Students do better in vertical classes, not grouped by age: planning office

Exams (Photo: Narek75/Wikimedia Commons). (Exams (Photo: Narek75/Wikimedia Commons))

Children perform better in classes with other students on their same learning level, rather than just by age, according to a study the Central Planning Bureau published on Monday, NOS reports.

According to the study, students grouped by learning level scored 10 percent better on the CITO-tests than classes where this was not the case. Organizing classes by learning ability can be very beneficial, both to gifted students and students who are struggling.

"Children with poorer learning ability, compare themselves to better classmates. But they perform even better in a class with students of their own level" Bas ter Weel of the CPB said to the broadcaster. "When a teacher asks a question in class, a good student is always quick to give the answer. And then a poor student does not get a chance."

Students also do better in smaller classes and when they have teachers with good social skills. "Children learn best from an enthusiastic teacher with whom they click." Ter Weel said. "We all remember that one teacher with whom we got along so well." The study also found that having a teacher with a master's degree does no automatically mean higher marks for students.

The CPB concludes that education in the Netherlands is relatively good, but offers 60 recommendations on how to make it even better. "The Netherlands stands high in many international lists", Ter Weel said. "But if we pay more attention to the social aspects of teaching, we can take big steps."