Remember when I stated that I got some “interesting” responses from my colleagues about ability grouping online? Well, here are a couple of the ones I ‘m showing and my response. Enjoy.
“Only the educated are free.” – Epictetus
I am curious about grouping by skill level. How would you determine skill level, and for what skills? Would you pre-assess? In a class such as the one we are currently in, what are the advantages of grouping by skill level? In this instance, I would suggest grouping by interest and personal/professional preference. When it comes to skill level, the only skill set I can think of is technology prowess, and that is a wide range.
Thank you for your post, and I look forward to reading your thoughts,
Thank you for your response. For this class, with adult learners I have no clue how to go about placing students in courses based on ability. I am only familiar using this approach in K-12 in Korea and Saudi where the approach worked greatly. I taught in private schools in both countries where students took entrance exams I was made aware of their alibies well before the first day of school. The school’s assessments allowed me to place my students appropriately. Now as the school year progressed, I changed groups as needed. Some students improved while some still needed more individual attention.
Your prompt is intriguing. I am interested in hearing what you think about Eric’s question of how to determine skill levels, especially in a three-week course. My course is aimed at adult learners. I noticed that much of your cited research is aimed at K-12 classrooms. Do you think that ability grouping is equally effective when used with adult learners?
Thank you for your response. I have used this approach in Korea and Saudi where I taught and I found the approach worked wonders. This was especially helpful since I was not a fluent Korean or Arabic speaker; nor were my students fluent in English. However the students took entrance exams where I taught so the results were used to place students by ability. Now they didn’t stay in these groups, they were moved based on their ability and how well they worked with their classmates.
I have no experience with adult learners so I have no advice to give on this subject. For the three-week course I am proposing, this is geared toward a specific school. I am well aware of the students and their abilities, which is why it is easy to place students by ability. This can easily be done before students leave for the Winter Break. Again, for an adult course where you do not know who is taking your class; I have no clue as of how to use ability grouping.