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    Joined: Feb 2014
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    Originally Posted by AnnieQuill
    Exactly. But 'your just a kid, stay out of it' is the attitude around here. I give a big ole razzbery to that.

    Wrong answer imo, because no one is more introspective than the observer / one experiencing even if they are just a child. Age means nothing in that regard, as well as learning ability. To put in real world perceptive, picture business. Time and time again along with corporate success has demonstrated that the key is listening to the customer. Those who listen thrive, those who do not fail.

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    Originally Posted by Edward
    Those making the rules are clueless to be blunt. The harm they do is so great... but no one sees it because they are the byproduct of the same system which teaches them not to question authority and to be apathetic. At least it seems that way to me.

    I am sorry you people are not listening to you, you deserve to be heard. There is no greater expert in education than the student him or herself.
    Agreed!

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    Originally Posted by Edward
    Time and time again along with corporate success has demonstrated that the key is listening to the customer. Those who listen thrive, those who do not fail.
    Agreed. This is true for businesses in a capitalist economy in which the consumers are the decision-makers.

    However, in public education, the decision-making is removed from the consumers:
    Students are the consumers.
    Current taxpayers are the paying customers.
    Government is the decision-maker.


    The taxpayers provide the cash and the government overspends it, running an ever-increasing national debt while making decisions which are less than transparent by sharing authority with non-governmental organizations (non-profits), public-private partnerships, and for-profit businesses, all of which tend to focus on the majority population (IQ < 116 ) while neglecting the outlier/gifted populations (IQ > 132).

    Taxpayers, collectively, have influence on decision-making by being aware, and involved in policy/legislation.

    Meanwhile, in public education there is money to be made by reframing the everlasting fact of individual strengths/weaknesses not as a wonderful thing which makes each person unique but rather as a "problem" to be solved: closing gaps, collecting data, requiring equal outcomes, and replacing teachers whose classrooms do not show statistics toward increasingly achieving these goals.

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    Those among you who are interested in an international perspective on gap closing may be interested in this blog post on Finland, which has been widely commended for being one of the countries where the gap between the lowest and the highest performers in the OECD's PISA assessment is smallest, and, most importantly, cuts across SES lines and school. https://fillingmymap.com/2015/06/08/the-three-real-reasons-for-finlands-high-pisa-scores/
    One reason of course is that SES spread simply isn't as wide and there is a low level of immigration and schools are highly integrated (though there is considerable ethnic and linguistic diversity with the large Swedish and the smaller Sami minority, so it's not like it's a homogeneous society by any means).
    Another very important reason, though, seems to be that there simply are hardly any low achievers. I don't think it's in the blog but apart from the SES thing, I read that it's credited to extremely fast, targeted and specialized intervention as so as learning difficulties appear. And the regular classroom teacher is NOT responsible - fully one third of Finnish kids is considered special ed students at. any one time, with targeted services by specialized teachers or even special classrooms,m and by the time they reach high school, half of all Finnish kids half had special ed designation at some point.
    So, classroom teaching is clearly geared towards the average to above average cohort, with the weaker students expected to catch up with targeted support -no child left behind, but no waiting around, either.
    And nothing for the high achieving and/or the gifted. Interestingly, even with short schooldays and little homework they still do much better than almost any other Western country - but are completely blown out of the water by Asian countries with high levels of homework, cram schools and tutoring.
    I think the inefficiency of school systems like South Korea is mind blowing and the work expectations abusive, and would not want results like theirs at this price. But where is the middle ground?

    Last edited by Tigerle; 05/04/16 01:34 PM.
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    Originally Posted by Tigerle
    Those among you who are interested in an international perspective on gap closing may be interested in this blog post on Finland, which has been widely commended for being one of the countries where the gap between the lowest and the highest performers in the OECD's PISA assessment is smallest, and, most importantly, cuts across SES lines and school.
    Finland may not be a model to follow. Academic achievement has been falling, although from a high level, and closing gaps is not a good thing if it is accomplished by hindering the brightest:

    Education in Finland: Pisa isn't the full story
    by Juha Ylä-Jääski
    The Guardian
    December 4, 2013

    Quote
    Finnish performance in the programme for international student achievement (Pisa) league tables has led to an influx of educational tourism to Finland since the rankings were first published in 2001. We may have slipped in the latest judgment from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – which tests more than 500,000 pupils in 66 countries ranking performance in reading, maths and science – but we are still very much at the top tier of the world's best performing educations systems and the attention isn't likely to disappear soon.

    Today's results, however, show Finland dropping out of the top 10 performers in maths, with a score of 519, 22 points lower than the last ranking three years ago. Reading skills fell 12 points to 524, while the science ranking dropped nine points to 545. Signs of this were already showing in PISA 2009, although the slippage was less than anticipated.

    I am concerned that the Finnish education system is letting down our brightest students. In every country, there is a debate about whether education systems should group children according to their ability. In Finland, we have taken a firm stance not to do this based on the belief that having mixed groups has distinct advantages, such as children teaching each other.

    But are we giving enough room for our most intelligent young people to flourish? Every summer the organisation I run, Technology Academy Finland, brings the brightest teenagers in the world to Finland to work on science projects together. This year, the Millennium Youth Camp welcomed 60 students from 31 countries to work on sophisticated problems such as designing sanitation systems for a space mission to Mars. At this end of the educational spectrum, where the children's ambitions are to improve on the work of Nobel prize-winners, it is vitally important to stretch the young people's minds.

    In many Finnish classrooms, however, the pace is determined by the lower-achieving students. In the lower grades, all children from the most talented to the least talented are grouped together. Some commend our system for serving all students well, regardless of family background or socio-economic status. But it means our brightest cannot maximise their potential. No other country has so little variation in outcomes between schools, and the gap within schools between the top and bottom-achieving students is slim.
    .

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    The "Filling My Map" blog article by a traveling teacher features three reasons for high Finnish performance on the PISA:
    1) "Law of Averages... every student learns what they need to learn and does quite well at the basics, but not much more. There are very few high achievers... Finland only had around 15% reach a top performing category..."
    2) Students are taught to the test, which features simple math and logic problems rather the types of calculations and number-crunching taught in the USA.
    3) Students begin taking yearly physics classes (and thus learning applied mathematics) from an early age.

    Doing well on the PISA does not equate with being well educated.

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    Originally Posted by Bostonian
    Finland may not be a model to follow. Academic achievement has been falling, although from a high level, and closing gaps is not a good thing if it is accomplished by hindering the brightest
    Agreed.

    In her blog (linked upthread), the traveling teacher mentioned "I wonder if this “everyone is doing okay, so lets not worry about it” mentality is going to be a problem for Finland in the future."

    Viewing Finland using the free, online, interactive tool 2016 Index of Economic Freedom, we see a drop in Finland's government spending from 2010-2012 which seems to correlate with the drop in PISA scores mentioned in the linked article from The Guardian. While correlation does not imply causation, the greater freedom in the USA fuels self-reliance, internal locus of control, motivation, and competition... which can drive both achievement and excellence.

    Comparing the United States (ranked 11th) and Finland (ranked 24th) using the 2016 Index of Economic Freedom tool to graph a comparison, we see in detail the greater freedoms in the US as compared with Finland.

    With greater freedom comes greater risk and reward.

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    Back to the OP's article... a few random thoughts...

    Originally Posted by article in original post
    the Matthew Effect
    Commentary on Mt 25:29 - "A muscle that is not exercised tends to degenerate and lose its power."
    The Matthew Effect is not a reverse-RobinHood, it is just a simple truism.

    After meta-memory training for both groups of children,
    Quote
    gifted children performed much better than nongifted children, demonstrating transfer of the strategy to a new, dissimilar, task.
    This simply seems to acknowledge that giftedness is more than "training", as gifted kids often make connections between things and may excel at strategy acquisition and transferring learned strategies to other situations.

    Quote
    many interventions provide training in areas in which the higher functioning group has already mastered the skills
    Unfortunately this seems to describe "gifted programs" which provide greatest benefit to high-achieving but non-gifted kids (IQ < 116), as the curriculum and pacing in these programs may not provide gifted students (those with IQ => 132) with much opportunity for learning new material on a regular basis.

    Quote
    if policymakers intend some cognitive interventions to close preexisting gaps, then such demonstrations underscore the need for more focused, targeted interventions that boost the lower scoring group without adding to the higher scoring group’s preintervention advantage
    Unfortunately some school districts do this, for example by providing targeted groups of students with advance notice of quizzes, prepared study notes, etc. This can manipulate student grades, providing an artificially high score on transcripts.

    Quote
    One can imagine from an ethical position a case being made that every student has an intrinsic right to have access to any intervention that is known to improve performance. Thus, one could argue that any intervention that elevates the performance of any student should be made available to that student, without regard to his or her financial needs, ethnic membership, aptitude level, or the social and political consequences of that student’s elevation vis-a`-vis lower functioning peers.
    Equal opportunity. smile Some may say this is related to unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    Quote
    However, when funding is so limited that the intervention cannot be made universally available, then hard decisions have to be made as to whether the program should be targeted exclusively to those most in need.
    There is virtually no cost associated with redo opportunities, therefore no logical financial basis for limiting them to an underperforming segment of the student population, rather than making them universally available.

    In summary, this article seemed to be about finding ways to ensure that gifted kids stagnate. Parents, beware! Here is a post about ways in which some schools close gaps by capping the growth of kids at the top.

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    Originally Posted by indigo
    Originally Posted by Bostonian
    Finland may not be a model to follow. Academic achievement has been falling, although from a high level, and closing gaps is not a good thing if it is accomplished by hindering the brightest
    Agreed.

    In her blog (linked upthread), the traveling teacher mentioned "I wonder if this “everyone is doing okay, so lets not worry about it” mentality is going to be a problem for Finland in the future."

    Viewing Finland using the free, online, interactive tool 2016 Index of Economic Freedom, we see a drop in Finland's government spending from 2010-2012 which seems to correlate with the drop in PISA scores mentioned in the linked article from The Guardian. While correlation does not imply causation, the greater freedom in the USA fuels self-reliance, internal locus of control, motivation, and competition... which can drive both achievement and excellence.

    Comparing the United States (ranked 11th) and Finland (ranked 24th) using the 2016 Index of Economic Freedom tool to graph a comparison, we see in detail the greater freedoms in the US as compared with Finland.

    With greater freedom comes greater risk and reward.
    I think you are getting too political -- and I probably share most of your political views.

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    Originally Posted by Bostonian
    I think you are getting too political -- and I probably share most of your political views.
    My apologies, as I was not meaning to be political, just attempting to address the "international perspective on gap closing" which touted Finland's high PISA performance in light of the article in the Guardian which indicated a drop in Finland's PISA performance; The comparative country data on Economic Freedom over time seemed to provide insight into reconciling the two.

    To the degree that public education is based in law and policy, by definition "politics" will always be involved, however I do not believe any country or political party has the optimal platform or viewpoint on the complete constellation or web of salient issues impacting public education. That said, I strongly believe that people are unique individuals with varying educational needs to be met, and I adamantly support parental rights, especially the right to provide a homeschool education to one's children, unfettered and outside of the control and data collection of the public school system.

    There is an ironic tradeoff between things being provided "free" (without cost at point of service) and people being "free" (self-determining).

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