Homogeneous Grouping: What You Need to Know

This term refers to the grouping of students by mental capability, aptitude, or hobbies. For instance, gifted students are placed in one group, and students with special needs or deemed at risk are placed in another. Here, the ability levels of students are generally determined by teacher observations and assessments. While there might be varying abilities in a single classroom, it is more restricted compared to the range we can find in a heterogeneous classroom. In homogeneous grouping, students get the opportunity to work on materials that are ideal for their specific strengths and areas for development.

In homogeneous grouping, lesson plans can be tailored to students’ abilities, which means teachers do not need to address individual needs. As students are grouped by similar abilities, they generally have similar areas of difficulty and questions that can all be answered at once.

Students also tend to feel adequately challenged and comfortable when they get to work with students who learn at almost the same pace as their own. Gifted students become more enthusiastic when equally competent peers challenge their knowledge and assumptions. Also, students, who are at grade level or below, may experience some synergism when grouped together. Rather than being dragged along by other students, they get to fulfill the challenges of an exercise or task at their own pace. It gives them the opportunity to persevere and deal with problems together. Basically, in a homogenous grouping, every student gets a greater opportunity to perform the exercise or task at their own pace.

These groups eliminate the issues of students struggling to keep up and trailing far behind or feeling inhibited from moving on. So, homogenous groups can boost student achievement if executed properly.

Another key advantage of homogeneous grouping is that teachers get increased ability to modify the difficulty level of an assigned exercise in accordance with the ability of each group. For instance, a teacher has split the class into three groups, where the first group has the most gifted students, and the third group has students who tend to struggle. After an exercise is assigned, the teacher recognizes that it is very easy for the first group, very difficult for the third group, and stimulating enough for the second one. With homogenous grouping, the exercise can be made more difficult and challenging for the first group while making it easier for the third group giving them an easier path to progress.

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