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education article in the Age
performance of high performing students


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#1 mum850

Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:05 PM

http://www.theage.com.au/national/educatio...0109-2cgud.html

There are a couple of statistical issues with this.. regression to the mean, etc

Do you think schools pay enough attention to the higher performing students?

#2 BadCat

Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:18 PM

No.  Schools do not pay enough attention to higher performing students.  It's a massive problem with the education system and something needs to be done about it.  These students need to be engaged and encouraged and what is happening in my experience is that they are being left to their own devices and becoming bored and lazy because the system is more interested in making sure that nobody fails than it is in making sure everyone reaches their potential.

#3 NotThatKindofDocto

Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:22 PM

No, I don't.  I have had issues already with regards to this such as refusal to do "dead easy" maths and teachers only answer was "I know it's easy but you HAVE to do it" and then I've been told that my child is not engaged with their learning.  It's been this way for a while now and I can't help thinking that this is all too common- A child who goes to school but learns very little is going to tune out after a while.

#4 Guest_Dinah_Harris_*

Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:26 PM

My kids aren't old enough for school, but that was certainly my experience at school, 15 years ago.
Have things changed much since then?

#5 NotThatKindofDocto

Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:32 PM

The thing I've noticed from when I was at school is that they expect more in kindergarten but then it all drags from then (when I was in primary school, kinder was like pre-school is now).  If they pick things up quickly in kinder they get really disappointed as the years progress and then by the time they finish high school they actually know less (from the uni undergrads I see).

#6 Expelliarmus

Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:39 PM

IME one of the difficulties is that the powerful stakeholders (the Ed Dept and the government) do not see the top students as a priority because they are trying to bring everyone UP to a benchmark. They are not concerned with those who have exceeded the benchmark.

At the individual school level teachers and leadership teams make note of it, and put it on the agenda but at the end of the day, the only data that the highest level of Ed Dept and government leaders look at is the benchmark and whether or not children have made it to that.

So you get a huge pat on the back for improving student data and having more kids meet the benchmark. You are given no feedback or assistance or funding for students who are exceeding the benchmark.

It's therefore down to the individual teacher and whether or not they have the intrinsic motivation or personal inclination/policy/philosophy to work at the higher end.

And even if that happens *no one measures the top end*. So you don't know how truly effective it is or how much it is happening. My DD1 scored in the triangle for all NAPLAN areas except numeracy and there is no data available about exactly how advanced she is.

#7 baddmammajamma

Posted 10 January 2013 - 01:16 PM

QUOTE (howdo @ 10/01/2013, 01:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
IME one of the difficulties is that the powerful stakeholders (the Ed Dept and the government) do not see the top students as a priority because they are trying to bring everyone UP to a benchmark. They are not concerned with those who have exceeded the benchmark.

At the individual school level teachers and leadership teams make note of it, and put it on the agenda but at the end of the day, the only data that the highest level of Ed Dept and government leaders look at is the benchmark and whether or not children have made it to that.

So you get a huge pat on the back for improving student data and having more kids meet the benchmark. You are given no feedback or assistance or funding for students who are exceeding the benchmark.

It's therefore down to the individual teacher and whether or not they have the intrinsic motivation or personal inclination/policy/philosophy to work at the higher end.

And even if that happens *no one measures the top end*. So you don't know how truly effective it is or how much it is happening. My DD1 scored in the triangle for all NAPLAN areas except numeracy and there is no data available about exactly how advanced she is.


Very depressing, but I don't doubt any of it. sad.gif

I appreciate everyone's frustration.

At the same time, I know that with a little effort and innovation, schools CAN help gifted kids flourish. My little public high school did a great job (this was back in the 1980s, and they are still doing well) of offering extension, subject matter & grade acceleration, AP (advanced placement) classes, and access to university classes.

My kids' school (small, totally non-glitzy private school in Sydney) does a great job with gifted students, with particularly strong approaches for the 2e kids like my daughter.

I wish that schools who "get" gifted/2e were more openly lauded and celebrated.

It would be great, too, if some of the principals, heads of learning support & heads of G&T from these schools could go into other local schools and help their peers make positive changes in their own schools. There are things that can be done that don't require massive budgets or extra staff, but they do require people who can think outside the box.

#8 mum850

Posted 10 January 2013 - 02:01 PM

QUOTE (howdo @ 10/01/2013, 01:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
IME one of the difficulties is that the powerful stakeholders (the Ed Dept and the government) do not see the top students as a priority because they are trying to bring everyone UP to a benchmark. They are not concerned with those who have exceeded the benchmark.

At the individual school level teachers and leadership teams make note of it, and put it on the agenda but at the end of the day, the only data that the highest level of Ed Dept and government leaders look at is the benchmark and whether or not children have made it to that.

So you get a huge pat on the back for improving student data and having more kids meet the benchmark. You are given no feedback or assistance or funding for students who are exceeding the benchmark.

It's therefore down to the individual teacher and whether or not they have the intrinsic motivation or personal inclination/policy/philosophy to work at the higher end.

And even if that happens *no one measures the top end*. So you don't know how truly effective it is or how much it is happening. My DD1 scored in the triangle for all NAPLAN areas except numeracy and there is no data available about exactly how advanced she is.

Exactly. The ceiling on NAPLAN is too low as it's a tool really to establish how  many kids are at benchmark. It would be great it it went higher, or there was an extra bit that you could give the top students, to accurately grade the top end as well as the bottom end.

#9 BadCat

Posted 10 January 2013 - 02:19 PM

You can make the school do something for your child but it took me many years of agitating to get any sort of coherent program running, just in time for my youngest to leave the school.

The programs I finally put in place for my kids ended up being a bit of a waste anyway because within weeks the school started shoving all sorts of kids into the programs who were not up to it, thus dragging the programs down to average yet again.  In the end I ran a maths program and I split all the mediocre kids into one group and took them separately to the group of 4 or 5 kids who were actually up to the challenge.  Parents should not have to be doing that.  The education department should have comprehensive programs to deal with all students.

#10 axiomae

Posted 10 January 2013 - 02:21 PM

A lot of the issue is institutional structure. I teach high school English and have classed of 25+ students at varying levels of ability. Some would be considered gifted, some very very low (year 10 students that can't read a sentence) and most sit around low-average in terms of NAPLAN scores.

The problem is, given that we have practically no time to prepare classes (3 lessons of 70mins a week for 18 x 70min lessons) and no in-classroom support unless you have a student with verified special needs, it is very hard to both reach those students at the lower end who really need it, and also to extend those students at the top end who really need it. It's an awful predicament and something teachers struggle with. You basically end up teaching to the middle (at least in high school with so many classes, it may be easier in primary with the one class of students) which is dreadful, and no one likes doing it, but it's the only way you can survive as a teacher.

- I will note here too that I am a very good teacher in terms of improving outcomes because I spend a lot of time at home at night preparing to help individual students. I'm currently on maternity leave with my first child and I'm not sure I will be able to continue doing that when I go back to work as I have my own child to look after now -

Some schools have accelerated classes (streaming I guess) which works in a lot of cases as you can 'pitch' your lessons to a greater majority of students. This, however, can lead to issues with behaviour in a lot of the non-accelerated classes as you have a greater concentration of "behaviourally-challenged" students that cause disruption, which leads to less learning time for everyone.  

The solution would be smaller class sizes and more preparation time. This is something that teachers have been fighting for for years. It costs money though, and teachers have had to go on strike around the nation just to keep what provisions around prep time and class sizes they DO have. If classes got bigger or teacher prep time was taken away even further, we wouldn't have an educational system. Teachers aren't constantly stressed for no reason. We're expected to do so much, and not given much support form the system that demands it.

Edited for spelling

Edited by axiomae, 10 January 2013 - 02:24 PM.





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