Accommodating Student Variability
This chapter will describe different ways to deal w/ student variability. Teachers can expect to have a wide variety of students who differ in abilities, talents, & backgrounds. The reasons for such diversity include compulsory attendance laws, patterns of immigration, & laws that govern which students can & cannot be placed in special classes. Other factors include normal variations in physical, social, emotional, & cognitive development.
I. Historical Developments
A. The Growth of Public Education & Age-Graded Classrooms
By 1920 variability had become an issue.
1. Schools became diverse because
a. by 1918 all states had passed compulsory attendance laws,
b. Congress had passed child labor laws (1916) to prohibit children's & adolescents' working in mines & factories
c. large numbers of immigrant children had arrived in the United States from 1901 through 1920, resulting in a vast increase in the number & diversity of children attending elementary & high school.
2. Educational leaders assumed that homogeneous classrooms were more efficient & effective learning environments than heterogeneous classrooms; therefore,
a. students were separated by age levels into grades (e.g., no more one-room schoolhouses),
b. students were also grouped by ability, &
c. special students were placed in special classes or schools.
B. Ability-Grouped Classrooms
1. Ability grouping involved the use of standardized mental ability or achievement tests to create groups of students who were considered very similar to one another in learning ability.
2. Ability grouping was another means for school authorities to deal w/ the large influx of immigrant students. These children scored much lower on standardized tests when compared to American-born children, mainly because these children were not fluent in English. At the time, their assignment to a low-ability group seemed logical & appropriate.
3. The first part of this chapter will look...