Oct 29, 2009

gifted education in the high school

I'm researching the state of gifted education in my district. I was shocked to see that after 5th grade, no services are provided. The idea is that the "gifted" kids will take the honors classes and the AP classes, and go to the magnet schools and get the services that way. That might work for the high achieving kids, but it leaves many of the gifted students out in the cold.

Not only does this reasoning fall short in assuming that every gifted student will take honors courses and thus receive accomodations, it falls short in at least two other critical areas.

First, in order to be able to take upper level courses, students must take lower level classes first. Thus, even if gifted students who are on the honors course route will still need to take non-honors classes first. I see this in my own classroom as would be honors students are in level one courses hammering out the basics.

Second, not every honors teacher is trained to teach gifted students or uses appropriate accomodations for these unique kids. Honors is often seen as harder, more rigorous... but not necessarily more creative, more flexible.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that honors classes as the sole outlet for gifted and talented students is not an adequate solution.

1 comment:

  1. Honors courses are targeted at the upper 10%. Gifted students comprise less than 2.5% of the student body, on average.

    Gifted students should have separate classes from K and above. In larger districts, there should be two levels of GT/honors--one for the upper 10%, like a typical honors course, and one for those who are actually gifted. In still larger districts, there should be self-contained classes that are for highly gifted students and above--small, multi-grade-level classes of no more than 10 students. True acceleration MUST be allowed for any real attempt at accommodating gifted children. A moderately gifted child can often benefit by skipping a single grade; those who are more gifted can skip 2, 3, or more, with an appropriate balance of expectations of physical ability (of their age) and mental ability. (For example, an eight-year-old may read books written at a high-school level but with material appropriate for a child of 10 or so, or he may be doing high school mathematics but with the problems copied out for him on graph paper.)

    The idea that even an single level of self-contained classes will serve all--or in most cases, even most--gifted students is sadly far from the truth.


Gifted Education 2.0 Ning