Heterogeneous students are a group of students with unique abilities sharing in a classroom. All the students stand to benefit from this kind of grouping, making it easy for the teacher as well.
The American education system for a long time was only in the heterogeneous form. Students of varying age groups and grades learn in the same classroom. But during the 19th century, then Secretary of education for Massachusetts, Horace Mann, changed the heterogeneous system. Impressed by the Prussian system of arranging students by grade level, he brought it into the American education system.
The increasing number of students because of the industrial revolution also helped this new grading system. The factory model of arranging a similarly skilled workforce in a particular place well suited the growing demand for education for all to adopt it. And for the past 150 years, it is in practice not only in the US but worldwide. Though there are many advantages of this grade level or homogenous students, it also has its drawbacks.
This grade level homogeneous education system lost the ability to look at the entire child in terms of aesthetic, cognitive, physical, and social learning. Long forgotten is the flexibility of adjusting academic literacy to meet the needs of individual students. The education system ignored reality and caring for the individual child, but only cared for the group’s general characteristics.
Heterogeneous students are now becoming the new norm after nearly one and half a century. Many educational experts focus on the multiple intelligences, particular learning styles, social and economic needs of individual students. They are now developing a heterogeneous grouping of students to create new means of assessing learning to benefit all.