school by starting with kindergarten.
Understanding that AP calculus and
AP English students are nurtured from
a young age, the district began using
alternative talent identification tools
(such as the Naglieri and Discover
assessments) to find more high-potential
minority students. These assessments
draw more on students’ multiple intelligences and nonverbal problem-solving
skills than traditional verbal-oriented
ability tests do. However, students
weren’t just dropped into an existing
academic gifted program. Teachers
and administrators recognized that
they needed to build a bridge for these
students between their strong, often
nontraditional, abilities and traditional
The time has come to put aside the out-
dated notion that flexible achievement
groupings designed to meet students’
needs are the same as tracking and
cannot also reflect principles of social
justice. It’s also time for the United
States as a nation to do a better job of
nurturing our most capable and creative
students and providing them with the
tools and opportunities they need to
lead us into a brighter future. ;L
Cassady, J. C., Neumeister, K. L. Speirs,
Adams, C. M., Cross, T. L., Dixon, F.
A., & Pierce, R. L. (2004). The differentiated classroom observation scale. Roeper
Review, 26( 3).
Loveless, T., Farkas, S., Duffett, A. (2008).
High-achieving students in the era of NCLB.
Washington, DC: Thomas B. Fordham
Tomlinson, C. A. (2001). How to differentiate
instruction in mixed-ability classrooms (2nd
ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Ward, V. (1980). Differential education for
the gifted. Ventura, CA: Ventura County
Xiang, Y., Dahlin, M., Cronin, J., Theaker,
R., & Durant, S. (2011). Do high flyers
maintain their altitude? Performance trends
of top students. Washington, DC: Thomas
B. Fordham Institute. Retrieved from
Susan Rakow is clinical associate
professor in Curriculum and Gifted Education at Cleveland State University,
where she coordinates the Graduate
Program in Gifted Education and works
with preservice middle school teachers.
She is the author of Educating Gifted
Students in Middle School: A Practical
Guide (2nd ed.) (Prufrock Press, 2011)
and Teaching to the Top: Understanding
and Meeting the Needs of Gifted Middle
Schoolers (National Middle School Association, 2007); email@example.com.
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• Office referrals are significantly reduced
• Teachers devote more time to teaching and
less to dealing with behavior
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