Mixed Attainment

All Attainment, Setting, Mixed Ability

This site is an attempt to pull together research, resources and practice on attainment grouping. It is early days, but I will endeavour to add more to this site as and when time allows, and to include critical analysis of each source. This is a work in progress. If you see something missing, or have suggestions for additions, do let me know below or by email.

Bibliography on Ability Grouping

This is an attempt to pull together sources of research on pupil attainment grouping. I will endeavour to add more to this as and when time allows, and to include critical analysis of each source. This is a work in progress. If you see something missing, let me know below. Unfortunately many of these are academic journal articles which require a licence to access, however, the abstracts are on line.

Best Practice in Grouping Students

Best Practice in Grouping Students’ is a research project funded by the Education Endowment Foundation and conducted by researchers at UCL and Queen’s University Belfast, which ran from 2014-2018. It investigated which methods of grouping secondary school students are most effective in improving their educational engagement and attainment with particular attention to improving the performance of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The project was independently evaluated by the National Foundation for Educational Research. Follow in Twitter at @GroupingStudy. The team produce a number of reports and papers:

  1. Attainment grouping as self-fulfilling prophesy?
  2. Schools teaching in ‘ability’ sets despite evidence this may cause harm
  3. The evidence on grouping by attainment: supporting more equitable practice in schools
  4. Set placement and students’ university aspirations
  5. Teacher ‘quality’ and attainment grouping: The role of within-school teacher deployment in social and educational inequality
  6. The misallocation of students to academic sets in maths

Mixed Attainment Maths (MAM)

This website has been created to enable teachers of mixed-attainment maths classes to share resources and ideas.

MAM has a YouTube video of a zoom meeting including a workshop from Helen Hindle of mixedattainmentmaths.co.uk on how she teaches teaches mixed ability.

ResourceFULL run by Tom Manners has a YouTube video that “focuses on the attitude and approach that departments and teachers should adopt to make a success of this change, as well as sharing ideas on what to do in the classroom”.

Helen Hindle (@HelenHindle1) and Tom Francome (@TFrancome) have both successfully led departments that taught mixed attainment, and share their thoughts. They don’t always agree about the approach, which is not at all surprising; do you know any two schools that approach teaching setted classes the same way? Why should mixed attainment be any different? There are some absolute gems that will help any mixed attainment teacher in this episode, and a few mistakes occur along the way.. but that should be embraced in all classrooms! And yes we went over an hour – but it was worth it!

Mixed Attainment Schools

These 30 schools are all teaching mixed attainment maths classes. If you are a mixed attainment maths school and would like to be added to this page please contact by email mixedattainmentmaths@gmail.com
​or tweet @helenhindle1 or @mixedattainmen1 

Goal-free Problems in Mixed Attainment Classes

A blog by Tim Chadwick Secondary Maths Specialist for White Rose Maths.

“The vast majority of Secondary schools teach mathematics in setted groups, usually based on prior attainment. Often these sets are decided at the very start of Year 7. Decisions about which set a student goes into could have monumental impact on how they access the mathematics curriculum. This year I have been teaching both a mixed attainment Year 7 and a middle set Year 9 class. For this blog post I’ve reflected on what the students and I have learnt together in these two very different environments.”

Tim Chadwick

Growth Mindset Maths – Mixed Attainment Lessons

A site by Helen Hindle. Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenHindle1

“Pupils with a growth mindset will embrace challenge, persist longer and not regard the fact that at times they find Maths difficult, as an indication that Maths is just ‘not their thing.’  I believe that ‘mixed ability / mixed attainment’ teaching embraces and supports the concept of growth mindset whereas ‘setting by ability / attainment’ places a ceiling on learning for many pupils and can undermine pupil ‘confidence and discourage the belief that attainment can be improved through effort.’ (Page 6 –  The Sutton Trust EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit Summer 2013.) “

Helen Hindle

Gareth Evan’s Blog

Gareth is a secondary Maths teacher at an academy in Lancashire.He started his website as a way of documenting his experiences and reflections from the classroom. Gareth’s faculty moved to mixed ability classes 3 years ago and he reports how it has actually helped to reduce workload. https://garethevansmaths.wordpress.com/

Nottingham Teaching Maths in Mixed Attainment Groups Working Group (TMMAG)

This working group coordinated by Mark Simmons of The University of Nottingham, has been meeting for 3 years, and has now produced a 2-sided guide to teaching in mixed attainment groups.