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Ability Grouping and Its Psychosocial Impacts and Teaching Constraints (Essay Sample)




A Literature Review on Ability Grouping
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A Literature Review on Ability Grouping
In many learning institutions, educators have normalized placing students of similar academic ability in groups as opposed to placement based on grade level and their age, a phenomenon known as ability grouping. Many teachers view it as beneficial in the learning outcomes of students, however, research has shown that ability grouping negatively impacts non-cognitive outcomes in children besides influencing the pedagogical constraints in children's learning identities. According to McDool (2019), ability grouping negatively affects the cognitive outcomes of low-ability pupils. Similarly, McGillicuddy & Devine (2020) contend that students feel ashamed that they do not belong to higher groups. This literature review examines the negative impacts of ability grouping in learning institutions. Additionally, it examines the psychosocial response of students to ability grouping and further discusses why educators should abolish the activity.
The psychosocial impact of ability grouping
Internationally, multiple educational policies and practices are increasingly shaped and influenced towards ability grouping to improve teaching outcomes. McGillicuddy & Devine (2019) asserts that such policies have positively impacted educational effectiveness such as increased performance in students, creating a generic solution such as ability grouping as a cure for relative underperformance is detrimental considering the profound effects for the marginalized within the system. Often, policymakers have preferred grouping children as they believe it is the best practice for meeting their educational needs. However, grouping comes with emotional and psychosocial consequences on children.
Notably, schools are known to be structured social spaces for learners. However, ability grouping distorts this structuring by making it a segregated space of the classroom not only in terms of a learner’s ability also ethnicity and sometimes gender. In several instances, these spaces are never neutral and in the learner's perception, they experience alternate values, especially in terms of hierarchy, teacher attention, and resource allocation. As such, some students, especially the academically weaker feel emotionally segregated. And in many cases, it transcends into a tussle between 'we' and 'them'. The research also questioned students in ability groups and their status in the classroom. Some students voiced their opinion saying they would be on the same level as the rest of their counterparts and this essentially translates

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