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Gifted programs and streaming

By ITS Education Asia

For the entire time I have been in teaching (and long before that, I imagine) there has been a continuing debate over the benefits and costs of streaming based on academic merit. The debate always seem to center around how separating the most academically talented students and placing them together improves their performance but the counter argument is how putting all weak/disadvantaged students together worsens their opportunities to improve.

This extract from the article highlights the dilemma — “In New York currently, city officials determine which children are identified as “gifted” by administering a standardized test to 4-year-olds and then using that single test score as the basis for entry into a rigidly tracked gifted and talented program that sets up separate classrooms and schools to educate these students apart from their so-called no gifted peers. This separation by academic criteria in turn contributes to racial and socioeconomic divides. Black and Latino students make up 65 percent of kindergartners overall, but just 18 percent of those admitted to gifted programs.”

So what do you think? Should streaming of students on the basis of academic merit be encouraged or should classrooms be made up of the whole academic spectrum of students?

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