
Re: Ability grouping (was:Re: Affective learning in mathematics; What is math?)
Posted:
Dec 10, 1996 5:58 PM


In article <32ACBCF8.7DE1@sgi.com>, Reuel Nash <reuel@sgi.com> wrote: >Herman Rubin wrote: >> In article <58h510$i4m@suba01.suba.com>, >> Stan Hollenbeck <chgostan@suba.com> wrote: >> >Michael Hodges (mwhodges@msn.com) wrote:
...................
>Interesting. This last statement seems to me to be in direct conflict >with >a paper by Frederick Mosteller, et al. http://www.amacad.org/coop2.html
>Is "skill grouping" about the same as "ability grouping"?
> ABSTRACT >Extensive experimentation on cooperative learning in language, reading, >and mathematics compares the achievement gains of small teams of >students helping one another with gains of students participating in >traditional wholeclass instruction. Averaged over 51 comparisons with >sample sizes of 300 or more, the effect sizes averaged .17. This is >less than the .25 achieved by the classsize reduction of onethird in >the Tennessee investigations and more than the .00 achieved in skill >grouping.
>... and an excerpt:
>In cooperative learning, students in a class are assigned to >heterogeneous groups of 4 or 5 students called teams. A team works >together, helping one another, to learn the assigned material. Each >member must learn what is taught. After the material is learned, teams >are scored. Various scoring schemes have been tried including >individual scoring or team scoring and other schemes in between. The >method seems appropriate for all school subjects and it offers a means >of learning to think.
We are still comparing with the teaching in heterogeneous classes.
We are still comparing with classes where the best students are not given essentially more material than the worst.
The weaker members of the teams will learn more; they have another teacher. Notice that the effect was less than that achieved by class size reduction.
As for skill grouping, this is NOT the same as ability grouping, and the teachers have to be prepared to teach differently to the various groups.
The major effect would not be on the proportion of a fixed set of questions answered correctly, but on how much is learned to a fair degree, and especially how much is understood. Few teachers at any level seem aware of the difference between regurgitation and understanding; I wonder how many multiple choice tests were used in the study. They can sometimes be somewhat reasonable, but only if nobody knows they will be used.
>Reuel Nash >reuel@sgi.com
 Of course I speak only for myself. But you are welcome to join me.
Herman Rubin, Dept. of Statistics, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette IN479071399 hrubin@stat.purdue.edu Phone: (317)4946054 FAX: (317)4940558

