Teachers say they are grouping students of similar abilities with each other inside classrooms and schools are clustering pupils with like interests together — a practice once frowned upon — according to a review of federal education surveys, ABC OTUS News reports. The Brookings Institution report released Monday shows a dramatic increase in both ability grouping and student tracking among fourth- and eighth-grade students. Those practices were once criticized as racist and faced strong opposition from groups as varied as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to the National Governors Association.

“Despite decades of vehement criticism and mountains of documents urging schools to abandon their use, tracking and ability grouping persist — and for the past decade or so, have thrived,” said Tom Loveless, a senior fellow at the centrist Brookings Institute’s Brown Center on Education Policy, who wrote the report…

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