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OECD study finds countries that stream pupils into ability groups at an early age tend to have lower levels of achievement

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by Msz, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

  2. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

  3. Interesting but it looks like it's a lot more complex than just whether children are streamed by ability.
  4. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Beatriz Pont, an education analyst and one of the authors of the OECD's study, said streaming by ability at an early age "fuelled a vicious cycle" in which teachers had low expectations of students in the lowest sets.

    These students were often "locked into a lower educational environment before they had a chance to develop … their potential," she said.

    Her study – Equity and Quality in Education: Supporting Disadvantaged Students and Schools – found the most experienced and capable teachers often taught pupils in the highest sets.

    how many schools stream younger children?
  5. Thanks Msz for the link and the chance to comment. I have worked in a school that sets and a school with mixed ability and would go for mixed ability everytime. Children need to see what they can aspire to and if we set the children in the lowest ability sets are then given a glass ceiling as they are not seeing what others know and wanting to join them.
    As a child I remember wanting to be as good as a boy in my class and worked to be like him. Also we know that when children feel safe and secure they will perform better as their well being is high and children do not reserve freindship groups to ability of others. They are friends for all sorts of reasons the like the same thing, they share, they can tie laces, they are my next door neighbour etc etc!
    In answet o your question yes there are too many schools setting and in the belief it will help children but I have also heard teachers say it is easier to plan! I would really disagree we as teachers should be able to work with all abilities and develop children according to their needs. Yes there will be some children whose needs are so great they have a statement but that does not mean I cannot include them in the learning in my class.
    When I stand at a bus stop or in a theatre queue it is always mixed ability and thanks heavens for that as life is richer this way!
  6. Streaming? No. I understand how that is always going to be a dirty word. However, when children with learning difficulties require extra support it is often for practical reasons that a couple of children are given the 'added extras'. Do you consider that to be 'streaming'? I expect to be lambasted here and now, as I have probably not fully explained myself clearly!!
  7. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    No that isn't streaming
  8. No, Msz I know it's not, technically, but then there are the high achievers who also fall into the 'at risk' category if not extended and stimulated. So I can understand how teachers do find the practical solution is streaming. I have my phonics groups 'differentiated' to meet their developing needs. Does that count as streaming?
  9. No Julia added extras are not streaming giving that extra support where needed could apply to both ends of the spectrum. I don't set for phonics I differentiate within the activities as I have seen the less able children make better progress this way.
    Years ago long before ofsted and National Strategies i worked in a school where we team taught and I remember having the bottom set (yes that is what they were called!) for maths and it was the most depressing time of my life! Not only was it very difficult to motivate the children they knew they were the bottom set!
    A very good friend of mine told me her daughter came home from school and said she was glad she wasn't in purple group and they had to go and do lots more of the same work all the time!!! Out of the mouth of babes! She is in KS1 of a small village school!
  10. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    One thing I notice when the "streaming/setting" argument comes up is people always talk about how bad it is for the low ability. I always think, ok, fair enough, but what about the high ability?
    My primary school didn't set - but it was a small village school with 5 or 6 classes spanning 7 years. From what I remember, each class contained at least 2, sometimes 3 year groups. The top class had all of Year 6, plus the brightest Year 5s. The class below had the lower achieving year 5s, all the year 4s, and perhaps the brightest Year 3s (I can't really remember). As a result I was often in classes with children a year older than me and was challenged throughout.
    I then went to a secondary school which in Year 7, did not set for anything. Having achieved a level 5 in maths in Y6 SATs, I was taught with children who probably didn't get a level 3. The teacher struggled to stretch children like myself and a few others, and his solution was to give us harder textbooks, but not actually teach us what we needed to know in order to be able to access them. I was also labelled a "swot" because I worked hard. Come Year 8, we were set for maths, and all such issues disappeared.
    I realise I am talking about an older age group here, but I still think the principle remains. Perhaps setting does disadvantage some lower achieving pupils. But I'm not convinced. I find it far easier to teach a lesson to children all at the same ability, and suddenly a child who is lower ability does not seem so, cos it's not the bright ones getting the answers right all the time, they get to be the clever one for a change. they don't see other kids achieving far more than them all the time. I remain convinced, however, that setting is of value to higher ability children.
  11. Modgepodge I feel the same about the higher achievers. The thing we do need to realise is that they NEED fabulous teaching too, catering for their ability. As I say I only do this for phonics as I actually like my class to support each other, but sometimes there is a practical requirement. I worked in a UK village school in the late 70s, my first job, 38 kids ageing from 4-7. I was the teacher, no assistants, 2 kids who would be considered special needs nowadays and no parents invited in to help - which would have actually been brilliant. I often reflect on that school because I know I failed to provide for the needs of several of those kids. You may have been one. Thank goodness those days are over!
  12. Well of course we want all children to achieve and higher ability children deserve to be given as much support but research has shown that children of higher ability do not make any better progress in streamed classes while lower ability children do make better progress. So if we want to close the gap then surely mixed abilkity classes are the way to go!
    While it may be easier for a teacher to teach higher ability children in a streamed class I would agrue we are there for the children not the teacher.
    I want to close the gap not widen it which is why I would not teach in a school with setting or streaming.
  13. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    The ODEC report is specific to the effect on "young children" and I would argue that streaming can be just as detrimental to high achieving pupils.
  14. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    Don't worry - I wasn't one of them, I wan't born until 1986! [​IMG]
    When I said I find it easier to teach a group of children who are the same sort of ability, I didn't mean to sound lazy. Obviously we are there for the children, but sometimes I find it so hard to teach a group of children of mixed children I worry that I cannot cater for them all.
    Phonics is a classic example. I teach Year 1, the majority of my class are learning Phase 5 - alternative pronunciations for known graphemes. 5 children on my class recently did a phonics assessment and are only part way through phase 3. None of them could recognise or use ANY of the vowel digraphs taught in phase 3. So I've got to teach around 25 children that sometimes "ie" makes and /ie/, sometimes it makes an /ee/. Yet 5 children don't know that it makes /ie/ to start with!! How, how, how, am I supposed to teach them all properly together? The solution is that the TA takes those 5 children and has gone back to Phase 3 and teaching them those digraphs again.
  15. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Why do they need to be separated ... if you revise the sounds the class has been taught every day they will meet the sounds they don't know on a daily basis and you can differentiate their work to cover the sounds they don't know ( during questioning and/or follow up tasks) while still allowing them the opportunity to learn new graphemes.
  16. Yes, Msz, I definitely hope that happens and I certainly support that view. But please give us an example of how you differentiate in this way. How do you actually support those who are not reaching the challenges given to them?
  17. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I believe any intervention to support children should be in addition to good class teaching rather than a substitute for... so children who are having difficulties would get a short (5 -10 mins during registration or hand washing) daily 1-1 or small group input in addition to normal class input that way those bliddy phases don't stop any child having the chance of learning ng ch sh etc just because they haven't learnt d or g yet.
  18. I also promote not leaving children out of the main phonics class teaching - but give them extra time and attention.
    There are a number of ways that I suggest to address the needs of both slower-to-learn children and faster-to-learn children for phonics (I'll stick to phonics because that is my area of expertise - but this doesn't mean that some of these following principles wouldn't work for other areas).
    First of all, allow for young children to 'assimilate, adjust and absorb'.
    In other words, don't expect them all to recall the correspondences as soon as they are introduced. Some are only just getting used to the notion of gathering together for 'phonics' in the first place.
    Consider slowing down the speed of introducing correspondences. This can easily be done and still introduce a large number of correspondences.
    By doing this, you can provide a very discrete 'teacher-led' session but also a very strong, specific 'pupil practice' session - even the next day. Thus, you could have two days devoted to teaching one letter/s-sound correspondence. [I have always found that lessons work well in pairs. At the end of the first lesson you wonder if you were getting anywhere with some children, but by the end of the second consolidation lesson, you realise that the paired lessons have worked well.]
    Thirdly, use an Alphabetic Code Chart which provides the 'big picture' of the alphabetic code. This will support teachers to teach any alphabetic code at any time as required - particularly great for the very quick-to-learn child. In fact, such children can soon self-teach.
    This means that although you are going slower with your systematic introduction, you are freed to do any teaching of phonics throughout wider reading and writing and throughout the curriculum - as need arises.
    Ensure that for the pupil practice part, the children each have their own paper-based word level work for blending, handwriting and spelling-with-editing - which builds up a substantial word bank for monitoring, revising, child-ownership, sharing with home. It also means that additional provision is easy as the bank of work is to hand for any adult to support some revision or further practice.
    Train children in the phonics routines and stick to simple routines, avoiding too much variety rather than seeking variety.
    Don't be duped by whole class games and group games being the most effective for individual children to do the learning.
    Always provide extension activities at the point of doing the word level work so children who work more quickly can progress to applying their knowledge to sentences and texts.
    This means that children access the practice at their own level, some need more support, some need longer, some go quickly and do more extension work.
    But still keep plodding on with whole class lessons at a steady pace.
    It also means that you can provide the same resources to all the children because you have so many different ways of differentiating.
  19. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Sounds good to me.
    Would you count this as setting / streaming: children put in different groups for literacy and numeracy groups from reception onwards. The tasks are more limited for the MA and LA groups, and so is the homework. I dislike it intensely as a parent, and I don't think I would want to do it that way if I was teaching them either. The groups are pretty much static from reception right up to year 6.
    Is this the kind of thing the OECD study is referring to?

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