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SOUND OFF: Does Heterogeneous Grouping Help Crofton Students Learn?

Crofton-Gambrills parents chime in on the debate over heterogeneous classroom grouping and state testing. What do you think? Join the conversation.

Thursday’s story about sparked a conversation about how it impacts Crofton students.

  • How do you feel about the new classroom grouping?
  • Do you think this will help or hurt individual student performance?
  • Is this “teaching for the test?”

Come on, join the conversation. 

Here are some of the comments from the Crofton Patch Facebook Page

“I think heterogeneous grouping is the wrong answer. It is not an efficient use of resources and makes life more difficult for both teachers and students. Another disappointing movement w/in AACPS… I haven't heard anyone in Crofton say they're happy about it, but I can't speak for the whole town. ;) “ - Laura E. Gayvert  

“I can say that many 5th grade parents are discussing it and shaking their heads.” - Cynthia Kelly Bryl 

“Haven't heard any support for heterogeneous grouping, @Nicki Mayo. HAVE heard parents incorrectly say things like " oh I heard that AACPS changed that policy after the complaints. " spread the word!!” - Crofton, Maryland 

“How about boycotting the MSAs to protest "teaching to the test" and placing more value on a test score than on actual learning?” - Alison Vulgamore Wisnom 

“Alison, well worded. I always find it strange that a "standards" test is predicated by weeks of test-specific learning. The whole system needs revamping...” - Tom Erdely 

So what do you think? 

Karts Huseonica November 20, 2011 at 01:07 PM
Stirring the pot before Thanksgiving, huh? Nicki LOL To me heterogeneous grouping sounds a lot like college courses. Hmmmm. Isn't preparing students for the real-world challenges ahead the real goal of education? Hmmmm. Having to work/study along side people/students of varying capabilities.... sure sounds like the real world to me. Sincerely, Art Huseonica (real person/real name)
Nicki Mayo November 20, 2011 at 09:59 PM
Yeah I guess I may be stirring a little bit up. lol. The parents I've spoken with are worried about high achieving students getting bored.
Karts Huseonica November 20, 2011 at 10:02 PM
I think one of the key benefits Nicki to H-grouping is that it forces the 'underachievers' to work harder and their parent(s)/guardian(s) to get more involved. It is simply (overstated) a reflection of society; especially a capitalistic society. Art H.
M. Hermanson November 21, 2011 at 04:40 PM
@Karts, at my college you could not take classes w/o either taking the pre-requisite classes or passing a placement test. This was the scenario BEFORE the h-grouping, at least in respect to algebra in middle school. Now there are some children in algebra who did not take pre-algebra.
John Kolesar November 22, 2011 at 02:23 AM
Karts, I started the petition at Crofton Middle School to halt heterogeneous grouping https://www.change.org/petitions/pres-aac-board-of-education-halt-heterogeneous-classes-in-anne-arundel-county-until-further-study If this is such a wonderful idea, then why did Anne Arundel County and Dr. Maxwell implement this without telling the parents or getting there input. Every study I have read says this type of grouping hurts the advanced student. All the county wants to do is “Close the achievement gap”. You said this forces the parents and guardians to get more involved, the reason some of these children are underachieving is because of there parents, We have language arts classes at CMS where teachers have to read the test to the students because some of them in the class cant read, also with some test half the class gets to use there book and the other half doesn’t. Today I just learned about a new policy at the school, no grades lower then 50%. Take a test and get a 30%, it becomes a 50%. If you don’t hand in your work, you don’t get a zero, you get a 50%. Just like the real world and college, right? Why are they doing this? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/03/AR2005080302008.html http://www.hometownannapolis.com/news/TOP/2011/07/11-29/NAACP-files-complaint-on-school-discipline-disparity.html Do you really think the county has ALL the children’s best interest at heart?
John Kolesar November 22, 2011 at 02:25 AM
Karts, I started the petition at Crofton Middle School to halt heterogeneous grouping https://www.change.org/petitions/pres-aac-board-of-education-halt-heterogeneous-classes-in-anne-arundel-county-until-further-study If this is such a wonderful idea, then why did Anne Arundel County and Dr. Maxwell implement this without telling the parents or getting there input. Every study I have read says this type of grouping hurts the advanced student. All the county wants to do is “Close the achievement gap”. You said this forces the parents and guardians to get more involved, the reason some of these children are underachieving is because of there parents, We have language arts classes at CMS where teachers have to read the test to the students because some of them in the class cant read, also with some test half the class gets to use there book and the other half doesn’t. Today I just learned about a new policy at the school, no grades lower then 50%. Take a test and get a 30%, it becomes a 50%. If you don’t hand in your work, you don’t get a zero, you get a 50%. Just like the real world and college, right? Why are they doing this? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/03/AR2005080302008.html http://www.hometownannapolis.com/news/TOP/2011/07/11-29/NAACP-files-complaint-on-school-discipline-disparity.html Do you really think the county has ALL the children’s best interest at heart?
Karts Huseonica November 22, 2011 at 11:50 AM
Good morning Nicki, yes, you should continue to stir the pot especially when it impacts the area's students... our neighbor's children. I'm enjoying reading the quality posts and hopefully the discussion is spurring others to give this important topic due consideration as we learn more about H-Grouping. Off to work now... will post more later in the week. Cheers, Art Huseonica
Karen Colburn November 27, 2011 at 06:08 PM
Karts, the idealism you espouse unfortunately doesn't translate into practice. Consider Central Middle's AVID scores last marking period: 59 students earned 89 D and 14 E grades. The AVID coordinator asks, "Why is performance so much worse than last year?" Hardly an example, Karts, of underachievers working harder and meeting with success. This is what HG does in the "real" world—it hurts kids at both ends of the academic spectrum
mcgate November 28, 2011 at 01:58 AM
College courses are ability grouped ;-) Students must first meet a certain score on the ACT or SAT to gain admission, students select a major and are grouped with others of similar interest or ability. I'm afraid a lot of the comments I've noticed on this issue seem to reflect an erroneous view of what a GT student is. Giftedness is found across all economic levels, ethnic/cultural groups, race, and countries. By denying an appropriate accelerated or advanced education to one group of students (academically gifted) we really hurt the gifted learners who are not affluent or who do not have parents who can provide supplemental resources outside of school or send them to private school. The public school should be able to meet the needs of ALL learners and provide something new to learn each day regardless of how intelligent a child is born. http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/grouping.htm http://www.hollingworth.org/fullincl.html
mcgate November 28, 2011 at 02:01 AM
How does this force underachievers to work harder? Don't you think it will make them just shut down or drop out? Students who are academically "in the middle" can rise to the top of the class when the highest achievers are removed from the group. They do not look to those GT students as "role models." The only way to close an achievement gap is to stop the ones at the top from gaining.
Eric Smith November 28, 2011 at 06:40 PM
Heterogeneous grouping at the High School level is absolutely horrible and should be stopped immediately. The reality is that in High School there are two kinds of students, ones who want to be there and ones who don't. I don't want my child anywhere near classes with kids that can't and don't want to do the hard work required in a non-disruptive environment. Only the most talented teachers can adequately teach in a Heterogeneous environment. Students should be grouped according to their levels and specific metrics established to explain the grouping and what is required to move up to the higher groups. If parents want their kids in the higher groups, then maybe they can work toward a home environment that emphasizes education and not 2 hours per day football and soccer practice after school or continuous video games, TV, and texting.

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