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    #245576 - 05/24/19 02:54 PM District gifted program design
    stargazer15 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 03/13/18
    Posts: 4
    Our district is reconsidering the design of its gifted program, looking at options including differentiation within integrated classrooms, pull-out models, and self-contained gifted classrooms. The current model is a mix of those (varying by grade), but there is a push toward more integrated classrooms, with the cited reasons being improved equity and access, reduced elitism, lower stress, better differentiation for all students, opportunities for age group peers to interact, and opportunities for students to work and interact with students of all abilities. Math detracking in San Francisco has been mentioned as one example to emulate.

    I am looking for resources (preferably research) on models have been tried, and how effective they have been at meeting the needs of gifted students and the rest of the student population. As well as must-have characteristics within each of those models.

    Some posts and other resources that I have found helpful so far are:
    What A Child Doesn't Learn
    A Nation Empowered (and A Nation Deceived)
    NAGC Gifted Education Strategies

    #245597 - 05/29/19 01:09 AM Re: District gifted program design [Re: stargazer15]
    indigo Offline

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4227
    Unfortunately, the push for changing the gifted programming and services at your school to emulate SFUSD math detracking may be rooted in a desire to achieve equal outcomes for all pupils... which is often accomplished by capping the growth of students at the top.

    Gifted programming & services designed to meet the varied academic needs of pupils will follow a philosophy of matching the program to the child, rather than matching the child to the program. Practicality necessitates grouping students. Rather than batching students by chronological age, cluster grouping by readiness and ability is an approach backed by research, including:
    2- web search on Gentry Total School Cluster Grouping TSCG (one current link is,
    4- book: Total School Cluster Grouping (TSCG), 2nd ed, 2014, Gentry.
    5- book: School Cluster Grouping Model (SCGM), 2008, Winebrenner/Brulles.
    6- NAGC Position Paper on Grouping of Students, March 2009

    The following may also be of interest:
    NAGC PowerPoint - Identifying and Serving Gifted Students of Poverty - Tamra Stambaugh, PhD

    #245599 - 05/29/19 03:44 AM Re: District gifted program design [Re: stargazer15]
    Platypus101 Online   content

    Registered: 10/01/14
    Posts: 665
    Loc: Canada
    There's tons of research out there on grouping and tracking and gifted models, etc, though unfortunately most of it is pretty limited and/ or poor quality, which makes it easy to abuse. Stick with systematic reviews as much as you can, though even those tend to be pretty political, especially in the fraught world of grouping and de-tracking. Here's one of the better (though not terribly recent) ones:

    Overall, what all of the research tends to say, regardless of ostensible topic, is that kids learn better when provided the right material in the right way (go figure). The delivery model doesn't matter as much for academics, as long as this is being achieved. Not surprisingly, however, the more integrated the model, the more diverse the class needs are and the harder the logistics of actually getting each kid the right material. Simply put, which kid gets more time with the material and teaching they need: the one in the class of 20 kids with similar needs, or the one in the class of 20 kids who each have different needs? Pity the poor teacher!

    I have yet to read a single study of differentiation that concludes 'differentiation works' by assessing a teacher actually differentiating. Instead, they all say the above - kids learn best when you teach them in their ZPD - and since that's what differentiation does, it works.

    When it comes to understanding math de-tracking and what actually does and doesn't help students, one of the best papers I have ever seen takes a thoughtful look at the outcomes of 'Algebra for All' and 'Double-Dose Algebra'. I consider it must-read for any district considering de-tracking:

    With respect to delivery models, you may find this lit review undertaken for one of our school boards helpful (starts page 9). It also does an interesting job of untangling why so much lit on gifted psychosocial outcomes seems contradictory, and concludes that it the lit is actually fairly consistent *if* you control for delivery model. For example, many poor outcomes for gifted students (such as stigma or mental health issues) are found in students in more integrated models, and are reduced when students spend more time with peers with similar learning needs.

    #245676 - 06/11/19 01:58 PM Re: District gifted program design [Re: stargazer15]
    indigo Offline

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4227
    The articles on research studies, discussed in this recent thread, may be of interest in designing your gifted program.

    #245677 - 06/12/19 03:04 AM Re: District gifted program design [Re: stargazer15]
    puffin Offline

    Registered: 12/11/12
    Posts: 2035
    The problem is it doesn't matter how much research you present or how good it is. If the people in charge have bought into the "all children do better in mixed classrooms", "all children are gifted" or whatever they will be unshakeable. The ones that aren't will keep quiet and toe the line.

    #245678 - 06/12/19 03:09 AM Re: District gifted program design [Re: stargazer15]
    puffin Offline

    Registered: 12/11/12
    Posts: 2035
    My favourite year was when they put the 3 identified gifted kids in the same class then had pull out classes where each teacher could send 2 kids.

    #245679 - 06/12/19 04:35 AM Re: District gifted program design [Re: puffin]
    indigo Offline

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4227
    Wonderful posts as usual, puffin. smile

    Yes, unfortunately, teachers and administrators frequently do ignore evidence-based and researched solutions.

    It is important for parents to be aware of both:
    - what is indicated by the body of research,
    - a school's likely refusal to act accordingly.

    Some parents may mistakenly have the initial impression that if their child is identified for gifted services, there is a smooth path for the child's education. In reality it is not so! Reality is closer to: welcome to the path of woe and eternal advocacy. In my observation and experience, parents are better equipped for that path if they understand:
    - the obstacles which exist,
    - the problem is the system (not the parents or the child),
    - they are not alone.

    I believe that currently the biggest problem with the US government's public school educational system is the social engineering experiment being done on children with the aim of being able to report equal outcomes amongst all pupils. The extensive data collection to measure "progress" toward this goal of equal outcomes is usurping lifelong privacy, and thereby evaporating personal freedom and liberty.


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