I don't know about all of you, but when I was in elementary school, they split us up and shuffled us around to different rooms during certain times of day. Math, for instance. Sometimes for reading.
It's not hard to figure out who's who. 'Smart' kids, average kids, and strugglers. And that can be a lousy feeling.
I can see a lot of good cases for heterogeneous grouping. With the right curriculum and solid teaching practices, the strugglers can make up ground, the 'smart' kids can be challenged, and everyone can learn.
On the other hand, there are situations where it just doesn't make sense.
My current school has a full range of students ... and I mean full. Everything from kids above grade level to kids with severe disabilities, and everything imaginable in-between. We don't have them all in the same classes.
We do, however, have workshops.
It's an ongoing frustration. The entire high school gathers for workshops every other week on a variety of topics. Here's what happens:
Half the students can't believe they have to listen to things they've known since they were eight years old.
The other half are lost.
End result: No one likes workshops.
We've talked about splitting them up into smaller groups (size-wise, that'd be better anyway) so their specific needs can be addressed more. Same topic but different levels. For some, the very basics. For others, more of a discussion, letting them talk about what they know and what issues are important to them.
Sounds good, but we haven't done it. There are logistical reasons, but there's also the fact that the kids will know they've been somehow labeled. "Ha, I'm with the smart kids. You're with the dumb kids." Boy, wouldn't that be fun.
Maybe there's a way we can avoid or lessen that effect. Or maybe there's another alternative we haven't thought of. Some way to make sure all the kids benefit, but not making any kids feel more defeated than they already do.