I have taught for ten years, and what I see are classrooms filled with multi-skill leveled students. Heterogeneous grouping is generally considered optimal to use in all settings such as these. The meta-analysis report by Tomlinson et al. (2003) indicates that low-performing students are most successful in heterogeneous grouping, whereas medium-performing students performed better in homogenous grouping, while high-performing students were successful in either setting. While heterogeneous instruction seems to be ideal in theory, providing the most equitable learning environment for the majority of students does not simply occur without further initiatives. Even when teachers make great strides in meeting students on their needs, research shows that performance does not improve (Reis, S., & Renzulli, 2018). Over a decade of teaching, I have watched how teachers handled the multi-skilled classroom as they lowered the standard to ensure everyone passes or create group work that becomes less an exercise in bringing all skill levels together, and more of a race to group with the highest ability student to avoid doing work at all.
Instead, I use blended learning to create my learning environment in which my students learn at least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace (Horn et al., 2017). My goal is to not teach to the imaginary so-called average learner, but to allow for each student to receive the information they need to learn at their own pace. I have outlined my whole program in the following post over my innovation plan.
Animaker. Animaker. (n.d.). Retrieved April 9, 2023, from https://app.animaker.com/
Horn, M. B., Staker, H., & Christensen, C. M. (2017). In Blended: Using disruptive innovation to improve schools. essay, Jossey-Bass.
Reis, S., & Renzulli, J. (2018). The Five Dimensions of Differentiation. International Journal for Talent Development and Creativity, 87–94. Tomlinson, C. A. (2001). How to differentiate instruction in mixed-ability classrooms. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.