Gifted Bulletin Board

Welcome to the Gifted Issues Discussion Forum.

We invite you to share your experiences and to post information about advocacy, research and other gifted education issues on this free public discussion forum.
CLICK HERE to Log In. Click here for the Board Rules.

Links


Learn about Davidson Academy Online - for profoundly gifted students living anywhere in the U.S. & Canada.

The Davidson Institute is a national nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted students through the following programs:

  • Fellows Scholarship
  • Young Scholars
  • Davidson Academy
  • THINK Summer Institute

  • Subscribe to the Davidson Institute's eNews-Update Newsletter >

    Free Gifted Resources & Guides >

    Who's Online Now
    0 members (), 121 guests, and 14 robots.
    Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
    Newest Members
    sailare, malik, watkinsayden81, thomaszx, Peter Jhonson
    11,480 Registered Users
    July
    S M T W T F S
    1 2 3 4 5 6
    7 8 9 10 11 12 13
    14 15 16 17 18 19 20
    21 22 23 24 25 26 27
    28 29 30 31
    Previous Thread
    Next Thread
    Print Thread
    Page 1 of 3 1 2 3
    Joined: Mar 2012
    Posts: 154
    F
    fwtxmom Offline OP
    Member
    OP Offline
    Member
    F
    Joined: Mar 2012
    Posts: 154
    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?

    Joined: Jun 2010
    Posts: 1,457
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    Joined: Jun 2010
    Posts: 1,457
    This search may help. I'd also try searching regular Google, news, etc. in a similar way, if you haven't yet.


    Striving to increase my rate of flow, and fight forum gloopiness. sick
    Joined: Oct 2011
    Posts: 954
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    Joined: Oct 2011
    Posts: 954
    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.


    ~amy
    Joined: Jul 2011
    Posts: 332
    B
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    B
    Joined: Jul 2011
    Posts: 332
    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.

    Joined: Feb 2010
    Posts: 2,640
    Likes: 2
    B
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    B
    Joined: Feb 2010
    Posts: 2,640
    Likes: 2
    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.

    Joined: Sep 2007
    Posts: 3,298
    Likes: 2
    Val Offline
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    Joined: Sep 2007
    Posts: 3,298
    Likes: 2
    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.

    Joined: Jan 2012
    Posts: 416
    B
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    B
    Joined: Jan 2012
    Posts: 416
    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.

    Joined: Oct 2011
    Posts: 2,856
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    Joined: Oct 2011
    Posts: 2,856
    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.

    Joined: Feb 2010
    Posts: 2,640
    Likes: 2
    B
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    B
    Joined: Feb 2010
    Posts: 2,640
    Likes: 2
    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.

    Joined: Jul 2011
    Posts: 332
    B
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    B
    Joined: Jul 2011
    Posts: 332
    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.

    Joined: Jan 2012
    Posts: 416
    B
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    B
    Joined: Jan 2012
    Posts: 416
    oooohh!! Thanks Beckee...your last paragraph helps me understand what you were saying before. I like to be able to understand someone else's perspective, and yours is interesting food for thought.

    Joined: Feb 2010
    Posts: 2,640
    Likes: 2
    B
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    B
    Joined: Feb 2010
    Posts: 2,640
    Likes: 2
    Originally Posted by Beckee
    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.

    Parents don't like their children being viewed as some kind of social resource to be used in improving the achievement of other children. They make schooling decisions based on how much their own children will learn and otherwise grow.

    If a middle-income school district had ability grouping, subject acceleration, and grade acceleration, I would consider living there and sending my children to the public schools. Since all public schools in Massachusetts are heterogeneously grouped and there is no acceleration, we moved to the town within our commuting radius with the highest test scores, since that it is the closest we can get to ability grouping. The new town is, not coincidentally, more affluent and less diverse than the town we used to live in.

    Don't try to use people's children as "role models" for the benefit of others. Their parents will not stand for it.

    Joined: Sep 2009
    Posts: 683
    K
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    K
    Joined: Sep 2009
    Posts: 683
    I shared the following article with a principal a couple years ago.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/03/AR2007110301167.html
    He told me that anything that even looked like "tracking" was a non-starter in our school district. Fast forward a couple years with significant budget cuts and higher student to teacher ratios, now our school is experimenting with some ability grouping again. It seems that heterogeneous classes were easier to manage when class sizes were 20-24 kids. Now that class sizes are closer to 30, not so much. Unfortunately, the first attempt was hugely successful for the high end kids and a disaster for the lower end class that ended up with the high energy boys with behavior issues. The teachers fought against a second year of this model saying that it was unfair. The current iteration only does ability grouping for language arts with kids shifting teachers during that block according to reading ability. People seem to be happier with this compromise.

    Joined: Sep 2007
    Posts: 3,298
    Likes: 2
    Val Offline
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    Joined: Sep 2007
    Posts: 3,298
    Likes: 2
    Originally Posted by Beckee
    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.

    This could be correlation without causation.

    Is holding them back really the cause of truancy and other risky behaviors? Or are problems like poor performance in school, truancy, and risky behaviors all coming from the same root cause?


    Originally Posted by Beckee
    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.

    When public schools refuse to provide challenging, interesting material, they fail talented students and create problems for the entire country. If public schools want to keep talented students, they should treat them as more than just classroom helpers who are there for the benefit of less motivated or less intelligent students. When a school forces gifted kids into a classroom with below average students, bright students can get picked on for "showing off," "bragging," or whatever. There is another side to that coin.

    We bend over backwards to accommodate below average kids, and nothing changes. High stakes tests continue to get easier and our PISA scores stay in the average range or below.

    I know that teaching is a difficult job, and I know how difficult it is to teach students of differing ability levels. But can you see how a system that caters to below-average students can be soul-destroying to a highly intelligent, thoughtful child?

    I hate paying private school fees. It's a sacrifice for us. We tried a charter school this year when my son's last school closed, and the result has been a year that's been nearly a complete academic waste. There are students in my son's 8th grade classes who don't know where Egypt is and don't know what the Revolutionary War was. Essays are never corrected for grammar mistakes. In math class, we just skip things that are too hard or time-consuming, like proofs in geometry. My son cries about school and begs me to let him go to an online school next year. Looking at the offerings, I can see his point.


    Joined: Sep 2007
    Posts: 3,298
    Likes: 2
    Val Offline
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    Joined: Sep 2007
    Posts: 3,298
    Likes: 2
    Originally Posted by cricket3
    I can't of course speak for all, but I know there are many parents who believe that education should benefit all of society.

    Err... you make it sound like asking for an appropriate learning environment for gifted kids is somehow cheating society.

    I agree that education should benefit all of society, but gifted kids are part of society, too. As the public school system operates now, it largely doesn't benefit them.

    Joined: Jan 2012
    Posts: 76
    U
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    U
    Joined: Jan 2012
    Posts: 76
    Ability grouping doesn't always require a massive institutional change.

    It may be as simple as placing the two 98%tile kids in the same class with your 99.9%tile kid.

    With a cooperative principal this can be done on the sly.


    Joined: Jan 2010
    Posts: 757
    J
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    J
    Joined: Jan 2010
    Posts: 757
    My kids were in a full-on Montessori for two years. They told us how the kids were grouped by multi-ages/grades, and it's great because your child can work above grade level. Of course, they didn't tell us that the school was super overcrowed.
    At the time, my older boy was in first grade (he had a 144 WISC score and was doing math/reading at a third grade level). They put him in the PreK-K room with promises that it's a montessori and above grade level, blah, blah. They didn't have room in the first-third grade room.
    We realized that for the younger kids, it was great! They had a HG older child who could serve as a mentor/teacher to them. But there was basically nothing in it for him! IT's the same in his regular public school class- the brighter kids can pull up the slower kids, but frankly, the slower kids pull down the brighter kids. The pace of the class is slow since the teacher must cater to the average...
    It's really not our family's problem or job to raise the mean of the class. Our job is our kids. They are above grade level and catch on very quickly to things. I would not want them long-term in a class with lots of slower kids since it drags them down. Fortunately, our G/T program starts in 4th grade and is full-time and self-contained. I am hoping, perhaps fruitlessly, that this will yield some good results.

    Last edited by jack'smom; 05/01/12 11:04 AM.
    Joined: Sep 2011
    Posts: 288
    L
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    L
    Joined: Sep 2011
    Posts: 288
    [quote=Bostonian
    Don't try to use people's children as "role models" for the benefit of others. Their parents will not stand for it.
    [/quote]

    While I get the potential problems that occur regarding curriculum, I do in fact encourage my son to be a role model and a leader and to respect and appreciate diversity. So I certainly don't have a problem with that as long as his own needs are being met as well. I also think there is value in socializing with people who are not all similar to you in skill, background etc.

    I can sympathize with the frustrations of unchallenging curriculums, for sure. But I think Beckee's post brings up some things we should think about as well.

    Joined: Nov 2011
    Posts: 58
    M
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    M
    Joined: Nov 2011
    Posts: 58
    The research shows that children who are retained fare worse than their peers with similar academic and behavioral needs who are not retained. It is from longitudinal data sets where you can match cohorts based on things like days of suspension, reading level, etc prior to the grade retention, and then compare them to each other after the grade retention or promotion.

    Originally Posted by Val
    Originally Posted by Beckee
    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.

    This could be correlation without causation.

    Is holding them back really the cause of truancy and other risky behaviors? Or are problems like poor performance in school, truancy, and risky behaviors all coming from the same root cause?


    Originally Posted by Beckee
    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.

    When public schools refuse to provide challenging, interesting material, they fail talented students and create problems for the entire country. If public schools want to keep talented students, they should treat them as more than just classroom helpers who are there for the benefit of less motivated or less intelligent students. When a school forces gifted kids into a classroom with below average students, bright students can get picked on for "showing off," "bragging," or whatever. There is another side to that coin.

    We bend over backwards to accommodate below average kids, and nothing changes. High stakes tests continue to get easier and our PISA scores stay in the average range or below.

    I know that teaching is a difficult job, and I know how difficult it is to teach students of differing ability levels. But can you see how a system that caters to below-average students can be soul-destroying to a highly intelligent, thoughtful child?

    I hate paying private school fees. It's a sacrifice for us. We tried a charter school this year when my son's last school closed, and the result has been a year that's been nearly a complete academic waste. There are students in my son's 8th grade classes who don't know where Egypt is and don't know what the Revolutionary War was. Essays are never corrected for grammar mistakes. In math class, we just skip things that are too hard or time-consuming, like proofs in geometry. My son cries about school and begs me to let him go to an online school next year. Looking at the offerings, I can see his point.

    Joined: Sep 2007
    Posts: 3,298
    Likes: 2
    Val Offline
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    Joined: Sep 2007
    Posts: 3,298
    Likes: 2
    I'd like to see citations for this data.

    Joined: Feb 2010
    Posts: 2,640
    Likes: 2
    B
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    B
    Joined: Feb 2010
    Posts: 2,640
    Likes: 2
    Originally Posted by kcab
    Originally Posted by Val
    I'd like to see citations for this data.
    This is not exactly what you are looking for, Val, but this post on Willingham's blog discusses a recent meta-analysis of studies on the effects of retention. I'm linking the blog post rather than the articles because I often find Willingham's posts interesting and because I have read the post but not the articles.

    I liked Willingham's book "Why Don't Students Like School: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom".


    "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." - George Orwell
    Joined: Jun 2008
    Posts: 1,840
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    Joined: Jun 2008
    Posts: 1,840
    Originally Posted by Val
    Originally Posted by cricket3
    I can't of course speak for all, but I know there are many parents who believe that education should benefit all of society.

    Err... you make it sound like asking for an appropriate learning environment for gifted kids is somehow cheating society.

    I agree that education should benefit all of society, but gifted kids are part of society, too. As the public school system operates now, it largely doesn't benefit them.

    And it shortchanges us all.

    Asking less than capable kids to go to college rather than votech and holding bright kids back so that they become underachievers benefits whom? No one. We waste public money and lives for what?

    Again, it benefits no one and shortchanges us all.




    Joined: Aug 2010
    Posts: 114
    C
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    C
    Joined: Aug 2010
    Posts: 114
    I haven't read all the responses to the OP. I'm responding only to the OP's question - how is ability grouping going in public schools that are doing it. We are in a public elementary school in one of the cities listed by the OP. Our school has been ability grouping for reading and math for about six years now, and it's going extremely well, evidenced by test score increases, and student/parent satisfaction. It's one of the main reasons we chose our school (which also happens to be our neighborhood school), and we have long waitlists of students trying to choice in from adjacent elementary school districts.

    They take a class of 90 kids and shuffle them among the three grade level teachers, plus ESL and intervention teachers if needed, for reading, and do the same for math, minus the ESL/intervention teachers. They reshuffle the kids throughout the year if they need to based on scores/performance, although our DS's classes have stayed fairly static. The reading classes are further broken into three to five ability groupings within the overall reading class. So my DS, for example, is in the lowest ability reading group in the highest ability reading class.

    The high ability 1st grade math class is actually doing higher level math right now than the lowest ability 2nd grade math class. The 2nd grade high ability reading class has readers spanning about 5th to 10th grade level.

    The school also still moves very high ability kids to other grades by subject, but typically only if the parents push for it or you happen to get one of the teachers who's really on top of it. I see the effects when I volunteer in the ability-grouped reading class versus the homeroom class - the ability-grouped class is more focused because they don't have as many outliers who are either bored or over-challenged. The ability grouping plus subject acceleration for math is working very well for our DS, and I know a number of parents who have chosen to keep their children at our school rather than move them into the HGT magnet program in our neighborhood.

    Our old VP moved to another neighborhood school and started implementing the model there last year. Friends at that school also seem happy with the model. I don't know what other schools in our city are following the model.

    Joined: Jul 2011
    Posts: 332
    B
    Member
    Offline
    Member
    B
    Joined: Jul 2011
    Posts: 332
    When you ask a question, and a student raises their hand and answers the question instead of telling you they need a pencil, or saying something inappropriate, that student is not being exploited for social engineering purposes. Yet, they have a positive effect on other students around them when that happens, in many ways.

    Parents make the best decisions they can with the children and resources they've got. So do teachers. But when the good students leave, we miss them. And when the gifted students get to be as surly and lazy as I was when I was in 6th grade, we wish we had a better learning experience for them.

    And that's all I have to say about that.

    Joined: May 2012
    Posts: 21
    K
    Kjj Offline
    Junior Member
    Offline
    Junior Member
    K
    Joined: May 2012
    Posts: 21
    Our kids have been in classes that were both heterogeneous and ability grouped in elementary school.

    One of DD13's best memories is her third grade year, where her entire class was gifted. The teacher had a squadron of helpful, connected parents (she had FOUR room moms!), a class that was engaged and excited and stimulated by the pace set by their peers, and CRCT scores that were the highest in the history of the school (which was considered a top ten in the state already).

    It was a magical year, and the teacher was in tears the last day because the school chose not to continue with it next year because of sniping from other parents.

    The flip side? In the heterogeneous classes DD11 would finish her work in five minutes, then spend the rest of the time teaching her friends the material and helping them through it (because she has that kind of temperament).

    DD13's experience in the heterogeneous class was a kid who couldn't do the work and exploded with rage regularly, at everyone. He needed help he was not getting, and it was not fair to him or his classmates.

    In middle school they're ability grouped for all academic classes except reading (which boggles my mind, but whatever!) and their experiences with their classmates and the curriculum have been pretty good.

    They both notice that the girls in their reading classes obsess over boys, looks, weight, and other people's business. The girls in the gifted classes are too engaged with other topics to really focus on the above topics with the same ferocity as the regular kids. It's definitely there; but gossip is not the center of their universe.

    Page 1 of 3 1 2 3

    Moderated by  M-Moderator 

    Link Copied to Clipboard
    Recent Posts
    help understanding wppsi scores
    by lululo4321 - 07/19/24 02:42 PM
    Opinions on School
    by Heidi_Hunter - 07/16/24 10:52 AM
    Adventure Academy
    by Heidi_Hunter - 07/11/24 04:29 AM
    IEP questions
    by Heidi_Hunter - 07/11/24 04:22 AM
    Advice for profoundly gifted and imaginative 7yo?
    by Kim Jensen (DK) - 07/05/24 08:32 AM
    Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5