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    Joined: Feb 2010
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    Below I quote some conclusions from a new study on "skill-based sorting". Heterogenous grouping does not solve the problem revealed by tracking -- that some students do much better than others -- but it does mask the problem for a while (all parents can be told that their children are taking a college prep curriculum), at considerable cost to the best students.

    http://ccsr.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/publications/Sorting%20Brief_0.pdf
    Skill-Based Sorting in the Era of College Prep for All:
    Costs and Benefits
    University of Chicago
    March 2014

    Average test scores are higher when classes
    are sorted by skills due to large benefits for
    high-skilled students’ learning gains.

    Skill-based sorting has different effects on
    grades and pass rates than on test scores.

    No Long-Term Benefits from Requiring
    College-Prep Coursework for All

    When classes are sorted by skill level,
    low-skilled students are at higher risk
    of being in disruptive classrooms.

    Students with weak skills relative to classroom
    peers need close monitoring and extra support.

    Schools should anticipate behavioral problems
    in classrooms with low-skilled students and
    provide sufficient support to teachers.

    Schools should anticipate behavioral problems
    in classrooms with low-skilled students and
    provide sufficient support to teachers.

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    To which I want to childishly say, "Duh."

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    Originally Posted by Bostonian
    Schools should anticipate behavioral problems in classrooms with low-skilled students and provide sufficient support to teachers.

    Yes. Unfortunately, too often the "good kids" are used as speed bumps placed amongst the misbehavers... as noted by a recent poster here:
    Quote
    Our son is polite, follows directions and is a very happy kid. He does not cause trouble. His teacher put him at a table with the three kids who have behavioral difficulties. OP
    Some may say this practice is detrimental.

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    Val Offline
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    Originally Posted by Indigo
    This is just really not ok, IMO.

    Several years ago, a teacher was using my son as a tutor was baffled when I was angry about it (doubly angry, actually, because they had promised me that he could work on out-of-grade-level math when he had finished his own stuff, and she had him tutoring instead). She told me that she'd "always been taught to use my best students," and that this policy was common among teachers.

    She honestly didn't see anything wrong with what she was doing. I suspect that, from her perspective, he knew the material and therefore simply didn't need more instruction, and so asking him to help other students was a good use of his time.

    At that point, she simply didn't see that he might need more, especially because he was already doing reading and LA a year ahead.

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    I've run across so many people who don't even understand why indigo's point above is "wrong," much less Val's.


    The answer to "Yes, but what is this highly gifted student getting out of this arrangement" is some bleating response about "learning social skills."

    Well, okay-- but what of children who have no deficits in those areas??

    "OH, all children need to work on those things."

    FULL TIME??

    Basically, this means that my PG child should be a-okay being placed in a "NON-ACADEMIC" and "life skills" setting. Unilaterally. Without my consent.

    NIiiiiiiice. smirk


    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.
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    Originally Posted by Val
    ... using my son as a tutor...
    Some may say this is OK only if presented to the student as one of several non-punitive options, and the student is given free choice without pressure, coercion, or negative consequence.

    While some tout the benefits to the peer tutors such as honing leadership and presentation skills as well as the opportunity to firm up academic skills by teaching... others have compared compulsory peer tutoring to slavery: forced servitude to perform the labor which others reap benefits from and/or are compensated (paid) for.

    Quote
    "always been taught to use my best students," and that this policy was common among teachers.
    USE may be the operative word here. Bold, brazen, disgusting. Morally and ethically bankrupt.

    (stepping down from soapbox)

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    Indeed, HK.

    It's right around that time in the meeting that I ask the question, "When does my DD get to learn something?"

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    Originally Posted by Dude
    "When does my DD get to learn something?"
    And do they frankly answer: "When she is performing at the bottom of the class."

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    Originally Posted by article
    An alternative approach—skill-based sorting with a uniform curriculum—involves just one of the two components that define tracking: sorting by skill, while not differentiating the curriculum based on students’ skills.
    Apply this to what is termed "1st grade", with some kids coming in with a skill set indicating "6th grade" level and it is quickly seen that what they describe would not serve those children well. Despite grouping children with similar incoming skill set together, if all students receive the same curriculum, groups of students coming in with a "1st grade" skill set may be expected to gain one year of knowledge after a year, while the groups of students coming in with a "6th grade" skill set have not moved ahead, may have stagnated, or possibly regressed after a year.

    I did not find a portion of the article which considered grouping by readiness and ability regardless of age, to keep ALL students learning, acquiring knowledge, and moving forward. This is conspicuous in its absence.

    Originally Posted by article
    The new Common Core State Standards also attempt to strengthen academic curriculum across
    the board, reducing the differences in students’ curriculums.
    In concert with the first excerpt quoted above, this second excerpt does not seem to present an understanding of Common Core as providing a "floor, not a ceiling." Might the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research and its "thought partners" have this wrong?

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    Exactly, indigo-- and this is what leads to commentary like that which I received from the "Director" of the "summer gifted program" at a regional university...

    basically, once they hit the ceiling, there's no functional difference between those individuals, in the eyes of those evaluating how such students are performing.

    "Oh, they are all operating at a high level."

    What does that mean??

    "Oh, they are all gifted."

    "HOW gifted?"

    "Well, they are all operating at a high level."

    "99th percentile? Or 90th percentile?"

    "Oh, we don't really look at that. They're all working at a very high level."

    {'bang head here' sign on the wall}



    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.
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