**Author:**
Hallinan, Maureen T., & Sorensen, Aage

**Title:**
*Ability Grouping and Sex Differences in Mathematics Achievement*

**University Affiliation:**
University of Notre Dame

**Email:**
mhallina@nd.edu

**Research Question:**
Investigate the effects of ability grouping and sex differences on the mathematics achievement of elementary school students.

**Published:**
Yes

**Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:**
Sociology of Education

**Journal Entry:**
Vol. 60, No. 2, pp. 63-72

**Year:**
1987

**Findings:**

- High achievement benefits males more than females in the assignment process.
- Teachers do consider sex in assigning students to the high-ability group and that high-achieving males are given an advantage over high-achieving females.
- Ability grouping for mathematics instruction has no direct effect on gains in mathematics.
- The percentage of Blacks in the class has no effect on math achievement in ability grouped classes. This is probably due to the resegregation of students into ability groups, which is due to the correlation between race and achievement.
- Ability grouping has no main effect on mathematics achievement.
- Sex is a factor in the assignment of students to ability groups: Males are more likely than females to be assigned to the high-ability group. Nevertheless, the analyses do not reveal an effect of ability group level on growth in mathematics achievement.
- Find no advantage of being in the high-ability group and no disadvantage of being in the low-ability group.

**Scholarship Type**
Journal Article Empirical Research

**Keywords:**
Ability Groups, Gender, Math, Racial Composition

**Regions**
West

**Methodologies:**
Quantitative

**Research Designs:**
Secondary Survey Data

**Method of Analysis:**
Regression

**Sampling Frame:**
Schools in Northern California

**Sample Types:**
Nonrandom

**Unit of Analysis:**
Student

**Data Types:**
Quantitative-Longitudinal

**Data Description:**

- Data comes from a subset of a large, longitudinal data set obtained from 1,477 students in 48 classes in 10 public and private schools in northern California.
- Schools were selected to maximize variation in racial composition and in such pedagogical practices as instructional grouping.
- Contrast the 19 classes that had mathematics ability grouping with the 29 classes that did not.
- Four sets of multivariate analysis:
- (1) DV: probability of assignment to high ability math, IV: classroom and individual characteristics
- (2) DV: gains in mathematics achievement, IV: ability grouping
- (3) DV: gains in math achievement, IV: effects of membership in the high-or low-ability group
- (4) DV: ability grouping on math achievement, IV: sex
- Uses three different battery tests: California Achievement Test, the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, and the Metropolitan achievement Test.
- Independent Variables: Information obtained from school records, including the sex and race of the students and the size, grade, and racial composition of the classes.

**Relevance:**