1st Edition

Reassessing 'Ability' Grouping Improving Practice for Equity and Attainment

    190 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    190 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Presenting original quantitative and qualitative data from a large-scale empirical research project conducted in British secondary schools, Reassessing ‘Ability’ Grouping analyses the impact of attainment grouping on pupil outcomes, teacher effectiveness and social equality.

    Alongside a comprehensive account of existing literature and the international field, this book offers:

    • Rigorous conceptual analysis of data
    • A view of wider political debates on pupils' social backgrounds and educational attainment
    • A discussion of the practicalities of classroom practice
    • Recommendations for improved practice to maximise pupil outcomes, experiences and equity
    • Vignettes, illustrative tables and graphs, as well as quotes from teacher interviews and pupil focus groups

    Addressing attainment grouping as an obstacle to raising pupil attainment, this book offers a distinctive, wide-ranging appraisal of the international field, new large-scale empirical evidence, and ‘close to practice’ attention to the practicalities and constraints of the classroom. Reassessing ‘Ability’ Grouping is an essential read for any practitioners and policymakers, as well as students engaged in the field of education and social justice.

      Chapter 1 Introduction; Chapter 2 ‘Ability grouping’ – what is it and why do we do it?; Chapter 3 The Best Practice in Grouping Students study: explaining our methods; Chapter 4 The impact of attainment grouping on pupil self-confidence; Chapter 5 Pupils’ experiences of different grouping practices; Chapter 6 The impact of attainment grouping on pedagogy and practice; Chapter 7 Why is good practice in setting so hard to achieve?; Chapter 8 Doing mixed attainment grouping well; Chapter 9 Reflections; Chapter 10 Recommendations



    Becky Francis is Director of the UCL Institute of Education, UK.

    Becky Taylor is Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Teachers and Teaching Research, UCL Institute of Education, UK.

    Antonina Tereshchenko is Research Fellow in the Centre for Teachers and Teaching Research, UCL Institute of Education, UK.

    "This book provides a fresh look at a long-standing challenge for educators. Through original research and a well-balanced sifting of the evidence, the authors provide practical advice that teachers and school leaders will find helpful, however they resolve the dilemma of organizing pupils for instruction."

    — Adam Gamoran, William T. Grant Foundation

    "An important and insightful book that tackles one of the most contentious topics in education. Reassessing ‘Ability’ Grouping offers an extensive review of the evidence on academic grouping, and, just as importantly, invaluable practical guidance for teachers on how to best deliver mixed-ability classes."

    — Lee Elliot Major, Professor of Social Mobility, University of Exeter