Should it be mandatory to put pupils into sets of ability for most subjects?

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Tolgash
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#1
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#1
I find that mixed-ability classes can include class clowns that distract and hinder the progression of pupils who are able and actually want to do well in school. The pace of the lesson is as fast as the slowest learner.

To avoid a scenario like the one above, or try our best to avoid it, it should be a legal requirement for schools to set pupils, and allow them to move between sets if teachers feel it is necessary.

Obviously, the criteria to qualify for higher sets would be different, as would the quality between different schools' higher sets, but the overarching principle is still the same. It allows the high-flyers to flourish, and it motivates those who care enough to move up, since they will work harder to be with the pupils at the top.

What do you think?
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username4910484
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#2
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#2
Firstly, you are assuming that class clowns are always the lower ability students.

Secondly, do you have any evidence, beyond the anecdotal to suggest that sets actually improve the outcomes for higher achieving pupils in most subjects? I am not saying that this couldn't be the case, but I am sceptical. I would have thought that a lot hinges on the skill of the teacher.

Are you having trouble with your education at the moment?
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stephsmhb
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#3
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(Original post by glassalice)
Firstly, you are assuming that class clowns are always the lower ability students.

Secondly, do you have any evidence, beyond the anecdotal to suggest that sets actually improve the outcomes for higher achieving pupils in most subjects? I am not saying that this couldn't be the case, but I am sceptical. I would have thought that a lot hinges on the skill of the teacher.

Are you having trouble with your education at the moment?
i agree
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Tolgash
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#4
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#4
(Original post by glassalice)
Firstly, you are assuming that class clowns are always the lower ability students.

Secondly, do you have any evidence, beyond the anecdotal to suggest that sets actually improve the outcomes for higher achieving pupils in most subjects? I am not saying that this couldn't be the case, but I am sceptical. I would have thought that a lot hinges on the skill of the teacher.

Are you having trouble with your education at the moment?
Even if the class clowns are high-ability pupils, they are enormous distractions. Class clowns are a nightmare for the teacher and make a horrible class environment.

I don't, no. This is just how I feel. I am sceptical too, but I just want to encourage some discussion on the topic.

No. I am on a gap year, and I have deferred entry to study English at university.
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username4910484
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#5
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#5
(Original post by Tolgash)
Even if the class clowns are high-ability pupils, they are enormous distractions. Class clowns are a nightmare for the teacher and make a horrible class environment.

I don't, no. This is just how I feel. I am sceptical too, but I just want to encourage some discussion on the topic.

No. I am on a gap year, and I have deferred entry to study English at university.
Why would it be preferable for the class clown to be disrupting the lower ability students?
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Tolgash
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#6
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#6
(Original post by glassalice)
Why would it be preferable for the class clown to be disrupting the lower ability students?
They should just be punished if they are high in ability; they shouldn't move down a set. However, I tend to find that the most disruption comes from unruly class clowns who are not necessarily very high in ability. I wish I had more data on this. I think it's a shame. It's rare that someone who spends more time distracting others than doing their work will do well (and I doubt they do it all at home).

You are right that I make an assumption though. My reason for encouraging discussion on this topic is purely based on anecdotal evidence, because I feel that class clowns just can't be arsed.
Last edited by Tolgash; 10 months ago
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tazarooni89
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#7
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#7
(Original post by Tolgash)
I find that mixed-ability classes can include class clowns that distract and hinder the progression of pupils who are able and actually want to do well in school. The pace of the lesson is as fast as the slowest learner.

To avoid a scenario like the one above, or try our best to avoid it, it should be a legal requirement for schools to set pupils, and allow them to move between sets if teachers feel it is necessary.

Obviously, the criteria to qualify for higher sets would be different, as would the quality between different schools' higher sets, but the overarching principle is still the same. It allows the high-flyers to flourish, and it motivates those who care enough to move up, since they will work harder to be with the pupils at the top.

What do you think?
I agree that separating children by ability is generally a good thing, but I don't think it should be mandatory.

Instead I think that schools just need to be better incentivised to ensure they get the best performance out of all of their pupils (as opposed to just getting a certain percentage of them to "pass" their exam). Then if they think that separating children by ability will help to achieve that, they'll do it anyway.
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nikkiblonsky
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#8
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#8
(Original post by Tolgash)
They should just be punished if they are high in ability; they shouldn't move down a set. However, I tend to find that the most disruption comes from unruly class clowns who are not necessarily very high in ability. I wish I had more data on this. I think it's a shame. It's rare that someone who spends more time distracting others than doing their work will do well (and I doubt they do it all at home).

You are right that I make an assumption though. My reason for encouraging discussion on this topic is purely based on anecdotal evidence, because I feel that class clowns just can't be arsed.
Idk if that would work tbh, if they just get punished they dint really learn much from it cause they might realise that they can do what they wont and it might only be half an hour detention after school which might not bother them, why not try actually getting into the core reason why they aren acting up in the first place, the shame could be done for kids in lower sets who dont want to try, find out why they dont want to try, ofc this is easierly said than done and I dont have an actual plan to do that, but I think it's definitely possible, im not saying dont punish them, im just saying that after a while that punishment might become meaningless to them
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Tolgash
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#9
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#9
(Original post by nikkiblonsky)
Idk if that would work tbh, if they just get punished they dint really learn much from it cause they might realise that they can do what they wont and it might only be half an hour detention after school which might not bother them, why not try actually getting into the core reason why they aren acting up in the first place, the shame could be done for kids in lower sets who dont want to try, find out why they dont want to try, ofc this is easierly said than done and I dont have an actual plan to do that, but I think it's definitely possible, im not saying dont punish them, im just saying that after a while that punishment might become meaningless to them
While this is true, pupils that become too unruly can be suspended or expelled.
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JOSH4598
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#10
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#10
(Original post by Tolgash)
However, I tend to find that the most disruption comes from unruly class clowns who are not necessarily very high in ability.

You are right that I make an assumption though. My reason for encouraging discussion on this topic is purely based on anecdotal evidence, because I feel that class clowns just can't be arsed.
I would agree also; in my experience those who tend to mess around are the low-achieving students and the very reason they mess around it to attract attention which they do not receive from their academic performance.

To some extent mixing classes is good, as having a class full of low to middle-achieving students who are all class clowns is asking for problems. Mixing in high-achieving well-behaved students can set a good precedent for the 'clowns'.

Although there is no real answer. It only takes one or two unruly students to ruin the class for the other 20-odd students.
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nikkiblonsky
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#11
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#11
(Original post by Tolgash)
While this is true, pupils that become too unruly can be suspended or expelled.
that doesnt really help either, expulsion would probably make the student worse
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GeeTee86
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#12
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#12
My son is in top set for Maths, English, Welsh and the triple sciences and he says there are lots of clowns who distract the class and back-chat the teacher!
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f_ student room
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#13
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#13
(Original post by tazarooni89)
I agree that separating children by ability is generally a good thing, but I don't think it should be mandatory.

Instead I think that schools just need to be better incentivised to ensure they get the best performance out of all of their pupils (as opposed to just getting a certain percentage of them to "pass" their exam). Then if they think that separating children by ability will help to achieve that, they'll do it anyway.
I completely agree with you!

I go to a school that only sets Maths and Science and this in itself makes me feel that the other subjects (particularly creative ones) are really valued less.
I happen to really excel in English but I don't really feel pushed or encouraged due to the mixed ability sets. Most of my classmates don't share the same passion for the subject and I find that often the ones that are interested feel they can't contribute in class because they fear being judged or feeling like a swett.
I think encouraging students in subjects they really enjoy or excel in is a really positive thing and should be utilised as much as possible
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harrysbar
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#14
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#14
It is well recognised by teachers that where pupils are disruptive in class, the reason is often because they are struggling to access the work. So yes, I do believe that low ability pupils are more likely to be disruptive and this will be seen in low ability classes in schools everyday, though I don't know if there is statistical evidence as such beyond what teachers will observe and talk about.

I think it's best to mix pupils up a bit so they are not always with the same people. So maybe put them in sets of ability in subjects like Maths, English, Science and Languages and be in mixed ability groups for other lessons.
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Euapp
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#15
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#15
(Original post by Tolgash)
They should just be punished if they are high in ability; they shouldn't move down a set. However, I tend to find that the most disruption comes from unruly class clowns who are not necessarily very high in ability. I wish I had more data on this. I think it's a shame. It's rare that someone who spends more time distracting others than doing their work will do well (and I doubt they do it all at home).

You are right that I make an assumption though. My reason for encouraging discussion on this topic is purely based on anecdotal evidence, because I feel that class clowns just can't be arsed.
Class clowns are often incredibly intelligent students but just bored out of their brains by the slow pace of an average class. Incredibly high I.Q. students are so bored by the end of primary school that they give up completely, stop listening, and then do have gaps in their knowledge. So yes streaming is often a way of removing this problem. It lets hard working average intelligence students work in peace, and although not really challenging the real high flyers their ability has more chance of being recognised.
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CaptainDuckie
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#16
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#16
Separate the class clowns from the serious students.

Behaviour and intelligence are two different things in which needs to be distinguished. If you are intelligent but don’t have the right attitudes towards learning, this has more of an affect to other students within the same vicinity. This isn’t even limited in classroom environments but even in future jobs; you would want to employ some who is average in intellect but satisfactory in behaviour, opposed to someone who is just intellectual with no behavioural qualities.
Last edited by CaptainDuckie; 10 months ago
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Euapp
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#17
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#17
(Original post by CaptainDuckie)
Separate the class clowns from the serious students.

Behaviour and intelligence are two different things in which needs to be distinguished. If you are intelligent but don’t have the right attitudes towards learning, this has more of an affect to other students within the same vicinity. This isn’t even limited in classroom environments but even in future jobs; you would want to employ an average in intellect but satisfactory in behaviour, opposed to someone who is just intellectual with no behavioural qualities.
Quite agree, but I've seen a child under five years old doing the maths of a 12 year old with the reading skills of a 9 year old. Left in the corner of the classroom all day so as not to bother the others, how can you expect him to behave??
Schools help children in difficulty, but truly gifted children are abandoned by the state system.
Last edited by Euapp; 10 months ago
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CaptainDuckie
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#18
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#18
(Original post by Euapp)
Quite agree, but I've seen a child under five years old doing the maths of a 12 year old with the reading skills of a 9 year old. Left in the corner of the classroom all day so as not to bother the others, how can you expect him to behave??

In cases such as those, it’s highly unlikely to get someone who is smart enough to skip years, only a small percentage of students are capable of doing so. That’s why it’s advised to be the same age as your peers during early academic school years.

Not many students can adapt to unusual environments.
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Euapp
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#19
(Original post by CaptainDuckie)
In cases such as those, it’s highly unlikely to get someone who is smart enough to skip years, only a small percentage of students are capable of doing so. That’s why it’s advised to be the same age as your peers during early academic school years.

Not many students can adapt to unusual environments.
My brother was that unusual student. An IQ over 150 and crushed by the system. At the end he literally was walking into the classroom and climbing out the window!
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rola05
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#20
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#20
(Original post by Tolgash)
I find that mixed-ability classes can include class clowns that distract and hinder the progression of pupils who are able and actually want to do well in school. The pace of the lesson is as fast as the slowest learner.

To avoid a scenario like the one above, or try our best to avoid it, it should be a legal requirement for schools to set pupils, and allow them to move between sets if teachers feel it is necessary.

Obviously, the criteria to qualify for higher sets would be different, as would the quality between different schools' higher sets, but the overarching principle is still the same. It allows the high-flyers to flourish, and it motivates those who care enough to move up, since they will work harder to be with the pupils at the top.

What do you think?
when my secondary school started doing mixed ability classes I started to excel in my subjects so I think that mixed ability classes do have some advantages,especially if there are good role models in the class
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