CTD Hosts Conference on Cluster Grouping

CTD Hosts Conference on Cluster Grouping

CTD groupNorthwestern University’s Center for Talent Development (CTD) is hosting a workshop on Total School Cluster Grouping, a research-based strategy used to help meet the needs of high-achieving students in regular classrooms.

The Oct. 19 program for educators and administrators features Dr. C. Matthew Fugate, assistant professor in educational psychology at the University of Houston-Downtown. Fugate’s research has looked at the benefits of the model, which is used to help elementary schools create appropriate learning environments for a wide range of learners, including high-ability students.

Clustering, or grouping students with others who have similar abilities, has been shown to increase the effectiveness of differentiation and support accelerated approaches. Research suggests that the broader approach of Total School Cluster Grouping increases student achievement for all. It helps teachers widely implement gifted education strategies with all students and results in more students being identified as high achieving and fewer students labeled as low achieving.

These benefits extend to students who are economically disadvantaged and students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, said Susan Corwith, associate director of CTD. “By focusing on differentiation and flexible grouping, Total School Cluster Grouping provides full‐time services to gifted students and benefits all students and teachers in the school,” Corwith said.

And while the approach takes demonstrated ability into consideration and gives structure to classroom placements, “it remains flexible so that teachers can group and instruct students based on a variety of factors such as interest, readiness to learn a particular skill, group dynamic, and other factors,” Corwith said.

Fugate’s research has examined the relationship between working memory and levels of creativity in gifted students who also have characteristics related to ADHD. He is part of a team looking at the benefits of the Total School Cluster Grouping model and has also presented on topics such as creativity, curriculum compacting, identification, twice exceptionality, underserved populations.

The workshop “Total School Cluster Grouping and Differentiation,” is Oct. 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Northwestern’s Hardin Hall, 633 Clark Street on the Evanston campus. The fee, which includes lunch, is $120 for individuals, $95 for groups of three or more participants from the same school or district. Discounts available for groups; School of Education and Social Policy students can participate at a reduced rate of $75.

For more information or to register, visit the CTD website.



By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 9/27/18