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ERIC Documents Database Citations & Abstracts for


Instructions for ERIC Documents Access

Search Strategy:
Ability Grouping (as an ERIC Descriptor with heavily weighted status)
AND
Review Literature OR Literature Reviews (as an ERIC Document type or ERIC Descriptor, respectively) OR Authors = ([surnames] Kulik OR Slavin OR Wheelock)
AND
Elementary Secondary Education OR Elementary Education or Secondary Education
  ED426129  UD032667
  What Research Says about Ability Grouping and Academic Achievement.
  Nicholson, James A.
  1998
  9p.
  Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070)
  Ability grouping and the tracking of students have become 
traditional in the U.S. education system.  In 1893 the National 
Education Association (NEA) demanded that every subject taught in 
secondary school be taught in the same way; but by 1918, the NEA 
supported academic tracks for some students and vocational tracks for 
others.  Since then, the debate over tracking and ability grouping 
has continued, and arguments on both sides of the debate have 
remained essentially the same.  Rosa Lee Weaver, in a 1990 report, 
summarized the argument of proponents of ability grouping that 
grouping is necessary to individualize instruction and accommodate 
the diverse needs of students.  Advocates of ability grouping have 
been particularly concerned about the negative effects that 
heterogeneous classes might have on high achievers who would benefit 
from ability-grouped situations.  On the other hand, opponents of 
ability grouping have been concerned about the negative effects of 
the practice on low achievers (low self-esteem, lower aspirations, 
and negative attitudes toward school) who might be denied access to 
high quality instruction.  The pro-grouping argument has been 
primarily concerned with the issue of effectiveness, while opponents 
to grouping have been concerned with equity.  Research on effective 
schools has identified high teacher expectations and students' 
expectations of themselves as essential for academic achievement.  
How students view themselves does affect their academic achievement.  
(Contains 22 references.) (SLD)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Academic Achievement; Elementary 
Secondary Education; *Equal Education; High Achievement; Low 
Achievement; *Self Esteem; Teacher Expectations of Students; *Track 
System (Education); Vocational Education

  
  ED422454  UD032514
  The Tracking and Ability Grouping Debate. Volume 2, Number 8.
  Loveless, Tom
  Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, Washington, DC.  1998
  37p.; Foreword by Chester E. Finn, Jr.
  Available From: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, 1015 18th Street 
N.W., Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036; toll free telephone: 1-888-TBF-
7474; World Wide Web: http://www.edexcellence.net (single copies free).
  Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070)
  Tracking and ability grouping are common practices that are often 
harshly criticized.  Both practices group students of similar 
achievement levels for instruction, but they differ in how this task 
is accomplished.  Elementary schools typically use ability grouping 
in reading instruction, with instruction targeted to the reading 
level of each group.  Middle and high schools use tracking to group 
students between classes, offering courses in academic subjects that 
reflect differences in students' prior learning.  Critics charge that 
tracking not only fails to benefit any students, but that it also 
channels poor and minority students into low tracks and dooms them to 
an inferior education.  Research has indicated that when students are 
grouped into separate classes and given an identical curriculum, 
there is no appreciable effect on achievement.  However, when the 
curriculum is adjusted to correspond to ability level, it appears 
that student achievement is boosted, especially for high ability 
students receiving an accelerated curriculum.  Heterogeneous grouping 
has not been adopted by enough middle schools and high schools to 
conclude whether detracking produces achievement gains for anyone, 
and research to date cannot conclusively demonstrate that one or the 
other is the better way to organize students.  The charge of 
unfairness more accurately depicts tracking's past than its present.  
In the past, tracking was rigid and deterministic, but today, schools 
assign students to tracks for particular subject areas based on 
proficiency.  Most schools assign students based on their choices 
once prerequisites have been met, and transcript studies show that 
students may move independently up or down in each subject's 
hierarchy of courses depending on their performance.  One criticism 
still appears valid.  Low tracks often emphasize good behavior and 
menial skills, while high tracks offer preparation for college.  
These differences in learning environments particularly depress the 
academic achievement of poor and minority students.  In contrast, 
Catholic high schools appear to provide low track students with a 
quality education, and they are remarkably similar in boosting low 
track students to higher levels.  Some principles for future policies 
are outlined.  An appendix compares two meta-analyses of the track 
system.  (Contains 7 tables.) (SLD)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Academic Achievement; 
Disadvantaged Youth; Educational Research; Elementary Secondary 
Education; *Equal Education; Instructional Program Divisions; 
Minority Groups; Poverty; *Student Placement; Tables (Data); *Track 
System (Education)

  
  ED408085  PS025487
  Setting and Streaming: A Research Review.
  Harlen, Wynne; Malcolm, Heather
  Scottish Council for Research in Education, Edinburgh.
  1997
  58p.; Series editors: Wynne Harlen and Rosemary Wake.
  ISBN: 1-86003-033-5
  Available From: Scottish Council for Research in Education, 15 St. 
John Street, Edinburgh EH8 8JR, Scotland, United Kingdom; phone: 0131-
557-2944; fax: 01310556-9454; e-mail: SCRE#064;ed.ac.uk; www: 
http://www.scre.ac.uk (SCRE Publication No. 137).
  Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070)
  The findings of a review of research into setting and streaming 
(ways of grouping pupils according to ability) in primary and 
secondary schools in Scotland are presented.  The review was 
conducted according to the best evidence synthesis model, as set out 
by Slavin (1986).  The review relied on findings of Slavin's meta-
analyses, as well as adding studies which have been carried out since 
his reviews and studies that have incorporated qualitative findings.  
The review found that in primary schools, the strongest evidence for 
the effect of ability grouping was in mathematics.  Pupils of all 
abilities gained from within-class ability grouping compared to whole-
class mixed-ability teaching.  In secondary school, where ability 
grouping is formed by setting (pupils are placed in ability classes 
for certain subjects only) or streaming (pupils remain in ability-
based classes for all subjects), the social disadvantages of these 
forms of organization made ability grouping hard to defend.  Yet 
mixed-ability grouping had its own drawbacks.  Mixed-ability classes 
are hard to manage and teach.  There was evidence that teachers aim 
lessons at the middle of the ability range, sometimes treating mixed-
ability groups as though they were low-ability streams.  Research 
showed that even teachers with substantial experience working with 
mixed-ability classes frequently use whole-class teaching methods 
which are inappropriate for mixed-ability groups.  Overall, what goes 
on in classrooms seems likely to have more impact on achievement than 
how students are grouped.  (Contains 133 references.) (WJC)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; Academic Ability; *Academic 
Achievement; *Educational Research; Elementary Secondary Education; 
Foreign Countries; Grouping (Instructional Purposes); *Heterogeneous 
Grouping; *Homogeneous Grouping; Literature Reviews; Mathematics 
Instruction
  Identifiers: Scotland

  
  EJ542075  TM520005
  Within-Class Grouping: A Meta-Analysis.
  Lou, Yiping; And Others
  Review of Educational Research, v66 n4 p423-58 Win 
  1996
  Research supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research 
Council of Canada and the Fonds pour la formation de chercheurs et 
l'aide a la recherche of the Quebec (Canada) government. Portions of 
this paper presented at the Annual Meetings of the American 
Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 1995 and 
New York, NY, April 1996).
  ISSN: 0034-6543
  Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070);  CONFERENCE PAPER (150);  
JOURNAL ARTICLE (080)
  The effects of within-class grouping on student achievement and 
other outcomes were quantitatively integrated using one set of 145 
effect sizes exploring grouping versus no grouping and a set of 20 
effect sizes related to homogeneous versus heterogeneous ability 
grouping.  Overall, results favored homogeneous grouping.  (SLD)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Academic Achievement; *Effect Size; 
Elementary Secondary Education; Meta Analysis; Nongraded 
Instructional Grouping; *Outcomes of Education; *Track System 
(Education)

  
  EJ535201  CE530118
  Sustained Inquiry in Education: Lessons from Skill Grouping and 
Class Size.
  Mosteller, Frederick; And Others
  Harvard Educational Review, v66 n4 p797-842 Win   1996
  ISSN: 0017-8055
  Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070);  JOURNAL ARTICLE (080)
  Review of tracking research reveals a small number of well-designed 
studies with equivocal results.  The Tennessee Class Size Study 
demonstrates convincingly that student achievement is better in 
smaller K-3 classes and the effect continues later in regular-sized 
classes.  More randomized, controlled field trials such as this are 
needed.  (SK)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; Academic Achievement; *Class Size; 
Elementary Education; Longitudinal Studies; Research Needs; *Teacher 
Student Ratio; *Track System (Education)
  Identifiers: Tennessee

  
  EJ514722  EA531325
  Detracking and Its Detractors: Flawed Evidence, Flawed Values.
  Slavin, Robert E.
  Phi Delta Kappan, v77 n3 p220-21 Nov   1995
  ISSN: 0031-7217
  Document Type: EVALUATIVE REPORT (142);  REVIEW LITERATURE (070);  
JOURNAL ARTICLE (080)
  High-track/low-track studies almost invariably conclude that 
students gain from being in high-ability groups and lose from being 
in low-ability groups.  Track/no-track studies find achievement 
effects approaching zero for high, average, and low achievers.  
Brewer, Rees, and Argys's own data provide little evidence for 
maintaining ability grouping.  (MLH)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Academic Achievement; *Academic 
Aptitude; Elementary Secondary Education; *Research Problems; *Track 
System (Education)

  
  ED384643  TM023845
  Review of the Literature on Tracking and Ability Grouping. Second 
Draft.
  Lindle, Jane Clark
  1994
  38p.
  Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070)
  This review of the research literature on ability grouping and 
tracking draws on professional and scholarly research journals and 
electronic databases.  Five assumptions have been used to support the 
recurring practices of tracking and ability grouping, but none of 
these assumptions has withstood close examination in 70 years of 
research.  They are: (1) student potential can be determined by past 
scores on achievement or IQ tests; (2) prerequisites for achievement 
are obvious, simple, and easily identifiable and absolutely 
necessary; (3) student self-esteem is served by separating the "less 
able" and the "smarter" students; (4) student diversity can be 
accommodated through differentiated curricula; and (5) teacher work 
is more efficient if students are grouped homogeneously.  The 
literature clearly shows the inadequacy of tracking and ability 
grouping.  Research has consistently shown positive effects of the 
practice only for the highest ability groups, who were also given 
enriched curriculum and stimulating instruction.  Ability grouping 
has been associated with discriminatory practices within the schools.  
A firm recommendation is made that the Fayette County (Kentucky) 
public schools discontinue tracking and ability grouping.  (Contains 
261 references.) (SLD)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; Academic Achievement; Achievement 
Tests; Curriculum; Educationally Disadvantaged; *Educational 
Practices; Educational Research; Elementary Secondary Education; 
Equal Education; Intelligence Tests; Literature Reviews; Public 
Schools; Self Esteem; *Student Placement; *Test Results; *Track 
System (Education)
  Identifiers: Fayette County Public Schools KY

  
  EJ464542  PS520431
  Ability Grouping in the Middle Grades: Achievement Effects and 
Alternatives.
  Slavin, Robert E.
  Elementary School Journal, v93 n5 p535-52 May   1993
  Thematic Issues: Middle Grades Research and Reform.
  ISSN: 0013-5984  
  Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070);  JOURNAL ARTICLE (080)
  Reviews research on the effects of ability grouping on the 
achievement of middle school students.  Found no or few effects of 
ability grouping for high, average, and low achievers in 27 studies.  
Alternatives to between-class ability grouping, including cooperative 
learning and within-class grouping, are discussed.  (PAM)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Academic Achievement; Adolescents; 
Case Studies; Cooperative Learning; Elementary Education; *Grouping 
(Instructional Purposes); *Heterogeneous Grouping; *Middle Schools; 
Preadolescents; Track System (Education)
  Identifiers: *Block Scheduling

  
  ED367095  EC302797
  An Analysis of the Research on Ability Grouping.
  Kulik, James A.
  National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, Storrs, CT.
  NRC/GT Newsletter, p8-9 Spr 1993  1993
  3p.; For a related document, see ED 350 777.
  Sponsoring Agency: Office of Educational Research and Improvement 
(ED), Washington, DC.
  Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070);  JOURNAL ARTICLE (080)
  This research review summarizes two major sets of meta-analyses on 
five kinds of ability grouping programs: (1) XYZ classes (high, 
middle, and low classes); (2) cross-grade grouping; (3) within-class 
grouping; (4) accelerated classes; and (5) enriched classes.  One 
group of meta analyses concluded that the strongest benefits from 
grouping were found in programs in which there was a great deal of 
adjustment of curriculum for highly talented learners.  The other 
meta-analysis did not find any strong positive benefits of grouping, 
but did not examine grouping programs designed for highly talented 
students.  Re-analysis of all studies included in both sets of meta-
analyses confirmed that higher aptitude students usually benefit 
academically from ability grouping.  Benefits are in proportion to 
the amount of curriculum adjustment, with programs entailing 
acceleration of instruction resulting in the most gain on 
standardized tests.  Grouping was found to have less influence on the 
academic achievement of middle and lower aptitude students.  Analysis 
of noncognitive outcomes suggests that the effects of grouping on 
self-esteem measures measures for all ability groups are small and 
may even be rather positive.  Results are contrasted with the 
conclusions of J. Oakes ("Keeping Track: How Schools Structure 
Inequality" (1985).  The review concludes that American education 
would be harmed by the wholesale elimination of programs that group 
learners for instruction by ability.  (DB)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; Academic Ability; Academic 
Achievement; Curriculum; Educational Philosophy; Elementary Secondary 
Education; *Equal Education; *Gifted; Grouping (Instructional 
Purposes); *Homogeneous Grouping; Meta Analysis; Research and 
Development; Self Esteem; *Talent; Theory Practice Relationship


  EJ478718  UD517770
  Students Differ: So What?
  Slavin, Robert E.
  Educational Researcher, v22 n9 p13-14 Dec   1993
  Responds to "Lake Wobegon Revisited: On Diversity and Education" by 
Andrew Biemiller, "Educational Researcher," v22 n9 p7-12. For related 
documents, see UD 517 769 and UD 517 771.
  ISSN: 0013-189X  
  Document Type: POSITION PAPER (120);  EVALUATIVE REPORT (142);  
JOURNAL ARTICLE (080)
  The relevant debate is not whether students differ but what schools 
should do about student achievement differences.  Some forms of 
ability grouping may be justifiable, but those who would group 
students should have the burden of proving its effectiveness, because 
the negative consequences can be serious.  (SLD)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Academic Achievement; 
Disadvantaged Youth; Elementary Secondary Education; Grouping 
(Instructional Purposes); Heterogeneous Grouping; *Individual 
Differences; *Instructional Effectiveness; Track System (Education)
  Identifiers: Lake Wobegon Phenomenon

  
  EJ460667  UD517117
  From Tracking to Untracking in the Middle Grades.
  Wheelock, Anne
  Equity and Choice, v9 n2 p44-50 Win   1993
  Theme issue with title "The Community Connection."
  ISSN: 0882-3863
  Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);  EVALUATIVE REPORT (142)
  Describes the switch taking place in many schools, especially 
middle schools, from grouping students by ability (tracking) to mixed-
ability classrooms (untracking).  Discusses components of untracking, 
student and teacher responses, and tracking as a public policy issue.  
(SLD)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; Academic Achievement; Access to 
Education; *Adolescents; Child Development; *Educational Change; 
Equal Education; Junior High Schools; Junior High School Students; 
*Middle Schools; Minority Group Children; Nondiscriminatory Education; 
Public Policy; *Student Placement; Teaching Methods; *Track System 
(Education)
  Identifiers: *Reform Efforts

  
  ED353220  SP034193
  What Next? Promoting Alternatives to Ability Grouping.
  Wheelock, Anne; Hawley, Willis D.
  Sep 1992
  15p.; Paper presented at the Common Destiny Conference (September 9-
11, 1992).
  Document Type: CONFERENCE PAPER (150);  POSITION PAPER (120)
  With new knowledge and tools at their disposal, educators at all 
levels are exploring alternatives to ability grouping in order to 
improve schooling for all students.  Bringing about positive results 
requires the development and utilization of knowledge about how 
ability grouping affects schools, exploration of beliefs that support 
grouping, and identification of the educational tools and techniques 
that make alternative practices possible.  Implementation of 
alternatives to ability grouping include more than the regrouping of 
students from homogeneous to heterogeneous groups.  Rather, what is 
needed is whole-school reform, requiring educators to investigate and 
adapt a variety of new approaches to curriculum and instruction in 
the classroom.  Curriculum and instruction resources developed 
expressly for heterogeneous groups emphasize thinking skills, 
cultural perspectives, and high expectations for all students.  
Successful school reform depends on demonstrating to different 
interest groups that children will not be harmed and will indeed 
benefit from alternatives to ability grouping without diluting the 
curriculum.  Professional development for teachers and leadership 
pulling together the necessary knowledge and tools make implementing 
alternatives to ability grouping possible.  (Contains 9 references.) 
(LL)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; Academic Achievement; Class 
Organization; Educational Change; *Educational Status Comparison; 
Elementary Secondary Education; *Equal Education; Faculty Development; 
Group Structure; *Heterogeneous Grouping; *Homogeneous Grouping; 
Labeling (of Persons); Multicultural Education; Outcomes of Education; 
*Student Placement; Teacher Expectations of Students; Track System
(Education)
  Identifiers: *Alternative Conceptions; Reform Efforts 


  EJ451469  EA527198
  Is Ability Grouping Equitable?
  Gamoran, Adam
  Educational Leadership, v50 n2 p11-17 Oct   1992
  ISSN: 0013-1784  
  Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);  EVALUATIVE REPORT (142);  
REVIEW LITERATURE (070)
  Recent research suggests that ability grouping and tracking do not 
increase overall achievement in schools but promote inequality.  High-
track teachers are more enthusiastic and spend more time preparing 
lessons, whereas low-track teachers spend more time on behavior 
management and less on instruction.  A sidebar by Cloyd Hastings 
demands abolition of ability grouping on moral and democratic grounds.  
(28 references) (MLH)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Academic Achievement; Elementary 
Secondary Education; *Equal Education; *Track System (Education)

  
  EJ450979  UD516781
  Finding the Optimal Match: Another Look at Ability Grouping and 
Cooperative Learning.
  Mills, Carol J.; Tangherlini, Arne E.
  Equity and Excellence, v25 n2-4 p205-08 Win   1992
  ISSN: 0894-0681  
  Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);  REVIEW LITERATURE (070);  
POSITION PAPER (120)
  Examines the literature on ability grouping and cooperative 
learning.  Solid research evidence supports both.  Ability grouping 
and cooperative learning should be used to address particular student 
needs.  Selecting a variety of educational options to match the needs 
of each student would be the best way to serve all students.  (SLD)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Cooperative Learning; Educational 
Improvement; *Educational Practices; Elementary Secondary Education; 
Grouping (Instructional Purposes); *Instructional Effectiveness; 
Literature Reviews; Research Utilization; *Student Needs; Teaching 
Methods

  
  EJ448066  UD516631
  Can Tracking Research Inform Practice? Technical, Normative, and 
Political Considerations.
  Oakes, Jeannie
  Educational Researcher, v21 n4 p12-21 May   1992
  ISSN: 0013-189X  
  Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);  REVIEW LITERATURE (070)
  Argues that tracking students for instruction is usually neither 
equitable nor effective.  Reviews what has been learned about 
tracking, considers impacts of these findings, and suggests new 
research to target needs of reformers more directly.  Understanding 
and changing the norms and policies that buttress tracking is 
essential to reform.  (SLD)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; Academic Achievement; Educational 
Change; *Educational Practices; Educational Research; Elementary 
Secondary Education; *Equal Education; *Grouping (Instructional 
Purposes); Literature Reviews; Political Influences; Racial 
Differences; Research Needs; Social Class; *Student Placement; *Track 
System (Education)

  
  ED355296  UD029044
  Why Ability Grouping Must End: Achieving Excellence and Equity in 
American Education.
  Braddock, Jomills Henry, II; Slavin, Robert E.
  Center for Research on Effective Schooling for Disadvantaged 
Students, Baltimore, MD.  Sep 1992
  24p.; Paper presented at the Common Destiny Conference at Johns 
Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD, September 9-11, 1992).
  Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070);  CONFERENCE PAPER (150)
  This review of research focuses on policies and practices that 
result in placing students in groups that are more or less 
homogeneous with respect to academic performance.  Recent analysis of 
data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 provides 
the largest and best-controlled multi-year study of ability grouping 
ever conducted (Braddock and Slavin).  The outcomes of scores of 
studies have been similar, and these outcomes are discussed in the 
following categories: (1) opportunities to learn; (2) ability 
grouping and achievement; (3) ability grouping and segregation; (4) 
ability grouping and intergroup relations; (5) ability grouping, self-
esteem, and feelings of inferiority; (6) ability grouping, 
delinquency, and dropouts; and (7) alternatives to ability grouping.  
Ability grouping must end because it is ineffective, harmful to many 
students, and damaging to interracial relations and democratic 
society.  Effective and practical alternatives exist.  Public schools 
must provide more equitable access to learning opportunities that 
develop reasoning, inference, and critical thinking skills.  Major 
school restructuring will be necessary to develop the needed 
alternatives.  A 71-item list of references is included.  (SLD)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Academic Achievement; Access to 
Education; Delinquency; Educational Discrimination; Elementary 
Secondary Education; *Equal Education; Longitudinal Studies; 
*Minority Groups; National Surveys; Nondiscriminatory Education; 
School Desegregation; Self Esteem; *Student Placement; Thinking 
Skills; *Track System (Education)
  Identifiers: National Education Longitudinal Study 1988; Reform 
Efforts

  
  ED353279  TM018992
  Alternative Instructional Grouping Practices.
  McGurk, Erin K.; Pimentle, Jodi A.
  Apr 1992
  26p.
  Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070);  EVALUATIVE REPORT (142)
  Alternatives to the current system of graded classes and ability 
grouping are examined that would allow teachers to balance individual 
student needs with practical considerations in instructional delivery.  
In addition to reviewing the alternatives, the research that has 
examined these approaches is reviewed and synthesized.  The three 
alternative grading practices reviewed are: (1) non-graded schools; 
(2) multigraded classrooms; and (3) the Joplin Plan, developed in 
Joplin (Missouri), as a system of instructional grouping within a 
graded school in which students are regrouped for instruction in a 
specific skill by ability without regard to grade level or age.  
Overall, research reviewed for this paper provides inconsistent 
support for the use of non-graded and multigraded classes over 
traditional practices.  In contrast, the use of the Joplin Plan is 
well-supported by research.  Although findings are inconclusive, no 
detrimental effects were attributed to any of the alternative plans.  
Suggestions for further research are given.  There is a 28-item list 
of references.  (SLD)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; Class Organization; Comparative 
Analysis; Educational Practices; Elementary Secondary Education; 
Flexible Scheduling; *Grouping (Instructional Purposes); 
*Instructional Program Divisions; *Multigraded Classes; *Nongraded 
Instructional Grouping; *Nontraditional Education; Teaching Methods
  Identifiers: *Joplin Plan

  
  ED350777  EC301588
  An Analysis of the Research on Ability Grouping: Historical and 
Contemporary Perspectives. Research-Based Decision Making Series.
  Kulik, James A.
  National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, Storrs, CT.
  Feb 1992
  77p.
  Sponsoring Agency: Office of Educational Research and Improvement 
(ED), Washington, DC.
  Available From: National Research Center on the Gifted and 
Talented, The University of Connecticut, 362 Fairfield Rd, U-7, 
Storrs, CT 06269-2007.
  Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070)
  Meta-analytic reviews have shown that the effects of grouping 
programs depend on their features.  Programs that entail only minor 
adjustment of course content for ability groups usually have little 
or no effect on student achievement.  In some grouping programs, for 
example, school administrators group students by test scores and 
school records and then expect all groups to follow the same basic 
curriculum.  Under this approach, pupils in middle and lower programs 
learn the same amount as equivalent students do in mixed classes, 
while students in the top classes outperform equivalent pupils from 
mixed classes by about 1 month on a grade-equivalent scale.  Self-
esteem of lower aptitude students rises slightly and self-esteem of 
higher aptitude students drops slightly.  Grouping programs that 
entail more substantial adjustment of curriculum to ability have 
clear positive effects on children.  In cross-grade and within-class 
programs that provide both grouping and curricular adjustment, pupils 
outperform equivalent control students from mixed-ability classes by 
2 to 3 months on a grade-equivalent scale.  Programs of enrichment 
and acceleration, which usually involve the greatest amount of 
curricular adjustment, have the largest effects on student learning, 
with talented students from accelerated classes outperforming 
nonaccelerates of the same age and intelligence quotient by almost 1 
full year on achievement tests.  Talented students from enriched 
classes outperform initially equivalent students from conventional 
classes by 4 to 5 months on grade equivalent scales.  (Contains over 
200 references.) (Author/JDD)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; Academic Achievement; Acceleration 
(Education); Curriculum; Educational Practices; Elementary Secondary 
Education; Enrichment Activities; *Grouping (Instructional Purposes); 
*Homogeneous Grouping; *Instructional Effectiveness; Meta Analysis; 
Outcomes of Treatment

  
  ED346194  UD028680
  Maintaining Inequality: A Background Packet on Tracking and Ability 
Grouping.
  National Coalition of Education Activists, Rosendale, NY.
  Jan 1992
  40p.
  Available From: National Coalition of Education Activists, P.O. Box 
405, Rosendale, NY 12472 ($3.00).
  Document Type: COLLECTION (020);  REVIEW LITERATURE (070)
  Target Audience: Practitioners
  This document includes a selection of materials from the National 
Coalition of Education Activists (NCEA) on tracking and ability 
grouping designed to be a tool for teachers who wish to organize 
their school or district against tracking.  The packet contains a 
cover letter, a response/feedback form, and reproductions of the 
following articles: (1) "What is Tracking?" (NCEA); (2) "Tracking: 
Maintaining Inequality" (NCEA); (3) "Selma High Student Speaks Out" 
(an interview with M. Sanders); (4) "My Tracking Experience" (C.  
Richard); (5) "The Pigs" (M.  Schwabe); (6) "What's Wrong with 
Tracking" (S.  Karp); and (7) "Tracking: An Old Solution Creates New 
Problems (a chapter from "Making the Best of Schools" by J. Oakes and 
M. Lipton).  Also included is a list of 11 resources on tracking. (JB)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Affirmative Action; *Disadvantaged 
Youth; *Educational Discrimination; Educational Improvement; 
Educationally Disadvantaged; Elementary Secondary Education; Minority 
Group Children; Parent Participation; *Politics of Education; Racial 
Discrimination; Student Placement; *Track System (Education)

  
  ED322565  EA021836
  Achievement Effects of Ability Grouping in Secondary Schools: A 
Best-Evidence Synthesis.
  Slavin, Robert E.
  National Center on Effective Secondary Schools, Madison, WI.
  1990
  37p.
  Sponsoring Agency: Office of Educational Research and Improvement 
(ED), Washington, DC.
  Available From: Document Service, National Center on Effective 
Secondary Schools, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin Center 
for Education Research, 1025 W. Johnson Street, Madison, WI 53706 
($7.00 prepaid).
  Document Type: RESEARCH REPORT (143)
  A "best evidence" review synthesis, which incorporates features of 
meta-analytic and traditional literature reviews, is used in this 
review of studies on the effects of ability grouping on secondary 
school students' achievement.  The focus was on 29 studies that 
compared between-class ability grouping to heterogeneous placements.  
Effect sizes were used to characterize study results.  Findings 
indicate that comprehensive between-class ability grouping plans, 
different forms of ability grouping, and ability grouping by subject 
(except in social studies) had no effect on student achievement.  The 
finding of zero effects of grouping for all ability levels 
contradicts earlier conclusions that demonstrated benefits of ability 
grouping for high-level students and detriments for low-level 
students.  Explanations for this discrepancy are discussed.  An 
implication is that policy decisions about ability grouping must be 
based on criteria other than effect on academic achievement.  A 
recommendation is made for reduction of between class ability 
grouping practices and consideration of cooperative learning methods.  
An extensive bibliography and statistical tables are included.  (LMI)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Academic Achievement; *Effect Size; 
Literature Reviews; Meta Analysis; Secondary Education; *Secondary 
School Students; *Student Evaluation; Student Placement; *Track 
System (Education)


  EJ417571  TM515417
  Achievement Effects of Ability Grouping in Secondary Schools: A 
Best-Evidence Synthesis.
  Slavin, Robert E.
  Review of Educational Research, v60 n3 p471-99 Fall 
  1990
  For related documents see TM 515 418-419.  
  Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);  REVIEW LITERATURE (070);  
RESEARCH REPORT (143)
  Best-evidence synthesis was used to review 29 research papers 
published in English that evaluate the effects of ability grouping on 
student achievement in secondary schools.  Six randomized 
experiments, 9 matched experiments, and 14 correlational studies were 
reviewed.  Findings do not indicate beneficial effects of ability 
grouping on achievement.  (SLD)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Academic Achievement; Comparative 
Testing; Foreign Countries; Literature Reviews; Meta Analysis; 
Secondary Education; *Secondary Schools; Standardized Tests; Track 
System (Education)
  Identifiers: *Best Evidence Synthesis; Great Britain; United States


  ED315501  UD027291
  Structuring Schools for Student Success: A Focus on Ability 
Grouping.
  French, Dan; Rothman, Sheldon
  Massachusetts State Dept. of Education, Quincy. Bureau of Research, 
Planning, and Evaluation.  Jan 1990
  35p.
  Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070);  EVALUATIVE REPORT (142)
  Target Audience: Practitioners
  This paper presents a research summary on ability grouping and 
tracking, and makes recommendations to school practitioners on 
successful alternative strategies to educate children from diverse 
backgrounds.  The research reveals little evidence that ability 
grouping improves academic achievement, while overwhelming evidence 
exists that it retards the academic progress of students in low- and 
middle-ability groupings.  The effect of ability grouping is to widen 
the achievement and knowledge gap between groups of students, due to 
differing instructional practices and teacher expectations.  Ability 
grouping serves as a form of segregation by race, socioeconomic 
background, gender, language, and special education status.  
Furthermore, this segregation brings into question whether 
discriminatory procedures are used to determine ability levels.  It 
is unclear whether ability grouping eases the task of teaching for 
all ability level classes, but the evidence clearly indicates that it 
is an ineffective means of addressing individual differences.  The 
research indicates that schools should implement alternatives to the 
use of ability grouping and tracking practices.  Recommendations are 
presented for the following topics: (1) assessment and planning; (2) 
grouping of students; (3) curriculum and instruction; (4) staff 
development; and (5) student and family support.  Nine examples of 
schools that have made the transition from homogeneous to 
heterogeneous grouping are included.  A brief list of terms and their 
definitions is included.  Also appended are 59 footnotes and a 10-
item bibliography.  (JS)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; Ability Identification; Academic 
Ability; *Academic Achievement; *Change Strategies; Educationally 
Disadvantaged; Educational Quality; Elementary Secondary Education; 
*Heterogeneous Grouping; *Low Achievement; Student Improvement; 
Teacher Expectations of Students; *Track System (Education)
  Identifiers: Massachusetts

  
  EJ398546  UD514617
  Tracking: A National Perspective.
  Schneider, Jeffrey M.
  Equity and Choice, v6 n1 p11-17 Fall   1989
  Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);  REVIEW LITERATURE (070)
  Target Audience: Policymakers
  Outlines the negative effects of tracking on minority group 
students, the characteristics of beneficial systems, and alternatives 
to tracking.  Concludes that tracking is common practice in American 
public education and that rigid tracking creates problems of student 
isolation by socioeconomic status and ethnicity.  Suggests criteria 
for evaluating alternatives.  (FMW)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; Elementary Secondary Education; 
*Equal Education; Literature Reviews; *Minority Group Children; 
*Program Evaluation; *Student Placement; *Track System (Education)

  
  EJ390487  EA523363
  Tracking Students by Their Supposed Abilities Can Derail Learning.
  Peterson, John M.
  American School Board Journal, v176 n5 p38 May   1989  
  Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);  REVIEW LITERATURE (070);  
POSITION PAPER (120)
  Research findings indicate that ability grouping does not help 
remedial students.  Cites research studies in mathematics achievement 
that consistently imply that ability grouping in mathematics harms 
low-ability and average students.  Urges schools to cease grouping 
students by their supposed abilities.  (MLF)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; Elementary Secondary Education; 
*Mathematics Anxiety; *Remedial Mathematics; *School Policy

  
  ED318125  EA021818
  Instructional Organization and Educational Equity.
  Gamoran, Adam
  National Center on Effective Secondary Schools, Madison, WI.
  [1989
  34p.
  Sponsoring Agency: Office of Educational Research and Improvement 
(ED), Washington, DC.
  Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070);  POSITION PAPER (120)
  Target Audience: Practitioners
  Research on school effects has shown that differences within 
schools have more influence on educational outcomes than do 
differences between schools.  This chapter explores the implications 
for educational equity of ability grouping.  Concerns about equity 
are organized by placing them in the context of the meaning of 
educational equity that implies equality of results across population 
subgroups, and equality of access with respect to the population as a 
whole.  Research on the effects of grouping and tracking reveals that 
ability grouping in particular seems to affect equity.  At the 
elementary school level, it leads to greater inequality of results, 
but may occur in concert with higher achievement at all ranks.  In 
secondary schools ability grouping seems to have the most severe 
consequences for inequality.  Future research might evaluate the 
likelihood of effective instruction in low-track classes along with 
the prospects for maintaining high achievement for the strongest 
students with the use of cooperative learning in heterogeneous 
classes.  (73 references) (MLF)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Access to Education; College Bound 
Students; Cooperative Learning; Educational Objectives; Elementary 
Secondary Education; *Equal Education; Individualized Instruction; 
*Instructional Effectiveness; Instructional Improvement; 
*Instructional Program Divisions; Low Achievement; Outcomes of 
Education; *Track System (Education); Values

  
  ED302326  PS017690
  Grouping Students by Ability: A Review of the Literature.
  Spencer, Carol; Allen, Michael G.
  1988
  19p.
  Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070);  POSITION PAPER (120)
  Grouping students homogeneously by ability level is a common 
practice in public middle and secondary schools.  This practice 
persists despite research evidence that it actively hinders students' 
learning.  To change grouping practices, however, concurrent changes 
must be made in the design of schedules, curriculum, and instruction.  
Such changes can be made in ways compatible with many effective 
teaching and learning practices that characterize the middle school.  
In fact, there are many small, concrete, and mechanical things that 
middle-level educators can do to create an environment that 
communicates to students the idea that learning is the most important 
thing in the school setting.  Of numerous research findings and 
practical considerations related to heterogeneous grouping, none is 
more important than the fact that all students learn best in classes 
where the ability level is average or higher.  This is the starting 
point for changing attitudes and practices.  The time has come to 
close the door on homogeneous grouping at the middle level.  (RH)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Educational Change; Educational 
History; Educational Practices; *Grouping (Instructional Purposes); 
Guidelines; *Heterogeneous Grouping; *Homogeneous Grouping; 
Literature Reviews; *Middle Schools; Secondary Schools; Teacher Role; 
Track System (Education)

  
  EJ366906  TM513011
  Ability Grouping and Student Achievement in Elementary Schools: A 
Best-Evidence Synthesis.
  Slavin, Robert E.
  Review of Educational Research, v57 n3 p293-336 Fall 
  1987
  For related articles, see TM 513 012-014.
  Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);  REVIEW LITERATURE (070);  
EVALUATIVE REPORT (142)
  Review of research of between-class and within-class ability 
grouping on the achievement of elementary students.  Ability grouping 
appears most effective for specific subjects with students remaining 
in heterogeneous classes most of the day.  Cross-grade assignment for 
selected subjects can increase achievement.  (SLD)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Academic Achievement; Elementary 
Education; Elementary School Students; Mathematics Achievement; Meta 
Analysis; Reading Ability; *Student Placement; Track System 
(Education)
  Identifiers: *Cross Level Grouping; *Joplin Plan

  
  EJ361951  UD513271
  Grouping for Instruction: Equity and Effectiveness.
  Slavin, Robert E.
  Equity and Excellence, v23 n1-2 p31-6 Spr   1987
  Special issue on Ethnic and Ability Grouping.  
  Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);  REVIEW LITERATURE (070)
  Reviews briefly the research on achievement effects of the 
following: (1) ability-grouped class assignment; and (2) student 
grouping alternatives that would accommodate learning differences 
among students.  Discusses instructional effectiveness of those 
alternatives and their potential impact on segregation.  (PS)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Academic Achievement; *Elementary 
Secondary Education; Grouping (Instructional Purposes); 
*Instructional Effectiveness; Student Placement; *Track System 
(Education)
  Identifiers: *Diversity (Student)

  
  EJ357572  TM512072
  Beyond Ability Grouping: A Review of the Effectiveness of Ability 
Grouping and Its Alternatives.
  Dawson, Margaret M.
  School Psychology Review, v16 n3 p348-69   1987  
  Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);  REVIEW LITERATURE (070)
  This paper discusses negative consequences for students placed in 
low ability classes and presents some alternative grouping and 
instructional practices which have been proven effective in 
heterogeneous classrooms.  (LMO)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Academic Achievement; *Class 
Organization; Classroom Environment; Elementary Secondary Education; 
*Grouping (Instructional Purposes); *Literature Reviews; Low 
Achievement; Self Concept; Special Education; Student Attitudes
  Identifiers: Teacher Expectations

  
  ED348174  PS020898
  Ability Grouping and Student Achievement in Elementary Schools: A 
Best-Evidence Synthesis. Report No. 1.
  Slavin, Robert E.
  Center for Research on Elementary and Middle Schools, Baltimore, 
MD.  Jun 1986
  127p.
  Sponsoring Agency: Office of Educational Research and Improvement 
(ED), Washington, D.C.
  Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070)
  This report reviews research on the effects of between- and within-
class ability grouping on the achievement of elementary school 
students.  The review technique, known as "best-evidence synthesis," 
combines features of meta-analytic and narrative reviews.  Overall, 
evidence does not support assignment of students to self-contained 
classes according to ability, but grouping plans involving cross-
grade assignment for selected subjects can increase student 
achievement.  Research particularly supports the Joplin Plan, cross-
grade ability grouping for reading only, and forms of nongraded 
programs involving multiple groupings for different subjects.  Within-
class ability grouping in mathematics is also found to be 
instructionally effective.  Ability grouping is held to be maximally 
effective: (1) when it is done only for one or two subjects, with 
students remaining in heterogeneous classes most of the day; (2) when 
it greatly reduces student heterogeneity in a specific skill; (3) 
when group assignments are frequently reassessed; and (4) when 
teachers vary the level and pace of instruction according to 
students' needs.  (An 18-page reference list is appended).  
(Author/RH)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Academic Achievement; *Educational 
Practices; Elementary Education; *Elementary School Students; 
Literature Reviews; Mathematics Instruction; Meta Analysis; Reading 
Instruction
  Identifiers: Best Evidence Synthesis

  
  EJ283314  SP513044
  Tracking and Ability Grouping in American Schools: Some 
Constitutional Questions.
  Oakes, Jeannie
  Teachers College Record, v84 n4 p801-19 Sum   1983
  Available From: Reprint: UMI
  Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);  LEGAL MATERIAL (090);  
REVIEW LITERATURE (070)
  Constitutional bases for challenging ability grouping practices in 
the schools using the track system are presented.  Research findings 
on ability grouping, law review journal articles, and texts of court 
cases are analyzed to determine possible grounds for such suits. (PP)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Access to Education; *Court 
Litigation; *Educational Malpractice; Elementary Secondary Education; 
*Equal Education; Minority Group Children; School Law; Student Rights; 
Student School Relationship; *Track System (Education)

  
  EJ275516  TM507714
  Effects of Ability Grouping on Secondary School Students: A Meta-
Analysis of Evaluation Findings.
  Kulik, Chen-Lin C.; Kulik, James A.
  American Educational Research Journal, v19 n3 p415-28 Fall 
  1982
  Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080);  RESEARCH REPORT (143);  
REVIEW LITERATURE (070)
  Results from a meta-analysis of findings from 52 studies of ability 
grouping carried out in secondary schools are reported.  This meta-
analysis provided precise, quantitative estimates of the size of 
grouping effects.  (Author/PN)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Academic Achievement; Aptitude 
Treatment Interaction; High Achievement; *Secondary Education; 
*Student Attitudes
  Identifiers: Meta Analysis

  
  ED232293  EA015908
  Highlights from "Research on Ability Grouping."
  Kulik, Chen-Lin C.; Kulik, James A.
  Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, 
Va.
  Educational Leadership, v39 n8 p620 May 1982  May 1982
  2p.
  Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C.
  Document Type: REVIEW LITERATURE (070);  JOURNAL ARTICLE (080)
  Target Audience: Practitioners
  THE FOLLOWING IS THE FULL TEXT OF THIS DOCUMENT: Except for high-
ability students in honors classes, ability grouping has little 
significant effect on learning outcomes, student attitudes toward 
subject matter and school, and self-concept.  The differences that 
are found in grouped classes are all positive, however slight, and 
there is no evidence that homogeneous grouping is harmful.  LEARNING 
OUTCOMES.  In general, students who are grouped in classes according 
to academic ability outperform nongrouped students only slightly.  
However, students in gifted and talented programs perform better than 
they would in heterogeneous classes.  In contrast, students in 
classes for the academically deficient perform neither better nor 
worse than they would in a mixed-ability class.  The effects in multi-
tract, as opposed to mixed, classrooms are also negligible.  
ATTITUDES.  Students who are ability-grouped for a particular 
subject, such as mathematics or English, have a better attitude 
toward the subject.  There is very little difference between grouped 
and ungrouped students in their attitudes toward school.  SELF 
CONCEPT.  The effects of grouping on self-concept are positive but 
minor.  ASCD's Research Information Service will help ASCD members 
locate sources of information on topics related to curriculum, 
supervision, and instruction.  Send your specific question in writing 
to Research Information Service, ASCD, 225 N. Washington St., 
Alexandria, VA 22314.  (Author)
  Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; Academic Achievement; Classroom 
Research; Elementary Secondary Education; Literature Reviews; Self 
Concept; Student Attitudes
  Identifiers: PF Project

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