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Ability Grouping Pros and Cons

Scholasticus K
Ability grouping is considered to be an old approach to teaching that groups students with similar abilities. In this write-up, you will learn about ability grouping pros and cons.
Ability grouping is a technique, which when used appropriately, can result in enhanced learning of students, while at the same time, if used incorrectly, it results in deep divisions within a classroom. It is a concept where teachers group together students having the same ability.
This is usually done by the teachers on the basis of the aptitudes of the students, that is, if a certain number of students show a good aptitude for mathematics, then these students are grouped together for fine tuning and enhancing their skills as mathematicians.
Though this methodology has proved to be very successful in many cases, advocates of equality in education have staunchly opposed it. Every approach in teaching has its positives and negatives. In the similar manner, you will understand the ability grouping pros and cons through this post.


The debate between the advocates of ability grouping and the people who staunchly oppose this method is almost never-ending, due to the fact that though the technique is not at all wrong, it certainly goes against the principles of equality.
Critics of this methodology have wasted no time in raising a question mark against its 'appropriateness'. However, before we come to a strong opinion about it, we must have a look at its advantages and disadvantages, which are mentioned in the subsequent paragraphs.


This technique is basically aimed at enhancing the capability of a particular group of students who show aptitude towards a subject or skill. The basic advantage of grouping these students together is that these students are able to 'fly' in their own subjects.
This not only trains students in the subjects of their aptitude, but the students also develop capabilities and become the would-be experts in their fields. Their choice of career also gets decided at a young age and their capabilities get polished in the right manner.
Indirectly, this method does the nation a great favor, by making the students experts on the subjects that they have an aptitude for.
Masters and masterpieces can thus be created and by the time, these students pass out from the educational system, they have a huge amount of knowledge that is certainly greater and more accurate than an average human being of the same age, who has studied the same subject.
The earlier educational systems that used this technique have managed to influence the minds of people who became legends, Beethoven, Mozart, Leonardo Da Vinci, and many others. All of them started receiving early knowledge, as their abilities were recognized.


As every coin has two sides, there are some negative aspects of this technique as well.The first and most noticed disadvantage is that it breaches the principle of equality. The students with greater ability at a particular subject, go on to obtain more knowledge on the subject, while the regular students may not be able to get the same amount of knowledge.
There is a risk of lack of motivation in students, in such cases. The second disadvantage is that there is a strong possibility of students getting permanently grouped. This might eventually lead to a series of quarrels and problems within the class. Another drawback is that it increases the responsibility of a teacher.
The debate whether ability grouping is a positive teaching method or a negative one, cannot be concluded by assessing the pros and cons. In individual cases, this gap may widen further. At the same time, the technique can work wonders, if it is implemented properly.