An interesting government report out of the UK, written about in a recent article in the Telegraph, comes to the conclusion that "Able Pupils Lose Momentum."
(the Telegraph URL is quite long and is defying my attempts to write it correctly in the link function on Blogger; it's: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=VN42UK5N014RNQFIQMGCFFOAVCBQUIV0?xml=/news/2008/01/06/nschool106.xml)
Apparently, a quarter of the students who score very well on the state schools' tests at age 7 do not achieve high marks at age 11. The report looked at the various reasons and found that, in essence, schools are doing very little to actually nurture these "able pupils." They are often not grouped with children who have similar abilities, teachers spend more time with kids who are having difficulties, and the targets set for these pupils are often underwhelming. Apparently, teachers are supposed to set goals for these pupils (I am guessing this is something like a gifted IEP) but the report states that many teachers do not buy into this, and so the targets are things like "be neater." Of course, if people think the notion of challenging bright pupils is elitist, and everyone needs to be leveled off a bit, it seems to be working, at least for the quarter of students who don't do as well by age 11.
As we've said before on this blog, gifts are useless if they're not unwrapped. Gifted pupils will not inevitably do well in school. They do not necessarily fend for themselves. It is quite possible to turn an extremely bright kid off to learning by making his formal learning as unpleasant as possible. I have no idea why people would choose to do that, but as the UK report shows, it happens.
TOTALLY OFF-TOPIC POST: As many of you know, I'm a freelance writer, and write for all kinds of places beyond Gifted Exchange. Since many parents read this blog, I thought there might be some overlaps on this topic...I'm writing a magazine article, currently, on ways 2-income couples outsource household chores creatively in order to have a smoother home life. If anyone has ideas of people to speak with (folks who've used meal planning services, concierge services, children's taxis, etc.) please email me at lvanderkam at yahoo dot com. Thank you!