The assertion above was made, not in 1976, but over 40 years ago, in a review of the research on ability grouping published in 1932. Are we any further ahead today? Issues of grouping and streaming are still hotly debated by teachers and administrators. Many are moved to turn to the research workers, and ask the simple question - Should we stream our children into homogeneous ability groups? Like most questions concerned with school organization, there is no simple answer.
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Thirteen schools that produced high mean literacy scores, relative to their decile levels, in a nationwide survey were visited and studied to identify practices that might account for their students’ strong showing. Principals and teachers of Years 1 and 2 described their reading and language programmes and attempted to identify the key factors in their students’ success. These factors are discussed and a profile of a typical effective junior-class reading teacher is outlined.
How well do our students learn what we set out to teach them? There are many opinions, but not enough facts. This article summarises the results of 35 years of international surveys of achievement in reading, mathematics, and science. There is some support for our reading programmes in the cross-national data, but serious questions remain about our weaknesses in mathematics and science.