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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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Ability Grouping – Has Its Time Returned?

gtchat 04262016 Ability Grouping

 

Students can and should be grouped to learn in a way that best meets their individual needs, and regrouped at reasonable intervals during their progression along a curricular continuum. This grouping may transcend age, homeroom, and grade level if it allows the student to be more successful.” ~ Ellis School, Fremont, SD

 

A discussion about ability grouping must inevitably begin by explaining the difference between it and the more controversial concept of tracking. Generally, tracking separates students into separate classes, whereas ability grouping occurs within classrooms. Today, most ability grouping is considered to be more flexible than in the past.

“Without ability groups future Olympic swimmers would have to paddle in the shallow end of pool till all were at same level.” ~ Jo Freitag, Gifted Resources

However, ability grouping like tracking has  garnered a lot of negative attention even in the face of recent research which presents many positive outcomes; especially for gifted students (see links below). One issue which seems to accompany any new practice being introduced into education is the lack of adequate professional development and training for teachers. It’s also important to consider the feelings and well-being of all children when changing the way they are grouped in classrooms.

“We confuse potential with need. Ability grouping meets a need, but it is seen as predicting who will succeed and who won’t.” ~ Shanna Weber

Of course, it was pointed out that ability grouping already exists in most schools that have athletics. In fact, without being able to develop athletic talent, sports would eventually cease to be what they are today. Sport talent is developed through identification of top athletes, providing the best coaches, and training. Some U.S. colleges seek commitments from top athletes while still in middle school. So why do schools turn their backs on their top academic talent?

“Ability grouping is “legal” in everything except academics. No one wants to admit someone else is smarter or better in academics.” ~ Carolyn K, Hoagies Gifted

Historically, schools grouped students based on factors other than ability; relying on observations only. The selection process or identification was often tied to human bias. An easy solution would be to screen all children. Flexible grouping and regrouping which responds to ongoing assessment of progress could be used rather than the inflexible system of strict tracking.

Preparation matters. In communities across the country, pipelines are in place to nurture and develop promising young athletes. Not so with academic stars. Why not? In a word, because singling out advanced students for special coursework involves tracking. But tracking is controversial. By definition, it involves differentiating students in terms of their skills and knowledge. Recent research on tracking that employs techniques to minimize selection bias and other shortcomings of previous research, has documented examples of tracking being used to promote equity.” ~ Brown Center on Education Report 2016 Section 2

We then turned out attention to recent research on structuring ability grouping to promote equity in high-ability tracks. States with a larger percentage of 8th grade students in tracked math classes have a larger percentage of high-scoring AP students four years later. Heightened AP performance holds across racial subgroups—white, black and Hispanic. (Loveless) Equity has a better chance to occur when the ‘human’ factor is reduced. Research suggests tracking high-achievers across the board boosts performance for all. (Card/Giuliano 2014) A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

 

gtchat-logo-new bannner

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 (12.00) NZST/10.00 AEST/1.00 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:

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

AUS: Ability Grouping and Mathematics: Who Benefits?

Ability and Instructional Grouping Information

Should Schools Rethink Reluctance to Track Students by Ability?

Instructional Management/Grouping

Final Recommendations Fremont S.D. Strategic Plan Future of Education at Ellis School Committee (pdf)

How “Tracking” Can Actually Help Disadvantaged Students

The Resurgence of Ability Grouping and Persistence of Tracking (YouTube 4:08)

Effective Grouping of Gifted Students

Grouping Without Fear: Effective Use of Groups in Classrooms 

Amazing Classrooms: Engaging the High Achievers (YouTube 14:35)

Grouping Students by Ability Regains Favor in Classroom

Sorting Kids at School: The Return of Ability Grouping

Effects of Within-Class Ability Grouping on Academic Achievement in Early Elementary Years (Abstract)

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

Tracking in Middle School A Surprising Ally in Pursuit of Equity? (pdf)

Peer Effects, Teacher Incentives & Impact of Tracking: Evidence from Randomized Evaluation in Kenya (pdf)

The Effects of Grouping Practices and Curricular Adjustments on Achievement (pdf)

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

Helping Disadvantaged and Spatially Talented Students Fulfill Their Potential: Related and Neglected National Resources (pdf)

INEQUITY IN EQUITY: How “Equity” Can Lead to Inequity for High-Potential Students (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Assessments Page

The Relationship of Grouping Practices to the Education of the Gifted and Talented Learner 

Photo courtesy of  Pixabay     CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Effective Grouping of Gifted Students with guest Lisa Van Gemert

Lisa VanGemert2014

This week #gtchat welcomed longtime friend, Lisa Van Gemert, the Youth and Education Ambassador for American Mensa, to tackle the tough questions surrounding effective grouping of gifted students. Lisa explained to us the many different types of grouping that were possible, but reminded us “it’s important to keep groups fluid – allowing movement with achievement and progress.” She went on to say, “Teachers need to teach the skills of working in groups. It doesn’t come naturally to anyone, especially the gifted.” A valid point often overlooked by critics of grouping.

One of the biggest complaints that gifted students have about grouping is having to do the majority of the work. Lisa told us, “It is *critical* that a student never be graded on another student’s effort (or lack thereof). Instant frustration. It’s unfair to set up GT kids for social failure by putting them in groups in which they have to take over in order to succeed.

An oft heard criticism of ability grouping is that it undermines less-able children. However, Lisa pointed out that this is just an excuse to deprive GT kids of the opportunity to work with their peers. Her philosophy ~ “I believe that best serving all children best serves all children. The end.” We couldn’t agree more! A full transcript of this chat may be found here.

Lisa Van Gemert will be presenting at this year’s TAGT Conference in Fort Worth, December 3rd to the 5th. You can register for the conference here. Check out the conference schedule here.

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT 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 Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About 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:

Amazing Classrooms: Engaging the High Achievers (YouTube 14:35)

Why Separate Classes for Gifted Students Boost All Kids

To Track or Not to Track via @jeff_shoemaker

Grouping Students by Ability Regains Favor in Classroom

Differentiation Class Poster – Free Download from Lisa Van Gemert

Lisa Van Gemert’s Profile at eSpeakers

Lisa Van Gemert’s website GiftedGuru.com

Grouping without Fear from Lisa Van Gemert

The Resurgence of Ability Grouping and Persistence of Tracking

Effective Classrooms, Effective Schools: A Research Base for Reform in Latin American Education

What Educators Need to Know about Ability Grouping (pdf)

The Relationship of Grouping Practices to the Education of the Gifted & Talented Learner (pdf)

Grouping Gifted Children at Hoagies Gifted

The Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Method (SCGM) A Paradigm Shift in The Delivery of

Gifted Education Services by Susan Winebrenner (pdf)

Your Favorite Grouping Strategy Creates Bullies from Ginger Lewman

Gifted Advocacy: What’s the Point?

What’s the point of gifted advocacy? This is the question we tried to answer. Too many advocates these days seem to be focusing on everything except the gifted child and their ‘right’ to an appropriate education. Of all groups studied in today’s classrooms, the identified gifted learner is making the least progress. Having topped out on most standardized tests, what will make the difference in the life of these kids? A full transcript may be found here.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented on Twitter happens weekly on Fridays at 7PM ET/6PM CT in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and 11.00 in Australia (ET) on Saturdays. Polls for topic selection are posted on Tuesdays and the link is posted by @gtchatmod on Twitter. Please join us!

Links:

Why Geniuses Don’t Need Gifted Education” 

The Wrong Argument for Gifted Education” via Gifted Exchange

Why Gifted Students Still Need Gifted Education!!” via @davis_joy 

RED ALERT: Gifted Education is a Civil Rights Issue” via @DeborahMersino

Preaching to the Choir: Thinking About Gifted Advocacy” from Crushing Tall Poppies

Professor James J Gallagher: “Advocacy for Gifted Education a National Priority

Paradise Valley USD in AZ Gifted Program with Self-contained Classrooms.

Cybraryman’s Gifted Advocacy Page

Needed: Parent Advocacy

Social Networking – Impacting the World of Gifted Education

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