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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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