HTM (Heterogeneous Teaching of Mathematics) (since 2023, Funded by the Center for the Study of Pedagogy: Research-Practice Partnerships at the Ben Gurion University of Negev)
Ability grouping, in which students are sorted by perceived ability level, is common in many countries, including Israel, despite extensive research indicating that this approach can exacerbate educational and social disparities. Sustainable pedagogical change towards teaching mathematics in heterogeneous classes has proven to be extremely challenging because it requires operation at several levels: changing teacher, student, and community beliefs about the notions of achievement, ability and fixed vs. growth mindset, reshaping curriculum and instructional practices to accommodate diverse styles of participating in the learning of mathematics, and creating educational resources and organizational structures, including academic support. The proposed project explores the idea that a research-practice partnership approach can address these challenges and successfully support a systemic move from tracked to ambitious heterogeneous teaching of mathematics in middle school that can be sustained and beneficial for all students, regardless of their social background and previous academic achievement. The partnership involves researchers from the sociology of education (Ben Gurion University of Negev), teacher professional learning and mathematics education (WIS), as well as an educational organization that manages several public secondary schools in Israel (Branco Weiss Institute). Together, we intend to explore desirable pedagogical changes in their complexity, focusing on theoretical and practical questions concomitantly important for teachers, researchers, parents, administrators, and policymakers.