High-achieving learning environments generally do not track
students and instead encourage heterogeneous grouping and
assignment strategies. According to Oakes and Lipton (1992),
along with these new arrangements come inevitable changes in
school structures and practices, which might include
reconstructed curriculum and expanded instructional strategies
that better accommodate the learning styles of a heterogeneous
group of students.
Grouping and tracking have been issues of concern for years.
Slavin's 1988 review of the literature, for instance, supports
several findings about grouping and tracking:
- Some evidence suggests that high achievers gain from ability
grouping at the expense of low achievers, but most studies find
no such trend. Overall, the effects of ability grouping are near
zero for students at all achievement levels. (p. 69)
- Ability grouping is often ineffective even at the secondary
level, where student differences may be considerable. (p. 72)
- "Grouping may doom children who are not in the top tracks to
second class instruction and, ultimately, second class futures."
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