Report says gifted children are being left behind

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A report released today asserts that gifted children are being left behind in the era of school accountability.

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute report, "High-Achieving Students in the Era of NCLB," uses scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress to compare changes in the top 10 percent and the bottom 10 percent of students since the introduction of No Child Left Behind.

On one hand, NCLB seems to be succeeding in its goal of closing the "achievement gap," states the report: In fourth-grade reading, for example, scores for the bottom 10th increased 16 points from 2000 to 2007, compared to 3 points for the top 10th.

But what does the narrowing of that gap mean for students scoring at the top of the spectrum?

"The progress of our top students has been modest at best," said the report, noting that the focus of NCLB on bringing students to the "proficient" level might result in "benign neglect" of students who are already proficient.

The report also presents data from a national survey of teachers in which 80 percent of teachers say that struggling students are the most likely to get one-on-one attention from teachers, versus 5 percent who say academically advanced students are likely to get such attention.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


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