Could you share some of the research you've found?
     
  13. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,778
    Likes Received:
    153

    Feb 26, 2012

    It's easier to work on student needs this way. I use leveled texts, so when they meet with me in small groups, it is by ability.
     
  14. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,778
    Likes Received:
    153

    Feb 26, 2012

    Tyler, I would need to look at the research you are discussing. How many students, classes, and schools were in this study? How long were they in groups? Were they only ever in homogeneous groups, or were they also exposed to heterogeneous groups? I agree that mixed-ability groups are great, which is how my students work throughout the day, but when we do small group work, they will be with me based on ability. So, it's really important to know what that research is actually saying. Also, has the study been repeated and the same findings found again many times?
     
  15. teacher333

    teacher333 Devotee

    Joined:
    May 14, 2005
    Messages:
    1,143
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 26, 2012

    Usually because that is the reading program that the District has established.
     
  16. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Messages:
    4,223
    Likes Received:
    1,157

    Feb 26, 2012

    When I taught 2nd grade, our grade-level team switched students for 30 minutes a day for Reading Intervention/Reading Enrichment.

    We had five groups/five teachers that worked on different things:
    Challenge Group: Those who were reading above grade level. These students worked on things such as Accelerated Reader and worked on reading non-fiction text, chapter books, etc.
    Benchmark Group: Those who were reading on grade level. This group of kids worked on reading text that was at the 2nd grade level. They were often given enrichment and by the end of the year, they were reading chapter books and reading lots of multisyllabic words.
    Strategic Group: This group of kids happened to be working slightly below grade level. They were often "pre-taught" the lessons that we would teach during our language arts block so they'd have a chance to see the information twice. They worked on fluency, intonation, and expression. This was my favorite group to work with because I enjoyed getting them "bumped up" to the Benchmark Group.
    Intensive Groups I and II: These groups consisted of kids who were emerging readers. They worked on a lot of basic phonic skills and CVC, CVCe words. A lot of these kids were still working on letter/sound correspondence. We tried to keep this group small (therefore, we had two teachers teaching the "Intensive" kids). It was very rewarding to see kiddos "graduate" from the Intensive Group!!! :thumb:

    I loved this model. It really worked and it allowed for a lot of fluidity in grouping.
     
  17. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5,849
    Likes Received:
    714

    Feb 26, 2012

    I heard a lot of the "research" about ability grouping in college (my professors were always way against it) and I have to say I don't buy into it and neither do most "real" teachers (not STs) that I know. The prevailing theme in my college was that "low" students would get even lower and never get out of the "low" group, whereas if they were in a mixed ability group, the "high" readers would bring up the "low" readers. I always found it kind of interesting that they always acted as if ability grouping was the worst thing you could do in elementary school, yet it's just accepted without challenge that this is what you do in high school. No one is suggesting that high schools put kids learning AP calc in the same class as kids learning algebra 1, even if those kids are on the same grade level. Why the difference? I also found it interesting that in my sped classes, this "research" was mostly used to tout "full inclusion" models where sped students never leave their gen ed room. The irony of that is that in most schools that do "full inclusion", they have to group the sped kids into the same gen ed class so that the sped teacher can be in that classroom all of the time rather than having to go to 4 different rooms for the same grade level. So rather than being grouped for 45 minutes a day in a pull out resource lesson, they're grouped into an entire day long "low class" so that they can be "fully included." In my school's pull-out model, my kids are spread out among all of the gen ed classes so there isn't a "low" class, but they work on guided reading at their level with me, which I think is very important. I have one new student in 4th grade who is barely reading at all (level C). There is no way he could make as much progress/learn the skills he needs in a guided group on grade level (level Q), and I'd also venture to say he'd feel a lot more "dumb" trying to read in that group then he supposedly does coming to the sped room.
     
  18. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,778
    Likes Received:
    153

    Feb 26, 2012


    I agree with you, Waterfall. It allows us to differentiate and meet students where they are. In my case, I work with small groups 3 times a day. These times don't exceed 20 minutes (I wish I had 30 minutes to devote to each group, but I don't), and after small groups my students return to their groups where they sit for the day. These groups are heterogeneous. I try to stick two highs and two lows so they can get support. Like everything else in life, I firmly believe that balance is best. I don't do homogeneous groups all day, nor do I do heterogeneous groups all day. There is a mix, and it's a mix that I find helpful for my students.
     
  19. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,270
    Likes Received:
    443

    Feb 26, 2012

    "Much of the best research suggests that for struggling learners, homogeneous learning experiences go awry. Too often in these settings, teachers’ expectations for the struggling learners decline, materials are simplified, the level of discourse is less than sterling, and the pace slackens. . . In other words, remedial classes keep remedial learners remedial."
    The Differentiated Classroom, Tomlinson, Carol, p.21, ASCD 1999

    Students in lower ability groups spend more time involved in noninstructional activities, are less likely to be asked critical comprehension questions, and are given fewer opportunities to select their own reading material.
    Journal of Educational Psychology, v98 n3 p529-541 Aug 2006


    "Students of low ability actually perform worse when they are placed in homogeneous groups with students of low ability."
    Classroom Instruction that Works, Marzano, et. al. p.87, ASCD 2001

    Drawing on data from the first- and third-grade waves of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort, I use propensity score matching techniques to estimate the impact of low, middle, and high group placement on reading gains relative to nongrouped instruction. Findings suggest that high-grouped students learn more, and low-grouped students learn less, than comparable nongrouped students. These analyses, which significantly lessen the extent to which selection into groups may bias results, add strong evidence to the view that within-classroom skill grouping in the early elementary years promotes unequal reading gains compared to nongrouped instruction.
    Sociological Quarterly; May2008, Vol. 49 Issue 2, p363-394, 32p, 1 Diagram, 4 Charts


    The research reported here suggests that early elementary, within-classroom skill grouping confers advantages upon some (accelerated learning for high-grouped students) and disadvantages upon others (decelerated learning for low-grouped students) compared to full classroom instruction. Moreover, this occurs during a “critical period” for young children as they learn basic literacy skills that are the foundation for future learning. For scholars of educational stratification, as well as parents, educators, and policy makers concerned about inequality, skill grouping within elementary classrooms is a key stratifying element of schooling that should rank high among the factors considered to promote disparities in children's academic skills.
    The Sociological Quarterly
    Volume 49, Issue 2, pages 363–394, Spring 2008

    Grouping by ability, however, frequently has a significant negative effect on the learning of students placed in lower reading groups (Opitz 1999). Children in the lower groups rarely experience the same range of reading opportunities as do students in the higher groups, which may explain why students often don’t progress from lower to higher reading groups (Hiebert 1983)
    A Classroom Teacher's Guide to Struggling Readers
    Curt Dudley-Marling, Patricia Paugh, Heinemann 2004
     
  20. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,270
    Likes Received:
    443

    Feb 26, 2012

    The research that I find most convincing is the meta-study by Marzano. It's profoundly convincing that it's not the right way.

    I'm not judging my colleagues here, just saying that if, under certain circumstances an ability group might be effective, why is it so common? It should be used rarely - unless all the studies are flawed.
     
  21. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    3

    Feb 26, 2012

    Well, yeah, if the teachers suck then ability grouping won't be effective. Lowering standards, not asking higher level questions, etc...that's not good. It's not about "dumbing down" standards, and any teacher who groups by ability and thinks that is missing the point entirely.

    I have my own experiences that tell me ability grouping (and I do mean having three or more different classes) is amazingly effective. But the teachers have to rock and know how to implement the system properly.
     
  22. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Feb 26, 2012

    I skimmed over all of the replies, and I am still confused: are we talking about Guided Reading Groups, whole-group literacy instruction, or both? I have heard of "walk to read," where students switch classrooms for reading based on ability, and that is where they receive the majority of their literacy instruction. I have heard that this way of teaching reading is frowned upon by many experts.

    However, I am not sold on the idea that guided reading based on ability groups is inefective. I have 6 guided reading groups, which are all based on ability. I choose which books will be read based on the guided reading level of that group. Per district rules, I must meet with my lowest group 30 minutes per day. I meet with the other groups for about 10-15 minutes.

    All students receive whole-group literacy instruction, and have the same assignments for independent work. It is within their guided reading groups that I can differentiate, based on ability. My highest group is reading Charlotte's web and making difficult inferences, while my lowest group is still reading simple, repetitive picture books, and making more simple on-the-surface inferences. Sure, I could group them all together and have a group that is working on inferring, but I think it is more effective when all children are reading the same book, and are at the same level. And all of my students are making a lot of growth.
     
  23. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,948
    Likes Received:
    2,096

    Feb 26, 2012

    How do you teach reading?

    I use a workshop approach...every one can benefit from the minilesson regardless of reading level...but I do see advantage to grouping guided reading by ability once we break off for independent reading...It just makes sense to group kids according to needs..why not reach 3 or 4 at a time.
     
  24. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 26, 2012

    The research material quoted tends to point towards kids grouped in homogenous classes based on ability-I honestly don't think that's what is happening in most early elementary classrooms. We do that in the upper grades-not because it's easier, but because the teachers can target a group's needs more readily. They assess often and the groups are very flexible.

    Grouping by ability for small group instruction within a classroom is really the only effective way to differentiate for the kids. What reading material would you use with kids that range from working on letters and sounds to reading fluently at 60 wpm? You can't target the needs of the children without that differentiation.

    By the way-there is actually a lot of research out there saying it tremendously helps the higher groups to be grouped together. They are often held back by the "teach to the middle" mentality many teachers have to take.
     
  25. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5,849
    Likes Received:
    714

    Feb 26, 2012

    My dad's grade level did this at his school and the results were astounding. It's a huge school with 6 classes per grade level, so for a couple of years they took all of the gifted and high achieving students and put them in one class. These 4th grade classes were reading and analyzing material that most kids don't see until high school if at all. They couldn't believe what the kids were able to do when grouped together and the teacher could actually teach to the "high" group rather than teaching to the middle and trying to differentiate here and there. Of course, as with all things that actually work...some higher-ups outside of the classroom made them stop ability grouping by class because it "made the school look bad" even though both their low kids and high kids were achieving more than ever before.
     
  26. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,270
    Likes Received:
    443

    Feb 27, 2012

    [/QUOTE] By the way-there is actually a lot of research out there saying it tremendously helps the higher groups to be grouped together. They are often held back by the "teach to the middle" mentality many teachers have to take.[/QUOTE]

    The Marzano citation I posted tells a different story. His meta analysis showed that only the middle group show any benefits from ability grouping. Some speculate that since the high group often needs less attention, they get less.
     
  27. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    3

    Feb 27, 2012

    Again, and I obviously won't releasemy students' personal information, but I give you my word ability grouping was a wonderful thing! Students--low, medium, and high--truly embraced it. It's critical teachers handle it in a "just so" manner, but I have NOTHING but positives to say in regards to this topic.

    There is a study available to prove just about anything... :)
     
  28. princessbloom

    princessbloom Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    Messages:
    443
    Likes Received:
    2

    Feb 27, 2012

    Mine are grouped heterogeneously for every Center they go to, except when they come to see me at my round table. I differentiate at my table and group them homogeneously. However, if they go to Vocabulary, Writing, Reading or Reading Comprehension for Centers they're mixed.
     
  29. queenie

    queenie Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,392
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 27, 2012

    All I can say about research is that you can find studies to back nearly any stand you want to take. What I use is what I have personally found to be beneficial to my students. If using homogeneous groups 10 minutes a day is helpful, then I'll continue to do it. I completely agree that heterogeneous grouping is beneficial in most settings, but in Reading, there's no way my kids who struggle to read 35 words a minute would perform better with the ones who read 185 words a minute. It doesn't make sense. If that's the case, then why don't we just mix up all the grade levels and let the younger ones catch what they need from the older ones?
     
  30. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,270
    Likes Received:
    443

    Feb 27, 2012

    I read Bridge to Teraibithia to my sixth graders, and they nearly all cried at the sad part. I cried too. The next year I was switched to fourth grade and read it to them. At the sad part, they just looked up at me in wonder: my teacher is crying. None of them cried. They were too immature to understand the emotional impact. A precocious fourth grade reader is still just 10 years old. There's no reason to put them into Jane Eyre. We group students by age because of their brain development.

    As educators, we need to constantly examine research to improve our craft, otherwise we deserve the public criticism that we resist change.

    Last year I scrapped my reading groups and put all my students into age-appropriate whole-class literature units. What I noticed was my low kids suddenly loved reading and read more. I needed to offer more support to the low kids and offer extensions and less practice to the high kids, but as a class the growth was greater than any other year (as measured by state tests).

    Still, one year is not enough to know what caused the change. I think we should not dismiss major academic studies or compare them to the weak research done by publishing companies.
     
  31. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    2,096
    Likes Received:
    1

    Feb 27, 2012

    Totally off topic here but I teach 4th grade too and we use F & P and it my school I'm pretty sure the principal decided to make her own benchmarks and say that by now 4th graders should be at S and Q is considered below grade level. What are the benchmarks in your school if you don't mind me asking? My kids are supposed to be reading T by the end of the year and I don't know if that's the same everywhere?
     
  32. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    3

    Feb 27, 2012

    Oh, I'm not completing dismissing them...but I've taught both ways and witnessed myself the benefits of grouping, so that naturally means a great deal to me.
     
  33. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5,849
    Likes Received:
    714

    Feb 27, 2012

    Q is on grade level for the winter benchmark. Students should be at R independently and S instructionally by the end of 4th grade according to our system. We use Literacy By Design, but I believe the levels are based on F &P. I will say that we have found that the LBD benchmark tests are a lot easier than say a DRA2 test for kids, so raising the LBD benchmarks has been discussed in my building. We're finding that kids are supposedly on grade level for LBD and then when we DRA2 test them at the end of the year it actually turns out that they're several levels below.
     
  34. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,231
    Likes Received:
    65

    Feb 28, 2012

    iteachbx, here in my district, T is the goal for end of grade four as well.
     
  35. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Messages:
    3,750
    Likes Received:
    217

    Feb 28, 2012

    I think it's inappropriate to dismiss the research, or to say that you can find research to support any conclusion, therefore no research should be used. I think a more professional approach is to dig deeper into the research and ask:

    "Why are these finding occurring?"

    If they are different from one's personal experiences, then it's probably more professional to ask:

    "Why am I observing different effects," as well as

    "Would my approach be even different if I changed my methods?"

    Some of the responses to this research are, to me, indicative of why education is in the state it's in - people dismissing research simply because it's not in line with their philosophy or personal experiences. Not saying everyone is doing this, but I read a few comments that appeared this way.

    In terms of the research specifically, I think the reasons for the discrepancies observed probably relate to how groupings occurred. For example, in Tyler's postings, the rationales typically given for lower effectiveness were not simply being grouped, but what experiences the students had when grouped. For example, one study found that ability grouping led to lower expectations and/or lower quality instruction for students in the lower skill grouping, which then led to worse performance. In this case, then, ability grouping was not the causal variable, but the variables of 1) lower expectations and 2) different (and worse) instruction.

    The take home message, so far, seems to be that simply grouping a child based on ability level likely has very little impact directly on student achievement, except for variables such as emotional impact on learning, such as a student feeling inferior to those in higher grouping levels, or a student feeling overwhelmed by non-differentiated work when no ability grouping occurs. Rather, what seems to make the biggest impact is what happens in the context of those ability groupings. For example, if differentiated instruction did NOT occur during the course of ability groupings, such groupings would likely be less effective.
     
  36. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,396
    Likes Received:
    3

    Feb 28, 2012

    I don't think any educator should dismiss research, however, like any thing, research can be flawed. I am very familiar with Marzano, and my district pushes for us to use Marzano's strategies.
    Yet, we are told-word for word-how we are to teach our reading because the state is demanding we do so since we are in "academic watch". We do ability group-with flexibility- our students, based on our RtI data.
    A double edge sword for sure.
    Tyler, I envy that fact that you have the academic freedom to do what you see best for your students.
     
  37. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Messages:
    3,750
    Likes Received:
    217

    Feb 28, 2012

    Definitely agreed that research can be flawed. I think it's important, then, to identify the flaws, as well as opposing research that may challenge findings of the flawed research. What isn't appropriate, though, is to simply dismiss research because research, in general, can be flawed. It doesn't sound like you are doing this, but I think some do.
     
  38. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Messages:
    2,230
    Likes Received:
    1

    Feb 28, 2012

    So far in this conversation I think this post most closely expresses my thoughts on the matter.

    That, and the ones that sought clarification between completely separating classes by level vs. flexible grouping for different learning activities.

    As a resource room teacher, I get an interesting perspective because I work specifically with the special-needs students in a mainstream school. I see students from classes whose teachers don't group by level for reading, and these students are getting close to zero opportunity to improve at their level because they're constantly struggling to understand texts that are just too far beyond them. They, who need more practice than the typical student, end up getting less practice because they either get the texts read aloud to them (by a teacher or peer, out of necessity because it is just too hard for them) or skip words, sentences, or paragraphs out of frustration. Instead of being supported to grow from their current level to the next level, they are thwarted daily in the attempt to bring them up five levels past their current performance.

    I also see very clearly why low groups progress more slowly. The factors that made them low in the first place are likely keeping them slow. It's sad, but true. For some, they might just be less bright, less quick to learn new things. Possibly not PC, but real. For others, their delays in learning are related to concurrent behavior problems - whether the behavior is the cause or effect, there is generally a LOT more goofing off, distractions, fighting, etc among low-performing students. Sure, we should find effective ways of dealing with it, but the very existence of this challenge is going to perpetuate itself to SOME extent.
     
  39. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Messages:
    3,750
    Likes Received:
    217

    Feb 28, 2012

    Definitely would be interested to see if the research factored in special education status.

    Also an interesting observation about control groups - in the studies finding that ability groups are detrimental, did low-performing students perform even more poorly when grouped by ability, or equally as poor?
     
  40. queenie

    queenie Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,392
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 28, 2012

    :yeahthat: Plus I think you're arguing a mute point. Most of us are doing the same thing you're suggesting. Our "grouping" is actually what you refer to as "extensions to learning." MOST of the time, my students are learning WHOLE GROUP. Small groups last about 10 mins for each group just three times a week...
     
  41. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,270
    Likes Received:
    443

    Feb 28, 2012

    What EdEd says resonates with my understandings.

    What has been a huge eye-opener to me is that many teachers are using a skill-based approach. They test for specific skills, for example, does the child understand hard and soft G? Then these teachers group their students accordingly. The students who didn't pass the G test then get specific instruction and are retested. Grouping completely makes sense under this scenario.

    The problem with this approach is it depends on heavy use of workbooks and/or workbook-type pages. To maintain this system, a teacher must constantly test and find or develop appropriate lessons. The whole thing is so complex, it often just degrades to groups based on ability. The reason for students to be low in reading varies from low cognitive ability, low English skills, low maturity, learning difficulties and on and on. Students in a low group do not need the same instruction.

    What if these students read, instead of doing workbook pages, taking tests and getting skills lessons? Some studies indicate a negative correlation between time spent on workbook pages and reading growth.

    Low readers need extra support to keep up with a class novel, but a good class novel is perfect for their maturity level. They can learn the rush of happiness that comes from a story well-told. If done right, these students can turned into people who read for pleasure. Once a student is hooked on reading, that child is saved.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Backroads,
  2. TnKinder
Total: 542 (members: 5, guests: 507, robots: 30)
test