SPECIAL ED 8380: NATURE AND NEEDS OF GIFTED AND TALENTED STUDENTS
What benefits does ability grouping offer gifted students? What are the obstacles to ability grouping in your school?
Based on the reading, there is a more diverse approach to group than I think of traditionally. The results of the effectiveness of grouping varies too (p. 278-279). Gains in advanced classes, however, seem to be particularly high, which suggests that grouping has real advantages for gifted students. Grouping allows students to be like students who are similar to themselves. Even if there is not a separate class for the gifted, at the high school level, there are honors and AP classes designed for students who are gifted. Within class grouping can have a positive effect on arithmetic and lower ability learning (p. 274).
The obstacles to grouping in a school are the arguments of the "detrackers" (Kulik, p. 269). Teachers, administrators, parents, and students may be against grouping. The arguments that I have heard against group before have been that students benefit from diversity. These concerns seem focuses on students with less ability. If they are labeled low, that may become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If they are mislabeled, that may stick with them. Even if not officially labeled, the students will figure out what the grouping mean. For students with gifted students, they may be slowed down by a diverse group or they may have to spend time teaching students with less ability.
Kulik, J. A. (2003). Grouping and tracking. In N. Colangelo & G. A. Davis (Ed.) Handbook of gifted education (3rd. ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Assume you have just been hired by a school district other than your own to start their gifted education program. Describe and give a rational for the program you would establish.
Every student deserves a good education, which is geared toward that child's strengths and needs. In the case of gifted children, too often they have trouble adapting to school, feel isolated or different from the typical student, fail to thrive in school, lose motivation, or develop other problems. First there's the concern of losing the child as a good student, then there's the concern of failing to help the child meet his or her potential.
In planning a gifted program, I would spend time listening to students, teachers, parents, and administrators about what they believe and what they hope for in a gifted program. There would be a great many details that would need attention, so to keep from becoming overwhelmed, I'd try to plan the program to have phases. Each phase would have certain elements, then evaluation before the next phase would be implemented. As part of the process, I'd sell the importance of a gifted program for the students and the community. Potential problems for gifted students include emotional vulnerability, for example, and being disliked by other students (Davis, 2006, p. 9). In addition, students may not be able to reach their potential. "In the ordinary elementary school situation, children of IQ 140 waste half their time. Those of 170 IQ waste practically all their time" (Hollingsworth, cited in Davis, p. 95).
I think it would be important to dispel common myths about gifted students and gifted education through solid research-based information (see http://gcq.sagepub.com/content/vol53/issue4/ for example). I would suggest that gifted students can benefit from acceleration, enrichment, and grouping, which can all be part of a gifted program (Colangelo & Davis, pp. 171, 268).
Another approach would be to have those involved in the program planning examine models, such as the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (Renzulli & Reis, in Colangelo & Davis, p. 184).
National Association for Gifted Children
(NAGC) gives these principles of program evaluation (http://www.nagc.org/index.aspx?id=528):
Davis suggested the following important elements in designing a program (pp. 169-171). Regarding instructional content, the following are suggested.
A fair and comprehensive process for student selection, program administration, program assessment, and improvement. The program needs trained personnel, who are positively integrated into the entire educational system. When designing the program, I would encourage the involved parties to consider many relevant elements, including staff development, faculty support, appropriate funding, and a strong base, with external evaluation, criteria for evaluation, counseling services, appropriate goals and policies, provided written reports, and integration into the whole educational program (pp. 171-175).
In addition, I like the idea of abandoning both the idea of a program and gifted labels because both can be limiting (Feldhusen, in Colangelo & Davis, p. 229). Thus, the goal would be to provide a wide variety of instructional options in school and outside of school, which would be available to students who want to take advantage of them.
Finally, the plan would need to include program evaluation to make sure the program works (Borland, in Colangelo & Davis, p. 293).
Colangelo, N., & Davis, G. A. (2003). Handbook of gifted education. Boston: Pearson.
Davis, G. A. (2006). Gifted children gifted education. Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential.
National Association for Gifted Children. (2008). Retrieved from
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Information taken from and quoted directly from SPECIAL ED 8380: NATURE AND NEEDS OF GIFTED AND TALENTED STUDENTS materials, taught by David Welch, Director, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Jefferson City, Missouri 65101.
And Colangelo, N., & David, G. (2003). Handbook of gifted education. Boston: Pearson.
To cite this page:
Aitken, J. E. (2009). gifted and talented students.
. Kansas City, MO: ourwayit.com. Retrieved from http://ourwayit.com/Gifted/