Thursday, August 16, 2018

Elizabeth Birr Moje on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson


Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson interviewed Dean Elizabeth Birr Moje for the segment “Should We Segregate Students Based on Academic Ability?” Moje was joined by U-M alumnus Mike Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and Aaron Johnson, teacher and administrator, adjunct lecturer at Wayne State University, and author.

The guests discussed research related to tracking and ability grouping, and took questions from callers. Tracking is the process of sorting kids according to what teachers and administrators believe they’re capable of doing. In schools that embrace tracking, high- and low-achieving kids are separated out, and placed in different classes. Ability grouping mixes classes with kids of differing abilities although it still maintains different levels of instruction inside the classroom.

“We have to get past the idea that everyone should follow lock-step a particular curriculum. It’s the issue of assigning people and never letting them out of those assignments,” said Moje. “The research tells us that heterogenous groups mixed by skill, if those groups are mixed by skill, and if teachers are equipped with the right kind of resources and the right kind of teaching practices, then we can differentiate instruction to meet all students’ needs.”

Elizabeth Birr Moje is George Herbert Mead Collegiate Professor of Education and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor; Dean of the School of Education

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