Ability-based sets

Grouping students into ability-based sets holds back less able pupils

 Ability-based sets

Students classed as less able are being hindered by being grouped into ability-based sets, according to new research published today in the Cambridge Journal of Education.

Teachers’ expectations of pupils in lower sets, which are based on their prior academic record and closely tied to the belief that their behavior will be more challenging, could instil a damaging ‘culture of dependency’ on teachers among these groups.

Researchers used questionnaire data generated from almost 600 Maths and English teachers based in 82 UK secondary schools, alongside interviews with teachers, to understand how grouping students into sets influenced the independence of lower attaining students.