How to assign students into sections to raise learning

Ming Ming CHIU, Bonnie Wing-Yin CHOW, Sungwook JOH

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters

4 Citations (Scopus)


Grouping students with similar past achievement together (tracking) might affect their reading achievement. Multilevel analyses of 208,057 fourth grade students in 40 countries showed that clustering students in schools by past achievement was linked to higher reading achievement, consistent with the benefits of customized, targeted instruction. Meanwhile, students had higher reading achievement with greater differences (variances) among classmates' past achievement, reading attitudes, or family SES; these results are consistent with the view that greater student differences yield more help opportunities (higher achievers help lower achievers, so that both learn), and foster learning from their different resources, attitudes and behaviors. Also, a student had higher reading achievement when classmates had more resources (SES, home educational resources, reading attitude, past achievement), suggesting that classmates shared their resources and helped one another. Modeling of non-linear relations and achievement subsamples of students supported the above interpretations. Principals can use these results and a simpler version of this methodology to re-allocate students and resources into different course sections at little cost to improve students' reading achievement. Copyright © 2017 ACM.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Seventh International Learning Analytics & Knowledge Conference
Place of PublicationNew York
ISBN (Electronic)9781450348706
Publication statusPublished - 2017


Chiu, M. M., Chow, B. W.-Y., & Joh, S. W. (2017). How to assign students into sections to raise learning. In Proceedings of the Seventh International Learning Analytics & Knowledge Conference (pp. 95-104). New York: ACM.


  • Ability grouping
  • Classmates
  • Inequality
  • Socioeconomic status
  • International assessment


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