Be aware of the advantages of different student pairings when creating group work environments, here are some pros to grouping students according to skill levels and some cons to grouping students across skill levels.

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  • Advantages of similar skill level groups:
    • It’s more likely students sitting next to each other are stuck on similar topics.
    • Once you help one student, you can make them responsible for helping the students around them.
    • Students sitting near them are likely to be able to use a similar language when discussing problems.
  • Difficulties of varying skill level groups:
    • Students can find it very challenging to collaborate when they have different skill levels.
      • It’d be ideal if the students who have already mastered a topic could support the students who hadn’t advanced as far in the material; however, this collaboration can be difficult to facilitate.