Rolling Hills Elementary GT


Cluster-Grouping VS. Ability-Grouping

All "high" kids in one room.


Tracking - gives only some kids access to higher content.


I get a lot of questions regarding the difference in and philosophy of cluster-grouping and ability-grouping.  In the chart below, I have outlined the primary differences between cluster-grouping and ability-grouping.  Here at Rolling Hills, we will be following (2016-17) a cluster- grouping model, based on Winebrenner and Brulles' work (2008).  The major advantage of this model is access.

When referring to access, we are talking about access to content and higher-level curriculum.  It is ingrained in education, or at least there is a perception, that in order for a child to have ACCESS to higher curriculum, they must be identified GT.  I want to dispel this myth, at least at the elementary level.  Our goal and purpose at Rolling Hills is to give each student access to a challenging and rich curriculum.  There are a lot of bright, capable students that are not identified GT.  These students will continue to have ACCESS to higher-order differentiation within their classroom.  This will be accessible through the GT specialist and classroom teacher, through a co-taught model.  It will also be available through professional development available to teachers, taught by Melissa Durtschi, GT Specialist.


Cluster GT Kids in 1-2 rooms


Allows ALL students access to higher-level content.


Co-teaching, differentiation

Works Cited:

Winebrenner, S., & Brulles, D. (2008). The Cluster Grouping Handbook: How to Challenge Gifted Students and Improve Achievement for All. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing Inc.