The INCLUD-ED project (2006-2011), which had the objective of distinguishing concrete actions that contribute to the success of education and social inclusion, identified three different forms of classroom organization:
All participants are in the same classroom with one teacher. The participant profiles are diverse - different backgrounds, cultures, learning levels, etc. - but teaching is mostly based on an individualized attention from the teacher to the participant. The teacher can hardly attend to the needs of all participants. If the group is big, the teacher can’t solve all the doubts and answer all the questions they have. The ones who learn faster will eventually get bored because the rhythm of the class is too slow for them while those with more difficulties might fall behind if the speed is too fast. Therefore, this model of education does not respond to the needs of all participants.
As a result of the problems with the mixture model, some countries have been organizing classes in homogenous groups by dividing the participants in different classes or groups according to their learning levels. They might be in the same classroom but they have different curricula and different learning expectations. Segregating participants according to their learning level increases the differences between them, which has a negative impact on low-achieving students but also on those who learn faster.
Different types of inclusive education have been identified in the INCLUD-ED project, all of them working with heterogeneous groups as a key factor. Since the participants in a group are diverse in learning levels, learning rhythms and background, they all have different capacities and can help each other understand tasks from different points of view. Research has proven that the presence of students with diverse characteristics in the classroom provokes interactions that are beneficial for a faster and better learning for everyone. Therefore, what characterizes the inclusive model is that it responds to the needs of all participants where they can all achieve the same level of knowledge, with maximum expectations for all. One of these inclusive ways of organizing the classrooms is that of interactive groups.