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The Gifted Program

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VietVet View Drop Down
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    Posted: Sep 05 2013 at 11:46am
Journal story...

Districts vary programs for gifted learners
Butler County has more than 10,000 students identified as “gifted” in subjects.

STATE RANKINGS: GIFTED STUDENT GROWTH

Here’s how area school districts scored in gifted student growth on the state report card.

BUTLER COUNTY

A: Lakota Local

B: Monroe Local, Talawanda City

C: Fairfield City, Madison Local, Middletown City, Ross Local

D: Edgewood City

F: Hamilton City

N/R: New Miami Local

Source: Ohio Department of Education

JUST WONDERING HOW A PROGRAM, WITH ALL OF THOSE GIFTED KIDS, COULD HAVE A "D" OR AN "F" ON THE EVALUATION. IF THE PROGRAM CONSISTS OF ONLY GIFTED KIDS, IT IS BOUND TO SUCCEED, RIGHT? NEVER LIKED THE ACADEMIC WORLD TERM OF "GIFTED". KINDA DIMINISHES THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE OTHERS NOT QUALIFIED FOR THIS SPECIAL HONOR. JUDGEMENTAL/CLASSIFICATION TERM IMO, AND SUGGESTS THAT THE KIDS THAT ARE NOT "GIFTED" ARE NOT AS VALUED PRIDE-WISE BY THE SCHOOL FOLKS. THE SCHOOLS ARE VERY PROUD OF THIS GROUP AS THEY ALWAYS SEEM TO PLACE THE PROGRAM ON A PEDESTAL BEFORE THE PUBLIC. WE SEEM TO HEAR ABOUT THESE STUDENTS MORE OFTEN THAN ANY ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE GENERAL POPULACE. JUST WONDER IF THE PRIDE GOES ANY FURTHER DOWN THE LADDER.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Marcia Andrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 05 2013 at 2:31pm
Vet, this grade for gifted students is for growth, not achievement.  It does not tell us what percentage of the students identified as gifted scored proficient or higher on the state tests.  Instead, it is measuring their growth year to year (like the Value Added growth scores I was trying to explain last week).  So, maybe last year they scored, on average, 450 out of 500 total points on the state achievement test. If this year they scored on average the same, that would be a C for growth. If the average score of gifted students went down, that is how a district could get a D or F in this category -- even though those students are probably scoring proficient or higher.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 05 2013 at 3:20pm
Originally posted by Marcia Andrew Marcia Andrew wrote:



Vet, this grade for gifted students is for growth, not achievement.  It does not tell us what percentage of the students identified as gifted scored proficient or higher on the state tests.  Instead, it is measuring their growth year to year (like the Value Added growth scores I was trying to explain last week).  So, maybe last year they scored, on average, 450 out of 500 total points on the state achievement test. If this year they scored on average the same, that would be a C for growth. If the average score of gifted students went down, that is how a district could get a D or F in this category -- even though those students are probably scoring proficient or higher.
 
 


Thank you Ms. Andrew. Just having a hard time distinguishing the difference between the meaning of the words growth and achievement. Seems to me that they are interconnected....ie, where there is growth, it was caused by achievement or, achievement yields growth. Again, I think this statistic is overworked and contributes very little in the overall scheme of things. JMO of course. Show me the grades from the recent testing and compare them to the last 10 years, graph the data and let's see if we made any progress. If it is flatline, there was no accomplishments in the years/subjects/grade levels compared. Don't really care about how much "value added" on a fantasy grading scale it yields. Show me what I believe matters.
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TonyB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 08 2013 at 8:57am
Vet,

I'm sorry but I had to respond to your statement above about you don't like the idea of "judgement" when it comes to special or "gifted" programs. What do you think grades are? They are judgements! How do you think kids get into special or "gifted" programs? They were judged capable of doing the extra work. This whole "grading" of school systems is nothing more than a judgement based on standardized testing. As for being proud of high achieving students; why shouldn't they be congratulated and encouraged in their academic pursuits?I don't hear a lot of criticism for athletic programs when they are praised at the expense of academics. Isn't the point of pointing out high achieving students to encourage the rest of the student population to do better? Don't we always hear about the extremes and very little about those who are in the middle? Why should any of this be a surprise: this is the way a "grading" system is supposed to operate!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 08 2013 at 11:58am
TonyB

"I'm sorry but I had to respond to your statement above about you don't like the idea of "judgement" when it comes to special or "gifted" programs. What do you think grades are? They are judgements! How do you think kids get into special or "gifted" programs? They were judged capable of doing the extra work. This whole "grading" of school systems is nothing more than a judgement based on standardized testing."

TONYB, don't think I said anything about the criteria for grading. I fully understand the concept of the grading scales. Actually, in some classes, such as math, it is either a correct answer or a non-correct answer that yields the grade, whereas, in English, when one writes a theme paper (if they still do that anymore) or demonstrates thoughts on a particular subject, it is the content, punctuation, spelling and the teacher determines the grade. It is less black and white as to the outcome and more the opinion of the teacher.

TONYB:

"As for being proud of high achieving students; why shouldn't they be congratulated and encouraged in their academic pursuits?"

CONGRATULATED, SURE. ENCOURAGED, SURE. PLACED ON A PEDESTAL DEMONSTRATING FAVORTISM AND HAVING SPECIAL EVENTS FOR THEM, NOPE. DON'T LIKE THE OLD "HEY KIDS, YOUR NOT AS GOOD AS THESE KIDS, THEY ARE OUR "PRIDE AND JOY" AND WE'RE GONNA POINT THAT OUT TO YOU TOO. MAY BREED RESENTMENT IN THE MAJORITY RANKS. THE OLD "HAVE'S" AND HAVE NOTS" GAME.

TONYB:

"I don't hear a lot of criticism for athletic programs when they are praised at the expense of academics."

BEEN ALOT OF TALK OVER THE YEARS ABOUT THE ATHLETES NOT HAVING TO TAKE TOUGH CLASSES AND HAVING THEIR SCHOOL WORK DONE FOR THEM. EVERYONE KNOWS THAT NO FAVORS ARE DONE FOR THEM USING THIS METHOD WHEN THEY STOP PLAYING BALL AND WALK OUT INTO THE REAL WORLD, BUT IT CONTINUES. INTEREST IN HAVING A STAR ATHLETE ON THE TEAM TRUMPS ACADEMIC INTEREST EVERY TIME. PEOPLE WANT WINNERS ON THE FIELD. HOW WELL THEY DID IN THE CLASSROOM IS SECONDARY. GPA NUMBERS ARE NOT AS IMPORTANT AS THE NUMBERS ON THE SCOREBOARD TO MANY PEOPLE.

TONYB:

"Isn't the point of pointing out high achieving students to encourage the rest of the student population to do better?"

YEP, BUT IT ALSO MAY BREED RESENTMENT AND JEALOUSY. WISH THE ENCOURAGEMENT THING WAS THE END RESULT, BUT I DOUBT THAT MOST IN THE MAJORITY ARE ENCOURAGED BY SEEING THE RESULTS OF THE GIFTED KIDS. DON'T KNOW IF THEY CARE.

TONYB:

"Don't we always hear about the extremes and very little about those who are in the middle?"

YEP. NEVER HEAR ABOUT CONCENTRATION ON THE KIDS IN THE MIDDLE. GIFTED KIDS GET THE RECOGNITION. LOW RANKING STUDENTS GET THE ATTENTION OR SPECIAL PROGRAMS TO BOOST THEIR PERFORMANCE AND THE KIDS IN THE MIDDLE GET THE "YOUR CHILD CAN DO BETTER" TALK FROM THE TEACHERS IN PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCES, BUT NO ACTUAL PROGRAM SET UP TO ACCOMPLISH THAT.

TONYB:

"Why should any of this be a surprise: this is the way a "grading" system is supposed to operate!"

NOTHING SURPRISES ME ABOUT THIS SCHOOL DISTRICT ANYMORE. THIS IS THE WAY THE GRADING SYSTEM WORKS. DON'T KNOW IF IT'S THE WAY IT IS SUPPOSE TO WORK. DO WE SET UP A SYSTEM THAT PLACES CERTAIN STUDENTS ON THE EXCELLENCE THRONE, MAKE IT PUBLIC, HAVE CEREMONIES FOR THEM AND TREAT THEM LIKE GOLD AND HAVE LITTLE TO NO RECOGNITION FOR THE REST OF THE STUDENT POPULATION IF THEY WERE TO SUCCEED? WE KNOW THE ACADEMIC PEOPLE ADVERTISE SUCCESS USING THIS GIFTED PROGRAM. WE ALSO KNOW THAT THEY MENTION THE LIFE SKILLS PROGRAM ACCOMPLISHMENTS FOR THE AT RISK STUDENTS. WHEN HAS THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THOSE IN BETWEEN BEEN ANNOUNCED? JUST ASKING.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TonyB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 09 2013 at 8:46am
Vet,

How does praising accomplishments diminish the accomplishments of others? If praising the accomplishments of some brings out resentment and jealousy, then why praise anyone? It's a ridiculous and a borderline dangerous notion to suggest that praising achievement somehow results in a negative outcome because of the feelings it creates in those not being praised. It's almost as if you were against excellence and I know that is not the case with you. As for special events, isn't a pep rally a special event? It's not done to promote academic achievement yet classes are cancelled or curtailed and everyone is herded into the gym to promote athletics over academics. As for recognition; it isn't the everyday person that gets recognized; it's the one who achieves  extraordinary success. That is the promotion of excellence and that is what our school system should always be striving towards as well as promoting individual excellence. I'm not a fan of any of this current "grading" because it is not a true indication of a students ability to learn. Based on the criteria established, it seems that we're trying to dumb down the education process instead of enhancing it for the benefit of students and their future.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marcia Andrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 09 2013 at 10:17am
I agree with Tony, celebrating the successes of the top academic students is an important part of setting high expectations for all students.  We are a school district, not a sports club, and we should (and do) recognize academic stars at least as much as our athletic stars. (As a side note, many of our academic stars are also athletic stars.  Studies show that students who are involved in extracurriculars do better in school).
 
Vet, your perception that the high and low performers are the only ones who get attention or resources is simply false.  The district's mission is "success for each student." Immense time and resources have been dedicated to training teachers on how to customize their teaching to students at every level, with the goal that every student goes up one level in state testing.  It is hard to overstate how difficult this individualized approach is to implement in the classroom, but our "A" for Value Added and our steady increase in Performance Index are proof that teachers are succeeding with this approach.  There has been a steady increase in the number of students scoring Accelerated and Advanced (the two levels above Proficient).  This means kids in the middle -- Proficient -- have received the attention they need to improve to Accelerated and Advanced.
 
As to your comment that the kids in the middle are not celebrated, that is also wrong.  Students know where they stand on interim assessments, and when students who have been struggling reach Proficient, that is celebrated, in an appropriate way, at the school level (as opposed to district-wide).
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 09 2013 at 11:03am
TonyB and Ms. Andrew, we will agree to disagree I guess. Ms. Andrew is mighty proud of this "Value-added" category as often as it is mentioned. Problem is, no one can relate the grading in this category with any end result testing. It is a rating given to a school district that signifies progress of a student in a given time frame.......and then what? How does this "progress rating in a given time frame" tie in to the actual scores on the proficiency testing? They are not inter-related. Example: a student scores high in the progress they make in a given time frame (value added) but does lousy on the actual (proficiency) testing to see what he/she has learned. If that is the case, what good did knowing how much progress was made if the student can't retain any of it to pass the testing? They made progress learning but they didn't demonstrate it on the test. Isn't it true that a student must pass all categories to earn a diploma? There is no guarantee that just because a student shows progress in classroom instruction over a certain time period that they will pass the proficiency test that is required, right? Please advise.

Tony, I believe that a person who doesn't think that jealousy and resentment isn't created by placing more value on some students than others, and, at times, treating some kids in the schools as throwaways, is naive. It was going on when I was in school in the 50's/60's, it was occuring when my son was in school in the 80's and I would be willing to bet that it exists in the schools as we speak. Happens not only in the schools but in the workplace. Example: Management is good at picking their "favorite sons/daughters" and leaving the rest to fend for themselves. P&G managers are pros at that. Chosen ones abound in the old corporate world.......until some fall out of favor. Then adios.
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marcia Andrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 09 2013 at 1:58pm
Vet wrote, "Ms. Andrew is mighty proud of this "Value-added" category as often as it is mentioned. Problem is, no one can relate the grading in this category with any end result testing. It is a rating given to a school district that signifies progress of a student in a given time frame.......and then what? How does this "progress rating in a given time frame" tie in to the actual scores on the proficiency testing?"
 
Vet, I have explained this several times on the other thread about the school report card.  It really isn't that hard to "relate the grading in this category with end result testing."  I will try one more time, and then I give up on getting through to you. The Value Added score comes directly from the state testing, not from a separate test, not from undefined "progress in classroom instruction."  A high Value Added score means that students improved on the state achievement tests that are scored on the state report card.  There are many ways a student can improve on the state tests without that improvement changing the district's scores on number of indicators met: (1) student improves score on state test from really awful to just under "proficient" -- no change in percentage of students proficient; no change in indicators met by district; (2) student is already "proficient" and improves to accelerated or advanced -- no change in percentage of students proficient; no change in number of indicators met; (3) student improves from below proficient to proficient -- percentage of students scoring proficient goes up, but still below the arbitrary mark of 75% of students proficient needed for the district to earn the indicator for that grade/subject, so no increase in the number of indicators met by the district.  However, each of these hypothetical student results will cause the overal Performance Index to go up the tiniest bit.  And, guess what? Middletown's Performance Index has gone up 5 years in a row -- which means that student's test scores are improving.
 
This explanation also should explain why I focus on Value Added and Performance Index as better measurements of whether we are doing a good job as a school district than just the snapshot of number of Indicators Met.  We as a school district can't change the fact that many of our students start kindergarden way behind.  What we can do (and the Value Added and Performance Index show we are doing) is provide teaching and support resources for strong academic growth, so that eventually these kids who start behind will catch up to grade level, and the kids who started at grade level proficient will move up to accelerated and advanced.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 09 2013 at 2:59pm
MS. ANDREW IN AN EARLIER POST: "Vet, this grade for gifted students is for growth, not achievement. It does not tell us what percentage of the students identified as gifted scored proficient or higher on the state tests. Instead, it is measuring their growth year to year (like the Value Added growth scores I was trying to explain last week)."

MS. ANDREW THIS POST:
"A high Value Added score means that students improved on the state achievement tests that are scored on the state report card"

I thought you said that the Value Added was not to indicate a measured achievement. Now. in this post, you say that the Value Added score means the students improved on state ACHIEVEMENT tests. Which is it Ms. Andrew?

MS. ANDREW:

"The Value Added score comes directly from the state testing, not from a separate test"

THE ONLY TESTING I MENTIONED IN MY POSTS IS THE STATE PROFICIENCY TESTING. COMPARING THE PROF. GRADES FROM YEAR TO YEAR IN ALL GRADE LEVELS AND ALL CATEGORIES IS ALL I AM INTERESTED IN. I AM NOT AWARE OF ANY OTHER TESTING CRITERIA. WHAT DID YOU MEAN BY A SEPARATE TEST?

MS. ANDREW:

This explanation also should explain why I focus on Value Added and Performance Index as better measurements of whether we are doing a good job as a school district than just the snapshot of number of Indicators Met

IT IS ALSO A CONVENIENT WAY TO AVOID THE SUBJECT OF INDICATORS THAT THE SCHOOL DISTRICT HAS FAILED TO MAINTAIN. WENT FROM A 6 TO A 10 BACK TO A 6 DIDN'T YOU? IT IS EASY TO "FOCUS" ON THE SUCCESSES WHILE PLACING THE FAILURES IN THE BACK SEAT. POSITIVE IS FINE. DENIAL OF TRUTH IS NOT.

MS. ANDREW:

"I will try one more time, and then I give up on getting through to you"

OK, I REALLY DIDN'T WANT TO GO THERE BUT SINCE YOU BROUGHT IT UP....

I WILL TRY ONE MORE TIME TO EXPLAIN THAT I BELIEVE YOU, AS THE SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENT, ARE SENDING OUT A SMOKESCREEN THAT EMPHASIZES THE SUCCESSES AND IGNORES THE FAILURES EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE READILY APPARENT. YOU ONLY REPORT THE GOOD AND DO NOT LEND EQUAL TIME TO THE WEAK POINTS. JUST ONCE, I WOULD LIKE FOR A MEMBER OF THIS SCHOOL DISTRICT OR A SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THERE ARE FAILURES THAT HAVE BEEN CONTINUING FOR DECADES THAT NEED TO BE ADDRESSED. THIS DISTRICT IS NOT DOING AS WELL AS YOU WOULD HAVE THE PUBLIC BELIEVE. WHY IS IT SO HARD TO ADMIT THAT THERE ARE WEAKNESSES IN THE ARMOR?.......ANSWER, BECAUSE IT CAN HURT YOU AT LEVY TIME AND IT CAN'T HELP IN YOUR CONTINUING NEED TO SHED THE DISTRICT IN A POSITIVE LIGHT WITH ONLY GOOD THINGS HAPPENING.
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote processor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 30 2013 at 12:53pm

Interesting article from the Wall Street Journal.  I was reading it this weekend and it reminded me of many of Viet Vet's views and comments.  Thought others may find it interesting too.

Why Tough Teachers Get Good Results

    By
  • JOANNE LIPMAN

I had a teacher once who called his students "idiots" when they screwed up. He was our orchestra conductor, a fierce Ukrainian immigrant named Jerry Kupchynsky, and when someone played out of tune, he would stop the entire group to yell, "Who eez deaf in first violins!?" He made us rehearse until our fingers almost bled. He corrected our wayward hands and arms by poking at us with a pencil.

Today, he'd be fired. But when he died a few years ago, he was celebrated: Forty years' worth of former students and colleagues flew back to my New Jersey hometown from every corner of the country, old instruments in tow, to play a concert in his memory. I was among them, toting my long-neglected viola. When the curtain rose on our concert that day, we had formed a symphony orchestra the size of the New York Philharmonic.

[image] Kupchynsky Family

Mr. K began teaching at East Brunswick High School when it opened in 1958.

I was stunned by the outpouring for the gruff old teacher we knew as Mr. K. But I was equally struck by the success of his former students. Some were musicians, but most had distinguished themselves in other fields, like law, academia and medicine. Research tells us that there is a positive correlation between music education and academic achievement. But that alone didn't explain the belated surge of gratitude for a teacher who basically tortured us through adolescence.

We're in the midst of a national wave of self-recrimination over the U.S. education system. Every day there is hand-wringing over our students falling behind the rest of the world. Fifteen-year-olds in the U.S. trail students in 12 other nations in science and 17 in math, bested by their counterparts not just in Asia but in Finland, Estonia and the Netherlands, too. An entire industry of books and consultants has grown up that capitalizes on our collective fear that American education is inadequate and asks what American educators are doing wrong.

I would ask a different question. What did Mr. K do right? What can we learn from a teacher whose methods fly in the face of everything we think we know about education today, but who was undeniably effective?

[image] Luci Gutiérrez

As it turns out, quite a lot. Comparing Mr. K's methods with the latest findings in fields from music to math to medicine leads to a single, startling conclusion: It's time to revive old-fashioned education. Not just traditional but old-fashioned in the sense that so many of us knew as kids, with strict discipline and unyielding demands. Because here's the thing: It works.

Now I'm not calling for abuse; I'd be the first to complain if a teacher called my kids names. But the latest evidence backs up my modest proposal. Studies have now shown, among other things, the benefits of moderate childhood stress; how praise kills kids' self-esteem; and why grit is a better predictor of success than SAT scores.

All of which flies in the face of the kinder, gentler philosophy that has dominated American education over the past few decades. The conventional wisdom holds that teachers are supposed to tease knowledge out of students, rather than pound it into their heads. Projects and collaborative learning are applauded; traditional methods like lecturing and memorization—derided as "drill and kill"—are frowned upon, dismissed as a surefire way to suck young minds dry of creativity and motivation.

But the conventional wisdom is wrong. And the following eight principles—a manifesto if you will, a battle cry inspired by my old teacher and buttressed by new research—explain why.

1. A little pain is good for you.

Psychologist K. Anders Ericsson gained fame for his research showing that true expertise requires about 10,000 hours of practice, a notion popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his book "Outliers." But an often-overlooked finding from the same study is equally important: True expertise requires teachers who give "constructive, even painful, feedback," as Dr. Ericsson put it in a 2007 Harvard Business Review article. He assessed research on top performers in fields ranging from violin performance to surgery to computer programming to chess. And he found that all of them "deliberately picked unsentimental coaches who would challenge them and drive them to higher levels of performance."

[image] Arthur Montzka

Mr. Kupchynsky helps his daughter with her bow stroke in 1966.

2. Drill, baby, drill.

Rote learning, long discredited, is now recognized as one reason that children whose families come from India (where memorization is still prized) are creaming their peers in the National Spelling Bee Championship. This cultural difference also helps to explain why students in China (and Chinese families in the U.S.) are better at math. Meanwhile, American students struggle with complex math problems because, as research makes abundantly clear, they lack fluency in basic addition and subtraction—and few of them were made to memorize their times tables.

William Klemm of Texas A&M University argues that the U.S. needs to reverse the bias against memorization. Even the U.S. Department of Education raised alarm bells, chastising American schools in a 2008 report that bemoaned the lack of math fluency (a notion it mentioned no fewer than 17 times). It concluded that schools need to embrace the dreaded "drill and practice."

3. Failure is an option.

Kids who understand that failure is a necessary aspect of learning actually perform better. In a 2012 study, 111 French sixth-graders were given anagram problems that were too difficult for them to solve. One group was then told that failure and trying again are part of the learning process. On subsequent tests, those children consistently outperformed their peers.

The fear, of course is that failure will traumatize our kids, sapping them of self-esteem. Wrong again. In a 2006 study, a Bowling Green State University graduate student followed 31 Ohio band students who were required to audition for placement and found that even students who placed lowest "did not decrease in their motivation and self-esteem in the long term." The study concluded that educators need "not be as concerned about the negative effects" of picking winners and losers.

4. Strict is better than nice.

What makes a teacher successful? To find out, starting in 2005 a team of researchers led by Claremont Graduate University education professor Mary Poplin spent five years observing 31 of the most highly effective teachers (measured by student test scores) in the worst schools of Los Angeles, in neighborhoods like South Central and Watts. Their No. 1 finding: "They were strict," she says. "None of us expected that."

The researchers had assumed that the most effective teachers would lead students to knowledge through collaborative learning and discussion. Instead, they found disciplinarians who relied on traditional methods of explicit instruction, like lectures. "The core belief of these teachers was, 'Every student in my room is underperforming based on their potential, and it's my job to do something about it—and I can do something about it,'" says Prof. Poplin.

She reported her findings in a lengthy academic paper. But she says that a fourth-grader summarized her conclusions much more succinctly this way: "When I was in first grade and second grade and third grade, when I cried my teachers coddled me. When I got to Mrs. T's room, she told me to suck it up and get to work. I think she's right. I need to work harder."

5. Creativity can be learned.

The rap on traditional education is that it kills children's' creativity. But Temple University psychology professor Robert W. Weisberg's research suggests just the opposite. Prof. Weisberg has studied creative geniuses including Thomas Edison, Frank Lloyd Wright and Picasso—and has concluded that there is no such thing as a born genius. Most creative giants work ferociously hard and, through a series of incremental steps, achieve things that appear (to the outside world) like epiphanies and breakthroughs.

Prof. Weisberg analyzed Picasso's 1937 masterpiece Guernica, for instance, which was painted after the Spanish city was bombed by the Germans. The painting is considered a fresh and original concept, but Prof. Weisberg found instead that it was closely related to several of Picasso's earlier works and drew upon his study of paintings by Goya and then-prevalent Communist Party imagery. The bottom line, Prof. Weisberg told me, is that creativity goes back in many ways to the basics. "You have to immerse yourself in a discipline before you create in that discipline. It is built on a foundation of learning the discipline, which is what your music teacher was requiring of you."

6. Grit trumps talent.

In recent years, University of Pennsylvania psychology professor Angela Duckworth has studied spelling bee champs, Ivy League undergrads and cadets at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.—all together, over 2,800 subjects. In all of them, she found that grit—defined as passion and perseverance for long-term goals—is the best predictor of success. In fact, grit is usually unrelated or even negatively correlated with talent.

Arthur Montzka

Tough on the podium, Mr. K was always appreciative when he sat in the audience. Above, applauding his students in the mid-1970s.

Prof. Duckworth, who started her career as a public school math teacher and just won a 2013 MacArthur "genius grant," developed a "Grit Scale" that asks people to rate themselves on a dozen statements, like "I finish whatever I begin" and "I become interested in new pursuits every few months." When she applied the scale to incoming West Point cadets, she found that those who scored higher were less likely to drop out of the school's notoriously brutal summer boot camp known as "Beast Barracks." West Point's own measure—an index that includes SAT scores, class rank, leadership and physical aptitude—wasn't able to predict retention.

Prof. Duckworth believes that grit can be taught. One surprisingly simple factor, she says, is optimism—the belief among both teachers and students that they have the ability to change and thus to improve. In a 2009 study of newly minted teachers, she rated each for optimism (as measured by a questionnaire) before the school year began. At the end of the year, the students whose teachers were optimists had made greater academic gains.

7. Praise makes you weak…

My old teacher Mr. K seldom praised us. His highest compliment was "not bad." It turns out he was onto something. Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck has found that 10-year-olds praised for being "smart" became less confident. But kids told that they were "hard workers" became more confident and better performers.

"The whole point of intelligence praise is to boost confidence and motivation, but both were gone in a flash," wrote Prof. Dweck in a 2007 article in the journal Educational Leadership. "If success meant they were smart, then struggling meant they were not."

8.…while stress makes you strong.

A 2011 University at Buffalo study found that a moderate amount of stress in childhood promotes resilience. Psychology professor Mark D. Seery gave healthy undergraduates a stress assessment based on their exposure to 37 different kinds of significant negative events, such as death or illness of a family member. Then he plunged their hands into ice water. The students who had experienced a moderate number of stressful events actually felt less pain than those who had experienced no stress at all.

"Having this history of dealing with these negative things leads people to be more likely to have a propensity for general resilience," Prof. Seery told me. "They are better equipped to deal with even mundane, everyday stressors."

Prof. Seery's findings build on research by University of Nebraska psychologist Richard Dienstbier, who pioneered the concept of "toughness"—the idea that dealing with even routine stresses makes you stronger. How would you define routine stresses? "Mundane things, like having a hardass kind of teacher," Prof. Seery says.

My tough old teacher Mr. K could have written the book on any one of these principles. Admittedly, individually, these are forbidding precepts: cold, unyielding, and kind of scary.

But collectively, they convey something very different: confidence. At their core is the belief, the faith really, in students' ability to do better. There is something to be said about a teacher who is demanding and tough not because he thinks students will never learn but because he is so absolutely certain that they will.

Decades later, Mr. K's former students finally figured it out, too. "He taught us discipline," explained a violinist who went on to become an Ivy League-trained doctor. "Self-motivation," added a tech executive who once played the cello. "Resilience," said a professional cellist. "He taught us how to fail—and how to pick ourselves up again."

Clearly, Mr. K's methods aren't for everyone. But you can't argue with his results. And that's a lesson we can all learn from.

Ms. Lipman is co-author, with Melanie Kupchynsky, of "Strings Attached: One Tough Teacher and the Gift of Great Expectations," to be published by Hyperion on Oct. 1. She is a former deputy managing editor of The Wall Street Journal and former editor-in-chief of Condé Nast Portfolio.

A version of this article appeared September 28, 2013, on page C1 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Tough Teachers Get Results.

Copyright 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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VietVet View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 30 2013 at 1:38pm
Thank you processor. Couple of comments.......

How many of you remember the teachers that worked the classroom with discipline and expected EVERYONE to know the multiplication tables, how to spell correctly and how to compose a sentence and paragraph? How many also knew the consequences of not knowing these things? Conversely, how many people remember the teachers who made little effort, were mild-mannered/kinder/gentler or taught class day after day while the students got very little (to the point of boredom) out of the class?

I remember Mrs. Barbara Shick, a Middletown High School English teacher. Ms. Louise McBain made an impression in high school in math while Edith Matson did the same at Roosevelt Jr. High School. Dynamic teachers with a demanding style requiring their students to learn, with a little intimidation thrown in for good measure.

The discipline rivaling the military teaches the grit mentioned. Also teaches boundaries and expectations within the classroom. Defining parameters in learning and holding accountability for one's performance is not a bad thing. Keeping score, winners and losers.....the way it use to be actually worked at one time. How did we get away from what worked because what we are doing now is not working.

Sadly, this article and ones that are similar, can be shown to the current boards of education, the teachers, the supers and any other person connected with the academic world, and it won't make any difference. They will not change their minds. They will stick with the current unsuccessful methods even as they watch their programs fail time and time again. They are totally disconnected with the past....and with what works. We are dealing with stone walls here people. A good way to prove if this article has any merit. Hire a select crew of "old school" teachers for each subject. Place them in a selected school that has the new breed program in place. To avoid all the present day "legal issues", have the parents sign a contract for their kids to participate in the pilot program using expectations and discipline, aka, the old school tactics. Let's see, after a selected period of time, which group performs at a higher level. Anyone taking any bets?
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote processor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 30 2013 at 3:15pm
Vet,
What you've described, "old School" teachers actually reflects the methods used in many of the Charter Schools that are having success in poverty areas such as Harlem, Washington DC, and recently New Orleans.  They are showing much better performance than their public school peers.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 30 2013 at 3:19pm
Thank you, processor.
Very true and relevant IMO.

I remember all of those teachers, Vet
All were demanding while very dedicated to their job and students.
Today, that similar attitude/demeanor must come from the top level.
Hopefully the current mode of student will respond to the demand and challenge.

Our school system came easy to me--probably too easy.
I lost interest in the 9th grade, about the time the mid/late 60s counter culture emerged.
I still made the grades, however my high school years were a fog.
The opportunities were there and the faculty was willing--it was me who dropped the ball.
It is a beautiful thing when all parties involved are able and willing.

Add my name to the LONG list of those who would love to do it over again.

Do you think that we are too far removed from a return to that type of dedication and mentality?
As someone who has led/supervised many, never under-estimate the willingness and capability of others.
Often they just need/want the spark of encouragement and attention.
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