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Dr. Kristina Doubet


Professor, College of Education

Department of Middle, Secondary, and

Mathematics Education

James Madison University, United States

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Kristi is a Professor in the Department of Middle, Secondary, and Mathematics Education at James Madison University, where she has received the College of Education’s “Distinguished Teacher Award,” “Madison Scholar Award,” and the "Sarah Miller Luck ’14, '15 Endowed Professorship for Excellence in Education." Kristi has partnered with over 80 schools, districts, and organizations around initiatives related to differentiated instruction, Understanding by Design, and classroom assessment. She has also engaged in sustained work with the Commonwealth of Virginia in pursuit of standards and assessment reform.  In addition to numerous journal articles and book chapters, she has co-authored the ASCD book Differentiation in Middle and High School: Strategies to Engage All Learners (with Jessica Hockett), the Corwin Press book The Differentiated Flipped Classroom (with Eric Carbaugh), and the AMLE book Smart in the Middle: Classrooms that Work for Bright Middle-Schoolers (with Carol Tomlinson).  Kristi taught secondary English and language arts for ten years, and has also served as an instructional coach in elementary and middle school classrooms.

Flexible Grouping:  An Oft-Neglected

Principle of Differentiation

Most educators’ conceptions of differentiation include facets such as conducting formative assessment, providing scaffolding, and offering choice. Less commonly considered is the principle of grouping flexibly. In a flexibly grouped classroom, students work in a variety of grouping configurations with the goals of building community, increasing collaborative capacity, spotlighting talent, and fostering equity. This session will explore the hallmarks of a flexibly grouped classroom and their alignment with the principles and practices of differentiation. It will also explain how flexible grouping can create culturally responsive classrooms that invite, support, and challenge all learners while preparing them for the kinds of interactions they will encounter in the workplace of the future.


Specifically, participants will explore…

  • …the need for and benefits of flexible grouping.

  • …a progression of flexible grouping, from beginning to expert.

  • …a tool for teacher- and principal-evaluation of grouping in the classroom.

How to Implement Flexible Grouping
in your School or Classroom

This session will build on the principles outlined in the keynote to examine the nuts and bolts of flexible grouping. Participants will examine a framework for introducing teachers to flexible grouping by offering “entry points” in one of five stages. Participants will also investigate specific grouping strategies that are characteristic of each stage. Next, participants will examine portraits of flexible grouping and evaluate their effectiveness in meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of all students.  Finally, participants will explore concrete strategies for implementing flexible grouping, including the following:

  • Approaches for ensuring students work in a variety of configurations to support different aspects of their learning.

  • Guidelines for crafting a good “fit” between learning purpose and grouping strategy.

  • Tools for involving students in self-and peer-assessment of their collaborations.

  • Strategies for organizing the classroom to facilitate flexible grouping.

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