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    incogneato #20565 07/18/08 09:28 PM
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    The tracking that I participated in, and yes... that was in the '70... cry ... allowed the gifted kids to go into greater depth and tackle more challenging problems. For example, our writing assignments were held to a different standard than the regular class. But we still had a year of Biology while the other kids were having a year of Biology. We were just getting college prep Biology, I guess. So we didn't really ever get ahead. We did take a year of calculus and a year of physics senior year that the average kids didn't take.

    It was also allowed that a non-gifted kid could take up to two gifted classes per year if they were recommended by a teacher. So if you were advanced in math, but were not in the gifted tracking, you could still take the gifted math.

    1) Maybe they started tracking at a later age, middle school, so that kids could switch in and out of classes each 60 minutes, and not stay with the same group of kids all day if necessary. In middle school, a kid also has a semester of American History or Algebra 1... so the content is self-contained, so to speak. You don't have to worry about another teacher picking up where the first teacher left off.
    2) I believe that they allowed anyone to take the assessment test, which I think was the ACT, for entrance to the gifted program each fall, for as many times as they wanted to try. So it was not necessarily based on one test on one day.

    Not too bad a system. It labeled the top 20 kids as gifted, but it did not distinguish between the other 100 kids or so as being average or below average. There was never a group of kids that were labeled as "dumb". I serious wished my son's school had tracking. It is like having a small gifted school imbedded in the public school system.

    Good point, squirt, about teacher bonuses. Teachers didn't have to worry about that back in the good ole ancient days. Teachers were just paid for showing up and teaching.

    Starting to ramble, so it must be time to shut off the computer for the night.
    <zonk> tired


    Mom to DS12 and DD3
    ebeth #20568 07/18/08 10:04 PM
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    I believe that the latest research indicates that tracking only benefits the students at the highest level. In simplest terms that would mean self-contained gifted classrooms, but I believe the latest recommendation is to mix the classrooms with the GT & average kids then high achievers & average/low students. Interestingly, by taking the highest level students out of the regular classroom the high achieving students below them experienced more opportunities for leadership growth and had improved self-esteem.

    Last year we had some parents recommend doing a pilot program at one of our schools in which students would be sorted GT/ave and HA/ave/low. The principal decided to sort them using the traditional tracking method. I haven't heard how things turned out.

    I personally do not think it is beneficial for slow learners to be in class with the gifted students because the slow learners become discouraged. When my dd was in preschool I had another parent tell me that her son cried at night because he felt that he would never be able to read like dd.

    I still have not figured out why it is socially acceptable to separate the advanced students into honors and pre-AP/AP classes in jr. & sr. high but it is unacceptable to separate them in elementary school.

    Last edited by Texas Summer; 07/18/08 10:07 PM.
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    Thanks for the responses everyone.

    I was told that the higher class would explore subjects much more in depth and the top of the top kids would also have pull out for advanced math and language a few times a week.

    This seems to be the result of spending the better part of last year complaining [nicely] to upper admin that DS10 craves like minded peers. We've spent 6 years running clubs and activities to gather the brightest little hot-shots together. Now, I want the school to step up and DO something, anything.

    I met with the Super, Prin & TAG Reps last week where they offered the aforementioned plan. Hey, at least it's something. Time will tell.



    "Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve." -Roger Lewin
    Dottie #20578 07/19/08 04:49 AM
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    [quote=Dottie]I don't think from your perspective it can be a bad thing RP, but you might want to hide a bit from Parent #25 just in case, wink .

    Yes, for the top kid [my DS] I think it'll be great. HOWEVER, I dread running into certain pushy parents who will demand that their little angel [#75] be included. The angel in question becomes a HUGE disruption in class when he doesn't get what's going on. Then he targets the smart kids for "not being cool" [being smart or talented in any way is not cool]. Then the Intervention Specialist gets called into class to handle this kid...[unsuccessfully]. This was our life last year. <sigh>

    There's a link on my profile to videos of DS playing guitar at various venues with adults. We just put one up from this past Wednesday night, actually. DS was teased so much last year by the kid above that DS stopped playing guitar completely for several months. Broke my heart. He's back on track now but that was a very sad time last year. We just let him work his way back to music. I think it's too much a part of him for him to completely let go.


    "Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve." -Roger Lewin
    RPM9 #20581 07/19/08 05:12 AM
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    I'm definitely interested to see how this turns out. I have reservations. From my reading on grouping/tracking, this doesn't sound like the optimal plan. It is good to get the top of the top segregated in self-contained classes. Then the top in their class (maybe that's your 130-140 group). After that, group heterogeneously. The high achievers will rise to the top now that the top of the top is gone. Perhaps you need a class for the lowest kids who would likely have LD issues and need special attention and accommodations. That leaves a good chunk in the middle.

    Then there are other questions. What if parent questions placement? Is there a method in place such as portfolio review? What if the child is a poor tester? HOw often will they test? Can a teacher over-ride a test score and recommend class placement?

    What test will they be using? Achievement tests? Nonverbal tests such as Naglieri or CoGAT? I think the issue w/ tracking in the past is that with achievement tests, you can get culture bias so you're classes will end up culturally-segregated which most often ends up being segregated by race. If your district is racially homogeneous then you won't have that problem. Then it might be based on economics. If your district is more economically homogeneous then that won't be a problem. I think I read in "Re-forming Gifted Education" that low-SES kids will be hurt on achievement tests for example, by not knowing that a schooner is a type of boat.


    What about kids that are 2-4yrs advanced in math but more average in other areas such that they test in the middle of the pack? Will that kid have to suffer through grade level math? What about kids that are 2e?

    I think a better system would be subject-based grouping. Have all subjects taught at the same time. Let kids move from teacher to teacher based on where they are in that subject. Kids are tested more than once per year and grouping is fluid.

    This will definitely be an interesting experiment and I look forward to reading about how it goes.

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    RPM9 Offline OP
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    We can't make a separate class for only the top so this is a backhanded way to do something for the top 2%. It just has to trickle down to all, in this case.

    I'll let you guys know how it goes.

    There are 80 kids in DS's grade level. I have a feeling the parents of class #3 will soon figure out what's up. Hopefully, they'll see the benefit of having much more staff support and behavioral support for the lowest class.


    "Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve." -Roger Lewin
    RPM9 #20590 07/19/08 06:59 AM
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    RPM - your DS is amazing! He is very cute. It's very sad he felt he couldn't do guitar for a while. I'm glad he came back to it. My DS7 would LOVE to learn guitar.

    On tracking, that would never work at our school. Any differentiating they do has to be done very quietly. There is such an involved parent base at our school, every parent would come in demanding that every kid be placed in the highest class. Over 40% of the kids are IDed as gifted. But the vast majority of this really are working at grade level. When I start talking about DS when someone mentions their child being GT or needing more at school, their eyes generally glaze over like they have no idea what I'm talking about.

    As someone who was probably MG-HG but an extreme underachiever in elementary school just to survive, I'm sure I would have never been appropriately placed if placement was based solely on achievement. I liked Kriston's comments on ability placement.

    But it sounds like it might work to your benefit RPM! You'll have to let us know how it goes.

    kimck #20593 07/19/08 08:06 AM
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    Thanks for the comment. Kid has what we think is perfect pitch. There's an old video on our YouTube of him playing Green Onions at age 8. The song starts yet he won't begin because he hears that the other guitar player [the CFO where I work/good grief] is in the wrong key. He hears it as SOON as the CFO starts to play at about 6 sec. I see his little head snap around and look at the person playing the offending note[s]. He then corrects my boss, the man who kindly signs my paychecks, and they go forward with the song as designed.


    "Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve." -Roger Lewin
    kimck #20599 07/19/08 09:23 AM
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    [quote=kimck] My DS7 would LOVE to learn guitar.

    Get a cheap little kid's guitar; could be acoustic altho electric is easier for beginners. Tune it to "open tuning". Have kiddo strum along with songs that he likes in open tuning. He can barre across frets to try to noodle along with the tune. The MAIN focus should be the timing and the rhythm. From there you can switch to standard tuning and work on chords and simple riffs.

    Timing and rhythm is everything in the beginning. IMO if you don't get it early on - very early on, you'll never get it.

    Remember to tune the guitar frequently to encourage the beginner's ear to stay tight - to be discriminating and critical.

    Well, that's how DS learned when he was 6-ish anyway.


    "Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve." -Roger Lewin
    Dottie #20604 07/19/08 09:58 AM
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    It gets a little weird when a kid who has only been playing for 1-2 years is correcting adults who have been playing for 20 - 30 years. he's a really good kid and cute as heck so he gets away with it, for now.


    "Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve." -Roger Lewin
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