"The challenge with mixed-ability groups is to satisfy both equity and excellence. Search as hard as you may, but you’ll never find a job in the Lake Wobegon School District, where all students conveniently arrive above average in their academic readiness.
Instead, you’re more likely to find yourself in a school system where teachers are confronting classrooms populated by students who struggle mightily to learn, by others who are academically advanced well beyond their years, by still others for whom English is a second language and by youngsters who come to school from oppressive and/or abusive homes.
Anyone who has been in a contemporary classroom for even 15 minutes can plainly see that student needs vary greatly, yet the increasing pressure by state bodies to reach mandated performance standards does not usually account for student variance.
The challenge, then, for school leaders is to address both equity and excellence in today’s schools. How can you provide access for struggling learners to high-level, potent and engaging learning opportunities without denying the needs of highly able learners to work at a pace and level of complexity appropriate to their special learning needs?" --CAROL ANN TOMLINSON
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