Ability Profiling and School Failure
One Child's Struggle to Be Seen As Competent
Ability Profiling and School Failure: One Child's Struggle to Be Seen as Competent explores the social and contextual forces that shape the appearance of academic ability and disability and how these forces influence the perception of academic underachievement of minority students. It is a powerful case study of a competent fifth grader, an African American boy growing up in a predominantly white, rural community, who was excluded from participating in science and literacy discourses within his classroom community. The case study form allows for the integration of the story of the student's struggle to be seen as competent in school, a context where his teacher perceives him as learning disabled, with Collins' own perspective as a researcher and teacher-educator engaged in a professional development effort with the teacher. The contribution of this book is to make visible the situated and socially constructed nature of ability, identity, and achievement, and to illustrate the role of educational and social exclusion in positioning students within particular identities. Highly relevant across the field of education, this book will particularly interest researchers, graduate students, and professionals in literacy and science education, curriculum and instruction, sociocultural theories of learning, discourse analysis of classrooms, research on teaching and learning, special education, social foundations, and teacher education.