student grouping

Discussion in 'General Education' started by creativemonster, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Oct 15, 2017

    Futuremath -
    I take back what I said about you sounding like a caring teacher. You have little or no obvious empathy for children in your low groups, and would rather cling to a harsh, unnecessary technique rather than grow as a teacher.
     
  2. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    You are welcome to your opinion. However, I care about ALL my students, in spite of what you think. There is a mountain load of evidence that ability grouping works and it has year after year for me, for every learner, regardless of their ability level.

    Your methods aren’t the only ones that work so please stop acting as if you have the moral high ground SJW. I have tons of data that shows my pedagogies are effective and my administration has said I am a highly effective teacher.
     
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  3. WarriorPrncss

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    Oct 15, 2017

    One of the Kagan things I liked was the grouping-- in a team of 4--- high, medium high, medium low, low. This way, working in pairs you have high/med-high and low/med-low so there isn't frustration when a high student is with a low one.
     
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  4. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    In my department (math), if it is for a GRADED assignment (i.e. test or quiz grade), groups MUST be made homogeneously so as not to distort what the low-achievers can actually do. There have been parent complaints from when teachers did otherwise, and I think these complaints had merit.

    The only time I really do heterogeneous grouping is on the rare occasion where I do a whole-class test review game because it is not fun if one group is just dominating all the others.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 16, 2017

    Shouldn't all teachers be warriors for social justice? Shouldn't we all be advocating and fighting for human rights and equality when it comes to our students?

    Also, I feel like you think you're name-calling when you refer to someone as an SJW, but you're really not. That's a label that I and many others wear proudly.

    This post makes me grumpy.
     
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  6. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Normally, I would not use this term as a pejorative but I am responding to the poster who said I was using a “terribly bad method,” that I was discriminating against minorities, that I lacked empathy, that I did not care about my students, that I needed to become a better teacher, that I need to challenge my ineffective methods, etc. When I use SJW, I am referencing people who call everything they don’t like discriminatory or racist, which seems to the pervading theme in today’s culture. Just call everything racist. Case in point, there is a growing group of people who say that licensing tests for teachers are racist because they deter certain minority’s from teaching, which is complete bull hockey. I’ve just had it with the constant labeling of everything racist, and this is coming from someone who is VERY multicultural.
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    It sounds to me like you may be projecting and exaggerating. I doubt that PP is calling "everything" racist. It seems like he is just saying that grouping in certain ways can be discriminatory, which it can be. That's a valid part of this discussion.

    When it comes to racism, sexism, and discrimination, things get complex. These issues aren't nice, neat boxes into which certain actions and attitudes fit. They're more like weird octopuses (octopodes, really) and squids whose tentacles slither their way into all sorts of places you might not expect. There's a certain kind of privilege in saying that you know a situation is not racist or sexist or discriminatory in some other way, even when people are telling you that it is. There's a similar kind of privilege in saying that the needs of high-achievers outweigh the needs of our traditionally underserved and, yes, oppressed groups.

    Perhaps rather than suggesting that nothing done in or for the classroom is ever racist, it may be more helpful to find ways to develop mindful teaching methods and grouping strategies that will address the needs of all our students (including the high-achievers) without being racist. Surely we can do that, no?
     
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  8. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Oh, I’m not exaggerating. The debate started off great and we both exchanged studies that countered the other, but then it devolved into: But what if all the ELL, poor, and minority students are in the low group? Segregation! The person then started posting several links about how it makes minority students suffer and gives them low self-esteem because they are ostracized for being taught at their level. It just went on and on.
     
  9. futuremathsprof

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    You made some valid points, but please don’t start with the privilege argument. And just because someone says something is sexist or racist does NOT mean it is. For example, I read an article about a teacher who was disciplined by his school principal because he said “Good morning ladies” to a group of female students, and they reported him because it was “sexist.”
     
  10. futuremathsprof

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    Definition of sexism: relating to or characterized by prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.

    If none of the above things occurred, it’s not sexist. Period.

    Definition of racism: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.

    Again, if none of the above occurred, it’s not racist. Period.
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 16, 2017

    Right, but one thing not being sexist or racist doesn't mean that all claims of sexism or racism are invalid.

    I'm thinking specifically about the "Me, too" stuff going around on social media right now. The internet seems shocked, shocked!, that so many women have been victims of sexual harassment and/or assault. Women aren't shocked, though. Women have always known what's up, while men have been busy not believing them.
     
  12. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Let’s not conflate sexual harassment with innocuous speech. I abhor sexual crimes in all forms and support women wholeheartedly where that is concerned.

    However, these are completely different issues. I am a big supporter of women’s rights and advocate for women as often as I can. However, I draw the line at blanket statements of labeling everything as racist or sexist. The students do it, too. For example, I saw a colleague get accused of being racist because he said hello to an Asian student and not a Hispanic student. Everyone just looks for negative attention these days. Making issues or of non-issues is the new trend, I guess.
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    ...But you are making blanket statements in claiming that PP is labeling "everything" racist.
     
  14. futuremathsprof

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    I meant in the context of this situation. I knew the poster was going to bring race into it as soon as the discussion started, but thanks for pointing that out.

    There are legitimate concerns where race and gender are involved, but this is not one of them. Tests are inanimate and don’t have preconcieved notion about race. In my school’s case, if a multicultural person scores high on the entrance exam, then they will be put in the high-achievers class. The same is true for any race if they scored in the medium performers or low category. The classes highlight students’ strengths and work with those strengths to address any problem areas. No one is looked down upon because they are tracked academically, at least at my school.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017
  15. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Oct 16, 2017

    So... if a tracked system is working superbly but we want to switch to a diferent system, how do we avoid student achieved dropping in the transition?
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 16, 2017

    I disagree with that, quite a lot actually. I think that one of the big failures of standardized testing is that tests often assume certain prior knowledge that requires certain life experiences. I used to use a resource that had lots of references to wharfs and jibs. My students come from the desert and literally none of them know what a jib is. Most of them don't know what a wharf is. This particular issue is sort of regional or even classist rather than racist, but it has the same result: the kid can't answer questions related to wharfs and jibs because they don't know what those are even though the test assumes they do.
     
  17. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Oct 16, 2017

    Is this case, yes. However, I am not talking about obscure definitions, but things every United States citizen or resident are expected to know, like how to add, subtract, divide, and multiply, their multiplication tables, how to read, how to read a chart, how to read a clock, how to write a complete sentence that is grammatically correct, that the earth is spherical and not flat, that the sun does not turn off at night, what a cell is, what your constitutional rights are, etc.
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 16, 2017

    I'm talking about those things, too.

    Would your students know how to answer this question? Would you? Might you agree that there could potentially be some racial, class, regional, or generational bias in this question? Might you agree that there could be a difference between not knowing the answer and not having the opportunity to know the answer to this question?

    cup:______________::fish:chips
     
  19. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    I just want to make sure I know what you’re asking. Do I insert a word for the blank or is it a riddle?
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017
  20. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    And your last statement is 100% correct. There definitely is a difference between the two.
     
  21. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 16, 2017

    Both?

    Here's another one, from an actual test:

    RUNNER: MARATHON ::

    A) envoy: embassy
    B) martyr: massacre
    C) oarsman: regatta
    D) referee: tournament
    E) horse: stable

    I'm a pretty smart cookie and I would struggle with this one. I don't know what a regatta is.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017
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  22. futuremathsprof

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    Okay, these are fun! For the second one I think it is D) referee:tournament. My mindset is this: the runner runs in a marathon and the referee referees in a tournament. I am still thinking about the first one.
     
  23. futuremathsprof

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    I think the answer is drink/beverage because fish and chips usually go together when eaten so my guess would be drink or beverage.
     
  24. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 16, 2017

    Nope.
     
  25. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nope.
     
  26. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I would think the answer would be saucer. A cup and saucer go together. Both are inedible. Fish and chips go together. Both are edible.
     
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  27. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    I think you’re right. Curses!
     
  28. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    It seems that C could be correct except that an oarsman is part of a team that enters a regatta and a runner who enters a marathon is not part of a team. However, an envoy is a single person of the embassy which is a body of people which would make me lean towards A. (Thinking some more about it) But a marathon and a regatta are both sports, so I might pick C if I chose to not over think it.

    I didn't grow up near bodies of water that had regattas. I learned about them in school because we were always reading short stories for reading comprehension.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017
  29. TrademarkTer

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    Oct 16, 2017

    Reason #272 why I teach math and not English. o_O
     
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  30. futuremathsprof

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    Haha! I agree, but you know what? I actually think people who are very good at English are brilliant and am sligtly jealous of them. They are highly creative thinkers, are able to chain together words in beautiful combinations that I can’t fathom, and they are immensely clever. Math people are extremely smart, but English people are also. I once had an English major provide some valuable insight on some mathematical proofs I had in college because she put the situation in a different context that just made sense. I was shocked that what she said made so much sense.
     
  31. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    The answer is C.

    I've never read anything about regattas, and I'm a voracious reader.
     
  32. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Oct 16, 2017

    I dated a rower in high school so I definitely knew about regattas. That being said, it isn't something most high schoolers WOULD know unless they had exposure to it.
     
  33. Backroads

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    Why have standardized tests if we can't even come up with reasonable national vocabulary for them?
     
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  34. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    That question definitely had a major tinge of privilege to it (the rower I dated lived in a much wealthier neighborhood than my own).
     
  35. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I could make a class or culture argument for so many of the SAT questions or readings. It is true that many in poverty don't have a large vocabulary, but that is well beyond a problem with the test. I can say first hand that some schools do not teach vocabulary to students and other schools do a better job. A relative in another state says that their child's education includes a lot of vocabulary and schools do talk about the SAT and indicate to students that information like what they teach might be on the standardized tests. You can call it test prep because the American vocabulary has been so dumbed-down it is sad, but it really is teaching the English language which has been curtailed in many schools.
     
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  36. futuremathsprof

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    I think I have a counter for teachers who are against standardized tests. If you cannot make assumptions about basic knowledge how do you test students at all then at the state or national level? You can’t formulate test questions unless you have the expectation that students should know certain things by a particular age. I’m for very broad testing, so solving for a variable algebraically, being able to calculate fractions, percentages, and basic probabilities, being able to interpret a reading passage and answering questions that pertain to the reading, making sense of common words and phrases and analysis of classical works, etc. I don’t like highly specific standardized tests. Hopefully, that makes sense.
     
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  37. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Oct 18, 2017

    Most teachers do not have a problem with standardized tests. We object to their use for a purpose for which they are not designed. For example, they are designed to test large systems, not individual students or teachers.

    When a school has a large population of transient low income families, nearly always these tests show the school as "failing" no matter how many daily miracles the staff is achieving.

    Bringing this tread back to the original question, these tests put pressure on teachers to teach testing instead of elegant math, captivating literature, writing, art, music, drama and so forth. Test-taking classes often results in ability grouping — a harmful practice panned by the American Psychological Association. Using other strategies than ability grouping, teachers can remediate their low, challenge their high and bring along their middle students.
     
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  38. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Is a school a large enough system?
    When a school results show that only 15% are showing on-level results, doesn't that show that what the school is doing is not effective for the students?

    Even before individual teachers were looked at, schools and teachers pointed the finger to others. They were so afraid of the results that stupid decisions were made that didn't result in student learning. Sometimes it was a way of gaming the system. Other times, the decisions just defied logic such as teaching a student well above where they are because by a certain point they must be on grade level then changing how assessment is done to ensure grades show better progress. All are shocked when the test results are low because they were doing so well. It gets worse when new teachers come in and know nothing else and actually believe the poor methods being used are the best way to do things.

    You may find the random kid who doesn't know letter sounds who can somehow magically read, but for the most part you won't see that. You will see false grades and horrible standardized test scores.
     
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  39. EdEd

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    Oct 18, 2017

    Banned by APA? Where do you see this? I'm a school psychologist and have never heard this. We routinely advocate for skill groups within classrooms such as guided reading groups based on reading level.
     
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  40. futuremathsprof

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    You are absolutely correct, of course. Great post.
     

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