Action Research – Maple

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Names of researchers: Rosie Savill Leanne Akehurst

1. Stimulus

What could go better? What do you want to improve?

What interests you?

(eg ‘My students give up too easily’)
I am interested in these themes around writing and development. What drives effort? Why is there difference in writing output? Is there a theme?
2. Hypothesis

What are your thoughts about the issue you are focusing on?

(eg ‘Maybe I am doing too much for my students’)
If we used mixed ability groupings (in writing) the emerging children would be further inspired and motivated by the children exceeding national expectation.
3. Research

What does the research say? What do others in my school know about this?

(Books, articles, Google Scholar, libraries)
Within many schools across the country, children are grouped depending upon their ability, particularly in Maths and Literacy. When the focus is on within-classroom groupings of pupils, research mainly undertaken in primary schools describes classrooms where pupils are consistently found seated in small groups (usually consisting of an equal mix of boys and girls) (Kutnick et al, 2005, p8). Perhaps it may be more effective in terms of progress to group children within mixed abilities. ‘The main argument put forward in favour of selecting and grouping pupils by ability is that ability grouping is effective in raising pupil attainment’ (Ireson and Hallam, 2001, p17).

‘Grouping children together is only justified if it helps to promote more effective learning, and results in co-operative activity that extends what the individual could alone’ (Fisher, 2005, p98).

Hattie (2009) supports mixed ability grouping and his research suggests that it has a higher effect on a pupils learning than set groups.

My Focus
4. Research question

(e.g. ‘If I make it easier for students to help themselves and each other will their resilience improve?’
How do mixed ability groups aid in the progress of children?

5. Priorities

How does my question sit within my school’s current priorities? Have I checked with key team members/senior staff?
Both approaches (mixed ability and set groups) are valued within the teaching and learning at Highfield. We wish for our pupils to make excellent progress and achieve the best they can. The school development plan prioritises teachers engaging in action research to promote best practice.

Project has been checked with senior management team.

My Enquiry
6. The Intervention

What you will do? When? Who? How?

Teachers in Maple Base will increase the use of mixed ability groups in Literacy lessons instead of seating the children in ability tables.

Children will continue to have specific teaching inputs based on their individual needs and the requirements of the curriculum.

7. Evaluation Methods

How will you notice, measure and describe what happens?

We will closely monitor the amount and quality of children’s writing over time. We will measure progress compared to previous years when mixed ability grouping was not used as frequently.
Timescale Autumn 1 – Mainly set ability groups

Autumn Term 2 – mixed ability groups more frequently used in lessons

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