Pupil Grouping

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

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

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/