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Mathematics and Science Partnerships - Scientifically Based Research in Mathematics

Student Achievement and School Accountability Conference
October 2002

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Text (slide 21):

Frequently Asked Questions about Teaching and Learning Mathematics (cont.)

Q. Does working in small groups help students develop math proficiency?

A. It depends. Cooperative learning groups of 3-5 students can work together to increase their proficiency, but all students must be allowed to contribute. Small groups can increase achievement and promote positive social interactions among students, but tasks must be well chosen and students must be taught how to work in this mode.

Do students have to be grouped by ability?

A. No--"ability grouping" results in achievement gaps that grow rather than diminish. Effective teaching methods can help all students in mixed-ability classes to develop proficiency, and teachers can be supported to acquire and use these methods.