Mary Wozny

Date of Award


Document Type

Research Paper

Superseded Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education (Reading/Language Arts)

Colleges & School

Cardinal Stritch College

Degree Granted By

Cardinal Stritch College

First Advisor

JoAnne Caldwell

Library of Congress Subject Heading

Ability grouping in education


The purpose of this paper is to review the research literature on ability grouping and report the findings from the standpoint of both instructional effectiveness and potential segregative impact. This paper reviews the relationships between ability grouping in schools and the following variables: the basis for grouping; the size and mobility of group members; the effects on student achievement; teacher expectation and instruction; student behavior and perception; and student attitude and self-esteem. Questions approached in the research of this topic were: 1. Does assignment to a particular group dictate instructional methods and standards? 2. Do some ability groups limit the way students can establish competence and achieve? 3. Do all students receive the same opportunities to learn or is there an inequity? 4. Does ability grouping affect the learning climate in a classroom and affect self-esteem? Another purpose of this paper will be to explore alternative methods to ability grouping. Educators are urged to promote approaches to grouping that are more equitable and instructional strategies that not only accommodate a wide range of individual differences, but also capitalize on these differences to enhance the learning potential of all students.


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