Grouping students by ability and accelerating the achievers “can improve school performance for very little cost,” concludes an analysis of “nearly a century’s worth of research.” The Northwestern-Duke study was published in Review of Educational Research.
“Acceleration and most forms of ability grouping” can “increase academic achievement for both lower- and higher-achieving students,” said co-author Matt Makel, research director at Duke’s Talent Identification Program (TIP).
Many believe that mixed-ability classes are OK for the bright kids and better for low achievers. That’s not true, the researchers concluded.
“Individual differences matter,” said Makel. “We need to be constantly responsive to student learning needs.”