Sunday, April 7, 2013

Grouping Students

Literacy with Attitude
By: Patrick Finn

Tracking: Why schools need to take a different route
By: Jeannie Oakes

Extended Comments to Lauren's Blog

     Both of the readings for this week talk about tracking and grouping students. One of the most common ways students are grouped is by academic ability, or abilities shown on a standardized test. Although I (like Lauren) can see why students are grouped this way, I find that there are multiple downfalls to these groupings, too. Lauren mentioned in her blog that she had been placed in the accelerated classes in school and did well, while a member of her family who's IQ is higher than hers gets placed in low  performing classes because of standardized test scores. I agree with Lauren that test scores are not always the best indicator of a students intelligence and grouping them based on those test scores is not always the best idea either. But I was thinking about any better ways to do it and I can not think of a better way, but I did think of something I think would improve this system. Oakes says in her article that students learn better in higher level classrooms not only because their IQ is higher but because the teachers in those classes are "more enthusiastic, make instructions clearer and use strong criticism,". She also says that students in those classes are expected to do more homework and they spend more in class time on school work. in my opinion this all comes down to expectations. To improve upon this system we, as educators, need to expect the same from both higher and lower level learners and have the same enthusiasm while teaching them.

Now, I'm not saying we should expect higher and lower learners to do exactly the same work, obviously that's unrealistic and one of the reasons students are split into classes like that, because they can't always do the same work. However, we should expect the same behavior from all students. If one class is expected to be sitting, and have their book out at the start of class, and the teacher only tells them once and they do it, there is no reason that  a lower level class has to be told more than once to do the same task. I think raising our expectations, and trying to keep the focus on learning while preparing students for the required standardized tests are a few key elements to improving the system we have in place.

Points to Share: I feel that teachers have to have the same enthusiasm and expectations for all their students, but obviously they can not be closed minded and have to be able to adapt with things that my not work with different students. There must be a way for teachers to find a happy medium between being understanding and having high standards for their students no matter what "group" they are placed in, just like their has to be a happy medium between teaching for testing and teaching for understanding.


  1. Hey Hannah! I purposely read your blog after I saw your comment on Lauren's blog because I knew it would be interesting! I really liked what you have to say and I agree very much. The fact is that not all students are on the same level nor are they capable of the same achievements. However, teachers should not put those students down because of this. In fact, this only makes it more difficult for the students to succeed.

  2. Hannah, I love this blog post! I think you did a really great job with the extended comments. I really think it has a lot to do with the teachers, and that this is something we need to focus on. Teachers have to be enthusiastic to keep kids educated, and all kids should be treated equally.