by Lacy Compton
Since reading Scott Barry Kaufman's thoroughly researched and intriguing Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined over the holidays, I've been thinking quite a bit about those students not identified for gifted programs and other advanced academic programs. Kaufman's book mainly discusses the idea of labels and how intelligence is measured and defined, but his main point is that many students are simply overlooked for advanced programs who could be taking part in and benefiting from them.
This recent focus of my attention/thinking on gifted education made Jay Mathews' recent Washington Post column on increasing achievement in low-income school districts all the more interesting to me. In his column, Mathews cites a study by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation that analyzed why some low-income schools had higher levels of academic achievement and others did not.
Based on this study, Mathews highlights four areas where the high-achieving schools differed from the others, pinpointing reasons for these schools' success. They include:
- searching for more academic talent,
- giving more high school students access to challenging courses,
- giving AP students more support, and
- keeping the programs going even if the gains are small.
Mathews' column (and the Foundation's report it's based on) make for practical reading for educators (and laypersons like myself) interested in how low-income schools might adapt their programs to allow for higher achievement rates.