Date of Conferral







Reba Glidewell


Researchers have examined the relationship between ability grouping and academic self-concept in math, science, and English, and have found varying results. However, previous studies have not examined the relationship between ability grouping and academic self-concept for the subject of Talmud. Middle school presents a unique opportunity to examine this relationship because middle school is when both ability grouping for Talmud and the study of Talmud begin. The purpose of this correlational study was to assess the relationship between ability grouping and the academic self-concept for Talmud in middle school students. The predictive relationship among individual academic achievement, school average achievement, and academic self-concept for Talmud was also examined. Two-hundred ninety-three 6th and 7th graders from single-gender, traditional Jewish Orthodox boy schools in a suburb of New York City completed a self-report questionnaire measuring academic self-concept for Talmud. The collected data were analyzed using analysis of variance and multiple regression analyses. According to the results of the study, students placed in the lower-ability grouping had a statistically significant lower academic self-concept for Talmud than did those in the middle- and higher-ability grouping. In addition, individual academic achievement was a predictive factor of academic self-concept for Talmud whereas school average achievement was not found to be a predictive factor in this particular study. By understanding the impact of ability grouping, school administrators can develop policies for class placement and can provide additional care to balance the effects of ability grouping for those middle school student negatively affected by placement.