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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Open doors to challenging academics

Challenging classes can help many students -- not just the "gifted" -- excel, writes Vincent Dotoli on Fordham's Flypaper. He heads Harlem Academy, a private, nonprofit K-8 school that turns achievers into high achievers.


"Our students enter with median baseline scores in the 74th percentile, a level that would generally miss the mark for gifted admissions," he writes. "By eighth grade, their median scores reach the 90th percentile, achievement that opens a door to top secondary schools and ultimately to college. Among the students in our four most recent classes, 98 percent went on to four-year colleges, including Carnegie Mellon, Howard, NYU, Princeton, Tufts, Wesleyan, and Yale."

Dotoli has advice for Mayor Eric Adams, who plans to expand the G&T program in New York City. The mayor plans to add more seats in kindergarten, add a third-grade entry point and shift from sole reliance on an IQ test for admission.


He suggests using a variety of tools for identifying students who could benefit from challenging classes. IQ tests may be skewed, but so are teacher recommendations and grades, writes Dotoli. "Standardized tests can identify potential a teacher might miss," especially if students are compared to their socioeconomic peers.


As Fordham's Michael Petrilli writes, educational equity requires excellence. Children from low-income families need "excellent instruction, excellent curricula, excellent teachers, excellent tutoring, excellent enrichment" to achieve their full academic potential.

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4 comentarios


Invitado
24 ene 2023

I hate how often education stats are talked about in terms of percentile. I want everybody to have access to the appropriate level of instruction. Nobody believes that there is any real difference between somebody in the 88th percentile and the 90th percentile, and hard score cutoffs should be used to gate-keep. At the same time, students who can't do the work shouldn't be allowed to take a class and slow everybody down. I know it's unpopular in some circles, but flexible tracking seems like the only workable solution. Whatever level you start in, you have the ability to move up if you are maxing out what is offered and are willing to do the more challenging work.

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Invitado
24 ene 2023
Contestando a

Sigh...shouldn't be used to gatekeep, not should.

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Invitado
23 ene 2023

Achieving at the 90th percentile does not open doors for certain demographics, hence the call for NYC Public to open enough seats to place all who qualify for the higher level courses.

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Invitado
23 ene 2023

I am all for every kid to be offered challenging classes across the disciplines but it should be remembered that challenging classes for a 5th-grader functioning at HS level, one functioning at K-1 level and one functioning at 5th-grade level are nowhere near the same. Pretending otherwise amounts to academic malpractice.

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