Gifted classes help disadvantaged students with high achievement scores but average IQs, according to a study of urban fourth graders.
Non-disadvantaged students with IQs of 130 or higher did not benefit. Neither did lower-income students and English Learners with IQ scores of 116 or higher.
Students who “miss the IQ thresholds but scored highest among their school/grade cohort in state-wide achievement tests in the previous year . . . show significant gains in reading and math, concentrated among lower-income and black and Hispanic students.” Math gains persisted in fifth grade. Students also showed gains in fifth-grade science.
Gifted classes are “more effective for students selected on past achievement – particularly disadvantaged students who are often excluded from gifted and talented programs,” researchers concluded.
Mixed-ability algebra classes hurt higher-skill students, concludes another study on Chicago’s algebra-for-all policy, adopted in 1997.
Chicago moved poorly prepared students into algebra classes without additional supports for students or teachers, researchers found. “Simply mandating a college-prep curriculum for all students is not sufficient to improve the academic outcomes of all students.”
Who’d have thunk it?