by Joel McIntosh
In the past, gifted children often were placed into special gifted classes or accelerated learning groups. The thinking went that if you could group gifted children together, it was easier for those students and their teachers to move at a faster pace. However, the practice of grouping students by ability has become a controversial topic in many schools. As a result, during the last few years we have seen the dismantling of special gifted classes. We’ve seen teachers move away from the use of ability groups in their classrooms.
How are gifted students affected by this change and does it make sense to move away from ability grouping?
To answer these questions, I’ve invited Todd Kettler to join me in discussing this topic. When this podcast was first recorded, Todd was the director of Advanced Academic Services at Coppell ISD (Coppell, TX), a district outside of Dallas. However, since then, Todd received his Ph.D. from Baylor University and is now an Assistant Professor at the University of North Texas. Todd is on the editorial advisory board for the Journal of Advanced Academics and is the past chairperson of the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented’s Research and Evaluation Committee.
Todd makes reference to the research supporting ability grouping in his interview. For more information on this topic, there are two excellent resources:
- Gifted Child Quarterly, 51(4), a special issue on best practices for gifted education published by the National Association for Gifted Children, and
- Best Practices in Gifted Education: An Evidence-Based Guide by Ann Robinson, Bruce M. Shore, and Donna L. Enersen, an excellent book that offers an overview of effective practices in gifted education.
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