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    I found some articles from 2010 referencing ability grouping experiments in the public schools in Kansas, Alaska, Maine and Denver. Does anyone know about the current success or lack thereof of these efforts?

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    This search may help. I'd also try searching regular Google, news, etc. in a similar way, if you haven't yet.


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    I know I've read some about this several years back... ability grouping was shown to be very beneficial for high achieving students, but not for low achieving students. It was shown that having high achieving students in the class with low achieving students helped raise the poor performing student's test scores... this is why so many schools are reluctant to do ability grouping. HOWEVER, my son's elm school did put all the G&T/high achieving students into one classroom this year... I have no idea if it's had any effect on the other classes, but his class has done very very well on all their MAP tests and the like.


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    I teach in a public middle school. Every class that I teach has quite a range of abilities. At my grade level, the reading teacher has one class for students who need extra support in learning to decode words, and the math teacher has one math class that is allegedly accelerated.

    We feel the effects of those classes in the "heterogenous" classes the rest of us teach. We slog through the classes we have in the same time slot as accelerated math (even though kids who are good at math are not necessarily good at social studies), and we breeze through the classes in the same slot as intervention reading.

    A couple of years ago, I was teaching reading. I just happened to have a class full of kids who tested at Proficient and Exceeds in reading, with no kids at Approaching, and one kid at Well Below. I worried that it was going to be a lonely year for that kid. In fact, with everybody else on task around him, he stayed on task, and he performed just fine.

    The effect that we see in classrooms when we take the advanced learners out, of course, is just a continuation of what happens in public schools when parents who are motivated by academic achievement--and can afford it--pull their children out of the public schools and put them in private schools.

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    Originally Posted by Beckee
    I teach in a public middle school. Every class that I teach has quite a range of abilities. At my grade level, the reading teacher has one class for students who need extra support in learning to decode words, and the math teacher has one math class that is allegedly accelerated.

    Are students who cannot read being passed on to high school? I think there should be a graduation test for middle school measuring basic literacy and numeracy.

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    Val Offline
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    Originally Posted by Bostonian
    Originally Posted by Beckee
    I teach in a public middle school. Every class that I teach has quite a range of abilities. At my grade level, the reading teacher has one class for students who need extra support in learning to decode words, and the math teacher has one math class that is allegedly accelerated.

    Are students who cannot read being passed on to high school? I think there should be a graduation test for middle school measuring basic literacy and numeracy.

    Err...shouldn't that happen before ENTERING middle school? Or, maybe third or fourth grade even?

    Originally Posted by Beckee
    The effect that we see in classrooms when we take the advanced learners out, of course, is just a continuation of what happens in public schools when parents who are motivated by academic achievement--and can afford it--pull their children out of the public schools and put them in private schools.

    Not sure what you mean here. Can you clarify? Thanks.

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    Originally Posted by Beckee
    The effect that we see in classrooms when we take the advanced learners out, of course, is just a continuation of what happens in public schools when parents who are motivated by academic achievement--and can afford it--pull their children out of the public schools and put them in private schools.


    I'm also curious as to what you mean. I can't quite figure it out.

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    Originally Posted by Bostonian
    Are students who cannot read being passed on to high school? I think there should be a graduation test for middle school measuring basic literacy and numeracy.

    I have a friend who graduated high school without basic literacy, and that was despite a graduation requirement that everyone must pass a basic proficiency test first administered in the 9th grade.

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    Originally Posted by Val
    Originally Posted by Bostonian
    Originally Posted by Beckee
    I teach in a public middle school. Every class that I teach has quite a range of abilities. At my grade level, the reading teacher has one class for students who need extra support in learning to decode words, and the math teacher has one math class that is allegedly accelerated.

    Are students who cannot read being passed on to high school? I think there should be a graduation test for middle school measuring basic literacy and numeracy.

    Err...shouldn't that happen before ENTERING middle school? Or, maybe third or fourth grade even?

    Students who repeatedly flunked the middle school graduation test would not be allowed to attend publicly-funded high schools and would be encouraged to find work. Such a policy is not applicable to 4th-graders.

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    Research actually shows that students who are not reading on grade level by the end of first grade have about a one-in-eight chance of ever catching up. The most effective interventions in recent years have been in the primary grades.

    In a 6th grade class of about 130 students, I have several students that read on about a second or third grade level. These days, this is rarely due to a lack of early intervention. Most of those students have learning disabilities, but some are English Language Learners. A few of the others have never been evaluated for Special Education, but some of them have been evaluated and consent for SpEd has not been given by the parents.

    As far as retaining students, I am confronting that very real possibility this year for the first time in years. But it is only for students who refuse to complete most of the assignments.

    The research also shows that students who are retained (especially at middle school level) are at high risk for alienation: truancy, further failures, at risk-behaviors, dropping out. If we wanted to increase the ranks of the unemployable and the incarcerated, we would fail every student that does not read on grade level. As a general rule, that is not our aim in public education. And the threat of failure in May is not very effective motivation for pre-adolescents writing a paragraph in September. Their time horizon extends all the way to the next bell.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    When educated and motivated parents pull their children out of public schools, they are taking motivated, capable students out of public school classrooms. They are taking out independent learners, peer role models (positive peer pressure is a powerful force), someone who might understand what the teacher is saying and be able to explain it to their classmates, an intelligent participant in class discussion. To me, the struggling learners are not so difficult to teach, but when you get a class where most of the students don't care about school, whose parents are happy with Ds, that's difficult.

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