Commentary on "Ability Grouping"

Discussion in 'General Education' started by EdEd, Mar 6, 2016.

  1. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I started a new thread to discuss teaching techniques. I'm sure there plenty of ways to do this that I'm unaware of.
     
  2. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Thank you. I look forward to reading your methods.
     
  3. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Agreed, however students with disabilities are using resources to get what they need, this is not working for gifted students. In California they are covered under special education, but are ignored. They need to be represented by the same powers that force schools to provide 1 to 1 aides to students. They should have mandated IEP's similar to the other sped students....etc.
     
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  4. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I'm not sure how funding works out there, but gifted is not a category under federal SPED laws, so there's no money attached from that level, whereas there is federal protection & funding for kids with disabilities.
     
  5. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    My understanding(not positive) is that in California gifted students are covered under special education. It seems there is just no clamoring for services as is the case with the other group.
     
  6. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    The federal government does not recognize giftedness as a disability under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or 504. Some states have made special categories for special education allowing something similar to an IEP. The reason that it is hard to get traction on a gifted IEP with specialized services is because of the limitations behind the idea of what public education is supposed to provide for a student. FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) was established in the Rowley vs Dept of Education and defined FAPE as providing a student with some benefit from their education. It means that schools will not maximize a student's potential or even come close. They just need to receive some benefit from their education. It is the Chevy vs Cadillac comparison, but unfortunately many get the Pinto with two flat tires.

    If the school were to determine they need to maximize the student performance of gifted students, it would turn the entire system on its head since they were making a protected class that would be the only class allowed to have their potential maximized in the system. They would be getting what goes beyond conferring benefit.

    While it would be best if all students had their potential maximized, special education students aren't even given that treatment. The reason they receive special treatment is to reduce the number of people who will have to be supported on governmental programs because of their disability and lack of education.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2016
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  7. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Great post a2z - don't know that I've seen it explained that well before. I would also add to your last paragraph that the reason they receive special treatment is so that they can access the curriculum in the same way that other students can. Yes, not to maximize their learning, just so they can receive a similar benefit.
     
  8. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    The problem is that research shows gifted students AREN'T getting their needs met. They have very different needs from other students. Particularly in regards to math, a gifted student is being treated very inappropriately if they are not being given opportunities for acceleration. I've made more than one frustrated phone call to a school for a former student who moved out of state and was placed in a fourth grade class with little-to-no regard for their giftedness (or the fact that they had already taken fourth grade math). I don't think gifted ed should fall under the Special Ed umbrella, but I know many states require some sort of gifted education plan, which functions similarly (albeit in a very streamlined way) to an IEP. Gifted students have social emotional needs their classmates don't have, they have academic needs their classmates they don't have, etc.
     
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  9. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    It isn't about the needs of the students, it is what the school is required to provide by law which is access to the curriculum, like EdEd said, and some benefit. That is the really frustrating thing about public schools and something that is hard to wrap your head around when you care about students.
     
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  10. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    If a student walks into a grade level having already mastered the curriculum for that grade, how can it be argued that they are getting any benefit?
     
  11. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Mar 14, 2016

    Perhaps with a teacher that is able to extend those students appropriately, while concurrently identifying any possible slight holes that might exist?

    I have a student who has mastered quite a bit of the math curriculum, but to give a point to highlight the latter half -- she knew how to use common denominators to order fractions, but had no other strategy. It became difficult when the least common denominator was in the 300s and higher...when she could just have looked at the fact that they all had the same numerator (same # of pieces, different size).

    Perhaps I might be misinterpreting your post, though...sorry if so!
     
  12. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I think "benefit" is probably not the right word, but rather "access." If the student can access the curriculum, FAPE is pretty much happening. Whether or not the student chooses to engage, benefits, etc. is ultimately of less relevance.
     
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  13. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Mar 15, 2016

    Benefit could be improving fluency. Practicing an already held skill. Applying the problem in a different way. Learn a new strategy to approach the problem.

    All the education has to provide is access and at the most mastery of the standards. If the child walks into the school with those two things, benefit has been provided. The benefit is that the school has provided a way for the student to demonstrate he has those skills. Also, benefit doesn't say that it has to be each individual subject. So, unless the gifted student is getting every thing 100% correct all the time in discussions, classwork, homework, and projects, there will be benefit of some type.

    There are a lot of kids who walk into a grade having mastered the skills for that year's standards, especially in math where the standards are more objective than subjective.

    The "some benefit" comes in when defining if an IEP was written such that the student is being provided FAPE. Since giftedness alone and not with a disability is not a federally protected subset of students, all schools must legally provide is access regardless of whether or not we feel it is fair to the gifted student to not be given a special education. When we talk about gifted we only have to consider access.

    If a gifted student's emotional/behavioral issues are interfering with access, the student can be evaluated for an emotional/behavioral disability, but giftedness is not a recognized disability.
     
  14. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I think it is sad that we are talking about FAPE in regards to meeting gifted student's needs.
     
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  15. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    What do you mean?
     
  16. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Why would FAPE come up in a conversation about meeting the needs of gifted students? IMO, it is like buying a new car that has a warranty that covers the CD player up to 30k miles. At 30.1k miles the CD player stops working, the car dealership says, sorry we met the warranty, have a good day. Meeting FAPE is not my idea of meeting the needs of students, it is breathing.
     
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  17. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Unless the gifted student is learning everything about the school standards outside of school then FAPE for the gifted student is like breathing. We do know that even gifted kids do learn things from teachers even when they are academically ahead. We also know that different gifted kids have different interests and not all of them are going to know a lot about science if their interest reside in literature and creative writing.

    FAPE is a low bar. It was intentionally set that way.

    Again, I agree that students need more, but the law is rather clear about what public education is required to provide.

    This is no different than discussions about how kids need to adapt to the group environment in school and the way each teacher manages his/her classroom because public school education is not set up to maximize the potential of the individual but to educate the group.
     
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  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    But isn't that what special education is all about, putting the needs of the individual student above the needs of the group and beyond the whole-class scope of the teacher?
     
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  19. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    But the goal is to get them to FAPE, not to get them to maximize their potential or perform beyond the basic standards set by the state. Special education students can't access the curriculum without supports. If they can't access the curriculum, they can't learn the standards.

    Unless the gifted student has a disability, they have access to FAPE which is the basic education provided by the state. They may not have access beyond the standards, but the school is providing the bare minimum which is all they are required to provide by law at this time.

    It starts to get confusing because most schools talk a big talk about the student's growth being most important, but when push comes to shove it is only talk when something different is needed for the student.
     
  20. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    This is spot in.
     
  21. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I remember being so mad in my 8th grade science class... my second quarter average was a 115% and my midterm average was a 106%, but my teacher was only allowed to put grades up to 100% on report cards.
     
  22. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    "Hey, kid! You're doing so well in my class that I decided to give you a ton of extra work to do. Enjoy!"
     
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  23. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    What, lol? Not extra or more work, different work that is more appropriate for a GIFTED student. Not more, different.
     
  24. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    An earlier comment mentioned extra credit so that gifted students have more work to do and don't sit there being bored.

    This is basically why I would prefer to see gifted students grouped with other gifted students. The curriculum can be modified for everyone to work at a higher/faster pace, rather than handing off more work to the kids who work more quickly than everyone else. I can't tell you how much more work I had to do compared to my classmates because I was ahead of the curve. Sometimes the work was interesting and challenging, but often it just sucked.
     
  25. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Have you thought of ways to add depth to the assignments you give? I am not sure what grade you teach, but I find ways to extend the thinking of the high achievers while still "trying" to move the struggling students along.

    For example, as a class we may be working on a problem such as 343 divided by 2. We will use pictures and counters for struggling students, a place value method for division, and then have the "gifted" students look at if the distributive property will work for division as it does in multiplication, why or why not?

    IMO, this provides an entry point as well as points of difficulty for all levels of students.
     
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  26. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Yeah, not familiar with the abilities of 7th graders. In 4th grade history provides opportunities for depth as well, not sure it applies to 7th grade.

    For example, there are many ethical and cause and effect issues that can be looked at. Struggling learners would be giving more obvious answers while "gifted" students would be diving deeper into the less obvious answers. What were some of the effects of the gold rush on California, tons of diverse, simple, complex, thinking that can go into this question. IMO, giving entry points for various levels of thinking and points of difficulty.

    I am not sure if this helps.
     
  27. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Apr 5, 2016

    Sometimes I will have students who test out of the social studies lesson, many times these are the gifted students, do a writing project where they submit their work to a journal or magazine. Any student can do this extended assignment, but the students who can skip the regular lesson have more time to work on it.
     

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