Multi level classrooms in French secondary schools : the perverse effects of a supposedly equalitarian practice
Multi-level classrooms in French secondary schools : the perverse effects of a supposedly equalitarian practice
This text aims to evaluate the frequency and the effects of multi-level classrooms. It is based on data collected by the DEP (ministry of Education department working on future evaluation) in French secondary schools between 1989 and 1992. The first objective is to put this concept into operation and then generate an estimation (stating its arbitrary characteristic) of the percentage of secondary schools which form this type of classroom in the first year (age 11). The article then looks into the role played by grouping pupils according to the language studied to form the multi-level classes. Finally, a modelled analysis of the effects of the type of grouping on the academic progress of pupils during the first two years at secondary school is given, along with an evaluation of this contextual factor on schooling advice at the end of the second year. This analysis shows that multi-level classes (or similar systems, such as the three-years cycle in France), in fact, at this stage in education, tend to accentuate inequality between pupils.