Mixed Ability Grouping in Mathematics: Promoting Equity Part 2

Despite the numerous research studies that support the idea that streaming aka tracking has a negligible impact on student outcomes, many mathematics classes around the world, particularly in the UK, Australia and US, still group students according to ability. Mixed attainment grouping is perceived to be too time-consuming to plan, unconventional and results in a “too challenging” teaching environment. Johnston and Wildy (2018) reported that despite research findings, teachers preferred the ability grouping model as there is a false belief that streaming can help manage student behavior and address the demands of teaching to different ability levels. Boaler (2008) reported that heterogeneous

Ability Grouping in Mathematics: Social Inequities and Not Beneficial for Attainment

This is part 1 of a two part blog post about ability grouping in mathematics. Unfortunately, mathematics is seen as an elusive discipline to many people around the world and, as a consequence, an epidemic of math anxiety has plagued many classrooms (Wathall, 2016)). In many parts of the world, there has been a long-standing tradition to group students by ability and this has remained common practice for core subjects such as mathematics and science. Grouping students by ability not only exacerbates the problem of math anxiety but sends a message that there are those who are “gifted” and those that are not (Boaler, 2008). Ability grouping was widely practised in the 1950s and made a resurgenc

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Copyright © 2020, Jennifer Chang Wathall