Tracking

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Sep 4, 2018.

  1. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Sep 7, 2018

    This arrangement seems suitable and I like this model. With that said, when I was in elementary (back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s), you took a test once enrolled to find out your reading level and then you were placed into a reading class in accordance with your score — I tested into sixth-grade reading in the second grade and so I was placed in the fifth-grade reading class at the time. I did very well, as did my accelerated peers, and we were subsequently bumped into the “sixth-grade” reading class and remained there in subsequent years as that was the highest you could go. It didn’t make sense to keep us in with the lower reading classes because I wasn’t reading at a second-grade level. (That’s also one of the reasons why we were put into ETS and GATE — we each took IQ and other diagnostic tests.)

    The same thing happened in middle school — I was always put in with the eighth graders for English, just with a different teacher each year — as I was later retested at the beginning of sixth grade and was found to have been reading at the twelth-grade level (I remember getting a score of 12.9, I think).

    The point of all this: I would have been unchallenged if left in with my regular peers. To us advanced kids, it was like learning your ABC’s all day. We needed greater enrichment and we weren’t going to get that in lower-level classes. It just wasn’t intellectually appropriate for us despite our age group.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
  2. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Sep 7, 2018

    I like the idea of upward mobility for higher level students more than tracking high, middle, and low kids in one grade level.
     
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  3. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Sep 8, 2018

    In our district, at the elementary level, there are plenty of resources to support all. For example, for kids who are struggling, we of course have SPED resources and primary has essentially a Tier 2 resource for kids who are on the cusp but not "low enough". For the students who are tested as "highly capable", there are a variety of options depending on how they qualified, between school enrichment once a week, to pull out programs one day a week, to a full-on highly capable program. And, there's tons of training available for teachers to work towards being able to better differentiate.

    Yesterday, I absolutely loved the activity we did (it was one from the Week of Inspirational Math) - where I had some kids working on some of the basics, but for one of them, we were looking at creating hypotheses over an overarching rule that would encompass the activity, with subsequent tests to slowly try to specify that rule until it actually fully described it. Earlier in the week, we were looking at Pascal's triangle, and while some students were noticing simpler patterns, some were noticing smaller triangles that formed when shading in odds/evens and making hypotheses and noticing the symmetrical nature of the numbers.

    Based on some previous discussion, people worry about the higher-level students losing out because they're with the currently-lower-level students. How do we determine who deserves the upward mobility the most? While those students excelling shouldn't be responsible for driving the growth with those who need more support, completely excluding the two I think sends the wrong message.

    (And I agree with otterpop -- providing opportunities for enrichment rather than pure tracking I think is the key.)
     
  4. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Sep 8, 2018

    Use test results to determine which students are gifted. Those are the ones who deserve upward mobility the most. It’s not equitable to hinder the advanced students just so they can be in the same age group or because it somehow “sends the wrong message.”

    Also, I think students who show that they are willing to improve and work hard, even though they are not gifted, should have access to higher upward mobility, too.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
  5. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Sep 9, 2018

    We don’t have our kids tracked anymore. We have one class of that, which is the RtI class. Those kids still take everything from basic reading and math to algebra and accelerated reading.

    I didn’t realize my elementary school was tracked until I got to middle school. In elementary I was in the top class, then I went up a grade for reading and had an extra class (gifted) every so often during social studies. I was the only one who scored into the program (general academics based on IQ and test scores) but they put two other people in who were classified as leadership gifted. In middle school my English and math classes were like usual and I also had gifted class (more kids due to others from other elementaries), but I was really surprised at the kids in my science, social studies, and specials classes. I had never been around kids who wouldn’t work and openly tried to keep others from working. Some were mean and mouthy to teachers. I was quiet and did my work, so I often got stuck beside the “bad” kids as a buffer. I keep that in mind when I make seating charts. I disliked most of my middle school experience. Once I got to high school, it was back to grouped classes. I liked it so much better. I had zero tolerance for foolish behavior, and that’s what I saw a lot in middle school. I honesty don’t know how many struggled academically because we didn’t interact in groups much.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
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  6. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Sep 9, 2018

    Giftedness cannot be determined by the results of classroom tests.
     
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  7. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Sep 9, 2018

    Test scores don't tell you everything.

    I have a fourth grade student who reads at the college level according to our quarterly benchmark standardized test. However, she can't participate in a book club discussion on a book she's read or tell a summary that's worth anything. There's no way I'd move her up even one grade level based on my actual observations of her, despite her very high test score. She happens to be the in gifted program.

    I have another student who is also in the gifted program. He routinely scores below grade-level on math tests, and my observations of his work in the classroom are the same. Although he scores above grade-level on the reading test, he, too, has difficulty participating in discussions on books he has read. Despite his low math test scores, he managed to be found eligible for gifted education.

    Don't confuse gifted with high-achieving. And don't assume that test scores will tell you the whole picture.
     
  8. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Sep 9, 2018

    One thing I noticed in the high school level.....

    As soon as students start doing well in the CP level (i.e. getting As), they want to move to honors. They don't realize that they will likely get a B-/C+ in honors, and be one of the weakest students in the class. If they are okay with that, and still want a challenge, that's fine. I know in some schools, the honors classes are just a little more work, or they just move a little faster, but here the honors classes are a completely differnet curriculum. Honors needs to actually be more challenging. For example, here honors students do not get any credit for doing homework, and they are expected to solve problems on tests that are different than ones worked in class. They also cover 2-3 chapters that are not taught in the CP courses.

    I always tell kids there's nothing wrong with being a solid CP student, especially since at my school the CP classes are like the honors classes at many other nearby school districts. When they are thinking about making the leap, I make it clear that they will likely go from being the best student in the CP class to one of the lowest in honors class. Some of them make the leap anyway, but some of them decide it's best not to. We also have a proficiency test that is used to see if students have the necessary skills.
     
  9. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Sep 9, 2018

    Nice rebuttal and you’ve made some salient points, some of which I agree with.

    In my case, I didn’t just test into a higher reading level and that was it. I had to show I could do the work in the 5th-grade class, as well — it was the combination of my reading, IQ, and diagnostic scores that allowed me the greater upward ability.

    Essentially, you had to take a written supplement and demonstrate that your writing ability was on par with the “upperclassmen” before the switch could be made. Then, you had a trial period where you had to show you could handle the workload and excel.
     
  10. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Sep 9, 2018

    Agreed, the honors course are very different from the regular core classes at my high school, too. However, you have to take and pass a diagnostic (with at least 90% accuracy) before moving up. Going back to the Pre-Algebra example, say a student only needed to be taught how to manipulate algebraic expressions and to translate verbal modes into algebraic models. They master that and then want to move up to Algebra 1. That’s fine, so long as they take the Pre-Algebra final and get 90+%. If they get that or greater, they are then enrolled in the Algebra 1 class or Algebra 1 Honors, with the latter being much more difficult even though it’s just Algebra 1 (it’s project based and students do almost all word problems throughout).
     
  11. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Sep 9, 2018

    Gifted aren’t always high achieving.

    High achieving aren’t always gifted.

    The only classification was “general academic” based on Ravens test administered in 3rd grade back when I was a student. Now they have categories based on that, plus there are categories for leadership, music, and athletics.

    I like classes of high achieving kids. I dislike gifted classes. That is a tough audience.
     
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  12. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Sep 9, 2018

    Agreed for the most part. I don’t see the harm in having classes for gifted students OR having classes comprised of high achievers.

    And I don’t understand what you mean by “tough audience” in the context that you used it. Could you please explain what that means? Sorry, I’m not the greatest when it comes to colloquialisms...
     
  13. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Sep 9, 2018

    Just imagine a whole class full of "futuremathsprofs"! Now that's a tough audience!!!
     
  14. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Sep 9, 2018

    I agree! There should *never* be more than one of me. That would... not be good.
     
  15. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Sep 9, 2018

    Gifted students often don't have social emotional awareness that aligns to their level of intelligence. So, despite them being academically advanced in some areas, they often lack the skills to function well in a classroom setting. They may not know when it's okay to speak their mind and when things are better left unsaid. They have a difficult time getting along with peers when working with partners, etc. See the images and link below that our gifted teacher shared with us recently.

    https://www.nagc.org/resources-publ...ial-emotional-issues/asynchronous-development

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  16. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Sep 9, 2018

    I concur. My 8th graders will sometimes have these sporadic outbursts, which I have to address before class starts. I just bring them to the side and let them know how they should behave in a high school class. They are very excitable, but they listen when their teacher addresses them. Some of them get embarrassed, but I am more gentle with them as they are younger.

    Excellent article, by the way! This must explain why the advanced 8th graders, for example, only have advanced math (Algebra 2 or Precalculus or AP Calculus), science (AP Physics, for example), etc., then regular 8th-grade classes (English 8) with the rest of their untracked peers. A mixture, it seems, is best.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
  17. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Sep 9, 2018

    I agree. I've had a few difficult gifted students. They could score very high on tests, but might also have meltdowns because no one wanted to play with them at recess, or they just didn't feel like doing an assignment.

    I've also witnessed gifted kids completely losing it when an assignment is difficult for them. They were not accustomed to needing to ask for help.

    Sometimes high and gifted kids are very active learners, and it can be detrimental to other students if they shout out answers or won't stop talking during instruction. This is true for any student who does these things. Talking out of turn is distracting, even when the conversation is on topic.

    That said, I think most gifted/high students tend to be easier to teach. They tend to have better learning habits and be curious learners. There tend to be fewer behavior problems also. But, there can be difficult children at all intelligence levels. The same can be said for adults!

    (I realize I used gifted and high sort of interchangeably here. While the categories often overlap, there are definitely plenty of exceptions.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018

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