• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"The First Minister of the Scottish Parliament has recently recommended that schools teach pupils in sets - What does research tell us about the advantages and disadvantages of such an approach?"

Extracts from this document...


"The First Minister of the Scottish Parliament has recently recommended that schools teach pupils in sets. What does research tell us about the advantages and disadvantages of such an approach?" Over the last century different techniques have been used to organise children within schools according to what the public and government asked for and needed. For example "after the Second World War the number and size of schools increased, the tripartite system of secondary education was introduced and there was increased competition for grammar school places" Sukhnandan and Lee (1998 pg.13). There was a drive for excellence and the 11 plus exam leant itself easily to the administration of streaming. However during the 1960's research was carried out that suggested streaming had negative social consequences for pupils, which could have been the catalyst for the shift of emphasis from excellence to equality. This resulted in a shift from streaming to mixed ability teaching that continued throughout the 1970's and 1980's. Ability grouping, in the form of setting and within class grouping, was sometimes used in higher year groups for linear subjects such as maths, science and modern languages but mixed ability was the main grouping method. The essay question implies that again there has been a shift, this time to setting. ...read more.


This causes a self fulfilling prophecy, if they are told that they're incapable of anything more they will begin to believe it, so they wont try to do anything more. Even if the children in the lower sets worked to be moved up into the higher sets they are unlikely to be successful. Teachers teach the children in specific sets to different tiers of an exam, so those in lower groups will not learn the same things as those in higher groups so movement between the sets would be difficult. The idea that children are taught to specific tiers is generally problematic because children are allocated to sets up to three years before they sit the exam and as mobility is rare this can have detrimental effects on their attainment if they were aware that they could only get a low grade. Boaler et al (1998) reported that only some children actually knew the implications of this. The teachers high expectations of those in higher sets and low expectations of those in lower sets causes a further social gap between the sets, those in the top sets will be called "boffins" and those in the lower sets will be seen as "stupid". This is further intensified by the allocation of better qualified and more experienced teachers to higher sets even though research suggests (Black and Wiliam, 1998, p42 cited in Boaler et al 1998) ...read more.


For this to occur they'd have to be a reduction in the emphasis placed on meeting targets, teachers need the flexibility to return to areas that children are finding difficult. When all said and done isn't education for the benefit child? The First Minister's recommendation needs to be accompanied by guidelines for teachers on how they can avoid the negative effects of homogeneous grouping. These guidelines should include careful planning, using well-defined targets and remaining aware of the negative effects of ability grouping (GB. Scottish Office. HMI, 1996. Cited in Sukhnandan and Lee, 1998.) There could also be a move away from emphasis on academic achievement to more recognition of non-academic achievements to restore the self-esteem of children in lower ability groups (Elton Report, 1989. Taylor, 1993. Cited in Sukhnandan and Lee, 1998.) His recommendation was probably the right one considering the drive to raise standards and make teachers lives easier. Because of the lack of conclusive evidence for what type of grouping is more beneficial academically for the child he was right to choose the method that could be most easily implemented and controlled. However this lack of conclusive evidence means that more research needs to be carried out to discover what the best form of grouping is. To do this researchers will have to establish what is ultimately best for the child, possibly new ways of grouping could be developed or the old ways upgraded. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Developmental Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Developmental Psychology essays

  1. I have decided to do my portfolio on Beaufort Park School, for several reasons. ...

    So the school has provided the children and parents with many after school clubs. They have a: o Football club o Recorders club o Cooking club o Netball club o Art club o Computers club All of these clubs are held once a week after school, and they last 1 hour.

  2. What causes crime?

    They caused severe distress to a child that was too young to give consent, and never reconditioned him afterwards, implying that the child in question will have suffered into adulthood and will continue to suffer a phobia for the rest of his life.

  1. The idea for my coursework is the potential changing aspirations of teenage girls in ...

    'One on four say getting married is their number one priority in their life.' This was the outcome again of Amelia Hill's research. I cannot compare her results with mine as I only interviewed 3 girls but I as quite surprised at this finding as when I asked 'What do you consider of most importance?

  2. The study into the use of Roamer in promoting basic concepts in geometry for ...

    An important contribution his work can make to maths is to support for the idea of group work, something which is possibly not seen as much in maths as in other subjects. Vygotsky said "What a child can do in co-operation today, he will be able to do alone tomorrow."3

  1. Investigaiting the aquisition of numerical ability

    The second behaviour is ludic and this involves the practice or rehearsal of mathematical skills already required. This enables 'children to develop confidence in applying new learning and to gain mastery of learned skills.' (Edwards 1998) Activities such as teacher directed oral counting, mental arithmetic games, free sorting and classifying

  2. Developing Talk with Pupils across the Core Curriculum

    Examples of these will be included further in this assignment. The different types of talk include teacher-pupil, which can be a formal discussion between the pupils and the teacher. The children will not speak to the teacher in the same way they will speak to their peers.

  1. IQ and intelligence tests.

    When the children were older, they had better language skills and felt more confident and in control of their lives, and were more likely to go into further education. What about differences in social class? Research seems to consistently find that children from lower class backgrounds score lower in IQ tests than those from middle class homes.

  2. "To learn in a constructivist sense implies that the ways in which teachers encourage ...

    Piaget (1926) was a man who heavily believed in this theory. He believed that when children were faced with a new challenge, they adapted their previous knowledge to the new concept. In doing so the child moves from one state of understanding to a higher state of understanding.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work