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To Stream or Not to Stream?

Warwick B. Elley
Abstract: 

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. It depends on our objectives, our classroom conditions, the qualities of the teachers available and the teaching methods they favour. Attitudes to streaming are influenced greatly by whether we see the schools' primary function as that of training in the basic skills, or socialising children to live in a heterogeneous society.

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