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The middle school tag student in a heterogenously grouped environment; Meeting rate and level needs in the area of mathematics

20 July 1994


Based on observations and interviews with teachers and students, this paper is designed to offer insight into the manner in which Talented and Gifted students in the area of mathematics are served. It addresses assessments, programs, and other options they may experience once they've arrived at the middle school level. Having worked at both the elementary and middle school levels, as well as serving as a district coordinator for talented and gifted programs, I've been made aware of the difficulties and overwhelming responsibilities middle school teachers face ill providing for a large number of students with a wide range of ability and achievement levels in a heterogenous environment. I'm also aware that research by leading specialists in the area of the gifted vary widely in their suggestions for how to best serve this group's needs instructionally. To gather information as to how students are assessed and served, I personally interviewed teachers and students, and collected samples of assessment tools used in the process of evaluating students' math understandings. My findings suggest that teacher made, publisher designed, and standardized test results combine with teacher observations to determine instructional levels. Then, in order to meet the wide differences in math levels, I found that a number of strategies are used including fast paced and flexible grouping, differentiated curriculum, and peer tutoring. Many opportunities exist outside the classroom for TAG math students to be involved. Finally I found that students' interests and attitudes in their school environment must be taken into account since these affect the successes they experience in the area of mathematics.


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