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More teachers grouping kids by ability

Survey finds number of fourth-graders placed in reading circles skyrockted

5:23 PM, Mar. 18, 2013
Third-grade teacher Jeni Bridges instructs student Leonardo Elorza while his classmate Judith Perez works on an assignment at R.E. Good Elementary School in Carrollton, Texas, on Aug. 30
Third-grade teacher Jeni Bridges instructs student Leonardo Elorza while his classmate Judith Perez works on an assignment at R.E. Good Elementary School in Carrollton, Texas, on Aug. 30
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New findings based on more than 20 years of research suggest that despite decades of controversy, elementary school teachers now feel fine placing students in "ability groups."

The research, out Monday from the centrist Brookings Institution's Brown Center on American Education, finds that between 1998 and 2009, the percentage of fourth-grade teachers who said they created ability-based reading groups skyrocketed from 28 percent to 71 percent.

In math, between 1996 and 2011, the practice rose from 40 percent to 61 percent. The practice remained fairly constant in eighth-grade math, ...

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