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Psychology Applied to Teaching, Eleventh Edition
Jack Snowman, Southern Illinois University
Robert Biehler
Chapter Themes
Chapter 6: Accommodating Student Variability

Ability grouping is a common practice utilized in many classrooms.
Ability grouping is based upon three assumptions: (1) intelligence is a fixed, inherited trait; (2) intelligence is adequately reflected by an IQ score; (3) all students learn best when grouped with those of similar ability. Four approaches to ability grouping are popular today - between-class grouping, regrouping, the Joplin plan, and within-class grouping. Although ability grouping continues to be popular and the assumptions believed to be true, research evidence casts doubt on the effectiveness of this approach.

All individuals age birth to 21 who have an identifiable disability have the right to free and appropriate education.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its predecessors are civil rights legislation enacted by the federal government to correct perceived inequities in the American educational system and to maximize the potential of students with disabilities. Under this act, students with disabilities have the right to a full individual evaluation of their educational needs, the right to a written individualized education plan (IEP) designed to fit their unique needs, and the right to be educated in the least restrictive environment.

Today's teachers have a wide variety of children with special needs in their classrooms.
As the trend toward inclusive classrooms continues, teachers now have students in their classrooms formerly served in special settings and resource rooms. These special needs students include individuals with mental retardation, learning disabilities, ADHD, emotional disturbance, and gifted and talented students. All of these children present unique challenges to classroom teachers.

Technology related to education is making one of its most significant impacts in the field of special education.
As laws related to students with disabilities have expanded so has the development of assistance and learning technologies to help these students succeed in school. Advances in technology have assisted visually and hearing-impaired students, provided mobility for physically impaired students, and offered augmented communication tools to those who lack the ability to communicate. There are many new technology tools that offer students with learning disabilities opportunities for extra practice as well as opportunities to support the development of higher-order thinking skills. Technology also offers teachers options in providing accelerated instruction for gifted and talented students.