Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Uses of Placement Tests, Part 2

There was also a 4th type of student - one who had stellar grades and modest, but borderline acceptable scores on the algebra readiness test.  He was the model student: reasonably intelligent, very hard working, respectful, personable.  We accepted him into the algebra class as well, even though his algebra readiness score was somewhat less than I was comfortable with.  The other teacher defended his inclusion, saying that he was one of her best students and would be extremely disappointed if he weren't selected for the algebra class.

He did OK.  It was clearly a struggle for him, but he was, indeed a hard worker, he had support at home, and he was willing to ask for help when he needed it.  In his case, I think the class was OK for him.  It was a bit above what was a comfortable learning curve for him, but he had learned some of the study skills and personal skills that I wish gifted kids would learn: persistence, asking for help when needed, organization.

And this makes me wonder, if gifted kids were closer to their zone of proximal development for a reasonable portion of their school day, would they learn better learning skills.  With my own two children, it seemed to work.  But that is a pretty small sample.

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