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December 2000

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From:
Jim Abrams <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Middle Level Mathematics Network <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Tue, 19 Dec 2000 17:22:56 -0500
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From: [log in to unmask]
Date: Thursday, December 7, 2000 9:19 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Teaching Beyond the Middle(NBS#528)

TITLE: NBS#528: "Teaching Beyond the Middle"
CATEGORY: Assessment & Accountability

Data collected by education researcher William Sanders shows that in many
classrooms, the greatest test-score gains are made by "average" students.
Those findings suggest that many teachers "teach to the middle," leaving
students at the top and bottom of test rankings with less opportunity for
academic growth.

As a result, Sanders says, schools should have testing systems that document
annual gains and losses and identify teachers who are aiming their lessons
at the mid-range of achievers. Every student deserves a full year of
academic growth, he says.

Teachers acknowledge this is the case, but say there just isn't enough time
in today's classrooms to individualize instruction for every child. "It's
not easy for us to tailor and perform one effective five-hour script a day,
much less different scripts for the middle top and bottom," said Rick
Nelson, president of the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers.

Standardized tests have forced teachers to spend more time with slower
students who risk failure, thereby neglecting "those on the higher end who
do not need as much instruction to pass. If any group is being cheated, it
is going to be them," said Tina Yalen, an educational consultant in Fairfax
County.

SOURCE: Washington Post, 05 December 2000 (p. A22)
WEBSITE:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A24334-2000Dec4.html

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