The research topic I have selected for Project four is ability grouping and the extent to which it could be used in the elementary education field to boost student performance. Ability grouping could be defined as a practice where students are placed together based on their academic performance or ability. It makes the traditional selection based on age or grade level irrelevant. As a result, people who are phenomenal at a particular subject such as music or mathematics could be grouped. Theoretically, such an arrangement should boost one’s performance and skill acquisition. At the same time, many are concerned that the order may permanently damage the performance of low-attaining students (Spina). I want to investigate the applicability of ability grouping assess whether it is a sensible practice in the elementary education environment. Furthermore, I want to find the variables that change the efficiency of the practice so that it could be suited based on the participant’s age and discipline.
The research question is significant as it can change the effectiveness of elementary school and boost the performance of students. The implementation of such practices could allow teachers to find flexible approaches to students that could increase creativity and reduce the burnout of both parties. Furthermore, children with poor academic performance could get more attention so that their concerns or distractions could be eliminated. I consider the research paper as the writing genre for the assignment. There are many articles published in recent years that examine the topic. Thus, careful meta-analysis and interpretation of their findings is the most practical approach considering the data currently available.
Admittedly, there is a set of secondary questions that have to be reviewed to explore the primary research topic. First of all, does the ability grouping arrangement boost student performance? Secondly, what common models of ability grouping are available in regular educational environments? Finally, how does ability grouping affect the performance of low-attaining students, and what are the negative consequences of such arrangements?
I believe that the meta-analysis approach is the most optimal for this project. Specifically, I will find a set of primary studies that investigate the main issue and address all parts of the secondary questions. After that, I will carefully analyze these works concerning their findings, applicability, and limitations. I will group them and use statistical tools to create weighted combinations of the results. It would enable me to rank the findings and understand the consensus of available literature. At this stage, I am using secondary and tertiary sources to base my conclusions. The article written by Guy Roberts-Holmes is an example of a secondary source. The author used surveys to gain primary data and evaluate the effect of the ability-grouping of children’s aspirations and well-being (Roberts-Holmes). I will heavily rely on such secondary sources to answer the research question. An example of a tertiary source is a book written by Rachel Marks. It establishes the applicability of the approach in the educational setting and suggests that its application could improve the academic and social performance of students (Marks). It and similar works allow me to review the exact tools, techniques, and strategies that are used when implementing ability groups.
Admittedly, there are certain limitations that I have when selecting sources and including them in my meta-analysis project. These sources need to be recent and published within the last five years. The elementary education field develops quickly, and there are many discoveries concerning ability grouping that overwrite or improve previous findings. Furthermore, it is crucial for a data set to be diverse so that the findings could be extrapolated to a range of communities or cultures. A sample that focuses on a small group from a limited community will be excluded during data analysis. Finally, the authors must be experts in the field and have previous publications that were plausibly reviewed. I am planning to use several independent sources to support the project. I will use the school library, online databases such as Google scholar, and academic journals to gather data.
Description of the Research
I have already found most of the secondary sources that I will use for the initial stages of the meta-analysis. These are scholarly sources published in respected journals that investigate the ability grouping, its implementation, and results. For example, the article written by Steenbergen-Hu et al. assessed the effect of the arrangement on K-21 students (3). They suggested that cross-grade, within-class, and special groupings have a positive impact on academic achievement (Steenbergen-Hu et al. 7). Another work that I am planning to use was written by Webel and Dwiggins. It will be useful as it provides an analysis from the teachers’ perspective (Webel and Dwiggins 10). It is crucial as a teacher’s satisfaction and ability to guide a lesson has a major impact on its quality.
I do not anticipate any major problems while conducting the research. I still have to discover the effect of ability groups on students who do not excel academically. As a member of the faculty, I have access to a variety of databases, making it relatively easy to find scholarly works. Many articles investigate the issue, which makes the research process straightforward. The only complication is that further research might enhance or contradict the conclusions of the preliminary research. It would force me to add additional variables/secondary research questions that would expand the project.
Marks, Rachel. Ability-Grouping in Primary Schools: Case Studies and Critical Debates. Critical Publishing, 2016.
Roberts-Holmes, Guy. “School Readiness, Governance and Early Years Ability Grouping.” Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 2019.
Spina, Nerida. “‘Once Upon a Time’: Examining Ability Grouping and Differentiation Practices in Cultures of Evidence-Based Decision-Making.” Cambridge Journal of Education, vol. 49, no. 3, 2019, pp. 329−348.
Steenbergen-Hu, Saiying, et al. “What One Hundred Years of Research Says about the Effects of Ability Grouping and Acceleration on K–12 Students’ Academic Achievement: Findings of Two Second-Order Meta-Analyses.” Review of Educational Research, vol. 86, no. 4, 2016, pp. 849−899.
Webel, Corey, and Amy D. Dwiggins. “Prospective Elementary Teachers’ Experiences with and Perspectives on Grouping by Ability in Mathematics.” Mathematics Teacher Education and Development, vol. 21, no. 2, 2019, pp. 4−23.