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Skill-Based Grouping for Student Learning

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  • 0:04 Basics of Skill-Based Grouping
  • 0:40 Differentiated…
  • 1:12 Assessing Student Skill Level
  • 2:19 Homogeneous Grouping
  • 3:32 Heterogeneous Grouping
  • 4:38 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Sharon Linde
Teachers can differentiate instruction by grouping students. This lesson explores criteria that can be used to group students and gives examples of how grouping is used in the classroom.

Basics of Skill-Based Grouping

Years ago teachers divided students into groups during reading instruction, usually with names like robins, eagles, and bluebirds. With different reading materials and expectations, it was pretty clear to everyone that these were low, medium, and high groupings. Some students felt pretty smart; others, not so much.

Fast forward to today and teachers are still using skill-based groupings. These days, though, the groups are more fluid. They can change from day to day and are determined using a variety of criteria. How are they different from the robin-eagle-bluebird groups? Let's take a look.

Differentiated Instructional Grouping

In education, teachers use many methods to help every student learn. Sometimes they form small groups to differentiate instruction, or address specific student needs, such as ability level, interest, and learning style.

How do teachers decide which students to pull into small groups? They use information gathered from observations, test scores, quizzes, and other assessments. One important thing to remember about forming skill-based groups is that teachers use ongoing, formative assessments to drive their instructional decisions. Here's how it works.

Assessing Student Skill Level

Back when teachers were using robin-eagle-bluebird groups, grouping decisions typically were made based on a test given the first day of school. That reading test determined which group students would be in for the rest of the year and, in turn, formed their concept of who they were as readers and determined what type of instruction they received.

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