within class grouping during literacy instruction a look at equity
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Within-Class Grouping During Literacy Instruction: A Look at Equity. Jessica St.Louis. Grouping Refers to…. Whole Class vs. Small Group. Whole Class Teacher delivering instruction at a set pace to all students, followed by individual seat work. Small Group

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grouping refers to
Grouping Refers to…

Whole Class vs. Small Group

  • Whole Class
    • Teacher delivering instruction at a set pace to all students, followed by individual seat work.
  • Small Group
    • Breaking students into pods, generally 3 to 10 students, who receive separate instruction per group, with individual accountability.
grouping terms
Grouping Terms
  • Intra-Class; Grouping inside the same whole class
  • Across Class; Grouping across different classrooms
    • (commonly leads to tracking)
  • Across Grade; Grouping across classes of different grades
    • (commonly leads to tracking)
  • Heterogeneous ; Grouping students of mixed ability together
  • Homogeneous; Grouping students of same ability together
  • Flexible; Creating options during grouping
  • Cooperative; Structuring group work, so focus is on group learning and product, not individual
slide4
“What grouping strategies and methods are most effective at creating equity in learning literacy across ability levels?”

My Focus

  • Group Sizes
  • Small Group Dynamics
  • Student Needs
  • Teacher’s Practices
  • Student Perceptions
history of grouping
History of Grouping
  • Started in one-room school houses, over a century ago.
  • Primarily administered as homogeneous, with-in class groups.
reading programs grouping
Reading Programs & Grouping

Basal Programs

  • Implemented by Administration
  • 3-tier system
  • Homogenous groups (until “recently”…)
findings
Findings
  • Grouping Methods Compared
  • Best Practices for Grouping By Thread
  • Summary of Best Practices
  • Weaknesses of Body of Research
  • Further Research
group sizes
Group Sizes
  • Small Groups were better than whole class (most of the time).
    • Less than 10, but not less than 3 students.
    • Whole-class was found to be favorable over some specific basal, reading programs
small group dynamics
Small Group Dynamics
  • Focus on the group’s reading ability, not the individual’s.
    • A group with an overall higher reading level will create a higher level of learning for the members of that group.
    • Higher group fluency = higher student attentiveness, comprehension, and recall
    • Heterogeneous pair tutoring (1 to 1) found growth in both students, with more growth in lower-ability students.
    • Students with a lower reading level spent less time reading orally, and received less per-word practice and instruction.
student needs
Student Needs
  • De-emphasize student’s ability levels, regardless of grouping strategy.
  • Create a community where all students believe in themselves as readers.
    • Negative social stigmatism associated with homogeneous groups was also in heterogeneous groups.
    • Ability exposure led to social hierarchy
    • Expectation = Encouragement
    • Emphasis of ranking drastically reduced reading improvement for lower and middle level students, but didn’t affect higher level students at all.
    • Egalitarian treatment showed no difference
teacher s practices
Teacher’s Practices
  • Differentiation or scaffolding for students with special needs wasn’t being completed.
  • Consideration for student placement into groups was based off a combination of test scores, individual observations, and last year’s teacher recommendations.
  • Wide range of methods used, sometimes by choice of administration, not teacher.
  • Generally Special Ed teachers had more freedom to choose, then General Ed teachers.
student perceptions
Student Perceptions
  • Provide optimal control of;

1) Working conditions, 2) Teacher assistance

3) Ridicule from peers, 4) Pace of learning

  • Treat ALL students like they are high ability students
    • No correlation between ability and attitude toward reading; i.e. students of all high ability levels were just as likely to dislike reading as students of low ability.
    • When teachers treated students like high-ability readers, their appreciation of reading excelled.
    • Students perceptions of their ability level did not match teacher’s perceptions, with the exception of high ability students
summary of best practices
Summary of Best Practices
  • Small Groups were better than whole class (most of the time).
  • Focus on the group’s reading ability, not the individual’s.
  • De-emphasize student’s ability levels, regardless of grouping strategy.
  • Create a community where all students believe in themselves as readers.
  • Treat ALL students like they are high ability students
  • Provide optimal control of;
  • 1) Working conditions 2) Teacher assistance
  • 3) Ridicule from peers 4) Pace of learning
slide15
Individual needs are not taken into account.

Whole Class

Set pace.

Differentiation for students with an LD or LLD doesn’t happen.

Set Instruction.

Students have to learn to perform in survival of the fittest model.

Homogeneous

Grouping

Heterogeneous

Grouping

  • Students’ ability is exposed
  • Social Hierarchy may be a problem.
  • Focuses on Community building and peer support.
  • Teaches Social & Communication Skills

May not be teacher’s choice. May be required by administration.

Provides for higher group ability.

Commonly prevents student’s from moving between groups, possibly due to identification by self & teachers.

Allows more capable peer interactions, and peer tutoring.

weaknesses of research
Weaknesses of Research
  • There’s no such thing as isolating variables in a real classroom.
    • Transferability Rarely Seems Valid
  • There’s a lack of qualitative studies

Further Research

  • Cooperative Learning or Interdependence
  • Comparing Egalitarian vs. Elitist classrooms
next steps
Next Steps
  • The problem doesn’t lie in using homogeneous groups, the problem lies in using solely homogeneous groups, and failing to de-emphasis the group levels.
  • It’s not enough to not label tired groups. Ability of groups must be de-emphasized.
  • Students must also be taught that they are all capable.
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