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Ability Grouping: Is your child’s elementary school preparing for this?

June 9, 2007

It will be interesting to see how many CISD elementary campuses implement ability grouping this fall. You will know YOUR child’s campus does this when:

  • You see fewer classrooms with GT kids. Grade levels will have more than 6 GT kids ability-grouped in just a couple of classes depending on the number of GT kids in that grade level. The objective is to reduce the number of times a  classroom is impacted by pulling kids out to be challenged in an appropriate manner for them. Specifically, clustering  provides gifted students with a connection to other gifted students and an intellectual challenge in the regular classroom.
  • You observe your child’s classroom teacher differentiating the curriculum for GT kids. Pre-tests will be given before  new material is introduced to determine who needs instruction – not just in spelling either. Once a student demonstrates mastery of the regular curriculum, the teacher then offers a deeper understanding of the subject learned. After all, he/she is gifted all day long – not just when pulled  out for Challenge class.
  • Each clustered class has a skilled gifted teacher who has gone through professional development training and continues to do so throughout the school year.
  • You hear how your child’s challenge teacher is planning with his/her classroom teacher(s), so “Challenge” is more closely  tied with the classroom curriculum. A Challenge teacher is a gifted specialist who provides coaching for the teachers of  gifted students.
  • Your school’s principal ensures that gifted students are grouped and resources are provided for teachers as crucial steps to help ensure a more challenging curriculum to address their learning needs. All students benefit from being in a cluster classroom, because the teacher is able to offer extension materials to all students if they have grasped knowledge of the subject.
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