Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


The common thread that binds the many given educational policies and pedagogy employed across the country and around the globe, is the role of the classroom teacher. As more school communities move towards inclusive classroom settings, grouping students within these settings will take a larger role and potentially cause greater side effects. This research project examines the question of grouping students based on academic ability and which method, homogeneous, grouping similar academic levels together or heterogeneous, grouping different academic levels together, is more effective. The study specifically investigates tracking, its current practice, development, and consequences to assess the implications, positive or negative, for today's diverse student-body. The results of this research seek to provide information regarding the outcome of homogeneous versus heterogeneous grouping prior to application of these methods within school districts, to aid understanding of the potential benefits for student achievement and attitude. The literature review concludes that heterogeneous grouping and differentiated instruction is the most beneficial grouping method for the largest number of students in a mathematics classroom. Further research investigates the use of a differentiated unit plan, created for the study, which focuses on Elementary Set Theory. The curriculum plan incorporates research and suggested differentiated strategies for effective heterogeneous grouping. The unit plan, visual aids, worksheets, and instructor notes are included in the subsequent section. Fifteen teacher participants from various school districts, grade levels and backgrounds were surveyed with regard to the unit plan and its efficacy in a classroom setting. Survey questions included response and reflection on student motivation, academic risk taking, critical thinking, and other various aspects of the unit plan. Conclusions drawn from the teacher survey results of the study agree with the initial research findings and state that heterogeneous grouping and differentiation is ultimately the most beneficial grouping method in a mathematics classroom. Additionally it is suggested that professional development opportunities for staff and teaming environments are necessary for heterogeneous teaching groups to be successful.


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