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14 March 2016 @ 04:52 pm
Time Warp?  
News stories of late have made me wonder if I have had a Rip Van Winkle experience. One came from the Smart Brief. It centered on a new app designed to help kids become "kindergarten ready." According to the story, 87% of kids in this county arrive unprepared for kindergarten. What is being prepared for kindergarten? Being able to read and write. Now, I understand that the popular media does not always get facts right. But the idea that schools are relying on an app instead of perhaps offering some other services to families is mind-boggling. And worse is suggesting that kids now have to arrive on the first day of school with a complete set of skills.

Another article, again from Smart Brief, lauds the advantages of ability grouping. Huh? I do recall the hey day of ability grouping last time around. I worked in a school that assigned kids to classes based on "levels." I think it was the 80s then. Now 3 decades later, we are back to grouping kids. An article in ASCD concluded in 1992: "I conclude that grouping and tracking rarely add to overall achievement in a school, but they often contribute to inequality. This finding is most consistent for high school tracking, but it is not uncommon in other forms and at other levels. Typically, it means that high-track students are gaining and low-track students are falling farther behind. But the effects of ability grouping are not the same in every context, and we need to discover how they come about in order to improve productivity and reduce inequality."

So, why does it seem there is a back to the future mentality? And why are professional publications hyping these strategies?
 
 
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