Should teachers group students by ability?

03/18/2013 | USA Today

Grouping students by ability has been controversial for years, but the trend is growing in education, according to research released Monday by the Brookings Institution's Brown Center on American Education. Researchers found that the percentage of fourth-grade teachers grouping students by reading ability grew from 28% to 71% from 1998 to 2009, and the percentage of fourth-grade math teachers using grouping grew from 40% to 61% from 1996 to 2011. Critics say the practice, in which students are grouped by ability within a specific class, is a civil rights issue because it creates lower expectations, while supporters say it helps children improve their skills.

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