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GT-Grouping Practices (updated March 2001)

How do elementary school programs that rely heavily on a pull-out model compare with inclusion-type programs? What are the pros and cons of ability grouping in an inclusion-type program?

When attempts are made to evaluate the effect of a particular school environment, such as the resource room, or ability grouping, or a particular instructional method such as Creative Problem Solving, the range and diversity of results is impressive. It is clear that resource rooms work well sometimes, and not at all well at others. The Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM), often used as a pull-out model, is a great success in some places and a disappointment in others. Merely placing youngsters in a particular setting, or providing them with a particular set of activities, does not necessarily lead to success. It would appear that merely grouping gifted students together without, at the same time, changing the content and the instructional strategies, will not yield much in the way of benefits.

On the other hand, a well-constructed program that brings gifted students together and provides them with an intellectually stimulating and important set of ideas, together with giving them practice to use their own ability to problem-find and problem-solve, seems to yield very tangible results (Gallagher, 1993), particularly when students are grouped in a particular way. A 1999 research study indicates that in classes where cluster grouping is configured in certain ways, an increase in achievement scores for all students can be expected. (Gentry, 1999). Cluster grouping makes it easier for teachers to meet the needs of students in their classrooms by reducing the achievement range of students within a classroom. Flexible grouping within and between classes that reduces the achievement range of each class can provide many benefits to all students and teachers (Gentry, 1999).

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ERIC Citations

The full text of citations beginning with an ED number (for example, EDxxxxxx) is available:

The full text of citations beginning with an EJ number (for example, EJxxxxxx) is available for a fee from:

ERIC Search Terms Used



grouping (instructional purposes) OR ability grouping OR cluster grouping

ED429389 EC307127
Promoting Student Achievement and Exemplary Classroom Practices through Cluster Grouping: A Research-Based Alternative to Heterogeneous Elementary Classrooms.
Gentry, Marcia Lynne
1999; National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, Storrs, CT, Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Publication Type: Research Report (143)
73 pgs.
Language: English
EDRS Price MF01/PC03 Plus Postage.
This monograph describes a causal-comparative, longitudinal study of cluster grouping at the elementary level and recommendations that are based on the findings. The study employed both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. The primary purpose of the study was to examine the effects of an existing cluster grouping program on the achievement and identification of students who participated in the program from third through fifth grade and to compare achievement with similar students who were not involved in a cluster grouping program. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to address these areas. A secondary purpose of this study was to investigate the practices of the teachers and to gain insight into their classrooms and the school. Qualitative follow-up methods were employed. Results included an increase in students identified as high achieving during the three program years, an increase in achievement scores for all students in the school using cluster grouping, and a significant interaction between the treatment and comparison school in favor of the treatment school. Additionally, qualitative findings indicated that teachers who used flexible grouping and gifted education strategies had high yet realistic expectations of their students and were involved in gifted professional development. Contains approximately 100 references.
Descriptors: *Ability Identification; *Academic Achievement; *Cluster Grouping; Elementary Education; *Gifted; Grouping (Instructional Purposes); *Homogeneous Grouping; *Instructional Effectiveness; Longitudinal Studies; Research Methodology; Teacher Expectations of Students

ED424710 EC306798
Cluster Grouping Coast to Coast.
Schuler, Patricia A.
1998; National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, University of Connecticut, 2131 Hillside Road, Unit 3007; Storrs, CT 06269-3007; Tel: 860-486-4676; Fax: 860-486-2900.
Publication Type: Research Report (143)
9 pgs;
Language: English
EDRS_PRICE: EDRS Price - MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
This paper discusses the results of a survey that investigated how 69 school districts associated with the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented were implementing cluster grouping to meet the intellectual, social, and emotional needs of gifted students. Results from the survey indicate: (1) the majority of school districts did not have an official policy on cluster grouping; (2) advantages of cluster grouping included cost effectiveness, increases in intellectual stimulation, the ability for students to move rapidly through the curriculum and work in their interest area, and teachers taking more responsibility for the needs of gifted children; and (3) disadvantages to cluster grouping included difficulty in the implementation process, lack of teacher training and funds for inservice, inability to meet the needs of highly gifted students, and resentment toward cluster teachers and gifted students. Recommendations for planning a cluster group are provided and include: develop criteria for selecting students, define the qualifications of and the selection process for the teachers, plan the differentiated experiences for the cluster of gifted students, and plan for support services and special resources.
Descriptors: *Administrator Attitudes; *Cluster Grouping; Elementary Secondary Education; *Gifted; *Grouping (Instructional Purposes); *Instructional Effectiveness; Program Implementation; School Districts; Student Needs; Surveys; Teacher Attitudes

EJ599206 EC623756
An Investigation of the Effects of Total School Flexible Cluster Grouping on Identification, Achievement, and Classroom Practices.
Gentry, Marcia; Owen, Steven V.
Gifted Child Quarterly; v43 n4 p224-43 Fall 1999
Publication Type: Journal Article (080); Research Report (143)
Language: English
A study examined the use of cluster grouping in two elementary graduation classes (n=197). During the three program years, students involved in the school using cluster grouping were more likely to be identified as high achieving or above average, and all students had significant increases in achievement test scores.
Descriptors: *Ability Identification; *Academic Achievement; Achievement Tests; *Cluster Grouping; Elementary Education; *Gifted; *Grouping (Instructional Purposes); *Teaching Methods

EJ565216 EC619113
The Application of Enrichment Clusters to Teachers' Classroom Practices.
Reis, Sally M.; Gentry, Marcia; Maxfield, Lori R.
Journal for the Education of the Gifted; v21 n3 p310-34 Spr 1998
Publication Type: Journal Article (080); Research Report (143)
Language: English
A study investigated the effects of providing one type of gifted-education pedagogy, enrichment clusters, to the entire population of two urban elementary schools. The teaching practices of classroom teachers who participated as cluster facilitators were positively affected both in the enrichment clusters and in regular classrooms.
Descriptors: *Cluster Grouping; Elementary Education; *Enrichment Activities; *Gifted; *Grouping (Instructional Purposes); Professional Development; *Teacher Improvement; Teaching Methods; Urban Schools

ED420954 EC306519
How To Develop an Authentic Enrichment Cluster.
Renzulli, Joseph S.
Publication_Type: Non-Classroom Material (055)
National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, 2131 Hillside Road, Unit 3007; Storrs, CT 06269-3007; telephone: 860-486-4676; World Wide Web: http://www.ucc.uconn.edu/~wwwgt/nrcgt.html
Language: English
EDRS Price - MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
This paper describes how educators can develop authentic enrichment clusters to provide highly engaging learning activities that make schools enjoyable places for gifted students. Part 1 of the paper discusses the importance of authentic learning, in which the student applies relevant knowledge, thinking skills, and interpersonal skills to the solution of real problems. Enrichment clusters are described as opportunities for non-graded groups of students to come together for approximately one-half day per week to focus on the production of a mutually agreed on product or service that will have an impact on an intended audience. Students are brought together because they share common interests that bind them together and a willingness to work cooperatively within a relatively unstructured learning environment. The teacher's role as the facilitator of the cluster is highlighted. Part 2 of the paper discusses two key issues in developing enrichment clusters: (1) ensuring that an enrichment cluster does not become a mini-course; and (2) the teacher's role in escalating the content level of a cluster. Part 3 provides an enrichment cluster planning guide and describes the individual steps for planning an authentic enrichment cluster and for writing a cluster description.
Descriptors: *Cluster Grouping; *Cooperative Learning; Creative Activities; Educational Strategies; Elementary Secondary Education; *Enrichment Activities; *Gifted; Grouping (Instructional Purposes); Problem Solving; *Talent
Identifiers: *Authentic Learning

EJ564426 RC512509
Bright Lights: Five Gifted Kids and the Programs That Serve Them.
Sherman, Lee
Northwest Education; v3 n1 p20-29 Fall 1997
Publication_Type: Journal Article (080); Project Description (141); Conference Paper (150)
Language: English
Describes five gifted elementary students and their programs: an Alaskan classroom delivery model centered on cluster grouping and differentiated thematic curricula; an Oregon pullout program focused on leadership and social skills; an Idaho hybrid program utilizing curriculum compacting; a Montana classroom model personalized at the building level; and a Washington project that identifies gifted minority students through nontraditional evidence.
Descriptors: Ability Grouping; *Classroom Techniques; Cluster Grouping; Educational Practices; Educational Strategies; Elementary Education; *Elementary School Students; Flexible Progression; *Gifted; *Minority Groups; *Special Education; Teacher Education
Identifiers: Differentiated Curriculum (Gifted); *Pullout Programs; United States (Northwest)

EJ524333 EA531893
To Group or Not to Group Academically Talented or Gifted Students?
Shields, Carolyn M.
Educational Administration Quarterly, v32 n2 p295-323 Apr 1996
ISSN: 0013-161X
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJOCT96
Identifies administrative implications of preliminary findings from a Canadian longitudinal study comparing performance and attitudes of homogeneously and heterogeneously grouped gifted fifth graders. Although no statistically significant differences were found at the beginning of fifth grade, by year's end, five statistically significant differences were found--all favoring the homogeneously grouped students.
Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Academic Achievement; Elementary Education; Foreign Countries; *Gifted; Grade 5; *Heterogeneous Grouping; *Homogeneous Grouping; Longitudinal Studies; *Student Attitudes; Urban Schools
Identifiers: *Canada

EJ519842 EC613187
Special Classes for Gifted Students? Absolutely
Burton-Szabo, Sally
Gifted Child Today Magazine, v19 n1, p12-15,50; Jan-Feb 1996
ISSN: 1076-2175
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJJUL96
Target Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
This article makes a case for special classes for gifted students and answers objections to special classes raised by the middle school movement and the cooperative learning movement. A sample "Celebration of Me" unit taught to gifted seventh graders which involved poetry, literature, personal development, art, music, and physical fitness is outlined.
Descriptors: Cooperative Learning; *Educational Philosophy; *Gifted; Grade 7; *Homogeneous Grouping; Integrated Curriculum; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; *Special Classes; Student Needs; Thematic Approach; *Units of Study

ED397618 EC304950
Cluster Grouping of Gifted Students: How To Provide Full-Time Services on a Part- Time Budget. ERIC Digest E538.
Winebrenner, Susan; Devlin, Barbara
ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education; http://eric.hoagiesgifted.org  Aug 1996; Revised 2001
4p.; Sponsoring Agency: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.; Contract No: RR93002005
Report No: EDO-EC-95-1
Available From: ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education, Council for Exceptional Children, 1110 N. Glebe Rd., Arlington, VA 22201-5704
EDRS Price - MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Document Type: ERIC PRODUCT (071); ERIC DIGESTS (SELECTED) (073)
Geographic Source: U.S.; Virginia
Journal Announcement: RIEDEC96
This digest in a question and answer format, provides basic information on cluster grouping of gifted students. Questions address such concerns as: the meaning of cluster grouping, differences between cluster grouping and tracking, advantages of cluster grouping, learning needs of gifted students, the argument that gifted education is elitist, the argument that gifted students should be spread out in all classes to serve as tutors and role models, cluster grouping and the inclusion model, effects of clustering gifted students on non-gifted classmates, identification of gifted students, skills needed by cluster teachers, cluster grouping and enrichment programs, cluster grouping at middle and secondary levels, the role of Differentiated Educational Plans, and disadvantages of cluster grouping. The information brief concludes that cluster grouping is a way to ensure that gifted students receive a quality education at the same time as schools work to improve learning for all students.
Descriptors: *Cluster Grouping; *Educational Methods; Elementary Secondary Education; *Gifted; *Grouping (Instructional Purposes); Homogeneous Grouping; *Inclusive Schools; Mainstreaming
Identifiers: Differentiated Educational Plans; ERIC Digests

ED395404 EC304797
Concepts of Inclusion in Gifted Education.
Culross, Rita R.
Apr 1996; 11pp.; Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, April 8-12, 1996).
EDRS Price - MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Geographic Source: U.S.; Louisiana
Journal Announcement: RIEOCT96
This paper examines implications of the movement toward inclusive schools for gifted and talented students, focusing on specific issues involved in considering whether or not gifted students should be served in a regular classroom to meet the gifted student's needs, the impact on self-concept and other nonacademic factors of inclusion versus special classes, and the costs of serving gifted/talented students separately. Research addressing these questions is examined, and is generally found to support ability-level grouping as the most effective approach to meeting gifted students' cognitive and affective needs, although a shortage of empirical research on placements and outcomes of these students is noted. It is argued that the moral and philosophical arguments for inclusion of students with disabilities do not necessarily extend to inclusion of gifted and talented students, and that homogeneous grouping frequently provides the least restrictive environment for these students.
Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Delivery Systems; Elementary Secondary Education; *Gifted; Grouping (Instructional Purposes); Homogeneous Grouping; *Inclusive Schools; Regular and Special Education Relationship; Student Needs; *Student Placement; *Talent

EJ497629 EC610421
The Importance of Cluster Grouping.
Coleman, Mary Ruth
Gifted Child Today Magazine, v18 n1, p38-40, Jan-Feb 1995
ISSN: 1076-2175
Language: English
Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080); POSITION PAPER (120)
Journal Announcement: CIJJUN95
Meeting the needs of gifted students within the regular classroom requires appropriate uses of cluster grouping, where small groups of students with similar learning needs are assigned to a particular teacher; an extended support system for the teacher; and educational differentiation to meet student needs.
Descriptors: *Cluster Grouping; Curriculum Development; *Educational Practices; Elementary Secondary Education; *Gifted; Group Structure; *Inclusive Schools; Mainstreaming

ED367095 EC302797
An Analysis of the Research on Ability Grouping.
Kulik, James A.
National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, Storrs, CT.
NRC/GT Newsletter, p8-9, Spr 1993
3p.; For a related document, see ED 350 777.
Sponsoring Agency: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
EDRS Price - MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Geographic Source: U.S.; Connecticut
Journal Announcement: RIEJUL94
This research review summarizes two major sets of meta-analyses on five kinds of ability grouping programs: (1) XYZ classes (high, middle, and low classes); (2) cross-grade grouping; (3) within-class grouping; (4) accelerated classes; and (5) enriched classes. One group of meta analyses concluded that the strongest benefits from grouping were found in programs in which there was a great deal of adjustment of curriculum for highly talented learners. The other meta-analysis did not find any strong positive benefits of grouping, but did not examine grouping programs designed for highly talented students. Re- analysis of all studies included in both sets of meta-analyses confirmed that higher aptitude students usually benefit academically from ability grouping. Benefits are in proportion to the amount of curriculum adjustment, with programs entailing acceleration of instruction resulting in the most gain on standardized tests. Grouping was found to have less influence on the academic achievement of middle and lower aptitude students. Analysis of noncognitive outcomes suggests that the effects of grouping on self-esteem measures for all ability groups are small and may even be rather positive. Results are contrasted with the conclusions of J. Oakes ("Keeping Track: How Schools Structure Inequality" (1985). The review concludes that American education would be harmed by the wholesale elimination of programs that group learners for instruction by ability.
Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; Academic Ability; Academic Achievement; Curriculum; Educational Philosophy; Elementary Secondary Education; *Equal Education; *Gifted; Grouping (Instructional Purposes); *Homogeneous Grouping; Meta Analysis; Research and Development; Self Esteem; *Talent; Theory Practice Relationship

EJ450021 EC603741
Educational Decision Making on Acceleration and Grouping.
VanTassel-Baska, Joyce
Gifted Child Quarterly, v36 n2, p68-72, Spr 1992
Special Issue: Challenging the Gifted: Grouping and Acceleration.
Journal Announcement: CIJJAN93 Target Audience: Policymakers; Practitioners
This article focuses on the importance of acceleration and grouping for gifted students in the context of school reform and recommends a set of decision-making guidelines for each issue including flexibility in entrance and exit requirements for courses, opportunities for telescoping and grade skipping, various forms of grouping, and independent learning options.
Descriptors: Academically Gifted; *Acceleration (Education); Decision Making; Educational Change; *Educational Policy; Elementary Secondary Education; Flexible Progression; *Gifted; *Homogeneous Grouping; Independent Study

ED343329 EC301013
The Relationship of Grouping Practices to the Education of the Gifted and Talented Learner: Research-Based Decision Making Series.
Rogers, Karen B.
National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, Storrs, CT.
Oct 1991 99p.; For an executive summary, see EC 301 014.
Sponsoring Agency: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC. Contract No.: R206R00001
Available from: Dissemination Coordinator, The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, The University of Connecticut, 362 Fairfield Road, U-7, Storrs, CT 06269-2007 ($12.00, includes executive summary, order no. 9101).
Document Type: RESEARCH REPORT (143)
Journal Announcement: RIEAUG92
Target Audience: Practitioners; Administrators
Thirteen research syntheses were analyzed to determine the academic, social, and psychological effects upon learners who are gifted and talented of three grouping practices: (1) ability grouping for enrichment; (2) mixed ability cooperative grouping for regular instruction; and (3) grouping for acceleration. It was concluded that the research showed strong, consistent support for the academic effects of most forms of ability grouping for enrichment and acceleration, but that the research is scant and weak concerning the socialization and psychological adjustment effects of these practices. Claims for the academic superiority of mixed ability grouping or for whole group instructional practices were not substantiated for gifted and talented learners. Other conclusions indicated that: academic outcomes of ability grouping vary substantially from effects reported for average and low ability learners; full time, pullout, and within-class grouping can all produce substantial academic gains; and there is little impact on self-esteem and a moderate gain in attitude toward subject in full time ability grouping. A series of guidelines for practices is included. Appendices chart the meta-evaluation of the research syntheses and the research-supported conclusions concerning grouping issues.
Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; Academic Achievement; Academically Gifted; Acceleration (Education); Cooperative Learning; Elementary Secondary Education; Enrichment; *Gifted; *Grouping (Instructional Purposes); Heterogeneous Grouping; *Instructional Effectiveness; *Meta Analysis; Self Esteem; Social Development; Talent

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