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    #205663 - 11/12/14 05:56 PM Ability Grouping Research
    mnmom23 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/11/09
    Posts: 701
    I know this has been discussed here before but I can't seem to find it. Could someone please point me to some good articles in support of ability grouping for *both* advanced learners and lower-ability learners?

    Thanks so much!
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    #206981 - 12/04/14 04:06 PM Re: Ability Grouping Research [Re: mnmom23]
    puffin Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/11/12
    Posts: 2035
    I keep hoping someone will post so I am bumping you.

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    #207054 - 12/06/14 07:54 AM Re: Ability Grouping Research [Re: mnmom23]
    Ametrine Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/27/11
    Posts: 741
    For gifted kids, they need rate and level accommodation; something not discussed much when speaking only of ability grouping. The same could be said of the slowest learners.

    Did you see the op-ed Davidson Twitter recently had on this debate in Portland, OR area schools?

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    #207095 - 12/07/14 10:42 AM Re: Ability Grouping Research [Re: mnmom23]
    Tigerle Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/14
    Posts: 601
    Loc: Europe
    A short google brought up this:
    http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_199103_allan.pdf

    The major problems with the research in the field appear to be that a) gifted students were excluded from the research, but results are applied to them indiscriminately, and b) studies are not carefully differentiated as to whether different ability groups received ability-differentiated instruction including differentiated learning objectives, and those objectives could be adequately demonstrated by testing.
    Meaning that if you teach the same average ability curriculum and test for grade level standards, it doesn't matter whether you group or not : the high ability kids will do well, the average kids will do averagely and the low ability kids will struggle. In other words, does not really matter what kind of classroom your needs aren't met in.
    But if you have an ideological axe to grind, you can use those poorly designed studies to advocate against grouping for the gifted and the high ability kids (defined in this article at some point as the top 33 %, who I think deserve ability leveled instruction as well.


    Edited by Tigerle (12/07/14 10:45 AM)

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    #207097 - 12/07/14 12:17 PM Re: Ability Grouping Research [Re: mnmom23]
    BlessedMommy Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/20/13
    Posts: 105

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    #207098 - 12/07/14 01:04 PM Re: Ability Grouping Research [Re: mnmom23]
    Tigerle Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/14
    Posts: 601
    Loc: Europe
    Wanted to add that the bad rap of tracking IMO results from times and or places (Germany is one to this day) that put all the low ability kids in a separate school which then ends up concentrating all kids from risk situations, from low SES backgrounds, with parents living in poverty or being unemployed or uneducated, and second language learner and kids with mild learning disabilities and with major behavioral problems, every one else trying to get the hell out of those schools and make it into the medium ability schools. I think those kinds of schools concentrating a high risk population shouldn't exist, and they have been proven to make every kid even worse of than the would be, the concentration of risk factors obliterating any benefit the targeted instruction might bring.

    I am not sure about separate remedial classrooms either - makes it too easy for every one, teachers and kids alike, to just give up. Combining low and medium ability classrooms, instruction targeted at the middle, with lots of tutorial support for those who need it, push in, pull out, after school, whatever, might be best. It's sort of what Finland does, where the level of instruction is high enough that 50% of all kids will at some time have been in special ed. But they do not separate their high achievers and do admit that they often lack challenge.

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    #207100 - 12/07/14 01:24 PM Re: Ability Grouping Research [Re: mnmom23]
    Tigerle Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/14
    Posts: 601
    Loc: Europe
    http://www.casenex.com/casenet/pages/virtualLibrary/gridlock/groupmyths.html

    Another one that will keep you nodding your head. It is amazing that all this research is out there but the myths appear to be getting stronger.


    Edited by Tigerle (12/07/14 01:26 PM)

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    #207143 - 12/08/14 07:03 AM Re: Ability Grouping Research [Re: mnmom23]
    Tigerle Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/14
    Posts: 601
    Loc: Europe
    Hah, I think this would be what you are looking for - a bit old, but says exactly what you'd want it to:
    http://www.gifted.uconn.edu/nrcgt/reports/rbdm9204/rbdm9204.pdf

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    #207146 - 12/08/14 07:23 AM Re: Ability Grouping Research [Re: Tigerle]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2593
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: Tigerle
    Wanted to add that the bad rap of tracking IMO results from times and or places (Germany is one to this day) that put all the low ability kids in a separate school which then ends up concentrating all kids from risk situations, from low SES backgrounds, with parents living in poverty or being unemployed or uneducated, and second language learner and kids with mild learning disabilities and with major behavioral problems, every one else trying to get the hell out of those schools and make it into the medium ability schools. I think those kinds of schools concentrating a high risk population shouldn't exist, and they have been proven to make every kid even worse of than the would be, the concentration of risk factors obliterating any benefit the targeted instruction might bring.

    But won't parents who are able to avoid sending their children to schools with lots of at-risk children? Germany has separate schools based on ability. The U.S. segregates based on house prices.

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    #207150 - 12/08/14 09:16 AM Re: Ability Grouping Research [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4230
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    The U.S. segregates based on house prices.
    To the degree that public schools may be funded by local property taxes, some may hold your view. However:
    1) state and federal funding formulas work to mitigate this effect in redistributing funds.
    2) students may enroll in public schools outside the district in which they reside.
    3) families may choose to enroll their students in a variety of alternative schools utilizing public funding, such as charter/choice/voucher schools.
    4) house prices may fluctuate greatly based on supply/demand, and many neighborhoods contain a mix of residential properties from starter homes to mansions. Both home price and availability may be based strongly on the economy, specifically the availability of local employment.

    To stay on topic, many thanks to those who posted links, especially Tigerle for posting these links:

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    #207154 - 12/08/14 09:40 AM Re: Ability Grouping Research [Re: indigo]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2593
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: indigo
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    The U.S. segregates based on house prices.
    To the degree that public schools may be funded by local property taxes, some may hold your view. However:

    The method of school funding is almost irrelevant. I'm saying that many affluent parents want their children to attend school with other children predominantly of the same class, even if the per-student funding at the school is only average.

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    #207162 - 12/08/14 10:43 AM Re: Ability Grouping Research [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4230
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    Originally Posted By: indigo
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    The U.S. segregates based on house prices.
    To the degree that public schools may be funded by local property taxes, some may hold your view. However:
    The method of school funding is almost irrelevant. I'm saying that many affluent parents want their children to attend school with other children predominantly of the same class, even if the per-student funding at the school is only average.
    While the liberty of U.S. citizens is often enjoyed as pursuit of the American Dream of upward mobility, financial security, and a good education, there may be, as you suggest, an affluent minority which sees itself as a socially distinct caste; Some may say this is quite different than your earlier assertion that the U.S. segregates based on house prices.

    Meanwhile many may see your statements as an attempt to hijack the thread and veer off-topic from Ability Grouping Research.

    Enough ability grouping research exits to take note that it is not beyond the purview of public schools to offer flexible cluster grouping by ability, readiness, and pacing for advanced academic curriculum.

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    #207176 - 12/08/14 11:39 AM Re: Ability Grouping Research [Re: mnmom23]
    madeinuk Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/18/13
    Posts: 1448
    Loc: NJ
    Quote:

    Meanwhile many may see your statements as an attempt to hijack the thread and veer off-topic from Ability Grouping Research.


    While some may do that, my read on his comments is that Bostonian is merely pointing out that the system is so broken that parents are grouping by ability into neighborhoods to ensure that their progeny are schooled among peers.
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    #207179 - 12/08/14 11:46 AM Re: Ability Grouping Research [Re: madeinuk]
    Dude Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/11
    Posts: 2856
    Originally Posted By: madeinuk
    Quote:

    Meanwhile many may see your statements as an attempt to hijack the thread and veer off-topic from Ability Grouping Research.


    While some may do that, my read on his comments is that Bostonian is merely pointing out that the system is so broken that parents are grouping by ability into neighborhoods to ensure that their progeny are schooled among peers.


    He didn't say they're grouping by ability, he said they're grouping by wealth.

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    #207180 - 12/08/14 11:51 AM Re: Ability Grouping Research [Re: madeinuk]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2593
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: madeinuk
    Quote:

    Meanwhile many may see your statements as an attempt to hijack the thread and veer off-topic from Ability Grouping Research.


    While some may do that, my read on his comments is that Bostonian is merely pointing out that the system is so broken that parents are grouping by ability into neighborhoods to ensure that their progeny are schooled among peers.

    Ability grouping within schools is criticized because high-SES children are over-represented in the top track and low-SES children in the bottom one. My point is that if you try to put all the children together to achieve equity, and if the high-ability learn little in the untracked classes, the high-ability children with affluent parents will leave. A static analysis will conclude that ability grouping increases segregation by SES, but ability grouping may lead to less segregation by SES than untracking when you account for the responses of parents.

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    #207182 - 12/08/14 12:02 PM Re: Ability Grouping Research [Re: Dude]
    madeinuk Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/18/13
    Posts: 1448
    Loc: NJ
    Originally Posted By: Dude
    [quote=madeinuk][quote]
    He didn't say they're grouping by ability, he said they're grouping by wealth.


    I stand corrected - he did not say that they are grouping by ability. My bad. They are grouping by achievement not ability.

    BTW, please don't confuse earned high income with wealth. The wealthy don't need a pay cheque.


    Edited by madeinuk (12/08/14 12:04 PM)
    _________________________
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    #207186 - 12/08/14 12:39 PM Re: Ability Grouping Research [Re: Bostonian]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3289
    Loc: California
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    Ability grouping within schools is criticized because high-SES children are over-represented in the top track and low-SES children in the bottom one. My point is that if you try to put all the children together to achieve equity, and if the high-ability learn little in the untracked classes, the high-ability children with affluent parents will leave. A static analysis will conclude that ability grouping increases segregation by SES, but ability grouping may lead to less segregation by SES than untracking when you account for the responses of parents.


    This is true, and it's exactly what we did. My eldest sister did the same thing after trying a public kindergarten. Our local elementary schools are against acceleration and the principals I talked to over the years made that point crystal clear ("Why do you want a grade skip? Do you let your son play outside?").

    My two youngest (6th/7th) are in private schools. My eldest (11th grade) attends a program run by the public schools. He attends it because it's a separate program at a community college that's run by two gifties. It's a wonderful program, and in part, the success is due to its distance from the other schools.

    The public schools are presumably unaware of what they lose when they drive away affluent and/or intelligent parents. Or they don't care. I don't know.



    Edited by Val (12/08/14 12:42 PM)

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    #207190 - 12/08/14 01:47 PM Re: Ability Grouping Research [Re: madeinuk]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4230
    Originally Posted By: madeinuk
    Originally Posted By: Dude

    He didn't say they're grouping by ability, he said they're grouping by wealth.


    I stand corrected - he did not say that they are grouping by ability. My bad. They are grouping by achievement not ability.
    He didn't say they are grouping by ability or achievement, he said the affluent are grouping by perceived "class".

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    #207192 - 12/08/14 02:11 PM Re: Ability Grouping Research [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4230
    Originally Posted By: madeinuk
    parents are grouping by ability into neighborhoods to ensure that their progeny are schooled among peers.
    Do you have a neighborhood public school which contains strictly gifted, to use as an exemplar? To the degree that neighborhood public schools tend to contain a mix of abilities, some may say your theory that "parents are grouping by ability into neighborhoods" is unfounded, may not be accurate, and is not part of Ability Grouping Research.

    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    Ability grouping within schools is criticized because high-SES children are over-represented in the top track and low-SES children in the bottom one.
    The research explains the differences and distinctions between ability grouping and tracking; The terms are not interchangeable.

    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    My point is that if you try to put all the children together to achieve equity, and if the high-ability learn little in the untracked classes, the high-ability children with affluent parents will leave.
    While I agree that inclusive classrooms which lead to underachievement of gifted pupils may cause families who have other options to leave, as shared in this earlier post upthread, exercising options to leave does not necessarily equate to wealth. Families of every SES may strive to have their child/ren's educational needs met.

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    #207305 - 12/09/14 08:02 AM Re: Ability Grouping Research [Re: mnmom23]
    mecreature Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/14/11
    Posts: 355
    Our family is far from well off or wealthy. Our public school had ability grouping and was all for skipping and we still left for a private school for gifted.

    sorry i provided no research but just wanted to add


    Edited by mecreature (12/09/14 08:04 AM)

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    #207328 - 12/09/14 08:54 AM Re: Ability Grouping Research [Re: mecreature]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4230
    Some may say personal anecdotes are great, to the degree we can acknowledge the difference/distinction between this anecdotal evidence (our lived experiences), and empirical evidence (research studies). Not to say that research is necessarily more accurate...

    Some families may have children in schools which are participating in grant-funded research, such as the experiments described in links upthread:
    - gifted students may be in inclusive classrooms OR grouped by ability BUT receive the same curriculum, pacing, and measurement of growth regardless of group (with a measurement ceiling low enough to cause the reported measurement of the gifted students to be equal to the growth of the student body as a whole)

    Additionally, reported experiences include anecdotes such as:
    - gifted students may not be told test/quiz/assessment dates, while students in support programs may receive the dates of upcoming tests/quizzes/assessments, and also study guides for review of material to be covered by a test/quiz/assessment, a review session during the support class, plus be furnished with notes from text materials and lectures.
    - gifted students may receive "differentiation" in the form of more busy work to do, rather than in curriculum content, pacing, and instruction in their zone of proximal development (ZPD). The new buzzword of "depth" may often be a euphemism for busywork.

    When reading research, it may be important to analyze the process as well as the results. Some may find the process constructed to give specific results. When it comes to closing gaps, many have experienced that the gaps may not be closed entirely by bringing up the growth/achievement/performance students at the bottom, but also by practicing strategies which limit the growth/achievement/performance of the students at the top.

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    #207430 - 12/09/14 11:41 PM Re: Ability Grouping Research [Re: Bostonian]
    Tigerle Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/14
    Posts: 601
    Loc: Europe
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    Originally Posted By: Tigerle
    Wanted to add that the bad rap of tracking IMO results from times and or places (Germany is one to this day) that put all the low ability kids in a separate school which then ends up concentrating all kids from risk situations, from low SES backgrounds, with parents living in poverty or being unemployed or uneducated, and second language learner and kids with mild learning disabilities and with major behavioral problems, every one else trying to get the hell out of those schools and make it into the medium ability schools. I think those kinds of schools concentrating a high risk population shouldn't exist, and they have been proven to make every kid even worse of than the would be, the concentration of risk factors obliterating any benefit the targeted instruction might bring.

    But won't parents who are able to avoid sending their children to schools with lots of at-risk children? Germany has separate schools based on ability. The U.S. segregates based on house prices.

    Yes, of course that is what parents do, and they exert political pressure to water down requirements at the high ability (I really should call lit high achievement, there is no testing, but the decision is made either on fourth grade GPA or the teachers gut feeling or both). The pressure has resulted in some states high achievement track schools ending up with 60% of the age cohort and the low achievement track with 10 to 15%, with low track teachers complaining that education at these schools has become impossible.

    It also has to be noted that the students in states who have mostly resisted that pressure and kept up rigorous entrance requirements by GPA so that the distribution is still pretty much equal thirds have achieved results in standardized tests (forced on them mostly by international surveys such as the OECD's PISA, they simply didn't exist before) that place them ahead of the students in "softer" states by about two years (controlled for ability, so it must be the instruction).

    The tests have also shown though that the more rigorous the entrance requirements, the stronger the correlation with SES, in the "soft" states with the large percentages in hi achievement track it virtually disappears for those tracks (I am sure there is a perfect correlation with the low achievement track intake, though.

    But parents do not push for entry into high achievement track for the high educational standards - you should hear the whining. They want the prestige, they want their kids to stay away from the riff raff, but they don't want the pressure if the kids having to work for it.
    And now the political pressure is on to do away with tracks once and for all, because of equity, with differentiation provided by peer tutoring.
    It's all very frustrating if you have a gifted high achiever.


    Edited by Tigerle (12/09/14 11:42 PM)

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    #207461 - 12/10/14 02:11 AM Re: Ability Grouping Research [Re: Bostonian]
    Tigerle Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/14
    Posts: 601
    Loc: Europe
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    Originally Posted By: madeinuk
    Quote:

    Meanwhile many may see your statements as an attempt to hijack the thread and veer off-topic from Ability Grouping Research.


    While some may do that, my read on his comments is that Bostonian is merely pointing out that the system is so broken that parents are grouping by ability into neighborhoods to ensure that their progeny are schooled among peers.

    Ability grouping within schools is criticized because high-SES children are over-represented in the top track and low-SES children in the bottom one. My point is that if you try to put all the children together to achieve equity, and if the high-ability learn little in the untracked classes, the high-ability children with affluent parents will leave. A static analysis will conclude that ability grouping increases segregation by SES, but ability grouping may lead to less segregation by SES than untracking when you account for the responses of parents.


    The British term for this is "selection by postcode". From what I read, it does not really lead to perfect SES segregation because even an income above the median may not give you access to the most coveted neighbourhood school or really expensive private alternatives. Ability tracking actually is a better bet if you wish your children to remain in a selective SES environment - statistically, of course, you may always get the outlier high ability kid from a low SES family who is screwed by selection by postcode, or the real dumb high SES kid who profits from it, but that is all anecdotal.

    It has been my experience that most parents care about their children's learning only insofar as it provides access to subsequent educational options, ie high achiever or gifted programming, AP classes, college entrance etc., and strive for high SES classrooms not for the academic rigour, but for the social environment - after all, high expectations make for a lot of work and maybe lower grades. It is different for parents of HG+ children who NEED to learn for themselves. And the reason schools don't care about keeping parents like us in the system is that there are simply so few of us that we aren't a critical mass, and disrupt the comfortable system of teaching an average curriculum to the above average and bright but not gifted kids.


    Edited by Tigerle (12/10/14 02:12 AM)

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