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    #246880 - 02/27/20 11:22 PM Exceptionally gifted children by Miraca Gross
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1648
    Loc: Australia
    I am making my way through this book at the moment and one of the questions on my mind is whether there is any research or literature on this population refuting Dr Gross's findings/conclusions? Or strongly opposing views in a reputable published form? I have tried searching but I am not having much success at finding anything, I am concerned that this might reflect my inexperience at finding answering/critiquing research rather than indicating that there is nothing to find.

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    #246881 - 02/28/20 01:02 AM Re: Exceptionally gifted children by Miraca Gross [Re: MumOfThree]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4293
    I am not aware of research which counters this but will share a link to a summary found on the Davidson Database, for any who may be interested in a "Cliff's Notes" or "Spark Notes" quick overview for the work and conclusions of Miraca Gross: Exceptionally Gifted Children: Long-Term Outcomes of Academic Acceleration and Nonacceleration

    A few brief excerpts
    Surprisingly, given the wariness with which Australian teachers regard acceleration, 17 of the 60 young people were radically accelerated. None has regrets. Indeed, several say they would probably have preferred to accelerate still further or to have started earlier. Lubinski, Webb, Morelock, and Benbow (2001) report similar findings from a study of profoundly gifted SMPY accelerands.
    ...
    In every case, the radical accelerands have been able to form warm, lasting, and deep friendships. They attribute this to the fact that their schools placed them, quite early, with older students to whom they tended to gravitate in any case. Those who experienced social isolation earlier say it disappeared after the first grade skip.
    ...
    The five young people who accelerated by 2 years report as much, or almost as much, personal satisfaction with their education as do the radical accelerands although, like the radical accelerands, the majority say they would have liked to have been accelerated further.
    ...
    However, those who were retained with age peers until fourth grade or later tend to find socializing difficult. Exceptionally and profoundly gifted students should have their first acceleration in the early years of school before they experience the social rejection that seems to be a significant risk for such students retained in mixed-ability classes. The skills of friendship building are first learned in the early years of school, and children who are rejected by their peers may miss out on these early and important lessons in forming relationships.
    ...
    The five young people who were permitted a single grade advancement are not deeply satisfied with their education. Their school experience has not been happy, and they would have dearly loved to have been accelerated further. After the euphoria of having new, challenging work, school became just as boring as it had been before the acceleration.
    ...
    The remaining 33 young people were retained, for the duration of their schooling, in a lockstep curriculum with age peers in what is euphemistically termed the “inclusion” classroom. The last thing they felt, as children or adolescents, was “included.” With few exceptions, they have very jaded views of their education. Two dropped out of high school and a number have dropped out of university. Several more have had ongoing difficulties at university, not because of lack of ability but because they have found it difficult to commit to undergraduate study that is less than stimulating. These young people had consoled themselves through the wilderness years of undemanding and repetitive school curriculum with the promise that university would be different—exciting, intellectually rigorous, vibrant—and when it was not, as the first year of university often is not, it seemed to be the last straw.

    Some have begun to seriously doubt that they are, indeed, highly gifted. The impostor syndrome is readily validated with gifted students if they are given only work that does not require them to strive for success. It is difficult to maintain the belief that one can meet and overcome challenges if one never has the opportunity to test oneself.

    Several of the nonaccelerands have serious and ongoing problems with social relationships. These young people find it very difficult to sustain friendships because having been, to a large extent, socially isolated at school, they have had much less practice in their formative years in developing and maintaining social relationships.

    Possibly also of interest:
    - Forum discussion threads on acceleration pros and cons
    - Forum discussion thread on what children don't learn if not provided with appropriate academic challenge which requires effort
    - Article excerpt: children need academic/intellectual peers
    - book: Exceptionally Gifted Children 2nd Edition , Miraca Gross (2004), as seen on Amazon, which offers a "Look Inside" feature

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    #246884 - 02/28/20 07:01 AM Re: Exceptionally gifted children by Miraca Gross [Re: MumOfThree]
    Alannc44 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 03/30/18
    Posts: 38
    Wonderful book. I'm currently finishing it up myself. It's too bad the Binet LM apparently has lost its integrity. (This was the test used on the Australian kids).

    The argument that it being "ratio" based instead of "deviation" based as a reason it shouldn't be used kind of bothers me when I read about the advantages of grade acceleration.

    The recent idea of "project-based" learning is cool and seems to be the latest fad in schools, but come on, when your seven year old does her best friends' homework for the fun of it, when those best friends are two grades ahead, then age/ratio scores should have a lot more weight than they currently do. We've thrown the baby out with the bath water.


    Edited by Alannc44 (02/28/20 07:58 AM)
    Edit Reason: Clumsy sentences

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    #246885 - 02/28/20 12:53 PM Re: Exceptionally gifted children by Miraca Gross [Re: MumOfThree]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3685
    Among the challenges with (age) ratio IQs is the non-linear nature of development, which not only takes place at different paces at different ages, but also isn't uniformly positive. What we know about aspects of cognitive development is that certain elements (e.g., working memory, fluid reasoning) increase in absolute terms until about age 23 (or so), and then begin to decline, with a particularly notable drop-off at about 30 and then again about 40, followed by more gradual decline tracking senescence. At the same time, other aspects of cognition (e.g., crystallized intelligence/acquired knowledge & skills, wisdom/ability to integrate multiple experiences over time into one's thinking and decision-making) continue increasing over the lifetime (absent disease processes, such as dementia).

    The kind of cognition that both the SBLM and contemporary instruments assess is heavily weighted toward the aspects that begin to decline after early adulthood (since these instruments were all designed to align with academic planning of some sort). (Vocabulary and Information-type subtests do draw on crystallized intelligence.) So while there is certainly something to be said for a measure that gives a better idea of "cognitive age", the SBLM wasn't really that instrument (although admittedly better at that than most of what we currently use). This is why I typically suggest using academic placement tests in the actual curriculum being used by the school in question for academic acceleration decisions. Why use proxies or predictors for appropriate placement instead of the actual tasks designed for placement in that curriculum?
    _________________________
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    #246886 - 02/28/20 02:02 PM Re: Exceptionally gifted children by Miraca Gross [Re: Alannc44]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1648
    Loc: Australia
    Thank you all for your inputs. I realized, when re-reading, that my post perhaps seems like I was hoping that there was contradictory evidence. This is absolutely not the case, I am finding the book wonderful, particularly as we are in Australia. My concern was to make sure I did not find myself caught out, when talking to schools or professionals, by counter evidence I was not aware of.


    Originally Posted By: Alannc44
    The argument that it being "ratio" based instead of "deviation" based as a reason it shouldn't be used kind of bothers me when I read about the advantages of grade acceleration.


    I don't think that there is any need for the SBLM to be used in order to ascertain the usefulness of acceleration. As AEH points out, there are far better ways of determining appropriate placement. There is only the same problem that the children in this book faced: most schools are very resistant and are not making evidence based decisions.

    I personally know children who's schools have tested them up with nationally normed end of year tests up to 4yrs in advance of their grade, which they topped out. In one case the school called the parents in to tell them this, and then when the parents asked "Great! So what are we going to do?" the school said "Well nothing, we just thought you would like to know the outcome of testing..." The parents were of course already well aware that the child was learning nothing in school. And the school had just demonstrated that they knew this too, but did not consider this a cause to DO anything for the child. The problem is not lack of ways of assessing whether a child is advanced enough to be accelerated.

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    #246887 - 02/28/20 03:04 PM Re: Exceptionally gifted children by Miraca Gross [Re: MumOfThree]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4293
    Originally Posted By: MumOfThree
    The problem is not lack of ways of assessing whether a child is advanced enough to be accelerated.
    Agreed.
    The problem is also not a lack of funding, as acceleration is not costly, per the SMPY study.
    I believe the problem is desire to create equal outcomes for all (which is as ludicrous as expecting all students to maintain uniform growth in height, and equal height outcomes).

    post with article mentioning acceleration - SMPY study (2016):
    Acceleration is common in SMPY's elite 1-in-10,000 cohort, whose intellectual diversity and rapid pace of learning make them among the most challenging to educate. Advancing these students costs little or nothing, and in some cases may save schools money, says Lubinski. “These kids often don't need anything innovative or novel,” he says, “they just need earlier access to what's already available to older kids.”

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    #246888 - 02/28/20 04:03 PM Re: Exceptionally gifted children by Miraca Gross [Re: indigo]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1648
    Loc: Australia
    Originally Posted By: indigo

    I believe the problem is desire to create equal outcomes for all (which is as ludicrous as expecting all students to maintain uniform growth in height, and equal height outcomes).


    I absolutely agree. One of the most interesting aspects of reading this book has been how directly Miraca addresses (Australian) resistance to intellectual excellence. That ”elite” is pejorative with respect to intellectual capabilities but completely acceptable with regard to supporting our “elite” athletes. I know this about Australia, I grew up being told that I could not possibly be allowed to work ahead or extended, because that would be elitist, bad and wrong... but to see our whole historical context so clearly pulled together and described with such clarity is quite profound. And it is interesting to read Miraca’s observations about egalitarianism and giftedness in the context of the articles currently abounding regarding gifted programming in the USA.

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    #246889 - 02/28/20 04:31 PM Re: Exceptionally gifted children by Miraca Gross [Re: MumOfThree]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1648
    Loc: Australia
    Also, height is a wonderful example. My husband is beyond the 99.9th percentile for height. This provides a wonderful example to explain the bell curve to our children and that the world can be a very poor “fit” for someone off the tails of the curve, without implying any value about ones worth as a person.

    It’s true that people do have different ideas about whether it is more unfortunate to be tall or short (and there is gender bias in that too) and people make inappropriate comments and questions at both ends of the curve. But they don’t tend to believe you are more or less valuable as a person even if they do think your height is notable. And which ever end of the curve you are on, if you are unusual enough you still have trouble buying clothes, shoes and hats, and using cars/kitchens/doorways which are designed to the middle of the curve. The world isn’t very accommodating for people at the extremes of any trait.

    Interestingly there IS a history of trying to restrict height outcomes for women, which has mercifully ceased. Multiple women in my husband’s family were either medically treated to restrict their height, or tried dietary modification to restrict their own growth due to familial ingrained ideas about the appropriateness of women being that tall. Times have changed and culturally we now rightfully see this as outrageous. My own daughters are somewhat resentful that my genes have ruined their chances of being as tall as they could be (the ones that are fully grown, or almost grown are still 99th+).

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    #246890 - 02/29/20 05:36 AM Re: Exceptionally gifted children by Miraca Gross [Re: aeh]
    Alannc44 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 03/30/18
    Posts: 38
    Originally Posted By: aeh
    sthe SBLM wasn't really that instrument (although admittedly better at that than most of what we currently use). This is why I typically suggest using academic placement tests in the actual curriculum being used by the school in question for academic acceleration decisions. Why use proxies or predictors for appropriate placement instead of the actual tasks designed for placement in that curriculum?


    Aren't "academic placement tests in the actual curriculum" just achievement tests? My dd has a lot of potential, especially in the category of "fluid reasoning", but her school refuses to accelerate her. They're basing their opinion not to accelerate because "she's doing fine and up to level in her grade" based on their "curriculum". Never mind the fact that she's basically 1/10,000 in potential with the LM. You might deduce I'm in a current emotional tussle with this issue.

    I personally taught her last year how to add and subtract fractions because she loves to work out complex problems and WANTS to do this stuff before bedtime. This year, she won't even touch her homework because it's "baby stuff". And, it's true. In second grade they barely learn what a fraction is by the end of the year.

    If we're talking about potential versus achievement then how does a parent rage against the machine when something like fluid reasoning, or potential, isn't considered or weighed very heavily?

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    #246891 - 02/29/20 06:51 AM Re: Exceptionally gifted children by Miraca Gross [Re: MumOfThree]
    cricket3 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/09
    Posts: 672
    On this site, you will see (our used to see) lots of references to least-worst options. This is what people mean. For each kid and family it will be different, and will be a fluid process as well.

    For some, they opt to leave the system altogether, and some work out compromises of various sorts. Our kids stayed in the system, one that like yours, refuses any acceleration or effective differentiation (with a few great exceptions). They had some good peers, or near-peers at any rate, and found some relief through some extracurricular activities that were much more engaging than anything offered or available through the curriculum. It was a compromise, for sure, but one we made with awareness and thought, based on many factors. And I still have regrets and second thoughts, and probably always will. Because there is no perfect path, you do the best you can with what you have.

    Given all that, we are remarkably lucky overall. My DD is thriving in college, with a couple of wildly divergent career/life pathways ahead of her, and my DS is finishing his senior year of HS, with some exciting decisions and opportunities ahead of him. Education is a lifelong process, and they are ready to take over and continue the journey.

    Best wishes to you, and all the posters here- the struggle is real, but may you and your kids find their way. I hope it helps to know there are others who hear your frustrations and understand.


    Edited by cricket3 (02/29/20 07:15 AM)
    Edit Reason: Feeling reflective

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