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Mixed Ability Learning

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by Potatoes005, Nov 24, 2015.

  1. Potatoes005

    Potatoes005 Occasional commenter

    Reading a lot about the new National Curriculum in various posts and threads.

    So, imparting no opinions of my own.

    Does, say having Credit, General & Foundation in the same class learning together work?
    Or, having realised what I've just typed - National 3, 4 & 5.

    Do mixed ability learning classes work? How? Why? Yay? Nay?
  2. gnulinux

    gnulinux Occasional commenter

    The term is 'individualised' learning and has been around since at least the 1980's in some schools in Scotland. Individualised learning can be made to work successfully but it is dependent on teaching/learning resources being created, by the teacher (usually), to suit that style of learning. If pupils in the same class are working at different 'levels' then it becomes less necessary for the teacher to deliver 'class lessons'. Pupils need to become more organised and responsible for their own learning. The teacher then becomes more of a mentor and resource manager. It has many advantages, although time-tablers sometimes try to take advantage of the good-will of teachers in making the system work. Bi-level certificate classes are about the limit for this system. Above that it becomes unmanageable.

    Surprised you haven't heard of it??
  3. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Mixed ability classes do not work for students or for teachers.
  4. Bensusan

    Bensusan New commenter

    Any research to back up your claim? The research I'm looking at is that, certainly up to S2, mixed ability classes are very positive for the pupils. I wouldn't describe bi-level classes as mixed ability however, as often the content is different for the 2 courses.
  5. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Which research?
  6. Bensusan

    Bensusan New commenter

    Answer the question I asked you first. You're always quick to ask people to justify their statements. Let's have some justification from you first, then we can discuss ;-)
  7. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    The arguments and the evidence change between Primary and Secondary for reasons of structure and population and there is some very good and productive discussion to be had around these but do you know what, @Bensusan? I do not have any particular wish for a discussion with someone who comes at me with such a confrontational attitude, whether they claim to have evidence or not.
  8. Bensusan

    Bensusan New commenter

    So I take it no research to back it up, only personal opinion.
    As for the last comments, its a little pot, kettle, black as your reply to anyone posting such statements is always to ask them to justify with research data. Just thought that if that is your MO, then you'd be open to others expecting the same as you. Obviously just a one-sided expectation then?
  9. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    There it is. If I thought you wanted to discuss the issues then I'd be generous to you but it's crystal clear that you just wish to have a pop at me. You don't wish to make arguments regarding setting, you wish to make arguments against me.
  10. Bensusan

    Bensusan New commenter

    No. In order to have a discussion I need to know a little more about where you're coming from, otherwise I'm responding to you without knowing really what you mean. I'd prefer to have more details before I start a proper discussion.
  11. Bensusan

    Bensusan New commenter

    AS for the rest of the stuff you wrote, I'm sure you know what psychologists call projection...
    [This comment/section has been removed for breaching our Community Guidelines/Terms and conditions]
    and in most cases doggedly uncompromising, especially when it comes to asking people to justify their stance. If my initial response was not pleasing to you, then perhaps you could consider how others feel when you respond in a similar manner.
  12. aspensquiver

    aspensquiver Star commenter

    Credit, General, Foundation??
    bigjimmy2 likes this.
  13. halfajack

    halfajack Occasional commenter

    I was in a Foundation/General/Credit S Grade English class back in 97-99. Bi-level N4/5 is very different though. The courses aren't as compatible and there's less scope for 'differentiation by outcome'. More planning is required by the teacher.
  14. Potatoes005

    Potatoes005 Occasional commenter

    Aspen it is interesting to note that all you could get the boot in about there was my reference to CG&F which I immediately corrected in the next line.

    However, point remains that CG&F, N34&5 is all different levels, and at times all these levels or abilities are chucked in a room together. Happened in the old days, still happens now.

    Bear in mind I have a bus pass and am an old fool, so I'd remember that in writing a considered response.
    aspensquiver likes this.
  15. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Mixed ability is one thing. A mix of pupils sitting different exam courses which have very different content and demand is another.
  16. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    They do.
  17. inthered

    inthered Occasional commenter

    Not for me; had this in year 1 of the new exams and it was awful. Class of 29. Mostly N5s; several N4s - 5 or 6, and an N3 who couldn't manage the N4 stuff.

    First major problem was that there were 8 N4 assessments to get through plus an AVU; but in Jan or so the SQA recanted, making it 4 only. My N4s had already done enough, so once the AVU was completed they'd finished (mid-February). Not that I told them that. This is obviously no longer such a problem.

    Second major problem was that the N5 course is very different from the N4 and N3. The kids I had for N4/3 were absolutely immature and needy and unable to work independently. N5s kept getting interrupted by N4s carrying on even when sitting in separate corners of the room. N5 course is too intensive for kids to work independently there too, so all kids got a poor deal. Much like the H/N5/N4 class I have this year, and about as shabby for all concerned.

    It won't change, however, as it'd be too expensive to run separate classes, and putting an exam in place for N4/3 is also unlikely but so so necessary to give the courses and qualifications any credibility.

    This wasn't a problem with F/G/C as the courses for us were the same but assessed at different levels. And, if I may say, organised by people with greater vision and intelligence than the shower in charge of ushering in this steaming pile of CfE guano.

    Personal view only; perfectly prepared to believe all other teachers are better at 'differentiation' at these levels than me, and happy to accept any suggestions up to and including becoming a lower-school only teacher.
  18. Potatoes005

    Potatoes005 Occasional commenter

    Inthered - I'm entirely in your camp on this one.

    I'd also advocate, with a bit of tweaking to scrap the Nats and go back to Standard Grades. A National 3 or 4 is as much use as saying you know how to use a lighter.
  19. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    As I said, mixed ability is not at all the same thing as trying to deliver two or three different courses in the same class.

    Standard Grades weren't any better. Who actually cared if a pupil had a 6 in anything? The new NQs aren't that bad - a reduction in unit outcomes, some prepared assessments and an exam in N4 which is graded or at least has a pass/pass with distinction thingy added and all would be fine.

    What we really need is more money in the system so that we can have smaller classes and more staff.
  20. inthered

    inthered Occasional commenter

    For my subject they are bad though - tweaking is not sufficient. N4 is terrible, whereas previously getting a 3 or 4 wasn't bad, and could lead on to Int 2.

    S Grade was much more rounded and while possibly superficial, at least kids could ask how much a cup of coffee cost. As it is, they can approach random strangers to tell them their views on mobile phones or part-time jobs but can't find out what time the train leaves. It's insane.

    And we don't have time in German for the BGE when allegedly they learn all that stuff, because they can't start German til S3 and its a mad dash to cram in sufficient vocab and grammar to give them a shot at N5. Assuming they pick it in S4, unlikely once they realise how tedious the topics are... And they're repeated in S5 as well, for Higher. Give me strength.

    Please. Make it go away...

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