What This Means for Instruction
In general, the following provides a suggested structure for planning
instruction that incorporates effective grouping arrangements for all learners.
Base the purpose of instruction on the standards and organize instruction
around important concepts, principles or skills. These should be the goals for
Plan regular shifts between whole-class, group and individual instruction and
structure groups so that students are allowed to demonstrate their strengths
and pursue their own interests in a variety of ways.
At the start of a new unit or lesson, assess students to establish an entry
point for each one. Assess students and review and adjust groups frequently to
ensure appropriate placement.
Use whole-group instruction when introducing new concepts and skills.
Group students according to achievement for short-term learning activities.
"Clone" activities, creating multiple versions that will be effective for
Use small groups for instruction and practice of higher-order or specific
Use need-based grouping to allow students to skip practice with previously
mastered skills and understanding while providing opportunity for additional
practice to those students who need it (such as through peer tutoring).
Provide opportunities for enrichment for all students.
Enlist help from other teachers, aides and parents to work with small groups
in order to meet the needs of all learners.
Incorporate learning activities that use heterogeneous cooperative learning
groups as well as building in goals, rewards and accountability for both the
group and individuals.
Ensure that learning groups exhibit gender, cultural, ability-disability and
Ohio Model Curricula Connection
See the Differentiated Instruction Strategies presented in the lessons in the
Teaching and Assessing section.
"[S]chools and districts moving toward heterogeneous grouping have little
basis for expecting that abolishing ability grouping will in itself
significantly accelerate student achievement unless they also undertake
changes in curriculum or instruction...."
--in "Ability grouping in the middle grades: Achievement effects and
alternatives," Robert E. Slavin, 1993, p. 549