Sunday, July 15, 2007

School integration article actually argues for ability grouping

I was researching the "segregation" study in a previous post, and I came across this quote.

Study of reading development: “Segregated” schools hinder reading skills

“These findings support policies that promote comprehensive reading instruction, but indicate that just as much attention needs to be paid to ensuring that schools are integrated and to reducing classroom concentrations of children reading below grade level,” said Lynne Vernon-Feagans, the William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of Early Childhood, Families and Literacy and Professor at the School of Education and co-author of the study.
Is it my imagination or does she seem to be arguing for ability grouping? School integration good, classroom integration bad?

By the way, there is very little recent research on ability grouping. There was a spat of it in the late 80's and early 90's, but very little recent research. I know that ability grouping is indirectly addressed in a lot of Direct Instruction and gifted education research, but as far as regular studies, it seems like Robert E. Slavin was the last researcher to seriously address it.


Dennis Fermoyle said...

Rory, I just wanted to make a quick comment on ability grouping. When I got my Masters, the only information I was given on ability grouping was negative. The party line was that the major effect was that the kids in the lower groups fell farther and farther behind. I firmly believe that this is because everyone throws all of the most disruptive kids into the lower groups. I also firmly believe that if you remove those disruptive kids, and teach those lower ability kids at their own level, they will learn much more than if you simply throw them in with all the other kids.