How Much Academic Variability Exists in Classrooms

Wallace Research Symposium on Talent Development

Campus/Building Maps

How Much Academic Variability Exists in Classrooms?Karen Rambo-Hernandez, Blaine A. Pedersen, Scott J. Peters, Matthew C. Makel, & Jonathan Plucker

Monday, May 20, 2024, 10:15 – 11:15 am, Lawrence D. McHugh Hall, Room MCHU 302

The U.S. educational system is anchored by grade-level learning objectives and age-based grouping, but the degree of variability in student academic needs within typical classrooms has not been reliably quantified by any large scale, empirical study. Thus, this study proposes to describe the variability in mathematics and reading achievement in fourth grade classrooms and estimate the number of instructional grade levels present in those classrooms. Additionally, we will examine student growth as a function of academic variability in the classroom. The data are from computer-adaptive measures of student fourth-grade mathematics and reading achievement from two large school districts in the U.S. from 2014–2015 to 2018–2019. Multilevel models will be used to capture the nested nature of the data. Results are expected to inform both policy and practice to help maximize learning for all students.