Ability Grouping in Education provides an overview of ability grouping in education. The authors consider selective schooling and ability grouping within schools, such as streaming, banding setting and within-class grouping.
Ability grouping has been the subject of research for most of the twentieth century since Whipple carried out a study of the effects of special class placement on a group of high-aptitude 5th and 6th graders in the USA in 1919. Since then hundreds of studies have been undertaken and there have been many literature reviews and syntheses of research findings. Despite this, the field has been characterised by controversy and polemic. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, there has been no clear definition of what has been meant by ‘effective’ in relation to educational outcomes. Different systems of grouping can advantage and disadvantage different groups of children and provide for different kinds of effectiveness, academic, social and personal. Contrasting types of grouping ...