This type of grouping usually leads to classifying students into above average, Average and Below Average (Slow learners). A school can then decide to form three divisions, one for each group if its enrollment is high enough to permit this.
Advantages of homogenous grouping are as follows:
(i) Each group can be taught by a method of teaching that satisfies the group’s needs.
(ii) Each group can be offered a special curriculum in accordance with the requirements, demands and problems of the group.
(iii) It enhances the effectiveness of instructional programmes.
(iv) It saves time, effort and energy of teachers.
(v) Superior students will not be able to dominate the entire class as in the case of heterogeneous groups.
(vi) No student can be unduly discouraged or encouraged under such a system of grouping.
Limitations of homogeneous grouping are as follows:
(i) It is nearly impossible to achieve complete homogeneity in a class if all the criteria are taken into account.
(ii) Students can be demotivated if they are labelled as below average or slow learners. This can affect their self-image and self-esteem and cause damage to their personality.
(iii) Students can get unduly over-confident with a very high self-concept if they are labelled gifted or superior in an unthoughtful manner.
(iv) Within the same class, the level of competition may get enhanced since all students have the same capacity.
(v) It could create jealousy and tension among different groups.
(vi) In later life, this could create adjustment problems for students because in occupations and social or personal lives, people are no. grouped in accordance with their abilities and thereby being treated differently.
(c) Heterogeneous Grouping:
This is a random way of grouping indents. No consideration is given to various pre-sage characteristics of students such as their ability, aptitude, attitudes, needs, level of maturity and so forth.
Modern concept and theories of education strongly advocate heterogeneous grouping and emphasize the importance of having bright, average and slow learners in the same class. A heterogeneous class reflects the larger society more appropriately and offers social interactions amongst different types of students which in turn facilitate overall development of students.
In addition to these three types of groupings, one more type of grouping called the Triple Track Plan was tried in the USA. In this plan, a class is divided into homogeneous groups and offered the same curriculum.
However, the above average students are expected to complete it within four years, average students will do it in five years and the slow learners will take six years. However, this plan will also have some of the limitations of homogeneous grouping.
Whatever type of grouping system is used in a school, the fact remains that teaching learning process will take place in a class and not individually.
The system of teaching to a class involves economy in terms of money, efforts and energy although advocates of individual freedom emphasize abolition of classes. Progressive methods like the Dalton plan have done away with the system of classification but the class system has its own benefits mentioned as follows:
(1) One of the major aims of education is to help an individual to adjust himself/herself in society. A school class is a society in miniature and provides ample scope and opportunity to students for social and psychological interactions and adjustments. It facilitates development of good citizenship and imparts training it democratic living.
(2) It makes instructional processes systematic.
(3) Ii enables a school to attain its educational objectives.
(4) It provides a conducive, collective learning environment to students.
(5) It provides a student with a yard-stick against which he can appraise his own performance vis’-a-vis’ his peers.
(6) It satisfies the need for belongingness and companionship among students.
(7) It offers opportunities to children to sacrifice their self interest in the interest of the group.
(8) It enhances motivation and morale among students and provides an emotional and social support base in times of stress.
(9) It reinforces the principle of equality of opportunity where all the students-irrespective of their socio-economic class are offered the same curriculum.
(10) It provides students with a practical training in social behaviour.
(11) It facilitates an egalitarian attitude among students.
(12) It is more efficient in terms of time, cost and efforts.
Its Limitations include the following:
(a) Teachers usually teach with a focus on the ‘average child’ whereas in reality, a classroom has if diverse variety of students all of whom do not have the same rate of learning.
(b) Uniform curriculum for all students also poses a problem wherein the intelligent students get bored the average may just manage to learn and the slow learners may lose interest.
(c) All students cannot benefit equally due to their diverse needs and capacities.
(d) Individuality of students is sometimes lost.
(e) Classroom participation is usually restricted to a few intelligent extrovert/ dominating students. Others are either diffident or shy or scared of participating in classroom processes.
(f) Those who feel neglected in a class may show disciplinary and/ or behavioural problems.
(g) Individual attention cannot be paid to students.