Grouping students in classes of varying ability, otherwise known as heterogeneous classes, is an approach for mixing grade levels of students who are on the same ability level, rather than on the same grade level or in an honors class.
At Easton Middle School in Massachusetts, seventh graders will be placed in the heterogeneous groupings in social studies, science, and English. The following year, eighth grade will be added to the system. Math will remain as a leveled course.
“EMS will promote high expectations for all students, by phasing out the practice of leveled grade seven and eight core subject classes and through the expansion of heterogeneous grouping of students,” said Principal Luke Carroll.
Included in the change to heterogeneous classes will be smaller class sizes, a greater flexibility in class creation, and an opportunity for students to progress at their own pace. As it now stands with the current tracking, a student may be tracked into a course but may become more reading for more challenges as the year progresses. Students will have an opportunity to move forward individually, resulting in personalized learning.