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    Our "GT" program isn't really GT either. It's been approximately 15% of the grade for my kids although it may vary a bit either way for other grades based on how many students/classes for that grade. I do think that due to a somewhat high concentration of professionals that DS/DD's GT classes are probably in the 90 percentile.

    All things considered, I am actually okay with that many kids in the GT classes because there is strength in numbers. Since first grade and until this year (fifth grade), DS/DD has been in stand-alone GT classes. Due to implmentation of Common Core standards, the district/school has separated and evenly distributed all the GT students into mixed ability classrooms for reading/language arts but left the math GT group intact. Any student who tests at the appropriate level prior to each reading/language arts unit, including but not limited to the former GT students, gets put in the high level group in each classroom. The hope is to make the high level work available to all students but the reality has been that pretty much the same GT students qualify. The difference is that all students in each classroom share some instructional time and assignments as well. It's been particularly eye-opening for DS, who was shocked to see how some students stuggle and had to fend off one or two students who tried to beg/borrow/steal his papers so they can copy his answers.

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    I don't ever think there can be too many kids in a GT program. A GT program size should never be defined by a percentage or a cut off number of students, rather, the number of students should be defined by how many NEED the services offered within the program. That may mean adjusting the program to meet the needs of varying numbers of students from year to year yes.

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    Originally Posted by puffin
    Originally Posted by Percy
    Originally Posted by puffin
    Which just goes to show that some sort of ability grouping is required. The 85 percentile kids probably really do need more than they get in a class aimed at the bottom half. But they don't need the same as the 99+ percentile.

    This is the issue in my area. At the end of 2nd grade, about 20% of my DS's grade was IDed as gifted (there were about 20 kids total) for the 3rd grade. I don't live in an affluent, well educated area, but many of the kids who statistically would not be considered gifted - (ie would not be 130 or more (our state says top 98th percentile)are identified for the gifted program because they see putting them with the other 80% as a diservice to them. The interesting thing about the situation was they did a cluster grouping model for the gifted program but they took those 20 kids that they had over identified and put them in 3 different classrooms. We left that school before 3rd grade.

    It just makes no sense. They know or have a good idea who needs extension. Instead of putting them together to make it easier they put one in each class! Surely putting them at least in pairs wouldn't upset anyone.

    My kids' school admits to doing this. They take the top 3 kids from each grade and make sure they are all in a different classroom the next year (until they are forced by the district to do cluster grouping in third grade, but even then they don't necessarily put them in the same class). The goal is to make it "fair" to all the teachers. Another thing the principal is doing with grades that have the cluster group, is that he is putting the kids at the rock bottom in the same class, so that the ability levels average out to the same as the other classes. Maybe that's why the teacher has NO TIME to do anything with the cluster group. I think every single disruptive boy in the grade is in DD's class. She can only think of about 4 boys who are NOT disruptive.

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    Quote is from Blackcat, in the post above, but apparently I did it incorrectly and can't edit it now.

    Quote
    My kids' school admits to doing this. They take the top 3 kids from each grade and make sure they are all in a different classroom the next year (until they are forced by the district to do cluster grouping in third grade, but even then they don't necessarily put them in the same class). The goal is to make it "fair" to all the teachers. Another thing the principal is doing with grades that have the cluster group, is that he is putting the kids at the rock bottom in the same class, so that the ability levels average out to the same as the other classes. Maybe that's why the teacher has NO TIME to do anything with the cluster group.


    Our elementary did this, too. While the district is not huge, it was not until 7th and 8th grade that my DD met the few kids who are probably her nearest academic peers (and who have become good friends). A huge relief- we knew they were probably out there, but it seemed impossible that they had not crossed paths before this.

    When my DS was in the same school, a few years later, he was actually grouped in a class with several similar kids for a few years- this has made all the difference socially, as they have a tight circle of friends and find each other even though they are not always grouped in classes.


    Last edited by cricket3; 11/15/13 09:51 AM. Reason: Alerted by another poster that I have quoted improperly
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    Originally Posted by cricket3
    Originally Posted by blackcat
    My kids' school admits to doing this. They take the top 3 kids from each grade and make sure they are all in a different classroom the next year (until they are forced by the district to do cluster grouping in third grade, but even then they don't necessarily put them in the same class). The goal is to make it "fair" to all the teachers. Another thing the principal is doing with grades that have the cluster group, is that he is putting the kids at the rock bottom in the same class, so that the ability levels average out to the same as the other classes. Maybe that's why the teacher has NO TIME to do anything with the cluster group.


    Our elementary did this, too. While the district is not huge, it was not until 7th and 8th grade that my DD met the few kids who are probably her nearest academic peers (and who have become good friends). A huge relief- we knew they were probably out there, but it seemed impossible that they had not crossed paths before this.

    When my DS was in the same school, a few years later, he was actually grouped in a class with several similar kids for a few years- this has made all the difference socially, as they have a tight circle of friends and find each other even though they are not always grouped in classes.
    Yes, unfortunately grouping the gifted with intellectual peers was largely discontinued in the wake of No Child Left Behind, with any remaining practice discontinued in the name of closing the achievement gap and/or closing the excellence gap.

    The way in which this is said to be "fair" to teachers is by the artificial connection of teacher evaluation with student achievement as measured by scores on standardized tests. Unfortunately there is little acknowledgement of the ways in which this is not fair to teachers, including the unrealistic expectation of being able to simultaneously teach to the broad range of abilities and readiness within one classroom. By unifying in promoting ways to be more fair to teachers and pupils, parents may be able to bring about change. There is a saying: "What you reward, you get more of." Some have suggested we may need to reward providing opportunity. Gifted kids, high achievers, and ALL kids, thrive when they have opportunity to achieve. We may want to reward the creation of opportunity to achieve, in all its forms.

    I believe research has shown that flexible cluster grouping by readiness and ability benefits kids at ALL levels... if I recall, the gifted and high achievers may challenge each other to remain engaged and learning, while gen ed pupils may feel more comfortable to ask a question or offer an answer which may not be correct without the gifted and high achieving kids present. Without fear of being wrong or standing out, ALL kids were more likely to develop a growth mindset and flourish.

    Applying quotas to education based on statistics is not logical. By analogy, applying quotas to medical practice based on statistics may help illustrate this: If statistics show that a certain percentage of children are diagnosed with a particular condition nationally, then it would be cause for concern if pediatricians began to model their own practice or case load after these statistics... for this would indicate that some patients may be diagnosed and treated unnecessarily while others may be lacking needed treatment. Better to diagnose according to the symptoms the patient presents with, rather than modeling to statistics.

    When some say there are too many kids in GT programs, and they are expressing in a sound-bite that there are a broad range of abilities which precludes the outliers from receiving appropriate curriculum and placement... the answer may again be flexible cluster grouping by readiness and ability. Gifted is not one-size-fits-all. The book from Prufrock Press on Advanced Academics may be of help in guiding teachers/schools/districts to creating a better educational experience for both teachers and pupils.

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    Originally Posted by squishys
    ... no GT programs... because that would be unfair to the other students.
    The best answer that I've heard to the "unfair to other students" statement is a story along these lines: A student athlete falls over. The mandatory AED defibrillation equipment is nearby. Is it "fair" to the other students for the coach to turn his attention from the majority of the team to help this ONE student? Utilizing the defibrillator would mean this ONE student may be getting more attention in the short-term. What is the ethical answer?

    The answer is "yes", it is fair to the other students to serve this ONE student because it is NEEDS-based. This ONE student NEEDS the defibrillation, and needs it NOW. The others do not have the same NEED.

    It is not a perfect analogy because in a school setting it would not be an either-or approach... both the rest of team and the one with the NEED could be served, by flexible cluster grouping by readiness and ability.

    Possibly the NEED is more obvious in the above example, as compared with an educational setting: The gifted student who does not receive appropriate intellectual challenge and support according to their NEED sustains damage internally before it shows externally and interpersonally in terms of underachievement, perfectionism, poor self-esteem, self-harm, and/or generally displaying attitudes mirroring those which the child has been subject to throughout the educational experience... which may be characterized as dismissive indifference, invalidation, undermining... (attitudes, which when adopted and exhibited by the child are termed "bad attitude"). There are also things which kids don't learn, if they are not appropriately challenged.

    There is a famous poem "Children Live What They Learn" by Dorothy Law Nolte. This applies to the influence of school as well as to home life, due to the fact that children spend so much of their time in the educational setting and are receiving feedback from a large number of individuals.

    There is also a T-shirt with a saying by Stephanie Tolan:
    "You don't have the moral right to hold one child back to make another child feel better."

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    Originally Posted by squishys
    Well, here in Australia no one is allowed to grow higher than the rest. So, it would be unfair to help one and not the other. Especially when that need is regarded as something that is good and one should just be grateful. I don't know about the US, but here, being gifted is counted as special needs- except no public school does anything to help.
    I hope that parents in the USA will unite to change and reform our educational system before it is too late. Legislatively protecting and expanding homeschool rights and parental rights may be key to maintaining parental and family influence over the public educational system both here and abroad.

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    My son is in a Title 1 school with about 400 students - he is a young 10 (turned 10 in June) in 5th grade. (he does go to 6th grade math). This year, so far, he is the only identified gifted child in the once a week pull-out. They do have a couple of other kids in there to keep him company who haven't been tested. Honestly, I don't know "how" gifted my son is. I am still in denial that he is gifted, as opposed to a "high achiever". We chose not to put him in the gifted magnet school in 2nd grade - but next year, he will, hopefully, be in the new gifted middle school program. I'll be interested to see what the other kids who make the new program are like - and how he compares to them. The school he is currently at have been wonderfully accomodating to him - and he has always been the smartest kid in the school - but, again - I honesty don't know how he compares to others. I do not believe he is PG - but where he falls - I don't know. I DO think that many parents will be trying really hard to get their high achieving kids into the new program - can't wait to see how it all plays out !!

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    Originally Posted by Old Dad
    I don't ever think there can be too many kids in a GT program. A GT program size should never be defined by a percentage or a cut off number of students, rather, the number of students should be defined by how many NEED the services offered within the program. That may mean adjusting the program to meet the needs of varying numbers of students from year to year yes.

    I agree. I do think, however, that when 15% or more of an UNDIFFERENTIATED schooling environment is being grouped as "gifted" then that raises different red flags about what is going on there.

    It is a quota of a different sort at that point.

    I'm pretty sure that nobody here wants kids at the 90th percentile to be excluded from appropriate instruction-- just that maybe the kids who are 98th+ would do better if THEY were getting appropriate education, too, and that it's not likely that it is identical for those two groups.

    I sure wish that all students' needs were met.

    Originally Posted by blackcat
    Originally Posted by puffin
    Originally Posted by Percy
    Originally Posted by puffin
    Which just goes to show that some sort of ability grouping is required. The 85 percentile kids probably really do need more than they get in a class aimed at the bottom half. But they don't need the same as the 99+ percentile.

    This is the issue in my area. At the end of 2nd grade, about 20% of my DS's grade was IDed as gifted (there were about 20 kids total) for the 3rd grade. I don't live in an affluent, well educated area, but many of the kids who statistically would not be considered gifted - (ie would not be 130 or more (our state says top 98th percentile)are identified for the gifted program because they see putting them with the other 80% as a diservice to them. The interesting thing about the situation was they did a cluster grouping model for the gifted program but they took those 20 kids that they had over identified and put them in 3 different classrooms. We left that school before 3rd grade.

    It just makes no sense. They know or have a good idea who needs extension. Instead of putting them together to make it easier they put one in each class! Surely putting them at least in pairs wouldn't upset anyone.

    My kids' school admits to doing this. They take the top 3 kids from each grade and make sure they are all in a different classroom the next year (until they are forced by the district to do cluster grouping in third grade, but even then they don't necessarily put them in the same class). The goal is to make it "fair" to all the teachers. Another thing the principal is doing with grades that have the cluster group, is that he is putting the kids at the rock bottom in the same class, so that the ability levels average out to the same as the other classes. Maybe that's why the teacher has NO TIME to do anything with the cluster group. I think every single disruptive boy in the grade is in DD's class. She can only think of about 4 boys who are NOT disruptive.

    It's also possible that the reason is related to teacher skills.

    My mom was a great teacher for kids who had specific LD's and she was also strongly preferred as a placement for ADHD children because of the low-drama, routine-driven, highly-structured way that she ran her classrooms... but the upshot is that she usually had about 20-30% of a class being kids who had those kinds of challenges.

    Her classroom would have been a hideous placement for an HG+ child without such challenges, however. Not sure that administrators would have seen that, though.


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    I am having the exact same issue over here in South Florida. It's a fairly affluent city, and all of a sudden a huge percentage of the children are "gifted." My DS is in 1st grade. He's at the top of his class. His teacher told us at our conference that he is one of the truly gifted kids out of the bunch. I do believe that most of the kids in his class are probably advanced and bright, but the problem is that my DS is still not being challenged in his gifted classroom, and I believe that part of the issue is because the other kids are not at the same level as he is. I feel your frustration. When parents just want their children to be in the gifted classes whether or not they really belong there, it waters it down for the children that truly need a more enriching environment. I think that there are some teachers out there who are good at individualizing the work for the different levels of the children, but my DS's teacher is definitely not one of them. I think the only thing you can do is try to talk to the school about making sure your child is properly challenged. I've tried this, but unfortunately I'm hitting road blocks. Good luck

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