Chapter 5: Stuck in the Slow Lane: How American Grouping Systems Perpetuate Low Achievement Wow, what a chapter. This one has made me rethink some of my beliefs. Most of my 24 years of teaching math has included grouping by ability. It was such a big push in my early years of teaching – our smaller elementary school didn’t group, but one of the bigger elementary schools did, and the parents pushed for (and got) “equity” among the schools. So we all started grouping. Ability-grouping has become ingrained, so reading (in this chapter) that ability grouping is illegal in some countries in the world, including Finland (at the top in international achievement tests), really surprised me. Grouping is banned because when students are put in lower ability classes, they receive lower-level work, which Boaler says is damaging and suppresses achievement. Non-ability grouping provides more students with the opportunity to learn – which is needed in order to achieve. Makes sense. Boaler state
As a middle school teacher, there are many moments to reflect upon. This blog will be a place to reflect upon all of those moments (and more)!