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    Joined: Feb 2011
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    Has anyone else notice this phenomenon? I actually saw the tables/reports for our district a couple of years ago but now actually have first hand experience at my DS/DD's middle school.

    At our district, this large jump in GT participation became a noticeable trend maybe in the last decade or so. I actually think that this is a point of pride that more students are capable of completing these courses and ultimately participate in AP courses. However, it is also clear that these classes are necessarily diluted so that it does not challenge the real GT students. The only real consolation is that many of these middle school GT classes are at least somewhat more sophisticated (and more capable of differentiated work products) than the stand-alone GT classes in elementary school. The other difference is that middle schools are comfortable in handing out low and failing grades so now you actually see a spread in the grade distribution as oppose to almost all kids getting A's and B's in the elementary GT classes.

    Is this trend prevalent across the country?

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    differentiated work products
    Are you comfortable describing this, and the benefits you see in it?

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    In middle school, many of the teachers are more comfortable introducing more sophisticated and controversial ideas in literature, history, current events, etc., which lend themselves to work products that differ in the level of insight/understanding/analysis. The assignments are also more open-ended in the sense that a student may choose to do more research and/or produce a lengthier or more complex product. The benefits are that the different levels of abilities are more apparent in the final products, the students may be challenged to think through and formulate his position, and choose put in the time/effort to produce a better product.

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    The main problem is that "gifted" becomes a mislabelling, and the actual gifted students aren't getting a challenging enough class.

    But it's still good for many students that such classes exist, though it would be better if a higher level was offered in addition.

    When I was in school (many years ago in a different country) classrooms were grouped by ability (but there was no "gifted education" per se). The top class would be about top 15%-20%, as a simple numerical consequence of there being 5 or 6 classes. It should not be underestimated how vastly better it is to be in a class where the average IQ is 120, than it is to be in a class where the average IQ is 100.

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    ITA. DS/DD had first-hand experience when adoption of Common Core led to a dismantling of the stand-alone GT class to three of the six 5th grade classes for ELA, resulting in a significant lowering of the standards/paces of the ELA class, notwithstanding that a significant portion of the materials are "differentiated." Interestingly, they are the ones who pointed out to me that although the GT population has doubled and many classmates are noticeably nowhere near GT, the materials and assignments themselves are actually more interesting/challenging in middle school, particularly in comparison to 5th grade.

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    In an ideal world there would be classes catering to all levels of ability with less than 1 standard deviation variation in ability within each class. Then, given a range of such classes, the "gifted" ones would simply be the higher level ones. But all the levels would be needed.

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    Ideally, each child would have the right to be in a class room where the majority were within a standard deviation of the child's ability and majority middle class by SES, Not everyone! Which would give schools the possibility to not compose classes with majorities below 100 or living in poverty, both extremely unhealthy classroom environments for everyone. In the highest reaches of ability,the slices as it were could get thinner, with Hg+ classes at the top, necessitating some concentrating and travelling for these groups, but precluding the necessity to bother about whether concentration of high SES kids in these classrooms distorts the distribution for the other classrooms, as the critical mass of middle class kids will be reached regardless.
    Sorry, somewhat OT, pet topic of mine.

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    Originally Posted by Tigerle
    Ideally, each child would have the right to be in a class room where the majority were within a standard deviation of the child's ability and majority middle class by SES, Not everyone!

    Yes, ideally. But the numbers don't seem to work out at all, at least not where I am. Unless you're in a large and densely populated district, you just can't get a whole classroom of PGs together. And they're not likely to fund a half-classroom of these kids; it's not cost-effective.

    I also think kids should know and be friendly with others who are different from them, including mixing ability levels in some contexts. It's tricky to get this right.


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    Originally Posted by Tigerle
    Ideally, each child would have the right to be in a class room where the majority were within a standard deviation of the child's ability and majority middle class by SES, Not everyone! Which would give schools the possibility to not compose classes with majorities below 100 or living in poverty, both extremely unhealthy classroom environments for everyone. In the highest reaches of ability,the slices as it were could get thinner, with Hg+ classes at the top, necessitating some concentrating and travelling for these groups, but precluding the necessity to bother about whether concentration of high SES kids in these classrooms distorts the distribution for the other classrooms, as the critical mass of middle class kids will be reached regardless.
    Sorry, somewhat OT, pet topic of mine.
    In our school district, the majority of public school students are at or near the poverty level, and many school districts in the US are like this. I know you're in Europe, but you're comments make it obvious you are very unfamiliar with the demographics of the US public school population, because obviously you cannot possibly make every classroom "majority middle class" when the overwhelming majority of students are poor. There has been a mass exodus from the public school system for anyone who can escape. To get them to return they need to find the classrooms and schools and surroundings to be acceptable places to put their children, in particular they should be safe with few discipline problems, and they need to have decent educational standards. This necessitates abandoning any notion of SES and other quotas. In particular, gifted classes should be based on ability/achievement and if the gifted population differs demographically from the general population, then so be it. There are no legitimate grounds for regarding that demographic difference as being any kind of problem.

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    In early 80's NZ we had streamed classes now the onlu
    Y thing is an extension class at some intermediate and high schools aimed at the top 15 percent by achievement. Too little, too late and not any help to a lot of gifted kids. I was told only last week that they like an even distribution so the teacher has someone to spark off. Don't my kids need someone to spark off too?

    1SD might be a bit tricky for my son where we are I would be happy with some acknowledgement that 3 to 4 SD
    above the mean does actually mean something statistically.

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