Sunday, December 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

AIM: too big or too small?

By
From page A6 | August 16, 2013 |

By Deborah Nichols Poulos

Objections to the Davis Joint Unified School District’s selection process for the intellectually gifted program, AIM, have caused those of us who support it to come to its defense. Reasonable debate is important to understanding issues. Unfortunately, in this instance we don’t really know the basis for these objections.

If objections are fueled by the idea that AIM diverts district resources, I remind the reader that AIM classrooms receive no more money or resources than any other classroom, and AIM teachers are not paid more for teaching AIM.

We’ve heard that there is something wrong with the qualifying tests. Yet we are not told how they produce invalid assessments. Our district uses standard, accepted and approved tests to identify potential ability. The OLSAT, TONI and private IQ tests are all accepted as valid measures of potential ability by the state and other school districts.

Davis relies on many different tests, and though none may be perfect, they provide important information throughout the educational process. Evidently, according to opponents, the AIM tests are identifying “too many” potential high-ability students. If these tests are valid, how can this be true?

The “too many” objection is ideological, a value judgment, not pedagogical. It lacks legitimacy. Without demonstrating how these tests are flawed, it appears the objections are nothing more than a desire to keep AIM-identified students out of the classes designed to best meet their needs. Bear in mind, California’s Code of Regulations Title 5:  3831 General Standards (i) requires: “All identified gifted and talented pupils shall have an opportunity to participate in the gifted and talented program.”

Even if one accepts the argument that “too many” students are identified for the AIM program, who is hurt by it? If a student whose family has chosen the AIM program finds it to be inappropriate, it would be that student’s family who would address the issue. In any case, how does this student’s absence from or return to general ed have any negative effect on students in these classrooms?

Students in general ed classrooms should have their needs met regardless of how the needs of students who choose the AIM program are met. Let’s not forget that some AIM-identified students choose to remain in general ed classrooms, and certainly the majority of Davis students are very bright whether or not they qualify for AIM.

Supporters of the AIM program have provided many reasons why these testing options are essential to identifying all potential high-ability students.  In fact, districts are required by the CCRs related to GATE to identify under-served populations.

These tests identify not just high-ability students who do well on the OLSAT, they also identify under-achieving and learning-disabled students who have high ability and high academic potential. They identify high-potential students of all races, ethnicities, language backgrounds and socioeconomic levels. Without the OLSAT universal testing, the TONI, or private options, how would the district comply with California law?

The AIM opponents suggest no fix for the problem they assert: that the tests identify “too many” students for AIM. Are they implying that the testing is rigged to identify “too many,” or to give the disadvantaged students advantages they don’t deserve? If so, what is their basis for this claim?

Perhaps the reality is that current testing methods are not identifying all the district’s potential high-ability students. Maybe the AIM program is too small. The fact that identified students were excluded from the program because of the recent lottery would support this argument. It would appear that the “lottery” is in direct violation of CCR Title 5, 3831 (i).

Though lawsuits should be considered as a last resort, it does appear the district is vulnerable if it continues to pursue its current practice.

— Deborah Nichols Poulos is a Davis resident and former elementary school teacher in GATE and non-GATE classrooms.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    What’s new at UCD? Construction projects abound

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    No-nonsense Musser voted Citizen of the Year

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Sharing a meal, and so much more

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Brinley Plaque honors environmental stalwart

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    AP sources: Cops’ killer angry over Garner death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Raul Castro: Don’t expect detente to change Cuban system

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Police seek help in finding runaway twin girls

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Downtown crash results in DUI arrest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    March trial date set in Davis molest case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Enterprise plans Christmas, New Year’s holiday hours

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
     
    Luminaria display planned in West Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Soup’s On will benefit NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Donors, volunteers honored on Philanthropy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Surprise honor is really nice, dude

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    .

    Forum

     
    E-cigs surpass regular cigarettes among teens

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    It’s not a pretty picture

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B4

     
    Google me this: Should I hit that button?

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B4

    Too late to pick a fight

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    All police need to humanize

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Are we only a fair-weather bike city?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Join us in making our world more just

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    The electronic equivalent of war

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    The Green House effect: Homes where the elderly thrive

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

    .

    Sports

     
    Stenz shines as DHS girls take a tournament title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie Manzanares not quite finished carrying the rock

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD women look to improve, despite game at No. 7 Stanford

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Second-half run spurs Aggie men to 8-1

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    49ers fall to San Diego in overtime

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Marrone Bio expands its product reach in Latin America

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Sierra Northern Railway names CEO

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Sink your teeth into Vampire Penguin

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, December 21, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8