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Instructional and Institutional Effects of Ability Grouping

Adam Gamoran
Sociology of Education
Vol. 59, No. 4 (Oct., 1986), pp. 185-198
DOI: 10.2307/2112346
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2112346
Page Count: 14
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Instructional and Institutional Effects of Ability Grouping
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Abstract

This paper attempts to uncover the mechanisms through which stratification in schools differentiates student achievement. Two types of mechanisms are considered: (1) technical conditions of differentially allocated instruction, and (2) institutional processes operating through symbolically defined categories. Using data from twelve first-grade classrooms, I isolated the instructional effects and found that they are both large and stable. Institutional processes account at most for a small grouping effect, which occurs early in the year but fades as the year progresses.

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