Category Archives: Acceleration

Ability Grouping and Self-Esteem of Gifted Students

gtchat 02082018 Ability

Ability grouping is often a topic of discussion in the gifted community, but this week at #gtchat we expanded the discussion to include whether ability grouping can affect a gifted student’s self-esteem. Ability grouping can be a boost to a gifted student’s self-esteem by reducing exposure to bullying, name calling, and feeling like they are loners. It aids in placing highly-abled students together where cooperative and collaborative work result in mutual respect in pride in results. A shared workload with peers improves  a student’s belief in their contribution.

We group athletes and musicians without charges of elitism; why not high-ability students? It is sometimes beyond belief that society is so accepting of the benefits of ability grouping in sports and the arts; yet expresses such anathema towards academic grouping. We can be born to be anything except intellectually gifted. In the court of public opinion, the gifted community must take the high road – look for ways to improve identification, define what being gifted is and isn’t; then, focus on self-care for our kids.

Grouping can take many different forms and look very different in elementary school than it does at the secondary level. Grouping strategies should be tested and adapted to specific situations when necessary. It may be strictly tracking (secondary) in some instances when student choice dictates a specific career path. Grouping can consist of cluster grouping in inclusive classrooms and flexible grouping when called for. Small group rotations in the elementary classroom can allow teachers to differentiate the curriculum and spend time with groups who need the most intervention while allowing others more independence.

Teachers should be flexible in their approach to grouping; willing to change and tweak what might not be working. They should consider that needs of all students to see what works best. Effective grouping can ensure success across the intellectual spectrum; presenting challenge at the appropriate level. Teaching how to work in a group should be the first step when introducing grouping. Assessment of a student’s work should reflect each individual’s contribution; traditional grading methods may not work.

Can ability grouping be used to promote equity in high-ability tracks? States with a larger percentage of 8th grade students tracked in math had a larger percentage of high-scoring AP students four years later. Heightened AP performance held across racial subgroups—white, black & Hispanic. Equity has a better chance to occur when the ‘human’ factor is reduced within the identification process; reliance on universal screening is better.

It’s important that grouping not be used to replace gifted programming. It should be considered simply another tool in the classroom teacher’s toolbox; a different strategy to be used to meet students’ needs. Grouping should be considered in addition to other strategies as part of the student’s total educational plan. Students have different strengths and often challenges which need to be met with a variety of options. A transcript of the chat can be found at Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2 PM NZST/Noon AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

How “Tracking” Can Actually Help Disadvantaged Students

Education for Upward Mobility – Tracking in Middle School: A Surprising Ally in the Pursuit of Equity? (pdf)

Gifted Students Are Unnecessarily Sacrificed (2017)

Ability Grouping Is Not Just Tracking Anymore (pdf 2003)

UK: What are the effects of ability grouping on GCSE attainment? (pdf 2005)

AUS: Effects of Socioeconomic Status, Class Size and Ability Grouping on Science Achievement (2013)

Ability Grouping Effects on Academic Achievement and Self-Esteem: Who Performs in the Long Run as Expected (pdf)

Effects of Ability Grouping on Math Achievement of Third Grade Students (pdf)

Raising Standards: Is Ability Grouping the Answer?

Ability Grouping Presentation Notes (pdf 2012)

NZ: Raising the Bar with Flexible Grouping (2017)

Ability Grouping (Slide Player)

Tracking and Ability Grouping (SlideShare)

Flexible Groupings

Grouping without Fear: Effective Use of Groups in Classrooms (SlideShare)

Grouping Gifted Children

Ability Grouping – Has its Time Returned?

Effective Grouping of Gifted Students 

2016 Brown Center Report on American Education Part 2: Tracking and Advanced Placement

The Resurgence of Ability Grouping and Persistence of Tracking

Should Schools Rethink Reluctance to Track Students by Ability?

In Search of Reality: Unraveling Myths about Tracking, Ability Grouping & the Gifted (pdf)

Grouping the Gifted: Myths and Realities (pdf)

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 6

Sprite’s Site: Belonging – A Place of Sanctuary

Sprite’s Site: Brown Brogues

Clipart courtesy of Clipart Library

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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Does Differentiation Work for Gifted Students?

gtchat 10172017 Differentiation

While differentiation may meet the needs of many students, there’s a unique pedagogy of differentiation appropriate for gifted students. (Kettler) Differentiation for gifted students may include pre-assessment, curriculum compacting, and modifying curriculum/instruction.

Is differentiation for high-ability students as effective as for other students? All learning should be individualized to some extent,  but not all gifted students will respond the same. The quality and type of differentiation can affect outcomes. Educators should be open to change when necessary.

There may be better ways to accommodate the needs of some gifted students. Differentiated  instruction is only one way to meet their needs. Gifted students may respond better with peer-grouping.  For highly or profoundly gifted students, it may not be possible to differentiate age-based curriculum enough to challenge them.

There are some common barriers to effective differentiation. They include believing how to differentiate and to assess are set in stone; the teacher is unable to deviate from the program. Looking at differentiation as an ‘add-on’ rather than integrating it can also be a barrier.

In order to implement differentiated instruction, teachers need to start slow –anchor activities to deepen students’ understanding of a concept; enrich skills you want them to acquire. Continue by offering more choice more often; reflect on progress;  and involve parents when implementing it.

What should be considered when using differentiated instruction?  Product (student choice) and content delivery must be taken into consideration when differentiating instruction. Consider the process: tiered activities, curriculum ladders, higher-level questioning and open-ended activities. Consider assessment as well as pace and depth which also contribute to high quality differentiated instruction. A transcript is available on our Storify page.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at 1 PM NZST/11 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Links:

The Pedagogy of Differentiation Moving from Strategies to Learning Design (pdf) (Kettler)

Why Differentiation Misses the Mark for Gifted Students

Using Differentiated Instruction for Gifted Learners

Defensible Differentiation: Why, What & How (pdf)

How to Differentiate Instruction in Academically Diverse Classrooms, 3rd Edition (Amazon)

Fair Isn’t Always Equal: Assessment & Grading in the Differentiated Classroom (Amazon)

Understanding Differentiated Instruction: Building a Foundation for Leadership (Book Chapter)

Teaching a Class with Big Ability Differences

18 Teacher-Tested Strategies for Differentiated Instruction

Compacting Contract (pdf)

A Starter Kit for Differentiated Instruction

Differentiation for Gifted

Leading Differentiation

Helping Gifted Kids Soar (pdf)

Sprite’s Site – De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes 9: One Size Shoe Cover System

Cybraryman’s Differentiated Instruction

Culturally Responsive Classrooms: Affirming Culturally Different Gifted Students (pdf)

Underrepresentation of High-Achieving Students of Color in Gifted Programs

Racial Bias in Gifted and Talented Placement, and What to Do about It

Pic courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Creative Commons

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Homeschooling Gifted Students

gtchat 06272017 Homeschooling

This week, we welcomed Corin Goodwin, the Executive Director of GHF – Gifted Homeschoolers Forum as our guest to chat about homeschooling gifted students.

For years, homeschooling was considered on the fringe; those who had issues with public schools regarding religion. Gifted homeschooling is based on providing the best personal education possible to meet the unique challenges of gifted students.

Homeschooling is a very personal and individual decision and today’s homeschoolers are a diverse and emergent group. Reasons for homeschooling can include a need for greater challenge than available at traditional schools. Homeschooling allows gifted students to advance through the curriculum at a pace that meets individual needs.

What should parents consider before starting to homeschool? Parents need to make a realistic assessment of the financial resources they’ll need to effectively homeschool. They need to research homeschooling and the time commitment necessary to make it work for their child and the family.

One of the biggest myths that opponents of homeschooling bring up is lack of social opportunities which simply isn’t true. Gifted homeschooled students have many avenues to socialize with intellectual peers both in real life and online.

What are the prospects for homeschoolers when applying for college or transitioning to adult life? Universities once reluctant about homeschoolers now seek out these kids; acknowledge the benefits of homeschooling. Many resources are available to document student records and accomplishments for college admissions. Good planning can make the college admissions process easier and more successful for gifted homeschoolers. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

Afterthought: This chat prompted quite a few responses (from both those who attended the chat and those who did not) directed at the moderator concerning the feasibility of homeschooling. While most agreed that it would be beneficial for any gifted child to be taught at home one-on-one in a loving and supportive environment, just wanting to make it happen was not always enough to ensure a successful outcome for everyone.

One teacher related experiences of seeing parents losing their jobs because they didn’t have the energy to work and be solely responsible for their child’s education; having their child become disengaged because they didn’t have the time or skills to teach them; and even failed marriages.

Yes, some families will be fortunate to succeed without presupposing all possible outcomes, but it is a personal decision families need to make without outside judgement. Many parents said that although they were happy they decided to homeschool, they felt they would never recover financially. Concerns for other family members and personal feelings of self-worth were also expressed. Others cited the emotional toll it placed on the parent-child relationship.

These are all very real concerns. Parents who simply can’t make it work should not have to endure criticism. Just as every child is different, so is their family’s situation. It is important to make a realistic assessment of your own situation before embarking on homeschooling. In the end, you must decide what you feel is best for you, your child and your family.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

GHF Online

Homeschool Curricula

Homeschooling Curriculum for the Gifted Child

Reasons to Homeschool Your Gifted Child

Why We Homeschooled

Creative Home Schooling: A Resource Guide for Smart Families (Amazon)

Making the Choice: When Typical School Doesn’t Fit Your Atypical Child (Amazon)

How to Work & Homeschool: Practical Advice, Tips & Strategies from Parents (Amazon)

Educating Your Gifted Child: How One Public School Teacher Embraced Homeschooling (Amazon)

Home Schooling Gifted Children

Gifted Children: Transitioning Between Public School and Homeschool

Gifted Children: The Importance of Finding Intellectual Peers and Community

Homeschooling: Where and How to Begin

Study: States Should Provide Parents with More Information about Homeschooling Options

Education Alternatives

US Public Education Policy: Missing Voices

US Public Education Policy: Missing Voices Executive Summary and Survey Date

Sprite’s Site Nest Ed: Flocks and Shoes

Cybraryman’s Educators Pages

GHF Press

GHF on Facebook

Gifted Online NZ Centre for Gifted Education

NZ: Te Aho O Te Kura Pounama – The Correspondence School

GHF Favorite Things

GHF: Living with Gifted Children

Sprite’s Site: Socialization

SIG Summer Institute for the Gifted

GHF: Teens (and College)

Self-Directed Learning: Documentation and Life Stories

AUS: Homeschooling Research Notes – Glenda Jackson

Photo courtesy of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Acceleration for Gifted Students

gtchat 06202017 Acceleration

Many people mistakenly think of acceleration as only skipping a grade; but it’s so much more. Acceleration can take place at all levels of education from early primary to college. Parents can check to see if their child’s school allows for early admission to kindergarten/1st grade/high school or college. Other types of acceleration include mastery-based learning, independent study, and single-subject acceleration. Classroom modifications can include curriculum compacting, curriculum telescoping, and multi-age classrooms. Honors classes, AP, IB and dual-enrollment are also considered types of acceleration.

There are some considerations to take into account when deciding on acceleration. Parents should evaluate school policy to determine if there’s sufficient support for acceleration K-12. All stakeholders should determine the ‘end-game’ before accelerating a student and what benefits will accrue for the student. Consideration must be given to whether or not the child wants to be accelerated; without ‘buy-in’, it will fail. Risks of not accelerating an academically advanced student are increased dropout rates, underachievement, and disengagement.

So, why are so many school administrators and teachers resistant to acceleration? Ignorance of the benefits of acceleration for academically gifted students is the primary reason. A simple solution is to educate them! Most of them receive little to no professional development concerning the many potential types of acceleration available. Few have experience with acceleration or have access to current research concerning its benefits. Finally, personal prejudice against advanced students can cloud judgement when considering acceleration.

Here are some tips to make an accelerated transition go more smoothly. Parents should provide strong evidence that their child is ready for acceleration – testing, grades, student desire. Prepare everyone on what to expect – the student, parents, classmates and teachers; informed transitions are more successful! Early admission and acceleration in the primary years can mitigate age differences and increase time spent with intellectual peers.

What options exist if acceleration does not work out? This is a rare occurrence and one which is better avoided by good preparation rather than correcting later. Consideration should be given to fixing what isn’t working rather than exiting the program. If the student decides to suspend acceleration, it’s easier done at the secondary level where multi-grade classes are generally more available.

Parents are usually the initial advocates for acceleration. Many school administrators feign opposition to acceleration out of ‘concern’ for student. Be sure to point out the financial benefits to the school district. Advocating for any school policy begins at the state level; know your state’s laws concerning acceleration. Parents should find or start a Parent Advocacy Group; strength in numbers!

It is important to keep in mind why you are considering acceleration and reasons it will benefit a particular student. No plan will work if the child is not a willing participant. Acceleration is a cost effective means to providing an excellent educational opportunity for an academically gifted students. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Acceleration Institute

Iowa Acceleration Scale 3rd Edition, Complete Kit

Guidelines for Developing an Academic Acceleration Policy

Slay the Stay-Put Beast: Thoughts on Acceleration

Why Am I an Advocate for Academic Acceleration?

What Is Curriculum Compacting?

Why is Academic Acceleration (Still) So Controversial?

Academic Acceleration (YouTube 5:35)

What is so threatening about academic acceleration?

Acceleration Considerations

Should My Gifted Child Skip a Grade? 

A Time to Accelerate, A Time to Brake

Accelerating to What?

Good Things about Grade Acceleration

Successfully Advocating for Your Child’s Grade Skip

Academic Acceleration

Acceleration Options in the FBISD: Preparing the Gifted Child for Their Future (pdf)

Keller ISD Advanced Academics – Parent Resource Portal

Cybraryman’s Gifted and Talented Advocacy Page

#gtchat Blog: How to Advocate for Acceleration at Your School

Types of Acceleration and their Effectiveness

UT Austin High School: Early Graduation

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 6

Texas Statutory Authority on Acceleration

Photo courtesy of Hein Waschefort (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons  CC BY-SA 3.0

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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