Macqueen, S. (2013). Grouping for Inequity. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 17(3), 295-309.
The inequity of streaming as a method of organising classes was established by research conducted in the 1960s and 1970s. While the practice produces small advantages for limited groups of students, it hinders the academic and social advancement of the majority. Although streaming has declined, new forms of achievement grouping have emerged, with the intention of being more equitable. Recent research in the UK suggests, however, that these grouping methods have similar equity issues to streaming. Drawing on research in Australian primary schools, this article examines the practice of regrouping primary students in some schools into separate classes according to achievement levels for literacy and mathematics lessons. Results from a mixed method study collated through interviews with principals and teachers, student surveys, state-wide academic test results and classroom observations are examined in relation to equity. The findings suggest that the regrouping practice is no more equitable than streaming, albeit more politically palatable. Click here to download a copy of the paper.