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Study: Will Common Core Ditch Gifted Education?

Study: Will Common Core Ditch Gifted Education?

According to a new study by the Fordham Institute, some U.S. schools are using the adoption of Common Core State Standards as a reason to "ditch" services for gifted students.

Jonathan Plucker, professor of education at the University of Connecticut, wrote the study, and said that the Common Core "was really meant to be a floor and not a ceiling," according to an article on TheJournal.com.

"According to his findings, the existence of the learning standards is being used 'in some places' to justify reducing or scrapping gifted education services 'on grounds that the new universal standards are more challenging than what came before them,'" the article said.

After a conference in November, Plucker said that he and his team "were overwhelmed by the number of teachers who came up afterward and said, 'We're having this exact same discussion in my school. We're getting rid of ability grouping, of AP classes...' That is worrisome, to say the least," according to the article.

Plucker, the article said, "offered two recommendations, both intended to 'emphasize the importance of advanced achievement' in school policies and actions."

The first, according to the article was that schools "have to get better at instructional and curricular differentiation. Noting that differentiation is a topic that's been around for '30 years,' teachers need more extensive professional development specifically 'devoted to curricular and instructional differentiation by ability level.' They also need time to 'plan together' in order to meet the needs of their high-ability learners."

"Second, state and local education leaders need to eliminate policies that limit the learning done by advanced students," the article said. "As an example, Plucker referenced policies that prevent advanced students who have moved into college early from receiving a high school diploma if they haven't earned the appropriate number of high school credits; or rules that tie kindergarten entrance strictly to age rather than readiness."

"American education is in the midst of a generations-long transition from age-based and one-size-fits-all education to highly individualized and differentiated learning—an approach that addresses students' unique needs and development," Plucker concluded the article said. "By tapping their expertise in delivering differentiated instruction, 'Educators of high-ability students have an important role to play in ensuring this journey is successful.'"

Read the full story, access the paper for download, and watch a recorded webinar featuring Plucker.

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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