Setting Vs Mixed Ability

Thursday 22nd August 2019

#UKEdChat – Session 468. Thanks to considerable research and attention, the debate about whether to set pupils in classes according to ability or to mix students together – regardless of ability – continues with many schools exploring the best options to achieve positive outcomes for all concerned. Yet, the old arguments remain for setting pupils according to ability that can – almost inevitably – leave students in lower set classes falling further behind than their peers.

Following the #UKEdChat poll, this session explored the advantages and disadvantages of setting versus mixed ability class groupings to see how the different approaches impact on teaching and learning. The questions released were:


  1. What is the current policy/practice within your classroom with regards to setting pupils according to ability? Do you agree with it?
  2. Setting within the primary classroom also exists, with groups of students being set together according to ability. How does this impact on your teaching, and the children’s attainment?
  3. When you were a student, how were you sorted according to ability? How did this impact on you -emotionally and educationally – at that time?
  4. What are the main advantages and disadvantages of working with a mixed ability class?
  5. What are the main advantages and disadvantages of working with a class that is set according to ability?
  6. Do you think that some subjects lend themselves more towards setting than others? Which ones, and why?
  7. What are the main challenges of explaining your ‘setting’ or ‘mixed ability’ policies to parents?
  8. What impact does differentiation have on ‘setting’ and ‘mixed ability’?

Click here to view the archive from the session

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About @digicoled 299 Articles
Colin Hill - Founder, researcher and editor of ukedchat. Also a bit of a tech geek! Project management, design thinking, and metacognition.

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