- This study proposed to evaluate current practices for ability
placement of pupils entering seventh grade English, social studies, and
arithmetic classes in a selected junior high school of the Santa Monica
(California) Unified School District.
Hypotheses to be tested were: (1) The effectiveness of placement practices at the seventh grade level can be predicted in one
junior high school. (Z) A given formula for predicting success of
placement practices at the seventh grade level in one junior high
school, when supplemented by substantiating evidence from recognized
authorities in this area of investigation, can be used as an approach
to general evaluative procedures in other junior high schools. The statistical analysis for Hypothesis (1) employed the method
of multiple regression. Sixth grade test scores in I. Q. , reading,
language, work study, and arithmetic were correlated with the grades
earned by 537 pupils in seventh grade English, social studies, and
arithmetic--the three basic subjects required in the selected school.
School years examined were 1960-61 and 1961-62.
The three basic subjects were established as dependent variables; the test scores and marks in each of the basic subjects during
sixth grade, as independent variables. It was found that sixth grade
marks in social studies and arithmetic are most useful in predicting
the three dependent variable, but that I. Q. , reading comprehension,
and arithmetic problem-solving also contribute significantly to an
over-all predictive formula.
Hypothesis (1) was accepted on the basis of the findings, al
though each standard error of the above-named independent variables
was greater than half a grade point indicating a substantial error for
the most effective ability grouping. Hypothesis (2) was rejected for
lack of further outside information to substantiate any inference drawn
from the statistical findings. Certain criteria taken from the literature were, however, found to be operative in the selected junior high
1. The ability grouping program is grounded upon a basic
philosophy of education and governed by definite policies on grading
2. Provisions for modification of the curriculum and of in
structional methods and materials, as well as for program flexibility
and evaluation, are consonant with best practices.
One conclusion, reached independently from observation of
current practices, was that administering standardized tests at the
sixth grade level for the sectioning of seventh grade pupils does not
permit the correlation of seventh grade scores with seventh grade
Conclusions from the statistical analysis were:
1. I. Q. , reading comprehension, and arithmetic problem-solving
are significant for predicting successful seventh grade placement when combined in a multiple regression analysis.
2. Predicting successful placement in seventh grade English,
social studies, and arithmetic groups from marks made in sixth
grade social studies and arithmetic provide lower standard errors of
estimate than do predictions from the I. Q. , reading comprehension,
and arithmetic problem-solving scores. There is therefore a positive
significant relationship between marks made in sixth grade social
studies and arithmetic and the English-social studies-arithmetic marks in seventh grade.
It is recommended:
1. That junior high school administrators and/or counselors
familiarize themselves with the curriculum and grading policies of
feeder elementary schools so that there will be better vertical articulation between both levels of education.
2. That standardized tests be given at the end of the sixth
grade so that scores may have greater validity in relation to seventh
grade ability grouping.
3. That marks made in sixth grade social studies and arith
metic be considered when grouping pupils in seventh grade English,
social studies, and arithmetic classes.