Teacher Tip of the Week
05/07/2018 - 05/11/2018
What is Our Theory of Learning?
This model of learning has a range of implications for educating gifted and talented learners. These implications are developed in greater depth in Munro (1996b).
Teachers need to explicate and clarify their personal working theory of learning, extract from this a theory of how children who are gifted learn and thence a set of teaching and curriculum implications. Only when this has been done can teachers ensure that their practice is based in part on a theory of learning. From this, teachers may look at:
1. the types of learning supported by their teaching and the extent to which they cater for the gifted students in their classes. They can audio- or
videotape lessons or have a colleague monitor the teaching strategies used and the opportunities provided for students to learn and to display
2. how children who are gifted have been identified within the class, whether some students may have gone un-identified, how the observed, etc. A
periodical audit of the effectiveness of procedures used for identification and teaching allows teachers to keep abreast of how students are
learning and whether some students are more effectively showing what they know.
3. how problems and difficulties in learning for any student can be caused by a mis-match between teaching styles and preferred ways of learning.
Mis-matches can lead to difficulty learning, high levels of frustration and anxiety, behavioural and discipline problems and ultimately alienation
from school. Teachers can explore links between their teaching styles and the learning styles of gifted students and use this to broaden their
teaching styles. Students can recognize mis-matches between teaching and learning styles and explore ways of managing these constructively.
John Munro pg. 13
04/30/2018 - 05/04/2018
Management vs. Control Mechanism Learning
This is how learners manage or regulate their learning, that is, their metacognitive knowledge. They use this to plan how they will learn, to monitor their learning, to evaluate its effectiveness in terms of some goal or purpose and take further strategic action if necessary and to review their change in knowledge.
Gifted students use aspects of this control mechanism extremely effectively. Their ability to direct and regulate their learning, to plan, monitor their learning progress and take further strategic action if necessary is obviously very well developed. In fact, much of this activity by these students seems to be automatized.
Their knowledge as learners, on the other hand and their lack of self confidence in the group learning context can mean that on occasions they opt not to engage in learning. They perceive consequences bit don't have the experience necessary to deal with this.
In summary, this learning model, gifted learning is associated with the extremely efficient use of two or three of the codes, particularly in parallel with the use of global-synthetic strategies. Other codes may not be as well developed ; students display gifted learning in some areas and immaturity in other areas. In the favoured codes, they can deal with several ideas at once because they have automatized these codes and give the impression of thinking synthetically or 'simultaneously' rather than sequentially.
John Munro pg. 12
04/23/2018 - 04/27/2018
Analytic or Wholistic Teaching Strategies
A second dimension is how the ideas are manipulated within each code; either (1) analysed into parts that are then linked up or (2) integrated with other ideas, with each idea being treated as a whole rather than being analysed into parts. The first type of strategy is described as analytic while the second is synthetic or wholistic. While most learners use these strategies selectively, some use one excessively.
Gifted and talented students are more likely to use wholistic than analytic-sequential strategies. They are more flexible in their thinking and can often tolerate ambiguity and unanswered questions. Because they are often more likely to ignore or miss specific details unless these are integrated within a larger conceptual structure, they are more likely to have difficulty learning ideas taught in a sequential, rote way, for example, spelling and aspects of mathematics such as rote recall of the tables. They are often more able at reading comprehension than at reading words accurately because they have the verbal reasoning knowledge necessary for reading comprehension but are less likely to engage in the analytic activities needed for learning to recognize written word patterns.
Formal teaching usually assumes students learn best by being presented with small parts of an idea at a time arranged sequentially. This approach supports learners using strategies that analyse ideas using analytic criteria prescribed by the social group or culture. Students can, of course, analyse ideas in ideosyncratic ways. When they do this, the criterion for the analysis is known only to them. Often when gifted students analyse subjectively an idea into parts and manipulate it in a novel, creative way, they have difficulty describing what they did; they didn't encode what they did in words. When students analyse ideas into parts in the culturally recognized ways they also learn the ways of talking about the analysis and can more easily tell people what they did. Those who prefer to use global wholistic strategies are less likely to do this, don't get positive regard for what they have learnt and often become alienated from effective learning.
John Munro pg. 12
04/16/2018 - 04/20/2018
Why do teachers working with gifted and talented students need a knowledge of learning ?
School staff need to make decisions over a broad range of issues. The following is a sample of somen of the decisions a contemporary classroom teacher may need to make to make about teaching gifted
(1) How need to implement effective teaching, assessment, management and discipline procedures that reflect the diversity of learning approaches in their classes and that encompass the directions and constraints that society imposes on education? Teaching strategies need to be student- inclusive and provide them with the opportunity to see themselves making optimal progress. Gifted and talented students display learning characteristics different from those of their peers and often don't match the 'gifted stereotype'. Their learning characteristics can be perplexing and frustrating to teachers. They frequently need assistance and counselling in forming functional peer interactions. To do maximum justice to these students, teacher decisions need to be based on a sound model of learning.
(2) How to contribute to the development and implementation of school based policies for these students that reflect current thinking in learning process and outcome?
(3) How to interpret and implement externally initiated educational policy change and initiative in the area of giftedness?
(4) How to work at the interface between these students and their peers, their parents, the school and the community? This ranges from counselling parents and students to helping these students deal with the multifaceted interactions between the community and the school.
(6) How to contribute to resource allocation for school programming for these students? Teachers are required, often in the face of competing demands for the limited resources and need to make these decisions, at least in part on known effective learning criteria.
(7) How to manage the on-going monitoring and evaluation of learning and teaching programmes for these students in their classroom as efficiently as possible?
(8) How to remain abreast of current developments in curriculum, learning and teaching?
Many of the problems that arise with gifted children in classes originate in teaching practices that do not take account of how these students learn. The unrealistic expectations that teachers frequently have of them, for example, are reflected in the expectation that they will be 'good at academic learning across the board'. In many school situations it is easy to overlook the needs of some gifted and talented students and to make decisions that don't take account of how they learn.
04/09/2018 - 04/13/2018
Recognizing Affective Characteristics of Gifted and Talented Students
Self-perceptions and affective aspects of talented children learning.
• often have low self-esteem that restricts their preparedness to produce academically. Their self-talk is frequently more pessimistic than optimistic and they need to learn more optimistic scripts as options.
• set high (often unrealistically high) standards and goals for themselves and judge themselves harshly.
• may worry about expectations that they should be 'perfect' and yet know that they aren't. If their giftedness or creativity is perceived to be threatened, they withdraw; they frequently lack the analytic strategies necessary for dealing with the threat more constructively.
• may have difficulty understanding the importance of 'risk-taking' in learning, may have a real sense of failure and may become school refusers, etc.
• may be more anxious, often put stress on themselves and feel stress from others due to unrealistic expectations.
• are frequently interested in consequences, the future, etc., but may see' consequences that peers don't, tend to worry, appear to be less self-confident, less sure of self.
• may have difficulty resolving inner conflicts, unsure of themselves.
Uneven rates of development These students often show uneven rates of development; aspects of their overall functioning may develop at different rates. They show an 'asynchrony' in development so that they may
• present as emotionally or physically immature.
• show specific learning disabilities in particular areas, for example rote learning, spelling, handwriting, rote recall of arithmetic information.
A model of learning needs to explain these types of characteristics.
03/26/2018 - 03/30/2018
Recognizing the Learning Differences, Developmental Milestones, and Cognitive/Affective Characteristics of Gifted and Talented Students
Superior learning processes These students usually learn quickly and readily and see connections between existing and new ideas faster than their peers. They
• make decisions quickly and link ideas in complex, lateral, unexpected ways,
• keep track of several ideas at once, give unexpected responses to questions,
• think in larger increments, skip steps in their thinking,
• require fewer repetitions of and less exposure to an idea in order to learn it.
• use imagination, fantasy and humour at a high level.
• have a well-developed memory, particularly for the areas of interest
• may have difficulty learning in particular areas, for example rote learning, spelling, handwriting, rote recall of arithmetic information.
• may show carelessness in handwriting and similar routine tasks
• ignore details in some areas.
• may become bored and frustrated if the learning pace is too slow.
• may have difficulty putting into words how they thought or solved problems, because (1) they are thinking faster than they can vocalize or (2) they don't believe they need to communicate to others how they think.
Learning outcomes. These students usually have a wide general knowledge and an extreme knowledge in areas of interest that is commensurate with that expected of older pupils. They
• know about things of which other pupils seem unaware.
• may demonstrate advanced vocabulary, particularly in areas of interest and communicate ideas fluently
Motivation to learn and learning style These students are 'self-driven' and motivated to 'want to know', learning spontaneously without direct teaching; they
• frequently learn independently, prefer to direct their own learning, may have difficulty in situations in which their learning is directed (authoritarian teaching contexts) and those in which their curiosity is not challenged.
• may question group learning situations and even become behaviour and discipline problems in more directed, closed learning contexts or in repetitive tasks. They may rebel against conformity .
• can concentrate for prolonged periods and show high levels of perseverance. This high level of energy expenditure may lead to complications in other areas.
Interpersonal interactions They may feel different from peers and alienated because they don't see themselves getting the necessary positive affirmation from their peers and teachers but not understand why.
• not see their exceptional abilities worthy of valuing; they may not get the affirmation because they don't know how to show what they know so that it fits with the group expectations.
• have difficulty identifying with a peer group; they may
• feel they have less in common with peers, (their peers may not comprehend their ideas and they feel that there is something wrong with them).
• have difficulty communicating with same-age peers because of interest difficulties, and with older children who find them emotionally immature; they seem 'the odd one out', experience loneliness and isolation and not feel part of any group.
• not find suitable role-models in the peer group.
• over conform in the peer-group situation when they find social acceptance difficult. They are often sensitive to rejection by others and try to conform so that they do not appear different.
They may display heightened perceptions and sensitivities.
• be not as carefree and as easy-going as class peers but instead are more serious.
• be irritated by class peers who do not understand the ideas at the same depth.
• appear to lack confidence in their interaction with their peers.
• have difficulty understanding and valuing the learning of others.
• have difficulty trusting others
• feel for others and events in the world, worry about children who they see being unfairly treated, take on the problems of others and world problems as personally affecting them, they have a heightened awareness of moral values, They and their peer group need to learn to accept and value individual strengths and differences.
Counselling, practical valuing of individual abilities, cross-age and peer-group teaching may be useful.
03/19/2018 - 03/23/2018
Knowledge and Skill Standards in Gifted Education for All Teachers
It is critical that all teachers are able to recognize a high-ability student who may need more depth and complexity in instruction or be referred for further assessment and services.
NAGC has developed the standards for use in general educator preparation programs as well as for training all teachers already in the classroom. These knowledge and skill standards present the primary understanding of the issues, learning differences, and strategies that all teachers should possess. The standards were drawn from the larger set of 2013 NAGC-CEC Gifted Education Teacher Preparation Standards.
All teachers should be able to:
- recognize the learning differences, developmental milestones, and cognitive/affective characteristics of gifted and talented students, including those from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and identify their related academic and social-emotional needs;
- design appropriate learning and performance modifications for individuals with gifts and talents that enhance creativity, acceleration, depth and complexity in academic subject matter and specialized domains; and
- select, adapt, and use a repertoire of evidence-based instructional strategies to advance the learning of gifted and talented students.
03/12/2018 - 03/16/2018
The Importance of Teachers
73% of teachers agreed that, “Too often, the brightest students are bored and under-challenged in school – we’re not giving them a sufficient chance to thrive.” 1
Top three ways gifted students receive services: Resource Room, Cluster Classroom, Regular Classroom 2
- Just one state requires preservice training in GT for general education teachers 2
Every school and district should have an expert in gifted education available to provide services and advise colleagues. But because gifted and talented students often end up in the regular classroom or depend on regular classroom teachers for referrals for gifted education programs and services, it is crucial, that all teachers have a basic understanding of how to identify and work with gifted students. Unfortunately, most teachers do not receive any training in the needs of high-ability students or gifted education practices.
In schools with large minority and/or low-income populations, classroom teachers trained to recognize high-ability and in how to respond are especially important. Regular classroom teachers are the school's first line in the identification process for these high-potential, but not yet, high-achieving students.
NAGC and CDGP (2013). 2012-2013 State of the states in gifted education. Washington, DC: Author.
2Farkas, S., & Duffett, A. (2008). High-achieving students in the era of NCLB: Results from a national teacher survey. Washington, DC: Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
03/05/2018 - 03/09/2018
Pull-Out Programs/Specialized Classes
Gifted programming can be provided in a combination of ways, including pull-out programs; special classes in a subject or interest area; special state schools (e.g., Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities) or local magnet schools; afterschool, Saturday, or summer programs; Advanced Placement, International Baccaleaureate, or other dual-enrollment courses; distance learning; and other similar services.
- In a study of four provisions for teaching mathematically talented students, one researcher found positive effects for using pull-out grouping to include good interaction between teachers and students, significant progress in level of skills, and increases in motivation. In a mathematics pull-out group with same-age peers, where the students were pulled from different classes other than their regular mathematics instruction, the teacher reported that the group met the needs of her students who showed more ability in mathematics, increased their motivation, and evidenced students’ learning new knowledge. The students in the group shared positive attitudes toward the group and the chance to work with similar ability peers. In a second group, which included peers of different ages and abilities within their regular math class, all of the children progressed to the highest level of attainment on the math assessment by the end of the term. These children also reported positive feelings toward the group, and the teacher felt confident their needs had been met at the close of the service. 
- Additionally, the students in a pull-out program in grades 3-6 in South Korea said thy felt their pull-out classes had significantly higher levels of interest, challenge, and enjoyment in their pull-out classes than their regular classes. After a review of literature on pull-out programs, the researchers for this study noted that teachers knowledgeable about gifted education in combination with more advanced curricula resulted in students’ satisfaction pull-out programs. 
- A longitudinal study of identified gifted students reported that, at age 33, 70% of the students who had taken one or more AP courses or exams in high school had advanced degrees, compared to 43% of those who had not taken such courses. The students who took AP courses also appeared more satisfied with the intellectual caliber of their high school experience than their peers.  However, schools should note that AP and IB courses should not be considered the sole components of a gifted program. NAGC advises that the limitations of AP coursework mean that districts must offer additional curriculum options to be considered as having gifted and talented services. 
- Students may also receive services in a specialized state or local magnet school. In one study of specialized math and science high schools, 99% of the students went on to earn a bachelor's degree or higher, with over 50% of the students continuing in challenging science or math fields.  Students who attend magnet schools are more likely to commit to succeeding in school, leading them to experience greater satisfaction and improved achievement. Magnet school programs also often work hard to keep their course offerings innovative and challenging to remain competitive among other offerings for advanced students. 
- Out-of-school options for programming may include specialized courses or programs like the Catalyst Program, a special science course for adolescents with deep interests chemistry. The students in the course felt they improved their ability to present their scientific ideas more effectively and developed a better understanding of the creative process in science research. When surveyed, 18 of the 23 students in the course said it impacted their decision to study the sciences, particularly science research. Additionally 10 of the 23 students suggested the program increased their interest in pursuing research opportunities in general in college. The students also felt they benefited from the intense immersion in science research and the chance to receive mentorships and work with science professionals.  Other researchers have also found that students out-of-school enrichment programs such as Saturday programs have reported high levels of interest, challenge, choice, and enjoyment in these course offerings. 
- Another out-of-school option may include enrolling gifted students in specialized distance learning courses (often provided through talent search programs). In a study of the distance learning programs offered through Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth, outcomes of the program for gifted students ages 5-17 were examined by looking at both student and parent evaluations and final grades for the courses. Overall, the students and their parents found the course an effective learning experience, suggesting that such programs can be an effective approach for enriching or accelerating in-school opportunities. 
 Dimitriadis, C. (2012b). Provision for mathematically gifted children in primary schools: An investigation of four different methods of organizational provision. Educational Review, 64, 241–260.
 Yang, Y., Gentry, M., & Choi, Y. O. (2012). Gifted students’ perceptions of the regular classes and pull-out programs in South Korea. Journal of Advanced Academics, 23, 270–287.
 Bleske-Rechek, A., Lubinski, D., & Benbow, C. (2004). Meeting the educational needs of special populations: Advanced Placement’s role in developing exceptional human capital. Psychological Science, 15, 217–224.
 National Association for Gifted Children. (2008). Common gifted education myths. Retrieved from http://www.nagc.org/commonmyths.aspx
? Thomas, J. (2000). First year findings: NCSSSMST longitudinal study. NCSSSMST Journal, 5(2), 4–5. Retrieved from http://ncsssmst.org/conf/100033/JournalS00.pdf??
 Thompson, L. (2011). Magnet schools: Offering distinctive learning opportunities. Duke TIP Digest of Gifted Research. Retrieved from https://tip.duke.edu/node/790
 Subotnik, R. F., Edmiston, A. M., Cook, L., & Ross, M. D. (2010). Mentoring for talent development, creativity, social skills, and insider knowledge: The APA Catalyst Program. Journal of Advanced Academics, 21, 714–739.
 Pereira, N., Peters, S., & Gentry, M. (2010). The My Class Activities instrument as used in Saturday enrichment program evaluation. Journal of Advanced Academics, 21, 568–593.
 Wallace, P. (2009). Distance learning for gifted students: Outcomes for elementary, middle, and high school students. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 32, 295–320. Retrieved from http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articlesid10610.aspx
02/26/2018 - 03/02/2018
Typically, identification policies and procedures are determined at the district level. Because no two gifted children are alike [it] is important to collect information on both the child's performance and potential through a combination of objective (quanitifiably measured) and subjective (personally observed) identification instruments in order to identify gifted and talented students.
Districts typically follow a systematic, multi-phased process for identifiying gifted students to find students who need services beyond the general education program: 1) Nomination or identification phase; 2) Screening or selection phase; 3) Placement phase. In the nomination and screening phase, various identification tools should be used to eliminate bias.
MCPS Identification Policy
Identification/Diagnosis and Eligibility
In compliance with 704 KAR 003:285, the Superintendent/designee shall develop strategies to address identification and diagnosis of the strengths, behaviors and talents of these students. Determination of eligibility for gifted and talented services shall be based on the student's individual needs, interests and abilities and shall be designed to address environmental and cultural factors that may contribute to the student being overlooked, such as whether the student is economically disadvantaged, or underachieving, is a member of a racial or ethnic minority or has a disability.
The District's plan for identifying gifted and talented students shall:
- Employ a multi-faceted approach and utilize on-going and long-term assessment;
- Be based on a variety of valid and reliable measures to include both informal and formal techniques and other data specific to each category of giftedness, consistent with standards established by Kentucky Administrative Regulation;
- Screen students for all areas of giftedness as defined by KRS 157.200.
Based on data gathered by the Gifted/Talented coordinator or gifted education teacher, a selection/placement committee shall determine those students who are eligible for gifted education services and the level of the services to be provided. This committee shall consist of the Principal or designee, the Gifted/Talented Coordinator and/or the gifted education teacher, classroom teacher(s), teacher(s) of students with disabilities, counselor(s), and consulting professional(s), as appropriate.
Prior to selection or formal identification and placement of a student, the District shall obtain parental or guardian permission before administering an individual test to the student given as a follow-up to a test routinely administered to all students and used in formal identification. If it is determined that their child is eligible for gifted education services, parents/guardians also shall be notified, at least once annually, of the services included in the gifted and talented student services plan and shall receive a copy of the procedures to be followed should they wish to appeal the appropriateness of services.
MCPS District's Policy/Procedure Manual
02/19/2018 - 02/23/2018
While some commonalities exist across giftedness, one size does not fit all. Gifted learners exhibit different characteristics, traits, and ways to express their giftedness. Various issues must be considered for identification:
02/12/2018 - 02/16/2018
Educators can use grouping strategies to allow gifted students access to appropriate levels of challenge and complexity. Almost any form of grouping used will provide an academic or achievement gain to gifted learners with researchers reporting positive social and emotional gains as well. Grouping often is the “most effective and efficient means for schools to provide more challenging coursework, giving these children access to advanced content and providing them with a peer group.” [1, p. 4]
- In looking at the various types of grouping strategies used with gifted learners, the options can be divided into ability grouping and performance-based grouping. Specific strategies for grouping include regrouping for specific instruction, cluster grouping, and within-class/flexible grouping.  Students may also experience between-class grouping or grouping by interest, as in the practice of enrichment clusters. 
- Educators and districts should note that ability grouping is not synonymous with tracking. As one set of researchers noted, “Grouping is flexible, targeted, and not permanent; tracking historically refers to an inflexible approach to placing students in tracks from which they could not move. Tracking is unquestionably bad; ability grouping is arguably good.” [4, p. 31]
- Ability grouping was suggested as a way for schools to promote high levels of achievement and shrink excellence gaps among their populations.  When used properly, ability grouping allows for flexibility, letting students move—either up or down—during their educational careers. Flexible ability grouping allows schools to match a student’s readiness with instruction, “delivering the right content to the right student at the right pace and at the right time.” Additionally, grouping allows students to learn alongside others who have learn at similar rates, possess similar levels of knowledge, and share similar goals, resulting in a peer group where students can challenge one another. 
- Grouping can contribute to overall achievement gains as well. Gifted third-graders who participated in a cluster grouping study were shown to have significant gains in testing than nonclustered peers. In addition, the study found that clustering provided these students more direct contact with ability-level peers and the chance to explore content more deeply. Because the cluster grouping encouraged teachers to naturally implement differentiation strategies, the researchers found that the cluster grouping strategy actually benefited other students in the classrooms that included clustering as well. 
- In a study of between-class grouping in combination with curriculum designed for high-ability students (Project M3), researchers found that mathematically talented students were able to grow their conceptual understanding in advanced geometry and measurement topics, including a greater ability to explain their reasoning when exploring these concepts. 
[1, 2] Rogers, K. B. (2006). A menu of options for grouping gifted students. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.
 Renzulli, J. S., & Reis, S. M. (2014). The schoolwide enrichment model: A how-to guide for talent development (3rd ed.). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.
[4, 5] Plucker, J. A., Burroughs, N., & Song, R. (2010). Mind the (other) gap! The growing excellence gap in K-12 education. Bloomington: Indiana University, Center for Evaluation and Educational Policy. Retrieved from http://www.jkcf.org/assets/1/7/ExcellenceGapBrief_-_Plucker.pdf
 Olszewski-Kubilius, P. (2013). Setting the record straight on ability grouping. Education Week. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2013/05/20/fp_olszewski.html
 Pierce, R. L., Cassady, J. C., Adams, C. M., Speirs Neumeister, K. L., Dixon, F. A., & Cross, T. L. (2011). The effects of clustering and curriculum on the development of gifted learners’ math achievement. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 34, 569–594.
 Gavin, M. K., Casa, T. M., Adelson, J. L., Carroll, S. R., & Sheffield, L. J. (2009). The impact of advanced curriculum on the achievement of mathematically promising elementary students. Gifted Child Quarterly, 53, 188–202.
02/05/2018 - 02/09/2018
Curriculum compacting is a technique for differentiating instruction that allows teachers to make adjustments to curriculum for students who have already mastered the material to be learned, replacing content students know with new content, enrichment options, or other activities. Researchers recommend that teachers first determine the expected goals of the unit or lesson in terms of the content, skills, or standards students must learn before assessing students to determine which ones have already mastered most or all of the specified learning outcomes. 
- Elementary teachers can eliminate from 24%-70% of high-ability students’ curriculum by compacting without any negative affect on test scores or performance. ? In fact, curriculum compacting can have a positive affect on students’ performance. Because many talented students receive little differentiation of instruction from their peers, they spend a great deal of time in school doing work that they have already mastered. Curriculum compacting allows these students to avoid having to relearn material they already know, which research has shown can lead to frustration, boredom and, ultimately, underachievement. 
- Researchers have reported that when classroom teachers eliminated between 40%-50% of the previously mastered regular curriculum for high-ability students, no differences were found between students whose work was compacted and students who did all of the work in reading, math computation, social studies, and spelling.  In an analysis of gifted education literature on the topic, another researcher found curriculum compacting to be very effective overall in mathematics, science, and foreign languages. 
- In a national study of curriculum compacting, the students who received compacting in science and mathematics actually scored significantly higher on achievement posttests than their peers in the control group, suggesting the benefits of compacting for increases on standard achievement assessments. Analyses of data related to students’ thoughts about replacement activities indicated that the students viewed the new curricular options as much more challenging than standard material. 
- Some concerns have arisen regarding the need to train teachers in the compacting process. In one study focused on curriculum compacting, almost all classroom teachers participating learned to use compacting, but needed coaching and help to substitute appropriately challenging options.  When interviewing teachers about the instructional methods used in fast-paced classes, other researchers found that few teachers mentioned curriculum compacting as a strategy used to eliminate instruction.  Teachers in a small study looking at compacting with first-grade students stated that they were “eager to continue implementing curriculum compacting in the future” because of the benefits toward students, but it was determined that further in-service and other training opportunities were needed to help them modify instruction and find replacement activities. 
[1, 3] Renzulli, J. S., & Reis, S. M. (2014). The schoolwide enrichment model: A how-to guide for talent development (3rd ed.). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.
[2, 4, 7] Reis, S. M., Westberg, K. L., Kulikowich, J. M., & Purcell, J. H. (1998). Curriculum compacting and achievement test scores: What does the research say? Gifted Child Quarterly, 42, 123–129.
 Rogers, K. B. (2005, November). A content analysis of gifted education research and literature. Paper presented at the annual convention of the National Association for Gifted Children, Louisville, KY.
 Reis, S. M., Westberg, K. L., Kulikowich, J., Caillard, F., Hébert, T. P., Plucker, J. A., … & Smidst, J. (1993). Why not let high ability students start school in January? The curriculum compacting study (Research Monograph 93106). Storrs: University of Connecticut, The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented.
 Lee, S. Y., & Olszewski-Kubilius, P. (2006). A study of instructional methods used in fast-paced classes. Gifted Child Quarterly, 50, 216–237.
 Stamps, L. S. (2004). The effectiveness of curriculum compacting in first grade classrooms. Roeper Review, 27, 31–42
01/29/2018 - 02/02/2018
Acceleration occurs when students move through traditional curriculum at rates faster than typical. Among the many forms of acceleration are grade-skipping, early entrance to kindergarten or college, dual-credit courses such as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs and subject-based acceleration (e.g., when a fifth-grade student takes a middle school math course). Many researchers consider acceleration to be “appropriate educational planning. It means matching the level and complexity of the curriculum with the readiness and motivation of the student” (p. 66). 
- In a study of high-ability children who had been accelerated, 71% reported satisfaction with their acceleration experience. Of the participants who reported they were unsatisfied, the majority indicated they would have preferred more acceleration.  In addition, in a series of interviews with students who were accelerated, an overwhelming majority of these students said that acceleration was an “excellent experience” for them. 
- Some argue that acceleration can be harmful to students’ self-concept, ability to fit in with older peers, or other social-emotional needs. However, research on acceleration has demonstrated multiple academic benefits to students and suggests that acceleration does not harm students. As the National Work Group on Acceleration determined, there is “no evidence that acceleration has a negative effect on a student’s social-emotional development” (p. 4). 
- In one study, students who were allowed early entrance to elementary school averaged 6 months ahead in achievement when compared to their age peers during the same year. Additionally, these students showed improvement in socialization and self-esteem compared to slight difficulties faced by advanced students who were not accelerated. 
- In another study, researchers noted that a sample of students who had participated in whole-grade acceleration were not noticeably different in their perceived interpersonal competence (including interacting with others and their ability to form friendships) when compared to a heterogeneous group of students in the norming sample. In addition, the researchers found that the academically gifted students had higher academic self-concepts and more positive overall self-concepts than their peers in the comparison group. 
- Accelerated students have also been shown to outperform nonaccelerated peers academically in the long term. A longitudinal study of students highly talented in mathematics showed that students who skipped a grade were more likely to obtain graduate degrees, publish work, and receive patents in the STEM areas , and another report noted that these students earned other advanced degrees at rates higher than their peers . In addition, researchers have found that, overall, acceleration influences high-ability students’ academic achievement in positive ways, and that these students outperform peers in other areas, including scores on standardized tests, grades in college, and the status of the universities they attend and their later career paths .
- Acceleration is a cost-effective intervention. Grade-based forms cost little to implement, and yield societal benefits in that students complete schooling ahead of schedule and become productive adults earlier in their lives. Costs of subject-based forms may be slightly higher, but still less prohibitive than other forms of gifted programming. 
[1, 3, 9] Colangelo, N., Assouline, S., & Gross, M. U. M. (2004). A nation deceived: How schools hold back America’s brightest students (Vol. 1). Iowa City: University of Iowa, Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development.
 Lubinski, D., Webb, R. M., Morelock, M. J., & Benbow. C. (2001). Top 1 in 10,000: A 10-Year follow-up of the profoundly gifted, Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(4), 720.??
 Institute for Research and Policy on Acceleration, National Association for Gifted Children, and Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted. (2009). Guidelines for developing an academic acceleration policy. Iowa City, IA: Authors.
 Rogers, K. B. (2002). Re-forming gifted education: How parents and teachers can match the program to the child. Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press.
 Lee, S. Y., Olszewski-Kubilius, P., & Thomson, D. T. (2012). Academically gifted students perceived interpersonal competence and peer relationships. Gifted Child Quarterly, 56, 90–104.
 Park, G., Lubinski, D., & Benbow, C. P. (2013). When less is more: Effects of grade skipping on adult STEM productivity among mathematically precocious adolescents. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105, 176–198.
 Steenbergen-Hu, S., & Moon, S. M. (2011). The effects of acceleration on high-ability learners: A meta-analysis. Gifted Child Quarterly, 55, 39–53.
 Assouline, S. G., Colangelo, N., & VanTassel-Baska, J. (2015). A nation empowered: Evidence trumps the excuses holding back America’s brightest students (Vol. I).Iowa City: University of Iowa, Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development.
01/22/2018 - 01/26/2018
Why Are Gifted Programs Needed?
Gifted and talented students and those with high abilities need gifted education programs that will challenge them in regular classroom settings and enrichment and accelerated programs to enable them to make continuous progress in school.
- According to a recent report on high-achieving students, more than 7 in 10 teachers of these students surveyed noted that their brightest students were not challenged or given a chance to “thrive” in their classrooms.  Additionally, gifted students need gifted programming in many cases because the “general education program is not yet ready to meet the needs of gifted students” (p. 9) due to lack of general educators’ training in gifted education and the pressure classroom teachers face to raise the performance of their struggling students. 
- It’s more than just giving students a challenge in classrooms: Gifted programming positively influences students’ futures. Several longitudinal studies have shown that gifted programs have a positive effect on students’ post-secondary plans. For example, studies found that 320 gifted students identified during adolescence who received services through the secondary level pursued doctoral degrees at more than 50X the base rate expectations.  In a follow-up report on the same study participants at age 38, 203 participants, or 63%, reported holding advanced terminal degrees (master’s and above). Of these, 142 (44%) held doctoral degrees and 8 of these 142 had more than one doctoral degree. As a benchmark for this accomplishment, the authors of this study compared these rates to the general U.S. population, noting that only approximately 2% of the general population held a doctoral degree according to the 2010 U.S. Census. 
- Additionally, in a study looking at gifted students who participated in talent development through competitions, the researchers reported a long-term impact on these students’ postsecondary achievements, with 52% of the 345 students who participated having earned doctoral degrees. 
- Further benefits of gifted programs have been shown to include that students who had participated in gifted programs maintained their interests over time and stayed involved in creative productive work after they finished college and graduate school. 
- A sample of 2,409 intellectually talented adolescents (top 1%) who were assessed on the SAT by age 13, and provided services through a talent search program, was tracked longitudinally for more than 25 years. Their creative accomplishments, with particular emphasis on literary achievement and scientific-technical innovation, were examined and results showed that distinct ability patterns identified by age 13 foreshadowed creative accomplishments in middle age. Among the sample, participants had earned 817 patents and published 93 books, one had been awarded the Fields Medal in mathematics, and another had won the John Bates Clark Medal for the most outstanding economist under 40. 
1 Loveless, T., Farkas, S., & Duffett, A. (2008). High-achieving students in the era of NCLB. Washington, DC: Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
2 Hertberg-Davis, H. L., & Callahan, C. M. (2013). Introduction. In H. L. Hertberg-Davis & C. M. Callahan (Eds.), Fundamentals of gifted education (pp. 1–10). New York, NY: Routledge.
3 Lubinski, D., Webb, R. M., Morelock, M. J., & Benbow, C. P. (2001). Top 1 in 10,000: A 10 year follow-up of the profoundly gifted. Journal of Applied Psychology, 4, 718–729.
4 Kell, H. J., Lubinski, D., & Benbow, C. P. (2013). Who rises to the top? Early indicators. Psychological Science, 24, 648–659.
5 Campbell, J. R., & Walberg, H. J. (2011). Olympiad studies: Competitions provide alternatives to developing talents that serve national interests. Roeper Review, 33, 8–17.
6 Westberg, K. L. (1999, Summer). What happens to young, creative producers? NAGC: Creativity and Curriculum Division Newsletter, 3, 13–16.
7 Park, G., Lubinski, D., & Benbow, C. P. (2007) Contrasting intellectual patterns predict creativity in the arts and sciences: Tracking intellectually precocious youth over 25 years. Psychological Science, 18, 948–995.
01/08/2018 - 01/12/2018
Gifted Education State By State
The federal government defines gifted students as those “who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.”
Although the definition recognizes that gifted and talented children have special educational needs, the federal presence in gifted education is minimal. There is no federal mandate to identify and serve gifted students, and the single federal program for gifted and talented children, the Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act, currently provides only $9 million for national research and demonstration projects. This funding is at risk . . ..
In the absence of a federal mandate, decisions about gifted education programs and services are made at the state and local levels. And the variability in state gifted education laws, regulations and funding result in a wide discrepancy between and within states of available services.
In at least 16 states, the availability of gifted education depends solely on local district funds, which all too often leaves bright students without access to appropriate services. The following snapshot, from a bi-annual report by the National Association for Gifted Children and the Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted, illustrates the patchwork quilt effect of state support and policy:
* 28 states do not require local school districts to follow the same identification guidelines or uniform identification processes;
* 14 states have statewide, residential public high schools for math and science;
* 24 states have no policies specifically permitting early entrance to kindergarten or leave the decision to local educators; and
* l 6 states require gifted and talented training in initial teacher preparatory programs.
Kentucky Services Provided
- Does the legislation mandate that gifted students be served?
- Yes (K-12)
- Does the state require parent/guardian involvement in gifted and talented identification and service decisions?
- Yes, at the state level
- Does the state require specific criteria/methods to identify gifted students?
Range of state-approved assessments from which Local Education Authorities (LEAs) may select
- Does the state provide guidance or guidelines for the identification process?
- Is there legislation that mandates specialized training in gifted education for teachers of gifted students?
- Is the age or time at which students are identified for gifted programming mandated in your state?
- Does your state require school districts to have a gifted education administrator?
- Does the state have an acceleration policy?
- No state policy; up to local education authority determine
Acceleration Institute - State Policy page
- Does gifted education legislation exist?
SB 134 (March 2005)
01/02/2018 - 01/05/2018
Ten Things All Administrators Should Know About Gifted Children
Gifted students are not all alike. They vary in respect to general ability, domain-specific aptitude, interests and predispositions, and motivation and personality. Thus one program or service is insufficient to respond to their diverse needs.
Gifted students benefit from interaction with peers. Intellectual peerage contributes to important growth patterns in all subject areas (Kulik & Kulik, 1992). For example, cooperative learning, carried out in heterogeneous classroom settings, produces no growth (Rogers, 2001).
Gifted students need various forms of acceleration throughout their school years, ranging from content acceleration to Advanced Placement or dual enrollment to mentorships (Shiever & Maker, 2003; Renzulli & Reis, 2003; Clasen & Clasen, 2003).
Gifted students are capable of producing high level products in specific areas of learning at the level of a competent adult (NAGC, 1990). For example, fourth graders can draft a policy for pollution that would rival an adult community committee.
Gifted students need to be challenged and stimulated by an advanced and enriched curriculum that is above their current level of functioning in each area of learning (VanTassel-Baska, 2003).
Gifted students need to be instructed by personnel trained in the education of gifted students to ensure that they are sufficiently challenged, exposed to appropriate level work, and motivated to excel (Croft, 2003).
Gifted students at elementary level require differentiated staffing and flexible scheduling to accommodate their needs; at secondary level, they require special classes (Feldhusen, 2003).
Gifted students have counseling needs that require psychosocial, academic, and career preparation on an annual basis (Colangelo, 2003; Greene, 2003; Jackson & Snow, 2004; Silverman, 1993). At secondary level, assigning one counselor to the gifted may be the best staffing model to employ.
Gifted students have affective characteristics that render them vulnerable in school settings such as perfectionism, sensitivity, and intensity (Lovecky, 1992; Robinson, 2002).
Gifted students in general have healthy social relationships and adjust well to new situations (Robinson, 2002). Concerns for social development more than cognitive growth are rarely warranted.
Compiled by: Joyce VanTassel-Baska, Ed.D.
Center for Gifted Education
The College of William and Mary
12/11/2017 - 12/15/2017
21st Century Skills and Gifted Education
* The 21st Century Skills is a framework that is designed to articulate the knowledge, skills, and understandings beyond content that all students must possess for success in the global community.
* Students are encouraged to learn and apply the innovation skills of higher-order thinking, critical reasoning, creative production, problem finding and solving, and decision making.
* Students learn effective practices in communication and collaboration.
* Students develop life, career, and self-regulation skills.
* Students develop effective information, media, and technology strategies.
* The 21st Century Skills include elements that have been a part of gifted education since its inception. Gifted education professionals can provide leadership for their colleagues in projectbased learning, using technology, collaboration, and effective communication.
Summary: The Common Core State Standards and 21st Century Skills movements recognize that American schools need more rigorous expectations for student performance and that students need to gain more than content to be successful in the global economy. This is welcome reform for the general educational system. Gifted learners still differ from more typical learners in significant ways and the development of their talent requires further differentiation in services, curriculum, and instruction. For students this means work at a different level rather than more of the same work.
12/04/2017 - 12/08/2017
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Gifted Education
* The CCSS incorporate more rigorous content and the development of higher level thinking than was consistently present in many individual states' standards. They include evidence-based practices and content specifically designed to increase student success beyond K-12, in the workplace, and in the global community.
* The CCSS are not, however, sufficient on their own for gifted learners, and if adhered to without differentiation, may limit learning of gifted students. Specifically, the following statements come directly from the CCSS developers: (http://www.corestandards.org/ELALiteracy/introduction/key-design-consideration)
* "While the Standards focus on what is most essential, they do not describe all that can or should be taught."
* "The Standards do not define the nature of advanced work for students who meet the Standards prior to the end of high school."
* "The Standards set grade-specific standards but do not define the intervention methods or materials necessary to support students who are well below
or well above grade-level expectations."
* Curriculum for gifted students should align to the CCSS, but not be limited to the CCSS. Gifted curriculum should also include advanced content, acceleration in depth and pace, complexity,
enrichment, and differentiated instruction and assessment.
11/27/2017 - 12/01/2017
Professional evaluations call for objective measures related to student growth as well as additional evidence of effective teaching and professional practice.
* Pre-tests for specific goals, for units, or for a year provide an accurate measure of a student's knowledge of upcoming content and skills. These pretests establish the baseline for growth and the instructional level needed. They are locally developed if state accountability measures do not contain adequate ceilings.
* Post-tests aligned with the pre-tests provide evidence that the change in student performance can be attributed to instruction.
* Professional practice includes the use of student data to plan instruction. Data provide evidence of the need for and planning of differentiation.
* Professional practice includes participation in professional development for meeting the needs of students with high abilities.
* Classroom observation of gifted student instruction includes assessment of specific elements of instruction that are effective for these learners. Assessing Classroom Differentiation is an observation tool that can be found at http://www.nagc.org/administratortoolbox.aspx.
* Personnel knowledgeable about gifted learners are included at all levels of curriculum, instruction, and assessment decision-making.
11/13/2017 - 11/17/2017
Gifted Student Growth Cannot Be Measured on Many Assessments
* Current measures are commonly criterion referenced to grade-level standards, resulting in an inability for gifted learners to demonstrate knowledge above grade level for the baseline or later measurements. Measures constructed using a vertical scale of continuous progress over multiple grade levels are needed to assess growth for individual students.
* Elementary gifted students were shown to know 40-50% of the grade-level curriculum on the first day of school. (http://www.gifted.uconn.edu/nrcgt/reports/rm93106/rm93106.pdf)
* Computer adaptive accountability systems may be able to address a greater range of student performance. Above grade or off-level testing can be effective in demonstrating higher level performance or the appropriateness of above-grade placement for instruction.
* Achievement assessments that are standardized, norm referenced, and have high enough ceilings can give good information about what gifted students already know and have learned since previous testing. These are useful for instructional planning as well as accountability.
* Items that assess critical thinking and not just knowledge and comprehension are needed.
* A position paper co-authored by NAGC and CEC-TAG may be helpful http://www.nagc.org/index.aspx?id=6296.
11/06/2017 - 11/10/2017
Accountability Depends on Appropriate Measurement
* States, districts, buildings, and classrooms are accountable for the learning growth for all students.
* The most meaningful measure is not the percentage of students demonstrating a minimal level of proficiency, but rather the number of students who demonstrate an agreed upon amount of growth, over a specified period of time, as a result of their educational placement.
* Gifted learners have been found to experience 18 - 21 months of academic growth in 12 months when provided appropriately differentiated curriculum and instruction. (http://nagc.org/index.aspx?id=4450)
10/30/2017 - 11/03/2017
Differentiated Learning for High Ability
The environment that nurtures the development of advanced potential is differentiated in at least 5 ways
Learner - learner needs and characteristics influence all areas of learning
* The pace is appropriate for those who rapidly assimilate content, but also allows for reflective responses
* Opportunities exist for the student to pursue areas of in-depth interest
* Consideration is made for student level of intensity and sensitivity
* The teacher - licensed or in-depth training in how to alter the learning experience specifically for gifted learners
* The classmates - achievement gains are the greatest when gifted learners are grouped with ability peers and provided differentiated curriculum and instruction.
* What is taught - best determined at the district level in a Scope and Sequence or using curriculum mapping
* This includes the subjects and topics to be taught
* This will be above grade level and/or in greater depth - accelerated and enriched
* The materials used will be at a more advanced reading level and level of complexity
* Interdisciplinary when possible
* Whole-to-part approach for a conceptual focus
* This is how the content is presented
* This includes differentiation based upon different levels of previous knowledge; it also may be further differentiated by student interests, or learning styles
* This includes activities primarily directed at the highest cognitive levels of thinking
* This emphasizes problem solving and extending learning in creative ways
* The pace of instruction is faster than for average learners
* Students use information to construct their own knowledge and to make connections across disciplines
* Student develop the approaches and habits of experts in the field of study
* Pre-assessment for prior knowledge is included so that instruction can be planned accordingly
* Products will demonstrate the student's ability to communicate effectively in oral, written, and visual formats
* Assessments are authentic and for real audiences when possible
* The level of understanding should demonstrate the highest levels of thinking
* Products will demonstrate problem solving and extension of content
10/23/2017 - 10/27/2017
Learners with Advanced Potential
Students with advanced potential (high ability students, gifted): those who perform at, or show the potential to perform at an outstanding level of achievement when compared to others of the same age, experience, or environment. This definition refers to several different types of students including those who have:
Demonstrated High Achievement: Any student with advanced potential who has demonstrated high achievement in a given domain
* Prodigy: Any exceptionally gifted or talented child in a particular domain whose performance may mirror that of an accomplished adult
* Creative Producer
* Above Grade Achiever: Any students whose achievement is one or more grade levels above what would be expected given his or her chronological age.
Underdeveloped Achievement: Any student with advanced potential whose achievement may be lower than would be expected given his or her potential. Possible reasons for this underdeveloped achievement may include:
* Twice Exceptional: Student with advanced potential who has an additional exceptionality, including students with learning disabilities, emotional or behavior disorders, or physical disabilities.
* Low Socioeconomic Status: Student with advanced potential who has not had opportunities to learn due to poverty
* Culturally/Linguistically Diverse: Student with advanced potential who is from a minority race or ethnicity, and/or whose primary spoken language is not English
* Underachiever: Student with advanced potential who is not achieving commensurate with ability due to affective issues such as lack of motivation, family dynamics, peer influence, or depression.
10/16/2017 - 10/20/2017
Responsibilities for educating gifted children: Building Administrator
* Aligning the implementation of student services with the district design
* Facilitating delivery of services for students, such as scheduling classes to facilitate differentiation of student instruction through
grouping and collaboration
* Providing leadership in analysis of student achievement data
* Providing in-depth training opportunities in gifted education to maximize both teacher and student performance.
* Addressing parental concerns for the appropriate academic challenge for individual students.
* Using the developed curriculum and differentiating instruction with students with advanced potential
* Monitoring the achievement of students with advanced potential
* Educating oneself on the unique social, emotional, and cognitive needs of gifted students
10/09/2017 - 10/13/2017
District Administrator Responsibilities For Gifted Students Include:
* Aligning the philosophy, goals, and commitment for the development of students with advanced potential with district goals for the development of all students.
* Creating flexible policies regarding student placement to meet the needs of individual students
* Requiring specified training for teachers who have responsibility for students with advanced potential.
* Ensuring that curriculum for gifted students is mapped and articulated K-12 for systematic development of their academic potential
* Organizing services, programs, classes, personnel, and student placements to facilitate the delivery of advanced and differentiated
* Designing and implementing a multifaceted identification plan that includes measures that are valid and reliable and that will find those
students with outstanding performance and those with potential for outstanding performance from all cultural groups.
* Involving the stakeholders in the planning of services, in communicating about the program, and designing the evaluation of
effectiveness of those services.
Advanced Performance and Program Effectiveness
*Statewide and district assessments allow for above-grade achievement and individual growth.
*Some gifted students need additional opportunities for above-level work, such as taking high school
courses in middle school; college level work while in high school.
*Evidence of advanced performance is collected and used for decision making across each domain included in a talent development framework.
*Evaluating program effectiveness analyzes outcomes, solicits feedback, looks for program coherence, and provides direction for future improvements based upon data.
Provide Appropriately Differentiated Learning Experiences
* Gifted students show greater achievement gains when they have opportunities to learn together. bility grouping for the gifted is an evidence-based practice.
* Grouping must be accompanied by more in-depth curriculum and more rigorous instructional methods for gains to occur.
* Greater learning gains occur when challenge is provided daily in the talent area.
* Gifted students benefit from opportunities to pursue individual interests in depth.
* Acceleration combined with enrichment (tied to content) is needed for optimal growth.
* Gifted learners respond well to a faster pace of instruction with more complex and in-depth content.
* An acceleration policy establishes procedures for learners capable of more rapid progression.
* Quality instruction develops critical and creative thinking.
* Further differentiation of gifted services, curriculum, pacing, and instruction is necessary to meet individual needs. This is true even within programs such as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate.
* Some gifted students will need additional and ongoing supports in order to be successful.
* Teachers of gifted students need ongoing specialized professional development led by qualified individuals with deep content knowledge and experience in gifted education.
* Learning experiences should be developed and articulated across K-12 for systematic talent development.
* Gifted students benefit from differentiated guidance and counseling services and deliberate cultivation of intrapersonal skills that support a commitment to high achievement.
Gifted Student Considerations
Multifaceted systems are necessary for identification to find all students with advanced potential from all income, racial, and cultural groups to be certain we are accountable to developing their potential.
It is unrealistic to expect high school students with advanced potential to perform at high levels if they have not had previous and continuous opportunity to work at an advanced level. (http://www.act.org/research/policymakers/pdf/ForgottenMiddleSummary.pdf )
Identifying students with advanced potential and providing services beginning in Kindergarten is needed or high performance from many is lost. (www.jkcf.org/assets/files/0000/0084/Achievement_Trap.pdf )
Curriculum, instruction, and assessment must be modified to meet the needs of gifted learners.
Assessment systems need to be designed to measure growth for all students, including those capable of above-grade level achievement.
The performance of advanced students needs to be monitored to ensure continued learning gains. (www nagc.org/administratortoolbox.aspx)
Implications: The responsibility is shared
States: expect and monitor annual growth of all student groups, including the gifted, and report that growth by the disaggregated group.
Districts: design appropriate policies, services, and professional development for teachers of the gifted.
Buildings: implement services and assess teacher effectiveness in developing potential of gifted students.
Teachers: provide appropriately differentiated learning experiences for gifted students.
Parents: become educated about how to develop talents and good work habits in gifted children.
Definition and Rationale for Gifted Education
What is "gifted"? The term is specifically defined in some state codes, but may be called "high ability," "talented," or other designation. The field of study devoted to understanding these children and how to provide for their development is called "gifted education."
NAGC definition: “Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in top 10% or rarer) in one or more domains." (http://www.nagc.org/WhatisGiftedness.aspx )
NOTE: In schools, the term gifted recognizes exceptionality in aptitude or achievement that requires appropriately differentiated services in order for the student(s) to develop to their potential.
Rationale: Regardless of the state and the varying code and rule requirements
*Developing and nurturing high performance supports the future prosperity of our nation, state, community, and of individuals.
*Most gifted students are not developing to the level their potential would indicate is possible. (http://edexcellencemedia.net/publications/2011/20110920_HighFlyers/Do_High_Flyers_Maintain_Their_Altitude_FINAL.pdf )
*In the normal distribution of ability and/or of achievement, 68% score near the mean; students far from the mean require different educational experiences to develop optimally or at all.
*All children deserve the opportunity to learn something new each day.
*Schools have a responsibility to meet the learning needs of all students. Gifted children are found in all income, cultural, and racial groups; gifted children may also have one or more disabilities.
*Most teachers say their brightest students are bored and under challenged. (http://www.edexcellence.net/publications/high-achieving-students-in.html )
*Most teachers have no training in working with gifted learners. (http://www.edexcellencemedia.net/publications/2008/200806_highachievingstudentsintheeraofnochildleftbehind/20080625-farkas-pp.pdf )
*In classroom observations, most learning activities are not differentiated for gifted learners. (http://www.nagc.org/index.aspx?id=538)
08/28/2017 - 09/01/2017
Inappropriate Instruction for Gifted Learners
- Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when it asks them to do things they already know how to do, and then to wait for others to learn how. Many advanced learners regularly complete assignments calling on materials, ideas and skills they have already mastered. Then they wait for peers to catch up, rather than being pre-assessed and assigned more advanced materials, ideas and skills when they demonstrate competency.
- Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when it asks them to do "more of the same stuff faster." Reading more books that are too easy and doing more math problems that have ceased being a challenge are killers of motivation and interest.
- Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when it cuts them loose from peers and the teacher for long periods of time. Asking a highly able student to sit at a desk in the back of the room and move through the math book alone ignores a child's need for affiliation, and overlooks the fact that a teacher should be a crucial factor in all children's learning. It also violates the importance of meaningful peer interaction in the learning process, as well as in the process of social and emotional development.
- Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when it is structured around "filling time." Highly able students are often asked to go write a play, complete a puzzle, or do classroom chores because they have completed required tasks that take others longer. It would be difficult to defend such practices as a high-quality use of educational time.
- Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when they spend substantial time in the role of tutor or "junior teacher." All students need to be colleagues for one another, giving a hand or clarifying procedures when needed. That's quite different from when advanced learners spend chunks of time on a regular basis teaching what they already know to students who are having difficulty. Some educators suggest that doesn't harm highly able learners because their test scores remain high. That begs the question of the extended learning these students might have garnered had the same amount of time been spent in pursuit of well-planned new ideas and skills.
- Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when it is rooted in novel, "enriching" or piecemeal learning experiences. If a child were a very talented pianist, we would question the quality of her music teacher if the child regularly made toy pianos, read stories about peculiar happenings in the music world, and did word-search puzzles on the names of musicians. Rather, we would expect the student to work directly with the theory and performance of music in a variety of forms and at consistently escalating levels of complexity. We would expect the young pianist to be learning how a musician thinks and works, and to be developing a clear sense of her own movement toward expert-level performance in piano. Completing word-search puzzles, building musical instruments and reading about oddities in the lives of composers may be novel, may be "enriching,"(and certainly seems lacking in coherent scope and sequence, and therefore sounds piecemeal). But those things will not foster high-level talent development in music. The same hold true for math, history, science, and so on.
It's Actually Simple—In Theory
What it takes to teach gifted learners well is actually a little common sense. It begins with the premise that each child should come to school to stretch and grow daily. It includes the expectation that the measure of progress and growth is competition with oneself rather than competition against others. It resides in the notion that educators understand key concepts, principles and skills of subject domains, and present those in ways that cause highly able students to wonder and grasp, and extend their reach. And it envisions schooling as an escalator on which students continually progress, rather than a series of stairs, with landings on which advanced learners consistently wait.
It's not so hard to articulate. It's fiendishly difficult to achieve in schools where standardization is the norm, and where teachers are supported in being recipe followers, rather than flexible and reflective artisans. In schools where responsive instruction is a carefully supported indicator of professional growth, the capacity to extend even the most capable mind is a benchmark of success.
08/21/2017 - 08/25/2017
Good Instruction for Gifted Learners
- Good curriculum and instruction for gifted learners begins with good curriculum and instruction. It's difficult, if not impossible, to develop the talent of a highly able student with insipid curriculum and instruction. Like all students, gifted learners need learning experiences that are rich. That is, they need learning experiences that are organized by key concepts and principles of a discipline rather than by facts. They need content that is relevant to their lives, activities that cause them to process important ideas at a high level, and products that cause them to grapple with meaningful problems and pose defensible solutions. They need classrooms that are respectful to them, provide both structure and choice, and help them achieve more than they thought they could. These are needs shared by all learners, not just those who are gifted. But good instruction for gifted learners must begin there.
- Good teaching for gifted learners is paced in response to the student's individual needs. Often, highly able students learn more quickly than others their age. As a result, they typically need a more rapid instructional pace than do many of their peers. Educators sometimes call that "acceleration," which makes the pace sound risky. For many gifted learners, however, it's the comfortable pace-like walking "quickly" suits someone with very long legs. It's only "fast" for someone with shorter legs. On the other hand, it's often the case that advanced learners need a slower pace of instruction than many other students their age, so they can achieve a depth or breadth of understanding needed to satisfy a big appetite for knowing.
- Good teaching for gifted learners happens at a higher "degree of difficulty" than for many students their age. In the Olympics, the most accomplished divers perform dives that have a higher "degree of difficulty" than those performed by divers whose talents are not as advanced. A greater degree of difficulty calls on more skills-more refined skills-applied at a higher plane of sophistication. A high "degree of difficulty" for gifted learners in their talent areas implies that their content, processes and products should be more complex, more abstract, more open-ended, more multifaceted than would be appropriate for many peers. They should work with fuzzier problems, will often need less teacher-imposed structure, and (in comparison to the norm) should have to make greater leaps of insight and transfer than would be appropriate for many their age. Gifted learners may also (but not always) be able to function with a greater degree of independence than their peers.
- Good teaching for gifted learners requires an understanding of "supported risk." Highly able learners often make very good grades with relative ease for a long time in school. They see themselves (and often rightly so) as expected to make "As," get right answers, and lead the way. In other words, they succeed without "normal" encounters with failure. Then, when a teacher presents a high-challenge task, the student feels threatened. Not only has he or she likely not learned to study hard, take risks and strive, but the student's image is threatened as well. A good teacher of gifted students understands that dynamic, and thus invites, cajoles and insists on risk-but in a way that supports success. When a good gymnastics coach asks a talented young gymnast to learn a risky new move, the coach ensures that the young person has the requisite skills, then practices the move in harness for a time. Then the coach "spots" for the young athlete. Effective teachers of gifted learners do likewise.
08/14/2017 - 08/18/2017
Gifted children exhibit a high ability to make meaning out of complex concepts or problems, while high achieving students show exemplary ability to utilize and apply the skills and procedures they have learned. The chart below provides distinguishing characteristics (I have highlighted some of the more challenging identifying characteristics) :
|A Bright Child…
||A Gifted Learner…
|Knows the answers
||Asks the questions
||Is highly curious
||Is mentally and physically involved
|Has good ideas
||Has wild, silly ideas
||Plays around, yet tests well
|Answers the questions
||Discusses in detail, elaborates
||Beyond the group
|Listens with interest
||Shows strong feelings and opinions
|Learns with ease
|6-8 repetitions for mastery
||1-2 repetitions for mastery
|Grasps the meaning
||Creates a new design
|Enjoys straightforward sequential presentation
||Thrives on complexity
||Is keenly observant
|Is pleased with own learning
||Is highly self-critical
Bright Child Gifted Learner by Janice Szabos, Challenge Magazine, 1989, Issue 34, Page 4
First Chart Source: Seattle Public Schools