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 Ability grouping 
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-- I know the research is against ability grouping -- the higher group becomes higher and lower groups becomes lower -- at my middle school we had teams of 2 teachers--- most days the lower group and the higher group were split up for language arts and math but, some days we would stay with our homerooms for these subjects (homerooms were mixed up) ---we were all mixed together for science, social studies, and elective classes (band, dance, art, etc.)--- I believe this type of seperation could possibly benefit everyone --- the students wouldn't have the exact same people in all their classes and maybe this would allow for the higher students to help the lower students in some areas and some activities such as group work --- I was wondering would everyone else thought about ability grouping and what they expierenced in their middle school -- did you feel it was a good thing or bad?

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Rachel Sigmon


Tue Feb 13, 2007 2:55 pm
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I remember ability grouping from elementary school. At a certain part during the day our class would separate into two groups: the normal kids and ‘the peanut gallery.’ Not only were they the smart kids, they also got a sweet name (not really but I think I was just a little jealous b/c our group didn’t have a name at all). I remember our teacher would give us some pages to read while she would go over and instruct the ‘peanut gallery’ on their readings and help them through the reading time. I remember always wanting graduate from the rest of the class and join the royal peanut gallery in their stately and splendid table of superior intelligence and sophistication. Maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but i just don’t see this separation necessary. It hurts the kids that aren’t in the high tracks. Public education is supposed to be equal and fair for all its students but ability grouping creates a classroom hierarchy that gets in the way of the real purpose of school.


Tue Feb 13, 2007 3:18 pm
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I can definitely see where you both are coming from. I am writing my thesis on exceptional children and I've been learning a lot of ways that these children can still be engaged, even without always getting pulled out of the classroom. I feel that often times ability grouping seperates children and just gives the "exceptional" ones extra work or really silly assignments. These children need work that is more advanced. I had an idea, and I have no idea if it could ever work.
Lets say every child who is in public education has the internet on their home computer (and every child has a computer for that matter). Teachers could create homework and activities to be done at home that are at each child's level. Each child would have their own "page" they log in to and go their work. This could also help with meeting children where they are and knowing what they are interested in. The teacher could write math problems that relate to that child's personal life. This would prevent separation in the classroom so much. Many exceptional children just need to be accelerated a grade, but this could be an option for some children.

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Lauren Cagle


Wed Feb 14, 2007 2:56 pm
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I really appreciate ablity grouping, in theory. I think that logically, it seems to make sense in all levels of education. However, the common problem with this type of idea (as we've all seen time and time again) lies within the gaurantee of a proper implementation. Even throughout highschool, I feel the majority of our classes were structured at different ability levels. Our highschool had the IB program, and unless you were on track do graduate with an IB diploma, most students (including myself) steered away from the intense academic program. These students had classes on a completely seperate hallway, and honestly, the rest of our grade rarely saw the IB students. However, non-IB students ( I really hate labels) were allowed to take this awesome class called "Theory of Knowledge". It was probably one of the most amazing classes I had, simply because we had such a great random sampling of students. We were all there simply to study how humankind defines "knowledge".

I completely agree with rachel when she says that there should be a balanes when it comes to ability grouping, however I also agree with Jim's point that it only reinforces a heirarchy in education. Yet, I honestly feel that because I took that TOK class my senior year, i was surrounded by students who were each well-developed 'products' (for lack of better word) of their 13 year experience with ability grouping. I feel that it was these diverse viewpoints that made our class so dynamic.

long story short, I still have no clue where I stand on this subject. Big surprise :shock:

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-Allison Sawicki


Wed Feb 14, 2007 6:31 pm
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I think it is really hard to say whether ability grouping is good or not. I personally agree that it does have a negative effect on students making it seem like you are not good enough if you are not in a certain track. I went to a private elementary/middle school and we did not have ability grouping in our classes. The "smarter" kids were mixed in with the "average" kids. I think I really benefited from this because when we were in a class that I was not the best at the subject my peers that were better at it could help me out and vice versa. I do think that there may have been some people in my class that were not challenged enough and that could have something to do with why they acted out in class, but for the most part I believe the way my school kept all students at different levels together was a good choice.

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Krystal Tarnaski


Sat Feb 24, 2007 4:14 pm
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I disagree with ability grouping bc i think that it doesnt really help the higher level students that much and it definitly negatively affects the lower level students. I feel that as teachers it is our responsibility to give as many of our students the oppurtunity to exceed expectations and by grouping some into the dumb group we are destroying the confidence and security of all of them.

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Diana Zong


Sun Apr 15, 2007 4:40 pm
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