Schooling for Fast and Slow Learners

November 23, 1955

Report Outline
Changes in Direction of Modern Education
Provision for Differences in Pupil Ability
Adjustment of Teaching to Individual Needs

Changes in Direction of Modern Education

Pressure for Adaptation to Individual Needs

How Public Schools can make universal education more effective, despite differences among individual children, is a basic problem that will underlie wide-ranging discussions at the White House Conference on Education, Nov. 28-Dec. 1. Public school authorities currently are under strong pressure to fit educational offerings to the considerable variations in intelligence levels, and in other qualifications, that are found in today's expanded school enrollments. The pressure comes from both educational leaders and parents. Such a shift in the direction of popular education is supported by the nation's need for highly trained manpower and by a growing feeling that schooling should be made more fruitful for the masses of pupils.

On the one hand, schools are expected to provide a rich, intellectually stimulating education for the brightest pupils, who are destined to become professional specialists. At the same time, they must offer programs that will do as much as possible for indifferent pupils who resist educational advancement. For all children, it is the mission of the schools to lead the way toward a useful and well-adjusted adulthood.

Universal vs. Tailor-Made Education

These varied functions cannot be assigned to separate institutions, because it is a democratic ideal to provide for the education of all children through a universal system that will teach them to deal with and respect all kinds of individuals. Nor may the schools simplify the problem by offering merely the dual alternative of an academic education for bright pupils and non-academic training for others. The demand is for education tailor-made to suit each individual's particular needs.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Gifted Education and Tracking
Mar. 28, 1997  Educating Gifted Students
Jul. 30, 1993  Intelligence Testing
Dec. 28, 1990  Why Schools Still Have Tracking
May 15, 1987  Magnet Schools
Sep. 14, 1979  Educating Gifted Children
Oct. 28, 1959  Education of Gifted Children
May 07, 1958  Elite vs. Mass Education
Nov. 23, 1955  Schooling for Fast and Slow Learners
Elementary and Secondary Education
Research in Education
Special Education