The Advantages of
Heterogeneous Grouping in
the Middle/High School
Concerning Special Needs
Cornell BrownCornell Brown
The problem identified here is that
homogenous grouping (tracking) in a
mathematics classroom does not allow
diversity in regards to student ability.
Heterogeneous Grouping are groups
that include students with a wide
variety of instructional levels.
Heterogeneous Grouping stem from the
education precept that a positive
interdependence can arise from
students with varied learning levels
working together and helping each
other to reach an instructional goal.
NEW INSIGHTS (Article
Cognitive tech tools can be a unique aspect
to special needs students.
These tools can provide a variety of learning
support for special needs students in math
The use of graphs, tables, simulations, and
applets will allow students to think and reason
about rates of change, linear functions, and
CURRENT RESEARCH OR
THEORIES (Article 1)
A quasi-experimental cohort design
(heterogeneous suburban middle school
classrooms) was used to evaluate
subsequent completion of advanced high
school math courses as well as academic
achievement. Results showed that probability
of completion of advanced math courses
increased significantly and markedly in all
groups, including minority students, students
of low socioeconomic status, and students at
all initial achievement levels
(Burris, C. C., Heubert J. P., Levin, H. M.,
CURRENT RESEARCH OR
THEORIES (Article 5)
Low-achieving, low-income students are typically
tracked into dead-end math courses in high
Math A in California and Stretch Regents and
UCSMP Math in New York—allow students to
keep pace with those who enter college-
preparatory courses by covering rigorous
mathematical content using a range of cognitive
Data from 882 students in 48 math classes are
analyzed using a three-level hierarchical linear
model. The results show that growth in student
achievement is significantly lower in general-
track classes than in college-preparatory classes
(Gamoran A., Porter A. C., Smithson, J., White, P.
CURRENT RESEARCH OR
THEORIES (Article 10)
Opportunities to work with student partners
encourage mathematical discourse (Suh,
As Kaput (1992) noted, the impact of
technological tools in mathematics learning
and teaching is the ability to off-load some
routine task, in this case, creating a line
graph from scratch, which provided learning
efficiency in terms of compacting and
RELATIONSHIP TO BEST
“Heterogeneous classrooms provide greater
learning opportunities for low-ability students,
without being detrimental to high-ability
students” (Spear, 1992).
Heterogeneous grouping practices allow for
“varied, broad peer interactions to allow
students to socialize with, model, and adjust
to a variety of peer influences” (Spear 1992).
IMPACT ON MY INSTRUCTION
The real world is integrated and not
segregated. It is vital that I implement
differentiated instruction based on the
mathematical learning needs of the special
I plan to become an advocate for
heterogeneous grouping in the math
Use technology and “cognitive tech tools” as
a bridge that will help increase and improve
achievement in math for special needs
Century Skills in instruction.
Burris, C. C., Heubert J. P., Levin, H. M. (2006). AcceleratingBurris, C. C., Heubert J. P., Levin, H. M. (2006). Accelerating
MathematicsMathematics Achievement Using HeterogeneousAchievement Using Heterogeneous
Grouping. American Educational Research Journal.Grouping. American Educational Research Journal. vol. 43vol. 43
no. 1no. 1 137-154137-154
Gamoran A., Porter A. C., Smithson, J., White, P. A. (1997).Gamoran A., Porter A. C., Smithson, J., White, P. A. (1997).
Upgrading High School Mathematics Instruction:Upgrading High School Mathematics Instruction:
Improving Learning Opportunities for Low-Achieving, Low-Improving Learning Opportunities for Low-Achieving, Low-
Income Youth.Income Youth. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis,Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis,
1919(4), 325-338.(4), 325-338.
Kaput, James (1992). “Technology and MathematicsKaput, James (1992). “Technology and Mathematics
Education.” In Handbook of Research on MathematicsEducation.” In Handbook of Research on Mathematics
Teaching and Learn-ing, edited by Douglas A. Grouws, pp.Teaching and Learn-ing, edited by Douglas A. Grouws, pp.
515−56. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of515−56. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of
Spear, R. (1992). Appropriate grouping practicesSpear, R. (1992). Appropriate grouping practices
for middle level students. In J Irvin (Ed.),for middle level students. In J Irvin (Ed.),
Transforming Middle Level Education:Transforming Middle Level Education:
Perspectives and PossibilitiesPerspectives and Possibilities. Needham. Needham
Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Stevenson, C.Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Stevenson, C.
Suh, J.M. (2010). Tech-Knowledgy & DiverseSuh, J.M. (2010). Tech-Knowledgy & Diverse
LearnersLearners.. Mathematics Teaching in theMathematics Teaching in the MiddleMiddle
SchoolSchool, 15(8), 440-447. (ERIC Document, 15(8), 440-447. (ERIC Document
Reproduction Service No. EJ878928).Reproduction Service No. EJ878928).