• 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. Investigaiting the aquisition of numerical ability

    receive a healthy balance of learning and mastery to take place in the early years. There should be a recognition that play extends beyond childhood into the world of adults as children do not outgrow play but their modes of play change as their needs change.

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

    that receives more help to improve their abilities, and the improvements are now carefully monitored. * The schools relationship with parents. How has Beaufort Park developed this since the inspection? The school now interacts with the parents a lot more.

  1. Developing Talk with Pupils across the Core Curriculum

    It helped keep them on task and motivated them to complete work correctly, immediately boosting confidence levels. It is also important to understand how language is acquired from a very early age which may help teachers develop talk within the classroom.

  2. What causes crime?

    He then checked to make sure that the dogs were not salivating. Pavlov cultivated the connection between the dog's food and the sound of the bell. He did this by simply ringing the bell before serving food. This process was repeated for several months.

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

    17% were unsure. * I asked where they see themselves in 10 years time as a whole. A huge 50% said unmarried, in a career and without children. 33% said in a career, married and with children and 17% said married, without children and in a career.

  2. IQ and intelligence tests.

    By the time the children who took part in Headstart started school, they had more advanced cognitive and social skills than the children who were not in the programme, and although these positive results seemed to tail off during the following few years, they re-emerged later in life.

  1. "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.

  2. A Report into Racism

    The government think that from this case new regulations will be made: "...we do believe that the debate about policing and racism has been transformed by this Inquiry..." Damilola Taylor was killed among the tower blocks of a run down estate in Peckham whilst returning home from an after-school computer class.

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