Saleh, Mohammad, Lazonder, Ard, & De Jong, Ton
Effects of Within-Class Ability Grouping on Social Interaction, Achievement, and Motivation
Examine how grouping arrangements affect students' achievement, social interaction, and motivation.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 105-119
- Average-ability students from homogeneous groups outperformed their heterogeneously grouped counterparts. This superiority was reversed for low-ability students; They achieved higher scores when learning mixed-ability groups.
- Heterogeneously grouped low-ability students thought more positively of collaborative learning than low-ability students from homogeneous groups. For average and high-ability students, motivation scores differed in favor of the homogenous groups, but this effect did not reach statistical significance.
- On the group assignment, heterogeneous groups outperformed homogenously grouped low and average-ability students, but performed as well as homogenous groups of high ability students.
- Group composition also affects the nature of the learning dialogue. Homogenous grouping yields higher proportions of collaborative elaborations. Compared with heterogeneous groups, students of similar ability more often complement and build on each other's thoughts when answering questions, resolving conflicts, or reasoning about the course content.
- As with learning outcomes, group composition has a differential effect on students' motivational beliefs. Low-ability students are more motivated to learn in heterogeneous groups; the ratings of average and high-ability students does not differ as a function of group composition.
- Using heterogeneous grouping for high-ability students does not affect achievement or motivation. However, heterogeneous grouping does hold back average-ability students.
- Low-ability students achieve more and are more motivated to learn in heterogeneous groups. Average-ability students perform better in homogenous groups whereas high-ability students who equally strong learning outcomes in homogenous and heterogeneous groups.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Ability Groups, Gender, Science, Social Capital
Method of Analysis:
Boys between ages of 9 and 10 years in Kuwait
Unit of Analysis:
- Participants were 104 fourth-graders from five classes in an elementary school in Kuwait.
- Students were classified as being of relatively high, average, or low ability according to their performance on the Science Elementary Achievement Test (SEAT).
- One high, one low, and two average ability students were randomly assigned to one of the 13 heterogeneous groups. The homogeneous condition also consisted of 13 groups: 4 high, 5 average, and 4 low ability groups with 4 members per group.
- The instruction consisted of 16 plant biology lessons.
- The study was performed over a nine-week period. During the first week, the SEAT and the pretest were administered to classify students according to their relative ability level. Students of high, average, and low ability were assigned to homogeneous or heterogeneous groups. All groups attended a preparatory training in collaborative learning.
- IV: Group composition and student ability.
- DV: Individual test scores and motivational beliefs.