Daniel Muijs and Mairead Dunne

Grouping students into classes by ability on a subject-by-subject basis, also known as setting, is a common practice in many educational systems. An important issue is therefore the way in which setting decisions are made. While educators and policy-makers favouring setting claim that ability or achievement is the sole criterion used, critics counter that there is a tendency for factors such as pupils’ socio-economic status background, gender and ethnicity to influence teachers’ setting decisions.

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