It’s a longstanding debate in education. Should schools strive to keep all students, regardless of academic ability, together in the same classroom?
Some educators argue that students learn best when placed with others at the same ability level. This is called “streaming” where courses are divided into categories such as “academic” and “applied” and students take courses that match their interests and abilities. On the other side are educators who insist that students learn best in mixed ability settings. This is known as “de-streaming” where everyone takes the same core courses.
Over the last few years, Ontario has moved away from streaming and embraced de-streaming, particularly in math. Grade 9 students in Ontario used to have a choice between an academic math course and an applied math course. The academic course prepared students for university level math while the applied course was more practical and prepared students to solve everyday problems. Now these two courses have been combined into one.
Why? According to proponents, de-streaming promotes equity and inclusion.