It might sound counterintuitive, but academically gifted children can face some educational obstacles that their peers don’t.
Jessica Potts, curriculum coordinator at Davidson Academy Online, an online middle and high school that caters to the "profoundly gifted," says traditional programs sometimes neglect the most advanced students.
“A lot of the attention is on the students who are struggling, so those gifted students don't get the attention that they need,” she says.
If your child has been categorized as gifted, you may be wondering if you should be looking into a school specifically designated for gifted children. Here are some important things to consider when making that choice.
Although experts say giftedness encompasses a wide range of factors, gifted schools and programs tend to focus on students who are academically advanced. As defined in the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, gifted children are those who "give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities." However Lauri Kirsch, president of the National Association for Gifted Children’s board of directors, notes that there are no federal policies mandating specialized gifted education.
That said, most states have their own definitions and regulations regarding giftedness, and individual schools and districts use various assessments, including standardized tests, to determine whether or not a student is considered gifted.
Kirsch notes that students from marginalized cultural or socioeconomic backgrounds may be overlooked by efforts to identify gifted children. This oversight does show up in the demographics of gifted schools and programs – during the 2017-2018 school year, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education, nearly 60% of students in gifted programs were white, despite the fact that only 47% of all public school students were white. Likewise, Black students were also underrepresented in gifted programs during the same school year, making up just 8% of the students in gifted programs and 15% of the student body nationwide.
Because of this, some districts and organizations like the NAGC are currently advocating for and developing more inclusive and equitable means of defining and identifying giftedness, so that gifted students from underrepresented backgrounds don't fall under the radar.
"Some groups of kids have access to all the resources, they went to preschool and so on, and then you have other students who come from a disadvantaged background, who haven't had those experiences," Kirsch says. "When those kids get to school, they may not appear to be gifted. But had they had those early experiences, they might also display gifted behaviors."
Potts also says it’s important to note that, while there may be some overlap between gifted students and high-achieving students, these groups are not the same. High-achieving students may perform well as a result of strong motivation and hard work rather than innate academic gifts. On the other hand, gifted students may not perform quite as well on their school assignments if they feel disengaged from work that they find too simple or boring.
Vanessa Wood, co-founder and president of the International Gifted Consortium, a research center focused on the education of gifted children, notes that teachers may mistakenly assume that gifted students need less hands-on intervention than students who are falling behind.
“No child is fine on their own,” she wrote in an email. “A gifted child also needs the social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and altruistic support from like-minded peers, mentors and practitioners to grow and to positively develop.”
As a formerly gifted student herself, Potts says she was able to get through traditional school without much difficulty – then came college.
"I ran into the same problem that a lot of gifted students run into: I didn't get a lot of challenges in middle school or high school and it was good enough," she says. "And then I got to college, and I was like 'Oh no, I don't have study skills. I don't have time management skills, I don't have the grit to just sit with a problem and be comfortable with being uncomfortable."
Schools designated for gifted learners aim to combat this by meeting the students at their academic level. This way, Potts says, gifted learners receive an education that challenges them just the right amount. At the Davidson Academy, for example, students are placed into cohorts according to their academic ability rather than their age.
Schools for gifted children encompass a wide range of institutions, including both private schools and public charter and magnet schools. Kirsch says it’s important to keep in mind that just because a school is labeled as for gifted students doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all that different, instructionally speaking, from a traditional school environment. Because there can be so much variety, parents should research each individual school carefully to make sure it's the right fit for their child.
“The best gifted school would also have teachers who have specialized training in gifted education,” Kirsch says. “You've got to look for the match between the student, the curriculum options that are being offered, the training of the teachers and so on.”
Although some traditional schools offer gifted programs and accelerated coursework like Advanced Placement and honors classes, Potts says gifted schools have the time and resources to provide a more individualized experience catered to their students' needs. Kirsch adds that it's important to look into the extracurricular activities that a school offers as well, to make sure that your child will have opportunities to take part in enriching experiences outside of the classroom.
Potts advises parents to think very carefully about whether their child actually needs to be enrolled in a school specifically for gifted children. While some gifted children struggle with low motivation in traditional programs, she says others find them enriching and enjoyable.
In fact, she says that some gifted students may face burnout or overstimulation if the workload at a gifted school is too overwhelming. Talking to your child and educators at their current school will help you get a better sense of whether or not changing schools would be beneficial.
"The subsequent underachievement that comes from burnout is a real risk," Potts says. "And you might wind up turning students away from something that they used to be passionate about because you're pushing them too hard. So listen to your students, listen to what they need."
If you're considering a gifted school, start researching the admissions requirements for schools in your area. Since gifted education policies vary from state to state and even from district to district, the methods used to identify a gifted child do too, so it's important to look at the unique admissions requirements of each program you're interested in.
Typically, admission begins with a test, like an IQ test, or even the SAT and ACT for students at the middle or high school level. Schools may have minimum cut-off scores (and GPAs in the case of older students) that you'll want to take into account before applying. For example, at The School for the Talented and Gifted, a magnet high school for gifted children in Dallas, students with test scores below the 70th percentile are not eligible for admission, and students are encouraged to score above the 85th percentile.
However, standardized tests usually aren't the be-all-end-all for admission. At The School for the Talented and Gifted, for example, students who submit test scores and appear eligible for admission are then invited to attend an in-person application day, where they write a timed essay and complete a written interview and a creative activity. The Peabody School, a private pre-K-8 school in Charlottesville, Virginia, geared toward advanced students, allows parents to submit a portfolio of their child's creative and academic work in addition to test scores and a parent questionnaire.
And Potts strongly emphasizes finding the right fit for your student – just because children are gifted doesn't necessarily mean they'll be admitted.
"All of the students who assess with us are brilliant, they're all in the 99.9th percentile, and they all do very well on achievement tests," Potts says. "But not everyone who assesses gets in – and that's not because they're not smart, it's because it just wasn't a good fit at this time."
Since experts say there's no one-size-fits-all solution for gifted education, it's important to carefully research the curricular and extracurricular offerings of each program you're interested in sending your child to. Kirsch says this will allow you to better determine whether your child will thrive in this new environment.
If you’re considering sending your child to a school for gifted children, here’s a small demo of some throughout the country.
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With the rapid growth of charter and home-schooling, the traditional SAT and ACT college entrance exams no longer adequately measure the learning and potential of many applicants. A third admissions test—the Classic Learning Test—is a better choice for many of these students, but to date only one public university (Virginia’s Christopher Newport University) accepts it. That failure should be corrected before the 2023 admissions season.
The reason is equal treatment. The school choice movement arose in response to widespread concern about K-12 education. The Reagan administration’s 1983 “A Nation at Risk” report famously concluded, “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war."
Since then, two main approaches to K-12 education have emerged—a standard curriculum called “Common Core”, typical of most public schools, and an alternative “Classic” one favored by charter programs, home-schoolers, and various religious high schools.
Classic learning is grounded in the traditional liberal arts. It emphasizes logic, reasoning, close studying of the great works of literature, philosophy, history, science, and as poet Matthew Arnold put it, “the best that has been thought and said.” The CLT is geared to the Classic approach.
>>> New NAEP Test Scores Are a Disaster. Blame Teachers Unions.
Despite teachers union opposition, the school choice movement and the number of students taught along classic learning lines is growing. A recent study from the National Center for Research on Education Access and Choice (REACH) confirmed that “[o]n average, charter school students are performing better in studying and math and have higher graduation rates” than students in public schools. Meanwhile, the public-school dominated ACT announced the fifth consecutive year of declining scores. As the organization’s CEO Janet Godwin noted, it reflects “a worrisome trend that began long before the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic and has persisted.”
Little wonder that in the 2020-2021 school year, while public school enrollments declined by one million, nearly 240,000 additional students enrolled in charter schools, a 7% increase year over year.
This growth is highlighted in Florida, which took top spot in The Heritage Foundation’s inaugural 2022 edition of the Education Freedom Report Card. Over the nine school years from 2011-2012 to 2020-21, the state’s charter school enrollment nearly doubled. Growth has been even faster in home-school enrollment. Over the last five years, totals grew by 69%.
And as the Miami Herald reported, “[T]he academic performance in charter schools across the state is better than in traditional public schools (especially for Black and Hispanic students).” Charter and home-school students typically perform better than public school students on the SAT and ACT tests, too, even when backgrounds are identical.
For admission selection among students who have received a classic curriculum, the SAT and ACT tests are blunt instruments. So more than 200 private colleges and universities accept the CLT, and Florida’s fastest growing Catholic university, Ave Maria University, recently made it the school’s “preferred” college entrance test for applicants.
>>> Battling Complacency in Higher Education
But students typically apply to multiple colleges. So, a student receiving a robust classic education at home or at a charter school is still required to take the SAT or ACT if they want to apply to both their state university and a classic-oriented university (those build around Great Books programs, for example). For state institutions not to accept the CLT puts an unfair testing burden on those who want to set themselves apart when also applying to classically minded programs. Equally in need of correction, many states have competitive scholarship programs (Florida’s Bright Future Scholarship, for example) tied strictly to the SAT and ACT, with the CLT left out.
Such education detours make no sense. Just as Gov. Ron DeSantis quickly removed construction repair detours in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, he should remove these testing detours, as well. The same can be said of Governor Eric Holcomb (Indiana), Bradley Little (Idaho), Bill Lee (Tennessee), Glenn Youngkin (Virginia) and all pro-students-and-parents governors like them. Whoever makes the first move will set a precedent for other states. For many governors to act will signal a coming of age for the charter school and home-school movements, a straightening and widening of the road to reform and a better education for all students.
Many governors champion school choice. Those same governors should champion their state’s colleges and universities including the Classic Learning Test as an equal option to the SAT and ACT.
Which governor will lead?
LAHORE: The School Education Department (SED) of Punjab has decided to implement the single national curriculum from Class VI to VIII from next academic year.
For this purpose, the department also directed private schools to use single national curriculum-aligned textbooks from Class I to VIII, officials said.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led government had introduced the first phase of the single national curriculum during the last academic year for primary classes.
The project was launched with the objective of ending disparity in society and providing equal chance to all students to excel. Officials say the curricula for VI, VII and VIII classes have also been revised and there will now be a single curriculum for the public and private schools.
The department has also ordered the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB) to publish the single national curriculum books up to the Class VIII, ensuring the new books availability in the market before April 1, 2023.
The officials say the institutions desiring to use books other than the single curriculum have to first obtain permission from the PCTB. The schools that deviate from the single curriculum will have to face severe penalties, including fines from Rs25,000 to Rs500,000, for violating rules and regulations, they explain.
The education department is also planning to launch single curriculum syllabus for Classes IX and X, the officials say, adding that those books will be published before April 1, 2024.
The Centre for Social Justice and the Working Group for Inclusive Education (WGIE), after reviewing the final core curriculum for secondary classes, observed that the revised curriculum did not incorporate most of the changes, which had been suggested to the National Curriculum Council for English, Urdu, Geography and History.
The WGIE said the Punjab government was ignoring the learning losses incurred due to the pandemic and other factors and turning the schools into seminaries, reducing the scope of education in science, mathematics and social sciences.
In August last year, the then prime minister Imran Khan had launched the single curriculum at the primary level.
Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2022
The adoption of the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) scores, instead of Class 12 marks, for undergraduate admissions from this year, has seen a sharp fall, 79 percent, in the number of Kerala students getting admissions to the Delhi University colleges this time.
Why did we fail?
Earlier, a lot more students from the state had managed to make it to the prestigious colleges in the national capital. It is true that the system of leniently awarding marks in the board exams helped them easily cross the cut-off mark hurdle. There is no scope for that anymore with the introduction of the CUET.
Another reason is that the students from schools affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) found the multiple-choice test method comparatively easy. Such a method is not there in the Kerala syllabus.
Though the students from the Science stream have some familiarity with the multiple-choice questions, thanks to their preparations for entrance examinations like NEET, JEE, and KEAM, those from the Humanities stream had no exposure at all.
The students from Kerala also didn’t make serious preparations like those from the big cities elsewhere, as the CUET exams were held for the first time. Many had no clear idea of the complex nature of the question paper.
A good study plan
Though there was a setback this time, there is no reason for losing heart. We can achieve success next year if we have a good study plan. Students should start preparing for the CUET examination along with their Class 12 studies. Keep in mind the following points:
• One should make a prior choice of the Languages, Science, and Humanities subjects in which they are seeking admission. It is based on this that they have to decide on the papers for which they will be appearing. The test model last year was complex in nature. It’s not clear whether the authorities will follow the same style or switch over to a lighter one. It’s better to have a clear picture of last year’s model.
• The CUET General Paper is as important as the subjects that a student chooses. It’s important they have a clear idea of the same. It augurs well if one goes through the YouTube videos explaining the CUET syllabus and exam.
• One will get a vague idea of the question pattern of General and subject papers by examining last year’s question papers. Practice them after setting the time on your watch.
• The new generation central universities like Kerala and Tamil Nadu had held common entrance tests until 2021, by the name of CUCET (Central Universities Common Entrance Test). Practice the question papers of these exams too.
• You may get two to three months in between the CUET test and the Plus Two exams. Use this period effectively for revision and last stage crash practice.
• It’s imperative that the students should get proper guidance on the CUET test at the school level itself. The teachers should ensure they provide an insight of the participating Universities and colleges, especially the major institutions like the Delhi University colleges, Hyderabad & Pondicherry varsities, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, etc., and the courses available there, to the students and their parents.
• The Career Guidance and Adolescent Counselling Cell under the Higher Secondary Education department can make meaningful interventions for preparations at the school level.
• The Cell, with the support of the district panchayat, provided offline coaching to students in the Malappuram district last year. The Malappuram candidates performed better than their counterparts from other districts in the CUET exam. If we can extend the model to other districts, the students from the state can fare well next time.
• The Cell also provided online coaching, though on a minor scale, through WhatsApp groups formed by including students from various districts last year. It can expand the model to extend the benefit to a larger section this time. Maximum mock tests should be conducted.
• Last time, many who took the General subject test didn’t appear for Subject paper exams. This points towards the need to provide proper guidelines and sensitize parents on the importance of the CUET examination.
What can the society do?
The exemplary interference of Malappuram corporation last year is an apt model to show what local-self institutions and people’s representatives can do to help students put up a better performance at the test conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) to enroll candidates into various UG programmes of central universities.
The corporation tied up with a private agency and provided free entrance coaching to 240 students from five schools within its jurisdiction. A total of 120 students among them sat for the exam. 31 got admission to colleges under Delhi University, while 33 others at other central universities. The fact that similar preparations are underway at a few more places gives much hope for a far better performance from Kerala students at the CUET examination next time.
“We’re considering the provision of special coaching classes to students in over 30 subjects of the CUET this time around. The discussions on finalizing the coaching programme are progressing. A help desk too will function to aid students on all matters from submission of applications. The videos prepared by the cell last time are still available on YouTube,” said P M Asim, state co-ordinator, Career Guidance and Adolescent Counselling Cell, Department of Higher Secondary Education.
As per the CLAT syllabus 2023, the UG CLAT test will have a total of 150 multiple choice questions.
CLAT 2023: The Consortium of National Law Universities (CNLU) is now accepting applications for the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2023. As per the CLAT syllabus 2023, the UG CLAT test will have a total of 150 multiple choice questions (MCQ) from English Language, Current Affairs, General Knowledge, Legal Reasoning, Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Techniques. Each question of the CLAT UG 2023 test will carry one mark and there will be a negative marking of 0.25 marks for every wrong answer.
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The CLAT 2023 for undergraduate admissions will be for a duration of two hours. To be eligible for the CLAT UG 2023 exam, candidates from the General, Other Backward Caste (OBC), Person With Disability (PWD), Non-Resident Indian (NRI), Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) categories need to secure 45 per cent marks or its equivalent in Class 12. However, candidates from the Schedule Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) categories need a minimum of 40 per cent marks or equivalent in Class 12.
The candidates can complete the CLAT 2023 registration through the official website – consortiumofnlus.ac.in. The last date to submit the online application form for the CLAT 2023 test is November 13.
The CNLU will release different study materials on its official website for the candidates to prepare for the UG CLAT 2023 exam, including question paper guides, demo questions, model question papers, instructional materials, and exercises for each of the courses of the UG CLAT 2023.
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The Ministry of Education and Sports has cautioned schools across the country that have defied the government in the implementation of the new Lower Secondary Curriculum rolled out in 2020.
The permanent secretary, Ms Ketty Lamaro, in a November 9 circular, expressed displeasure that a number of schools have continued teaching old curriculum using a traditional knowledge-based approach.
Ms Lamaro said some schools have continued to administer beginning of term, mid-term and end-of-term examinations to Senior One and Senior Two students, contrary to the guidance given by the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC).
“According to the guidance given to schools, they are supposed to assess learners based on their competences through activities of integration and projects,” Ms Lamaro said.
The ministry warned against schools conducting classes up to 5pm.
According to the curriculum, learners are supposed to end lessons at 2.55pm and undertake research, self-learning and projects to acquire problem-solving skills.
Such exercise is to be assessed by the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) and contributes 20 percent to the final grade.
It is against this background that the Education ministry warned defiant schools to immediately switch to the new curriculum or face penalties.
“The ministry takes this omission by some of the school administrators as defiance against established policy and failing the government programmes,” Ms Lamaro wrote, adding: “In view of the above development, all secondary schools... are advised to immediately revert to the revised Lower Secondary Curriculum with immediate effect.”
As part of the consequences, students in schools that fail to comply with this directive will miss the 20 percent marks assessment that contributes to the final grading by Uganda National Examination Board (Uneb).
The new curriculum focuses on development of skills and competences of students in a departure from past mainly theoretical curriculum.
The pioneer students taught under the news curriculum are now in Senior Two, a delay blamed on Covid-19 disruptions.
The new curriculum allows students to study only 12 subjects in Seniors One and Senior Two, with 11 of these being compulsory and one elective.
The compulsory subjects are English Language, Mathematics, History, Geography, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Physical Education, Religious Education, Enterprenuership Education and Kiswahili.
The optional subjects are vocational and these include Agriculture, ICT, Literature in English, Art and Design, Performing Arts, Technology and Design, Nutrition and Food Technology, and Foreign Languages (French, Latin, Arabic, Chinese).
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