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What is the impact of ability grouping on student achievement?

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Abstract:

This study will explore the effect of tracking, or ability grouping, in primary and secondary school on student achievement in mathematics. This issue is still underexplored in international context. In this study, EPDC will explore the effect of the tracking policy at the school level, using achievement data from several countries where ability grouping varies across schools. The policy ambiguity at the national level, which is a precondition for variability in tracking at the school level, creates an opportunity for an examination of the impact on tracking within countries, which has not been explored to sufficient extent outside the developed world. The preliminary research questions are as follows: 1. How are the schools that do group students by ability different from schools that don't? (a) Are they different in the composition of the students, teaching staff, and resources? (b) Are they different in the methods of instruction provided to the students? 2. Does a school policy to group by ability positively affect student performance in mathematics? 3. Is the effect of tracking the same for all students? The research hypothesis is that if there is variation across schools in the tracking policy, the distribution of students between the two types of schools is nonrandom. We expect that schools that do track also differ in the type of instruction provided to the students. Further, we expect that the effect of tracking is positive for students with higher socio-economic status (SES), and detrimental for students of lower-SES groups. Methodology: This study will use the data from the Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) 2007 cycle, from three to five countries where ability grouping varies at the school level. The measure of ability grouping will be taken from the TIMSS school questionnaire, and is a binary variable ("Yes" -"No"). Achievement will be measured in 4th and 8th grade mathematics scores on TIMSS. First, we will explore the systematic differences between schools that track and schools that don't, in student characteristics, available measures of teacher quality, and school resources, as well as in the types of instruction in mathematics and/ or science. Secondly, to answer the question of whether the school tracking policy affected achievement, we will compare achievement in schools that do track students by ability, with achievement in schools that do not. The method of comparison will hinge upon the findings of the descriptive analysis: if the differences across the composition of the schools and their instructional methods are not significant, a relatively simple multilevel regression model will be fit on the achievement data, along with an indicator of the presence of tracking.
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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http://www.cies.us


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p494282_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Omoeva, Carina. and Chaluda, Ania. "What is the impact of ability grouping on student achievement?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Apr 30, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p494282_index.html>

APA Citation:

Omoeva, C. and Chaluda, A. , 2011-04-30 "What is the impact of ability grouping on student achievement?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p494282_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This study will explore the effect of tracking, or ability grouping, in primary and secondary school on student achievement in mathematics. This issue is still underexplored in international context. In this study, EPDC will explore the effect of the tracking policy at the school level, using achievement data from several countries where ability grouping varies across schools. The policy ambiguity at the national level, which is a precondition for variability in tracking at the school level, creates an opportunity for an examination of the impact on tracking within countries, which has not been explored to sufficient extent outside the developed world. The preliminary research questions are as follows: 1. How are the schools that do group students by ability different from schools that don't? (a) Are they different in the composition of the students, teaching staff, and resources? (b) Are they different in the methods of instruction provided to the students? 2. Does a school policy to group by ability positively affect student performance in mathematics? 3. Is the effect of tracking the same for all students? The research hypothesis is that if there is variation across schools in the tracking policy, the distribution of students between the two types of schools is nonrandom. We expect that schools that do track also differ in the type of instruction provided to the students. Further, we expect that the effect of tracking is positive for students with higher socio-economic status (SES), and detrimental for students of lower-SES groups. Methodology: This study will use the data from the Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) 2007 cycle, from three to five countries where ability grouping varies at the school level. The measure of ability grouping will be taken from the TIMSS school questionnaire, and is a binary variable ("Yes" -"No"). Achievement will be measured in 4th and 8th grade mathematics scores on TIMSS. First, we will explore the systematic differences between schools that track and schools that don't, in student characteristics, available measures of teacher quality, and school resources, as well as in the types of instruction in mathematics and/ or science. Secondly, to answer the question of whether the school tracking policy affected achievement, we will compare achievement in schools that do track students by ability, with achievement in schools that do not. The method of comparison will hinge upon the findings of the descriptive analysis: if the differences across the composition of the schools and their instructional methods are not significant, a relatively simple multilevel regression model will be fit on the achievement data, along with an indicator of the presence of tracking.


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