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 Ability Grouping 
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I was reading the article entitled "Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work" and wondered just how are we suppose to group students in which: their self-esteem is as high as others in more elite groups, and they learn as much as the elite groups? Students who come from poorer backgrounds usually but not always have less parent involvement. The lack of parental involvement can be the key indicator for a child who has a low self-esteem and poor learning abilities. The one thing that I did not find in this article was how much parents are involved with their children's education. Are there any ideas on how to group the vast array of children with different economic, and social class in such a way that everyone feels successful?

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Heather Smart


Mon May 30, 2005 11:11 am
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Can you believe that I had trouble becoming involved at my son's elementary school--they were very unfriendly every time I came to the school. They did not "need" chaperones or desire parents visiting in the class. The only time they requested anything from the parents, money was involved--like for sales or festivals. It is unfortunate but some schools put barriers like that in place. Every time I went to the school I was a nuisance to the staff and eventually I felt that they would take it out on Lee if I continued (which I did). Had I been a less stubborn indivual I would have quit trying half way through kindergarten! :cry: I am so glad that Lee is finally out of that school. :D


Mon May 30, 2005 11:29 am
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Good point Heather. As a parent of children who fall into the AG classes and higher math and reading levels for their age groups, it feels good on one hand to know my children are being challenged. However, I have more than once (even before reading these articles) considered what the lower classes must be like, what the students in these classes feel like and how their parents must feel. Yes, I feel like Heather in that parent involvement in the education of children can not be overlooked nor under estimated. However, as a parent, and if the research is true as to lower tracked kids not being better off due to ability grouping, I would forego this homogenous grouping in favor of a more heterogeneuos one. I feel it is as important for my children to learn to work with and understand all types of people and learners because that is life!

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good day, britta anne atkins-gramer


Mon May 30, 2005 4:20 pm
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I'm sure that you're glad to have Lee at a better school. I recently visited Oak Hill Elem. in Morganton, and I was very happy with the inviting feeling of the teachers, etc. They let my daugther, who is 19 months old, participate with the Kindergarten class field day activities. They have always welcomed us and encouraged us to come to lunch, etc. (even though my daughter is not always pleasant in the lunchroom)!

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Jessica Epley


Mon May 30, 2005 11:05 pm
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The question of ability grouping is difficult. My daughter is in honors math and science classes at her high school. These are the subjects she enjoys and excels in. She qualified for honors english and history, but we decided together to push was she was interested in. I did not want to force too many honors classes along with her extracurricular activities. I have had english and history teachers approach me and tell me what a tremendous mistake we are making. One said that I did not want her in classes with "regular" kids. Too many of them do not care and would bring her down. This has not been true so far. In her World History class, she was partnered with an average c student. She made straight A's, and his grades improved. Also, they formed a friendship. I have always tried to teach her that she is not any better than anyone else, and to be friendly to all groups of people. I personally feel that she has benefited from being in some regular classes.

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Janet Phillips


Thu Jun 02, 2005 7:17 pm
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I also had an amazing experience being grouped with a diverse group in elementary school. It was diverse across socio-ecomonic lines, not ability lines. It was great and I learned a lot about life outside of the classroom as well. :P


Wed Jun 08, 2005 12:43 pm
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Hmmm you posed some very interesting questions! I can see how ability grouping would be hazardous and detrimental to learners especially if they are in the "slower" classes. Just like with freedom vs the constitution in the U.S. the goals of individual students and their parents vs the educational welfare of the generic learner if you will the average Joe and while every student is valuable and has the potential to become anything we are trying to educate the masses to participate in a democratic society. That's not an easy undertaking.

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Charity Bailey


Sat Jun 11, 2005 1:08 pm
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