Differentiated task demands
were described in the linked newsletter
and the linked full article (archive here)
This is NOT differentiated instruction
, placement, and pacing. For example, pages 3, 4, 5 of the 11-page PowerPoint PDF (archive here) "Gifted Students and the Common Core: Implications for Practice" show differentiated task demands. These consist of lengthier, more time-consuming assignments and/or homework given to gifted students. These may be seen as punitive and are conditions which many parents of gifted learners have routinely objected to and advocated against.
In some cases the additional "task demands" also present constraints on creativity by providing more specific direction.
The slide labeled The Power of "THAT" and "AND"
offers the following CC outcomes, differentiated for gifted learners:
] Create a new ending to the story
[i]Create a new ending to the story THAT incorporates the theme of beauty AND includes symbolism.
Create a new math problem to teach a friend
Create a problem THAT illustrates the differences between the distributive and associative property AND show your work.
Create your ideal playground and defend your creation
Create a playground THAT is to scale, illustrates at least three simple machines, AND uses recyclable materials.
Unfortunately, this is NOT what parents of gifted children have believed was lacking in their children's education. This higher level of demands for output is NOT what most parents have sought and advocated for. Instead, this may be a step in the wrong direction. Why are schools interested in providing this? Possibly to help them reach their goals of closing achievement gaps, closing excellence gaps, and recording grades which indicate equal outcomes among all pupils; these goals necessitate capping the growth of students at the top.Impacts on Gifted Students
- Differentiated "task demands" take time from a gifted student's other preferred extracurricular pursuits, and may thereby isolate and demoralize gifted learners.
- An intended or unintended consequence of this negative educational experience is that the gifted and/or high-achieving kids may begin to intentionally underperform and underachieve in order to avoid the punitive homework demands placed on the gifted and/or high-achieving. This underperformance of the the gifted (and formerly high-achieving) pupils helps a school close gaps and achieve equal outcomes. The Sept 2011 report summarizing research by NWEA - Fordham comes to mind. Titled "Do High Flyers Maintain Their Altitude?
" the report indicates that some students may become "descenders" within a given one-third of their class. This information may have inspired some schools to intentionally create "descenders" as the school strives to close gaps and achieve equal outcomes. Impacts on Grades
- Differentiated "task demands" make it more difficult and time-consuming for these gifted students to earn the same grade as their classmates.
- Differentiated "task demands" can be a means of knocking down the grades of top students, to help create the illusion of "equal outcomes" in the classroom, closing achievement gaps, closing excellence gaps, etc.
- Student grades are stored in a permanent longitudinal database
- When grades are viewed (including by researchers, college admissions, etc), people tend to believe that the grades are reflective of the student body's work on the same assigned task; This is a false premise when there are "differentiated task demands". Impacts on Teachers and Schools
- Differentiated "task demands" may help close "achievement gaps" and/or "excellence gaps". Or more accurately, may give the appearance
of closing gaps in knowledge among students, by closing the gaps in the assigned grades.
- Teachers and schools are increasing rated/ranked based on closing gaps and achieving equal outcomes among students.
- Therefore using "differentiated task demands" may represent a "win" for teachers and schools. Here is a link to an excellent post about findings of research regarding homework (hat tip to aeh), which may help shine a light on likely outcomes of "differentiated task demands".
NOTE: The WayBack Machine (internet archive)
is often useful when a website or webpage is NOT FOUND or has been changed and no longer contains the described content.