Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q. How are the students taught?
A. Students may be placed in different "learning groups" and will rotate amongst various teachers every day. Learning groups may be mixed grades, although students will maintain their current grade placement with regards to student records.
Q. Why do we use Ability Grouping?
A. Having one teacher teach multiple subjects, to students of different abilities only works well for a small percentage of students, and leaves many students behind. We want to ensure all of our students are learning, and receiving a good, quality education. By implementing "flexible ability grouping" while rotating the students among different teachers, we are better able to meet each and every student where they are today, and build upon the skills that they already have so that they are prepared for the challenges ahead.
Q. What does the research show?
A. According to a 2010 meta-analysis by Kelly Puzio and Glenn Colby, students who were grouped by ability within a class for reading were able to make up to an additional “half of a year’s growth in reading.” Similarly, a 2013 National Bureau of Economic Research study of students who were grouped by ability found that the performance of both high and low performing students significantly improved in math and reading, demonstrating the universal utility of this tool, particularly as our classrooms become more academically diverse.
Q. Does this mean my child will be moved up or down a grade?
A. No. In fact, moving to an ability group system will ensure that your child does not have to be retained. In ability grouping, students stay within their current grade group that is linked to their age. All transcripts and school documentation will show only their grade year placement.
Q. How will flexible ability grouping benefit my child?
A. When flexible ability grouping is used appropriately and effectively, students win. They receive the right content at the right time from teachers better able to direct their instruction to a smaller group of students. By moving towards a a flexible ability based system, we are preventing your child from falling behind. Additionally, for those who demand more academic rigor, we are meeting their intellectual needs. Because the students are concentrated with others who have similar levels of knowledge and learning rates and clear learning goals, they can better challenge one another to grow further.
Q. Why are other schools not doing this?
A. With the data that we currently have, we see that many students are falling behind because a single classroom teacher cannot provide the right level of support and intervention needed for a diverse range of students with different abilities. We are able to implement such changes quicker at our school due to our smaller size. We expect in time that many other schools will adopt similar strategies as more favorable research data becomes available.