Teachers used to group students by their ability levels but that idea fell out of favor in the late 1980’s. But grouping students by ability is starting to re-emerge. Teachers and principals who use grouping say that the practice has become indispensable, helping them cope with widely varying levels of ability and achievement. One studies indicate that grouping can damage students’ self-esteem by consigning them to lower-tier groups; others suggest that it produces the opposite effect by ensuring that more advanced students do not make their less advanced peers feel inadequate. Some studies conclude that grouping improves test scores in students of all levels, others that it helps high-achieving students while harming low-achieving ones, and still others say that it has little effect.
Grouping Students by Ability Regains Favor in Classroom