I was wondering what people thought about gifted/accelerated/ap programs before college, and how they are implemented. I think there are major problems that they can cause.
A lot of these programs use IQ and reasoning tests as a basis for entrance. I think that separating people out by IQ is really problematic. Moreover, poorer students are left out by this because a lot of times their parents do not have the time to take them to these tests.
Mobility between "traditional" and "gifted" programs is really low. I think you cannot properly evaluate how well someone would do in accelerated classes solely by a test and it requires time to see if a particular student would do well. However, having to jump forward to accelerated classes is extremely difficult to do because you are skipping a lot of stuff. So basically students in the traditional programs are kind of stuck there.
Racial segregation. Maybe it's different in other programs, but at the schools I went to the divide between "gifted" and "traditional" were very much along racial lines. I went to a school in a very poor and primarily african american neighborhood, so it's possible that it's related to poverty, especially since this was the only school that had the gifted program so a lot of white and asian students that were from neighborhoods further away would attend the gifted program there. However, I think the problem is a lot deeper than that. I went to school in the deep south. I think that "racial norms" were a big part of the racial divide. It was really obvious that traditional students were viewed as troublemakers. Additionally, I think that having a separate class of mostly white students that were viewed as "smarter" since they were in the "gifted" program was likely extremely discouraging for the mostly black students in the traditional program.
So the thing is, I think that some people are better attuned to different paced classes and that's normal. But I don't think this kind of structure that existed in my state and I'm sure many other states was the right solution. I don't know -- has anyone else had experiences with this kind of separation? Does anyone have any suggestions to add to these points?