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Old 07-02-2011, 07:49 AM
 
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I have a student who will be attending a very, very small new parochial school. At this point, they do not have the numbers to warrant honors courses independently. Instead, there will be differentiated learning within classes (World History, English, Physics, etc.) with a handful of student getting honors credit for additional work.

I can imagine this working with History and English. However, what about for courses such as Physics and math courses? Do you think that, with a good teacher, a student doing extra rigor in a standard setting will be as well taught and prepared as a student in a larger school in which they are in a standalone honors course?

T
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Old 07-02-2011, 07:54 AM
 
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My son's school does this for band and other arts classes. I used to teach multiple levels in one class. I had Chorus I-IV in one class and there were honors/regular at levels II-IV.

It is hard for the teacher but it should be fine for the students. I would be worried that honors in Physics would just mean MORE homework as opposed to a higher level of homework. I would ask parents of students who are currently in honors what honors entails. It should not mean just MORE homework.
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Old 07-02-2011, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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I agree with the above, honors should not just mean more homework. Could this student possibly take some classes at the local high school?
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Old 07-02-2011, 05:30 PM
 
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I agree. Some schools and administrators who have not been properly trained to differentiate teaching will just pile on more work, call it 'honors', and call it a day. The quality of work the child is asked to complete will probably not be looked at with a fine toothed comb, so to speak.
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Old 07-04-2011, 05:49 AM
 
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I don't know if a mixed honors class would work very well. From my memory, one of the main differences between honors and standard was simply that every last student in the class wanted to learn instead of being disruptive. A "mixed" class might have this constant disruption problem.
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Old 07-04-2011, 06:15 AM
 
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Our middle school Gifted and Talented program is designed this way. The kids don't really get more homework, just different homework. They also have other enrichment going on but mainly their homework is just different. It seems to work well and the kids can be in classes with their peers. Personally, I wouldn't send my kids to a high school that didn't have a good compliment of AP/honors classes though.
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Old 07-04-2011, 05:13 PM
 
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I believe the more intelligent, quicker students will suffer. While the teacher is required to take extra time with the slower students, the quicker students will be bored and time will be wasted. I would not place my quick-learning child in that environment.
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Old 07-05-2011, 06:08 AM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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In the setting you describe, small (I assume) Catholic school it won't make much difference. I'm assuming when you say small you mean classes will be less than 15 or 20 students, or even smaller.


In public schools with way larger classes it's invariably a disaster in the core classes, not so much in some electives.
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:23 AM
 
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I'd look at the actual classes in question. How are they structuring things differently? I think it's very possible for kids of different abilities or levels to work in the same class, but that's going to depend on a lot of variables. You mention "additional work," which would raise red flags in my eyes -- I agree with those who have pointed out that that "honors" should not be synonymous with "more work." I think with a small enough class and a good enough teacher it could work out. I'd definitely spend time delving into the details, though. You don't want to be in the position where your child just gets extra homework. There's no added value to that. On the other other hand, if it's a good enough school and the regular classes are working at a high enough level with good teachers, whether or not it's officially "honors" may not matter, at least not from the educational point of view.
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:43 AM
 
Location: Midwest transplant
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uptown_urbanist View Post
I'd look at the actual classes in question. How are they structuring things differently? I think it's very possible for kids of different abilities or levels to work in the same class, but that's going to depend on a lot of variables. You mention "additional work," which would raise red flags in my eyes -- I agree with those who have pointed out that that "honors" should not be synonymous with "more work." I think with a small enough class and a good enough teacher it could work out. I'd definitely spend time delving into the details, though. You don't want to be in the position where your child just gets extra homework. There's no added value to that. On the other other hand, if it's a good enough school and the regular classes are working at a high enough level with good teachers, whether or not it's officially "honors" may not matter, at least not from the educational point of view.
I agree with the above post. As a retired gifted educator, there were times when this was the only alternative (I was in a public school). It's important to look at the total program, and make sure that they aren't just getting extra work (all of the problems vs. even/odd only for the others). Also, are they doing independent work over and above the guided instruction of the teacher, are they collaborating with their like peers (also gifted/accelerated) and forming hypothesis, generalizations, rationales etc. that demonstrate higher level thinking skills? If the teacher is experienced, and the class size is small enough, it could be a winning situation.
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