'The Blue Table Means You Don't Have a Clue': the persistence of fixed-ability thinking and practices in primary mathematics in English schools

FORUM - ISSN 0963-8253
Volume 55 Number 1 (2013)

'The Blue Table Means You Don't Have a Clue': the persistence of fixed-ability thinking and practices in primary mathematics in English schools
RACHEL MARKS, pages 31-44
DOI: 10.2304/forum.2013.55.1.31

Abstract

The use of structured ability grouping is increasing in English primary schools and is regularly seen in primary mathematics classrooms. Ability is a normalised discourse with beliefs that some individuals are 'born to do maths' permeating society and infiltrating school practices. In this article, observation and interview data illustrate the persistence of fixed-ability thinking, even in situations where explicit ability-grouping practices are not used. The data analysis suggests a mismatch between mixed-ability practices and fixed-ability thinking, and the article argues that change will be difficult.

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To cite this article
RACHEL MARKS (2013) 'The Blue Table Means You Don't Have a Clue': the persistence of fixed-ability thinking and practices in primary mathematics in English schools, FORUM, 55(1), 31-44

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