Though many educators consider student grouping to be an instructional strategy, grouping alone has not been shown to have a powerful effect on learning. Whether grouping by gender, performance level, or some other criteria, it is the instructional strategies employed and the roles learners and educators play that makes the greatest difference, not the make-up of the group. Some grouping strategies can even make learning more difficult, such as the strategy of separating out struggling learners and thus leaving them without access to models of strong learning among peers.
An effective use of this element is to group learners according to their readiness. For example, educators might cluster a small group of students who are ready to learn a particular concept and provide them with brief, strategic, and specific instruction. Learners who are working on common content or skills might also be clustered together to support each other’s learning.
Book excerpt: Knowing Our Students as Learners
Blog post: Finding Coherence with RtI and Personalized Learning
Blog post: What to Expect