Ability grouping is a common practice in many mathematics classrooms. Its negative effects on students have been documented in research spanning two decades or more, and yet it is still widely implemented'in some countries even mandated. Using data from interviews with Australian students in the compulsory years of secondary schooling (14-16 year-olds), and using the theoretical tools offered by Bourdieu, I argue that the objective practices of school mathematics create an environment through which students internalize the practices to develop a sense of self, a habitus. This habitus potentially is more or less empowering, depending on the experiences within these streamed settings.
Zevenbergen, R. (2005). The construction of a mathematical habitus: Implications of ability grouping in the middle years. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 37(5), 607-619. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220270500038495