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Teacher Tip of the Week

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:
  • Giftedness is dynamic, not static. Identification needs to occur over time, with multiple opportunities to exhibit gifts.  One test at a specific point in time should not dictate whether someone is identified as gifted.  
  • Giftedness is represented through all racial, ethnic, income levels, and exceptionality groups. Underrepresentation is widely spread.  It’s estimated that African American, Hispanic American, and Native American students are underrepresented by at least 50% in programs for the gifted.1  
  • Giftedness may be exhibited within a specific interest or category-and even a specific interest within that category.  Professionals must seek ways to gather examples across various domains and contexts.  
  • Early identification in schools improves the likelihood that gifts will be developed into talents.






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. [2] Students may also experience between-class grouping or grouping by interest, as in the practice of enrichment clusters. [3]
  • 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. [5] 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. [6]
  • 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. [7]
  • 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. [8]

[1, 2] Rogers, K. B. (2006). A menu of options for grouping gifted students. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.
[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.
[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
[6] 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
[7] 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.
[8] 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

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. [1]
  • Elementary teachers can eliminate from 24%-70% of high-ability students’ curriculum by compacting without any negative affect on test scores or performance. [2]? 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. [3]
  • 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. [4] 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. [5]
  • 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. [6]
  • 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. [7] 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. [8] 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. [9]

[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.
[5] 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.
[6] 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.
[8] Lee, S. Y., & Olszewski-Kubilius, P. (2006). A study of instructional methods used in fast-paced classes. Gifted Child Quarterly, 50, 216–237.
[9] 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). [1]
  • 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. [2]  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. [3]
  • 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). [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. [5]
  • 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. [6]
  • 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 [7], and another report noted that these students earned other advanced degrees at rates higher than their peers [8]. 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 [9].
  • 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. [10]

[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.
[2] 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.??
[4] 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.
[5] Rogers, K. B. (2002). Re-forming gifted education: How parents and teachers can match the program to the child. Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press.
[6] 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.
[7] 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.
[8] Steenbergen-Hu, S., & Moon, S. M. (2011). The effects of acceleration on high-ability learners: A meta-analysis. Gifted Child Quarterly, 55, 39–53.
[10] 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. [1] 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. [2]
  • 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. [3] 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. [4]
  • 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. [5]
  • 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. [6]
  • 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. [7]

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.

—Jane Clarenbach


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

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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).
  7. Gifted students at elementary level require differentiated staffing and flexible scheduling to accommodate their needs; at secondary level, they require special classes (Feldhusen, 2003).
  8. 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.
  9. Gifted students have affective characteristics that render them vulnerable in school settings such as perfectionism, sensitivity, and intensity (Lovecky, 1992; Robinson, 2002).
  10. 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

Teacher Accountability

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.

Curriculum (Content)

*  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

Instruction (Process)

*  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

Assessment (Product)

*  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.


Classroom Teacher

* 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3.  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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 interested Is highly curious
Is attentive Is mentally and physically involved
Has good ideas Has wild, silly ideas
Works hard Plays around, yet tests well
Answers the questions Discusses in detail, elaborates
Top group Beyond the group
Listens with interest Shows strong feelings and opinions
Learns with ease Already knows
6-8 repetitions for mastery 1-2 repetitions for mastery
Understands ideas Constructs abstractions
Enjoys peers Prefers adults
Grasps the meaning Draws inferences
Completes assignments Initiates projects
Is receptive Is intense
Copies accurately Creates a new design
Enjoys school Enjoys learning
Absorbs information Manipulates information
Technician Inventor
Good memorizer Good guesser
Enjoys straightforward sequential presentation Thrives on complexity
Is alert 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














After reviewing the Gifted Student Progress Reports it appears that several teachers are having difficulty in their classrooms with gifted underacheivement. In Nurturing Our Future, A Publication of the State Advisory Council for Gifted and Talented Education, Kentucky Department of Education, there is an article that adresses the concern of underachievement. I have posted this article here for your reference.


Remember that a gifted child’s strengths are part of the child, but do not entirely define the child. Giftedness is asynchronous development and the child may appear average or even “below average” in some settings on some types of activities. For a child with extremely high ability in one or more areas, age-appropriate responses may be characterized as “immature.” A “childish” response — frustration with injustices, nonconformity, perfectionism, inappropriate comments — may result from cognitive skills and awareness beyond the child’s ability to act. Be aware of student strengths and needs and help to build coping strategies and skills — social, time-management, affective, and academic — that will be needed to allow the child’s experiences to keep pace with the strengths.


What is underachievement and how Does it affect gifted students?


Underachievement is the significant gap between a student’s potential ability and demonstrated achievement to a degree that there is an overall diminished ability to achieve at the expected level of ability. Unfortunately, many current educational settings foster underachievement because students sit unchallenged and are expected to wait to learn new skills or content. As students associate success with school tasks that come easily (or that represent skills/content already known), they face a diminished ability and willingness to attempt tasks that may represent an appropriate level of challenge.

Students who underachieve are often recognizable as the students who don’t seem to be working up to their potential. These may be students who demonstrated significant potential earlier in their school career, yet that high potential is not recognized in their current work. Underachieving students may do well on tests, but fail to complete or turn in daily assignments. Underachieving students may withdraw from the class by daydreaming, sleeping, or doodling; or they may begin to misbehave and become behavior problems. Another group of underachieving students gets fairly good grades (maybe even A’s and B’s), but do so with no effort and are not given opportunities to show what they truly have the potential to do.

A consistent pattern of underachievement creates students who may lack cognitive skills, study skills, and task persistence that will allow them to succeed when faced by work at an appropriate level of challenge. It is important that steps be taken to improve underachievement whenever the pattern emerges in order to keep underachievement habits from becoming too deeply entrenched in student work habits.

Underachievement Interventions

Always pretest to find what students have mastered, then use results of pretesting to design instruction. The pretest can be helpful to underachieving students by showing areas of mastery and by identifying needs. Validating what students know by excusing them from tasks that pretests show they have mastered has been shown to be a strong motivational tool.

Good diagnostic data on strengths and needs of underachieving students, as well as a profile of interests and passions is invaluable. Once this information is available, the preferences of underachievers can be used to design tasks just as diagnostic data can be used to provide instruction to eliminate skill gaps that interfere with the underachiever’s willingness to attempt tasks.

Compacting, acceleration, and contracting are all valuable strategies to use to reverse underachievement. Each of these strategies validates student mastery, provides opportunities for student choice, and provides practice with study skills, time management skills, and research skills so that underachievers feel more empowered and feel greater ownership in their own education.

Keys to Reversing Underachievement:

• Provide specific, diagnostic feedback.

• Identify and recognize small improvements in underachiever’s work habits.

• Make tasks meaningful and be able to justify what students are asked to do.

• Provide opportunity for student choice.

• Establish and communicate clear criteria for success.

• Be patient. Underachievement patterns took time to become habits. It takes time to break habits.







I came across this and thought it may be helpful to teachers for understanding their students. If you have any questions about a certin students IQ score you can contact me and I will get that information to you.


The Secret Weapon:
An IQ-to-Grade Conversion Chart


by Valerie Bock


This table was originally published on the GT-Families mailing list as the Secret Weapon. It got that name because it is guarded closely by the special education folks in the poster's district, not because the information it provides is anything resembling groundbreaking.


This chart is nothing more than the result of calculating a range of values from the definition of IQ which calculates IQ as the ratio of mental age (MA) to chronological age (CA) For this reason, the original source of the chart (which has been lost to the ages) is not relevant.


When the simplicity of the calculation is considered, several weaknesses of this chart as diagnostic instrument for the purpose of determining appropriate placement are revealed. The chart takes no account of individual differences.


Learning Expectancy Level


Estimated Ages and Grade Level Expectations For Increasing Chronological Ages And Intelligence Quotient Scores
  CA 4.0 5.0 6.0 7.0 8.0 9.0 10.0 11.0 12.0 13.0 14.0 15.0 16.0
IQ Mental Age =IQ/100*CA
Grade Level=Mental Age-5
30   1.4 1.6 1.9 2.1 2.4 2.7 3.0 3.3 3.6 3.9      
35   1.4 1.8 2.1 2.5 2.8 3.2 3.5 3.9 4.2 4.6 4.9 5.3 5.6
40   1.6 2.0 2.4 2.8 3.2 3.6 4.0 4.4 4.8 5.2 5.6 6.0 6.4
                    K K 1.0 1.4
45   1.8 2.3 2.7 3.2 3.6 4.1 4.5 5.0 5.4 5.9 6.3 6.8 7.2
                K K.4 0.9 1.3 1.8 2.2
50   2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0 5.5 6.0 6.5 7.0 7.5 8.0
              K K 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0
55   2.2 2.8 3.3 3.9 4.4 5.0 5.5 6.1 6.6 7.2 7.7 8.3 8.8
            K K.5 1.1 1.6 2.2 2.7 3.3 3.8
60   2.4 3.0 3.6 4.2 4.8 5.4 6.0 6.6 7.2 7.8 8.4 9.0 9.6
            K.4 1.0 1.6 2.2 2.8 3.4 4.0 4.6
65   2.6 3.3 3.9 4.6 5.2 5.9 6.5 7.2 7.8 8.5 9.1 9.8 10.4
          K.2 K.9 1.5 2.2 2.8 3.5 4.1 4.8 5.4
70   2.8 3.5 4.2 4.9 5.6 6.3 7.0 7.7 8.4 9.1 9.8 10.5 11.2
          K.6 1.3 2.0 2.7 3.4 4.1 4.8 5.5 6.2
75   3.0 3.8 4.5 5.3 6.0 6.8 7.5 8.3 9.0 9.8 10.5 11.3 12.0
        K.3 1.0 1.8 2.5 3.3 4.0 4.8 5.5 6.3 7.0
80   3.2 4.0 4.8 5.6 6.4 7.2 8.0 8.8 9.6 10.4 11.2 12.0 12.8
        K.6 1.4 2.2 3.0 3.8 4.6 5.4 6.2 7.0 7.8
85   3.4 4.3 5.1 6.0 6.8 7.7 8.5 9.4 10.2 11.1 11.9 12.8 13.6
      K.1 1.0 1.8 2.7 3.5 4.4 5.2 6.1 6.9 7.8 8.6
90   3.6 4.5 5.4 6.3 7.2 8.1 9.0 9.9 10.8 11.7 12.6 13.5 14.4
      K.4 1.3 2.2 3.1 4.0 4.9 5.8 6.7 7.6 8.5 9.4
95   3.8 4.8 5.7 6.7 7.6 8.6 9.5 10.5 11.4 12.4 13.3 14.3 15.2
      K.7 1.7 2.6 3.6 4.5 5.5 6.4 7.4 8.3 9.3 10.2
100   4.0 5.0 6.0 7.0 8.0 9.0 10.0 11.0 12.0 13.0 14.0 15.0 16.0
    K 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 6.0 7.0 8.0 9.0 10.0 11.0
105   4.2 5.3 6.3 7.4 8.4 9.5 10.5 11.6 12.6 13.7 14.7 15.8 16.8
    K.3 1.3 2.4 3.4 4.5 5.5 6.6 7.6 8.7 9.7 10.8 11.8
110   4.4 5.5 6.6 7.7 8.8 9.9 11.0 12.1 13.2 14.3 15.4 16.5 17.6
    K.5 1.6 2.7 3.8 4.9 6.0 7.1 8.2 9.3 10.4 11.5 12.6
115   4.6 5.8 6.9 8.1 9.2 10.4 11.5 12.7 13.8 15.0 16.1 17.3 18.4
    K.8 1.9 3.1 4.2 5.4 6.5 7.7 8.8 10.0 11.1 12.3 13.4
120   4.8 6.0 7.2 8.4 9.6 10.8 12.0 13.2 14.4 15.6 16.8 18.0 19.2
    1.0 2.2 3.4 4.6 5.8 7.0 8.2 9.4 10.6 11.8 13.0 14.2
125   5.0 6.3 7.5 8.8 10.0 11.3 12.5 13.8 15.0 16.3 17.5 18.8 20.0
  K 1.3 2.5 3.8 5.0 6.3 7.5 8.8 10.0 11.3 12.5 13.8 15.0
130   5.2 6.5 7.8 9.1 10.4 11.7 13.0 14.3 15.6 16.9 18.2 19.5 20.8
  K.2 1.5 2.8 4.1 5.4 6.7 8.0 9.3 10.6 11.9 13.2 14.5 15.8
135   5.4 6.8 8.1 9.5 10.8 12.2 13.5 14.9 16.2 17.6 18.9 20.3 21.6
  K.4 1.8 3.1 4.5 5.8 7.2 8.5 9.9 11.2 12.6 13.9 15.3 16.6
140   5.6 7.0 8.4 9.8 11.2 12.6 14.0 15.4 16.8 18.2 19.6 21.0 22.4
  K.6 2.0 3.4 4.8 6.2 7.6 9.0 10.4 11.8 13.2 14.6 16.0 17.4
145   5.8 7.3 8.7 10.2 11.6 13.1 14.5 16.0 17.4 18.9 20.3 21.8 23.2
  K.8 2.3 3.7 5.2 6.6 8.1 9.5 11.0 12.4 13.9 15.3 16.8 18.2
150   6.0 7.5 9.0 10.5 12.0 13.5 15.0 16.5 18.0 19.5 21.0 22.5 24.0
  1.0 2.5 4.0 5.5 7.0 8.5 10.0 11.5 13.0 14.5 16.0 17.5 19.0
155   6.2 7.8 9.3 10.9 12.4 14.0 15.5 17.1 18.6 20.2 21.7 23.3 24.8
  1.2 2.8 4.3 5.9 7.4 9.0 10.5 12.1 13.6 15.2 16.7 18.3 19.8
160   6.4 8.0 9.6 11.2 12.8 14.4 16.0 17.6 19.2 20.8 22.4 24.0 25.6
  1.4 3.0 4.6 6.2 7.8 9.4 11.0 12.6 14.2 15.8 17.4 19.0 20.6
165   6.6 8.3 9.9 11.6 13.2 14.9 16.5 18.2 19.8 21.5 23.1 24.8 26.4
  1.6 3.3 4.9 6.6 8.2 9.9 11.5 13.2 14.8 16.5 18.1 19.8 21.4
170   6.8 8.5 10.2 11.9 13.6 15.3 17.0 18.7 20.4 22.1 23.8 25.5 27.2
  1.8 3.5 5.2 6.9 8.6 10.3 12.0 13.7 15.4 17.1 18.8 20.5 22.2
175   7.0 8.8 10.5 12.3 14.0 15.8 17.5 19.3 21.0 22.8 24.5 26.3 28.0
  2.0 3.8 5.5 7.3 9.0 10.8 12.5 14.3 16.0 17.8 19.5 21.3 23.0
180   7.2 9.0 10.8 12.6 14.4 16.2 18.0 19.8 21.6 23.4 25.2 27.0 28.8
  2.2 4.0 5.8 7.6 9.4 11.2 13.0 14.8 16.6 18.4 20.2 22.0 23.8
185   7.4 9.3 11.1 13.0 14.8 16.7 18.5 20.4 22.2 24.1 25.9 27.8 29.6
  2.4 4.3 6.1 8.0 9.8 11.7 13.5 15.4 17.2 19.1 20.9 22.8 24.6
190   7.6 9.5 11.4 13.3 15.2 17.1 19.0 20.9 22.8 24.7 26.6 28.5 30.4
  2.6 4.5 6.4 8.3 10.2 12.1 14.0 15.9 17.8 19.7 21.6 23.5 25.4
195   7.8 9.8 11.7 13.7 15.6 17.6 19.5 21.5 23.4 25.4 27.3 29.3 31.2
  2.8 4.8 6.7 8.7 10.6 12.6 14.5 16.5 18.4 20.4 22.3 24.3 26.2
200   8.0 10.0 12.0 14.0 16.0 18.0 20.0 22.0 24.0 26.0 28.0 30.0 32.0
  3.0 5.0 7.0 9.0 11.0 13.0 15.0 17.0 19.0 21.0 23.0 25.0 27.0






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. [1]
  • 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. [2]
  • 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. [3] 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. [4]
  • 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. [5] 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.  [6]
  • 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. [7] 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. [8]
  • 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. [9]


[1] 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.
[2] 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.
[3] 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.
[4] National Association for Gifted Children. (2008). Common gifted education myths. Retrieved from http://www.nagc.org/commonmyths.aspx
?[5] Thomas, J. (2000). First year findings: NCSSSMST longitudinal study. NCSSSMST Journal, 5(2), 4–5. Retrieved from http://ncsssmst.org/conf/100033/JournalS00.pdf??
[6] Thompson, L. (2011). Magnet schools: Offering distinctive learning opportunities. Duke TIP Digest of Gifted Research. Retrieved from https://tip.duke.edu/node/790
[7] 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.
[8] 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.
[9] 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






Ten Tips for Teaching Students how to Research and Filter Information

Teaching students research skills is becoming increasingly important. Some refer to the filtering and critical evaluation of information as ‘web literacy’.

Unfortunately, many teachers don’t feel confident with their own skills to be able to assist their students with this. Often this is due to the fact that teachers aren’t actively searching and using material from the internet themselves.

I’m no expert in this area but I have compiled a list of ten tips that I try to give my students to help them with internet research and filtering. I’d love you to add your tips in a comment!

Search: Start with some general key words. If your results aren’t what you want, alter the keywords to make a more specific search. I often encourage my students to put the word “kids” in to find child friendly websites and articles. The  Google Search Education website provides detailed lesson plans on teaching search skills. This cheat sheet also summarises some of Google’s advanced search features.

Delve: Look beyond the first few results. Flick through a few pages if need be. Let students know that many websites use Search Engine Optimisation to improve the visibility of their pages in search results. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the most useful or relevant sites.

Source: Look at the actual URL address to see where you’re going before you click on a search engine result. Use some intuition to decide whether it seems reliable. Is it from a well known site? An educational or government institution? Is it a forum or opinion site?

Validity: Ensure students understand that you cannot believe everything you read. Encourage them to make their own judgement by checking more than one source if they’re not sure.

Purpose: Be wary of websites that are cluttered with advertisements or might be trying to sell you something.

Background: When reading articles, try to look for the author’s name and when the article was written. Is it recent or outdated?

Teach: Integrate the teaching of these skills into everything you do. Model your searches explicitly and talk out loud as you look things up. Researching skills don’t need to be covered in stand alone lessons.

Justify: When you’re modelling your research, go to some weak websites and ask students to justify whether they think the site would be useful and reliable.

Path: Students might like to start their search with some sites they know or have used before rather than randomly googling.

Cite: Give students lots of practice of writing information in their own words, and show them how to use quotation marks and cite sources. Remind students about the seriousness of plagiarism and copyright infringement. These are terms even my grade two students used. It’s never to early to learn about web literacy.

There are also some great links on the Education World website.







What should be done to differentiate curriculum, instruction and assessment for the mathematically gifted in the regular classroom?

Historically there has been debate about the role of acceleration versus enrichment as the differentiation mode for mathematics. Most experts recommend a combination. The following are suggestions for differentiating for the mathematically gifted by using (1) assessment, (2) curriculum materials, (2) instructional techniques, and (4) grouping models. These opportunities should be made broadly available to any student with interest in taking advantage of them.


  • Give pre-assessments so that students who already know the material do not have to repeat it but may be provided with instruction and activities that are meaningful. In the elementary grades, gifted learners still need to know their basic facts. If they do not, don't hold them back from other more complex tasks, but continue to work concurrently on the basics.
  • Create assessments that allow for differences in understanding, creativity, and accomplishment; give students a chance to show what they have learned. Ask students to explain their reasoning both orally and in writing.
  • Choose textbooks that provide more enriched opportunities. Unfortunately, curriculum in this country is mainly driven by textbooks, which are used about 80% of the time (Lockwood, 1992). Math textbooks often repeat topics from year to year in the grades prior to algebra. Since most textbooks are written for the general population, they are not always appropriate for the gifted. Several series that hold promise for gifted learners have been developed recently under grants from the National Science Foundation; they emphasize constructivist learning and include concepts beyond the basics.
  • Use multiple resources. No single text will adequately meet the needs of these learners.
  • Be flexible in your expectations about pacing for different students. While some may be mastering basic skills, others may work on more advanced problems.
  • Use inquiry-based, discovery learning approaches that emphasize open-ended problems with multiple solutions or multiple paths to solutions. Allow students to design their own ways to find the answers to complex questions. Gifted students may discover more than you thought was possible.
  • Use lots of higher-level questions in justification and discussion of problems. Ask "why" and "what if" questions.
  • Provide units, activities, or problems that extend beyond the normal curriculum. Offer challenging mathematical recreations such as puzzles and games.
  • Provide AP level courses in calculus, statistics, and computer science or encourage prepared students to take classes at local colleges if the supply of courses at the high school has been exhausted.
  • Differentiate assignments. It is not appropriate to give more problems of the same type to gifted students. You might give students a choice of a regular assignment; a different, more challenging one; or a task that is tailored to interests.
  • Expect high level products (e.g., writing, proofs, projects, solutions to challenging problems).
  • Provide opportunities to participate in contests such as Mathematical Olympiads for the Elementary School (grades 4-6), Math Counts (grades 7-8), and the American Junior High School Mathematics Exam (grades 7-8) or the American High School Mathematics Exam (grades 9-12). Give feedback to students on their solutions. After the contests, use some of the problems as the basis for classroom discussions.
  • Provide access to male and female mentors who represent diverse linguistic and cultural groups. They may be within the school system, volunteers from the community, or experts who agree to respond to questions by e-mail. Bring speakers into the classroom to explain how math has opened doors in their professions and careers.
  • Provide some activities that can be done independently or in groups based on student choice. Be aware that if gifted students always work independently, they are gaining no more than they could do at home. They also need appropriate instruction, interaction with other gifted students, and regular feedback from the teacher.
  • Provide useful concrete experiences. Even though gifted learners may be capable of abstraction and may move from concrete to abstract more rapidly, they still benefit from the use of manipulatives and "hands-on" activities.




12/05/2016 - 12/09/2016

10 Strategies to Enhance Student Memory

1. Give directions in multiple formats

Students benefit from being given directions in both visual and verbal formats. In addition, their understanding and memorizing of instructions could be checked by encouraging them to repeat the directions given and explain the meaning of these directions. Examples of what needs to be done are also often helpful for enhancing memory of directions.

2. Teach students to over-learn material

Students should be taught the necessity of "over-learning" new information. Often they practice only until they are able to perform one error-free repetition of the material. However, several error-free repetitions are needed to solidify the information.

3. Teach students to use visual images and other memory strategies

Another memory strategy that makes use of a cue is one called word substitution. The substitute word system can be used for information that is hard to visualize, for example, for the word occipital or parietal. These words can be converted into words that sound familiar that can be visualized. The word occipital can be converted to exhibit hall (because it sounds like exhibit hall). The student can then make a visual image of walking into an art museum and seeing a big painting of a brain with big bulging eyes (occipital is the region of the brain that controls vision). With this system, the vocabulary word the student is trying to remember actually becomes the cue for the visual image that then cues the definition of the word.

4. Give teacher-prepared handouts prior to class lectures

Class lectures and series of oral directions should be reinforced by teacher-prepared handouts. The handouts for class lectures could consist of a brief outline or a partially completed graphic organizer that the student would complete during the lecture. Having this information both enables students to identify the salient information that is given during the lectures and to correctly organize the information in their notes. Both of these activities enhance memory of the information as well. The use of Post-Its to jot information down on is helpful for remembering directions.

5. Teach students to be active readers

To enhance short-term memory registration and/or working memory when reading, students should underline, highlight, or jot key words down in the margin when reading chapters. They can then go back and read what is underlined, highlighted, or written in the margins. To consolidate this information in long-term memory, they can make outlines or use graphic organizers. Research has shown that the use of graphic organizers increases academic achievement for all students.

6. Write down steps in math problems

Students who have a weakness in working memory should not rely on mental computations when solving math problems. For example, if they are performing long division problems, they should write down every step including carrying numbers. When solving word problems, they should always have a scratch piece of paper handy and write down the steps in their calculations. This will help prevent them from losing their place and forgetting what they are doing.

7. Provide retrieval practice for students

Research has shown that long-term memory is enhanced when students engage in retrieval practice. Taking a test is a retrieval practice, i.e., the act of recalling information that has been studied from long-term memory. Thus, it can be very helpful for students to take practice tests. When teachers are reviewing information prior to tests and exams, they could ask the students questions or have the students make up questions for everyone to answer rather than just retelling students the to-be-learned information. Also, if students are required or encouraged to make up their own tests and take them, it will give their parents and/or teachers information about whether they know the most important information or are instead focused on details that are less important.

8. Help students develop cues when storing information

According to the memory research, information is easier retrieved when it is stored using a cue and that cue should be present at the time the information is being retrieved. For example, the acronym HOMES can be used to represent the names of the Great Lakes — Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior. The acronym is a cue that is used when the information is being learned, and recalling the cue when taking a test will help the student recall the information.

9. Prime the memory prior to teaching/learning

Cues that prepare students for the task to be presented are helpful. This is often referred to as priming the memory. For instance, when a reading comprehension task is given, students will get an idea of what is expected by discussing the vocabulary and the overall topic beforehand. This will allow them to focus on the salient information and engage in more effective depth of processing. Advance organizers also serve this purpose. For older students, Clif Notes for pieces of literature are often helpful aids for priming the memory.

10. Review material before going to sleep

It should be helpful for students to review material right before going to sleep at night. Research has shown that information studied this way is better remembered. Any other task that is performed after reviewing and prior to sleeping (such as getting a snack, brushing teeth, listening to music) interferes with consolidation of information in memory.





11/282016 - 12/02/2016

Science Talent in the Young Expressed Within Ecologies of Achievement
Paul F. Brandwein


  1. The widest net ought to be flung to open opportunity for all young in an idea-enactive, inquiry oriented learning curriculum and instruction. This generous cast offers access to equal opportunity for self-identification, along with, but not exclusively through, ability and achievement testing as composite factors for entry into the science talent pool.
  2. The structure of curriculum and the mode of instruction in classroom and laboratory serve to identify science proneness, an understanding that suggests a significant way to increase the science talent pool.
  3. Science proneness begins in a base of a general giftedness and develops its component skills in verbal, mathematical, and in time, the nonentrenched tasks of problem seeking, finding, and solving in specialized science fields. Eventually given favorable ecologies, science proneness can shift to an expression in a work showing science talent.
  4. Science talent calls for identification through in-context evaluation in long-term inquiry without reference to IQ or standardized tests of achievement. It provides for testing of science talent through a criterion sample of work of the young as predictive of their future accomplishments.
  5. When the young enter into the climate of science, they should benefit from at least two resources as gifts of schooling. First, they deserve access to the substance of science, a rich even massive, conceptual structure of cumulative knowledge. Second they deserve opportunities to participate in problem finding and concept seeking and forming—that is, to experience the style of science—its particular modes of inquiry and explanation.
  6. The experience of originative research in high school may motivate a decision to pursue a career in science and thus qualify students for continued research in their undergraduate years. Originative inquiry can lead to early expression of science talent in the young; it therefore is a worthy practice in the quest of the young scientist-to-be






11/14/2016 - 11/18/2016

Teaching Note Taking Skills

Like most other skills, note-taking can start with theoretical knowledge, but it takes practice to become an efficient and skillful note-taker. there’s lots of small ways teachers can demonstrate the value of having good notes and work with students on developing better note-taking skills. Here’s a list to start your thinking.

  • Identify key concepts in the day’s lesson: “Now here’s something you need to have in your notes. Listen carefully.”
  • Challenge students to retrieve things from their notes: “Look at your notes from November 5. What have you got about X? Nothing? That’s not good.”
  • Provide a definition, pause, and give students one minute to rewrite it in their own words. Ask students why it might be important to do so.
  • At the beginning of the period, give students three minutes to review their notes and summarize them in a sentence. Have several students share their summary, which the class then compares, revises, etc.
  • At the end of class have students trade notes with somebody sitting near them and use their partner’s notes to review the class session. Ask them to identify what was the same and different about their notes and those of their partner?
  • For frequently missed exam questions, have everyone find the date when that content was covered and see what they have in their notes that relates to the question. Ask someone who got the question correct to read what they have in their notes.
  • Tell students that any notes they take in class today can be used when they take the quiz tomorrow. Follow-up at the end of class by asking how that changed listening and note-taking.

Reference: Cohen, D., Kim, E., Tan, J., and Winkelmes, M. (2013). A note-restructuring intervention increases students’ exam scores. College Teaching, 61 (Summer), 95-99.





10/24/2016 - 10/28/2016

Is enrichment the same thing as acceleration?

No. Enrichment and acceleration are not the same thing. Enrichment typically means adding something to the curriculum that offers more depth or complexity, while acceleration typically means moving more quickly through the curriculum. When done well, acceleration includes enriching opportunities offered at an appropriate level and pace for the student. Therefore, we shouldn’t think about acceleration OR enrichment, we should think about acceleration AND enrichment





10/24/2016 - 10/28/2016

Research on Instructional Delivery: Projects, Independent Study, Hands On

Gifted students demonstrate the following at a statistically significant level when compared to normal students:

  • Preference for self-structured tasks and self-imposed deadlines
  • Preference for working on projects alone or with one like ability peer
  • Preference for self-instructional tasks (programmed instruction), games or simulations
  • Greatest preference for independent study projects that are reading/content acquisition-based
  • Greater interest in learning "something new and different, " rather than doing hands on things.






10/17/2016 - 10/21/2016

Vertical Unitized Timetabling

ONE OF THE common responses to requests for flexible progression in secondary or high schools is "the timetable won't permit it". Subject acceleration can become extremely disruptive when the subject in question is not timetabled in the same time-slots for the two years in question. One option is for the accelerant to undertake an independent learning approach to the course, but this may not suit all accelerants, all courses, and involves additional supervision workloads by teachers.

Requiring such special arrangements it is not surprising that students, parents, and teachers may be wary of proceeding with what may well be the most appropriate educational provision. Additionally there is also the "cost" to the student of being seen to be differently treated, especially if there have been few precedents.

One option that has emerged in some high schools is a shift to a vertical unitised curriculum, which overcomes many of these problems of timetabling and of accelerated students being made unnecessarily conspicuous.

Vertical class grouping relaxes the expectation that students learn in a lock-step progression of classes of the same chronological age. Instead, students of different ages can be grouped together on other more appropriate factors (such as learning styles, learning rates, previous knowledge or interests).

Unitised timetabling involves splitting the normal curriculum subject areas into smaller units that can be taken separately. Such a dissection could be on the basis of work components within the curriculum description of a subject for the year, or more creatively into subject core components and peripheral extension units, including into interdisciplinary areas (such as, for example, the mathematics of music) joining two of more curriculum areas together.

These two strategies are being combined in many high schools to avoid many of the timetabling constraints which normally obstruct flexible student-based learning and progression (Sanderson High School 1993). This vertical unitised timetabling involves:

  • unitising the curriculum into term or semester length units with some (say 50%) being core units that form a continuing course sequence in the curriculum area
  • the development of optional extension and interdisciplinary units based on teacher and student interest and community resource availability
  • the use of unit prerequisite (rather than age) requirements to ensure skills needed prior to a unit are held
  • the use of pretesting to give prerequiste credits where sufficient competence is shown (including with newly enrolled students)
  • the students choosing units they wish to enrol in subject to any "coherent course of study" requirement
  • the facilitation of independent learning options when units do not have sufficient enrolments to justify a full-time teacher (including mentoring, part teacher/part independent learning combinations, etc)

Such strategies clearly facilitate student-paced learning and progression, in part by eliminating the conspicuous nature of individual acceleration or special treatment in a conventional timetable-constrained school.

To facilitate effective transition to such a structure the following factors have also been found to be important:

  • allowing at the initial stages for a significant workload in preparation of unit materials and in achieving school community acceptance of the changes
  • a vertical pastoral care system with regular meetings between a staff member and a small group of students from across all ages at the school, providing the immediate point of staff/student/parent contact and guidance
  • an appropriate staff and school community participatory decision-making process to complement the more student directed and flexible curriculum strategies.

One school, Sanderson High School, in Darwin, Australia, describes the process in this way (Gifted, Dec 1993, p20):

Students are allocated to units on the basis of choice and the meeting of prerequisites. This selection takes place once a quarter with the certainty that the opportunity for a student to pick up a unit they may have missed or which they have only recently found an interest in exists. Thus students from all three year groups can be found in any unit. They study units appropriate to their ability and background rather than on a age group basis. They progress according to ability rather than in a lockstep age structure. The unitising of the curriculum allows for individual progression and the introduction of new units (for example Philosophy) on a trial basis. It also enables classes and units to run which would otherwise lapse for lack of demand in any single age group.

While not aimed solely at enhancing flexible progression for gifted and talented students, it certainly seems to do so. Vertical grouping of students in classes and in associated pastoral care groupings largely eliminates the "unusualness" of subject and whole-year acceleration, defusing much of the staff and student peer body resistance to flexible progression.

Moreover to enhance its benefits vertical unitised timetabling can be relatively easily combined with independent or small group pursuit of a specialised or higher level unit with only limited face-to-face teacher involvement (for example a teacher facilitates two or three such groups in lieu of teaching a full class). Community resources and mentors can also be more easily incorporated into facilitating small-scale specialised units within the school's broad timetable, thus extending the probability of the students' particular educational needs being met and enhancing student motivation and sense of responsibility for their own education.


© David Farmer 16 January 1996 - This piece was adapted from text I wrote for an educational video/booklet package Meeting the Needs of Gifted Students in the Regular Classroom





10/10/2016 - 10/14/2016


MENTORING ALLOWS the educational needs of talented students to be met even when these fall outside the school curriculum and outside the expertise of the students' teachers. This is achieved by linking the student with an experienced person from the appropriate field of endeavour. Relating to experts outside the school environment also requires the students to become more responsible for their own learning, with students establishing goals with their mentor, and generally learning by doing.

Selecting students for mentoring

Mentoring best suits students who have already shown some dedication and commitment to the area of interest, such as in already working independently on "real problems or projects" in the area. Self-motivation (at least in the subject area) and organisation are also key attributes if the student is to gain from the less structured mentor arrangement.

Selection can, particularly in high schools, lean heavily on self-selection with confirmation sought from parents and teaching staff. One school's selection process is as follows:

  • a general invitation is made at assembly for expressions of interest;
  • interviews are held with students coming forward, outlining the process and the self-motivation and organisation required;
  • comments and confirmations are sought from the student's teachers and parents;
  • endeavours are made to find a suitable mentor in the student's area of interest; and
  • the first mentor/student meeting discusses and refines the student's goals, with both parties able to terminate the relationship should either wish.

Mentors - characteristics

Mentors are not tutors or substitute teachers but rather are professionals interacting with "junior colleagues". Mentors act as advisers, consultants, and role models, and sometimes as critics where this facilitates the student's achievement of their own goals and objectives. Mentors ideally should have:

  • an enthusiasm for the subject area;
  • considerable experience and overall perspective in the subject area;
  • an interest in assisting young persons in developing their skills and awareness;
  • some ready communications skills to foster interaction in an informal setting; and
  • an awareness of any moral issues that pertain to the field of endeavour.

Finding Mentors

Although not normally paid, mentors can benefit from being involved in a mentoring relationship in terms of freshness and perspective. Mentors can be found from a wide range of sources, including:

  • from a school's parent body;
  • from other teaching staff;
  • from older students (including from secondary or tertiary institutions);
  • from local businesses and community arts bodies;
  • via professional bodies and associations in the area of interest; and
  • from ex-students of the school.

Some schools rely extensively on ex-students. This means that most of the mentors are well-known to members of the teaching staff. In some school districts there are centralised mentor schemes that schools can use (eg Mentor Links in the Sydney metropolitan regions).

Risk management

Clearly there are risks involved in linking students with mentors, especially when mentors may not be personally known to members of the teaching staff and the meetings take place other than at school premises. On the other hand it would be a pity if these risks preclude appropriate learning experiences for students.

These risks can be managed by:

  • seeking, where possible, mentors that are known to members of staff;
  • advising students and parents of the nature of the mentor program including that it may take place away from school;
  • asking parents to complete a release and indemnity document in regard to the mentor program;
  • asking parents to attend the first meeting between student and mentor and then to agree to the program proceeding;
  • providing mentors with simple guideline notes;
  • asking both the student and mentor to complete evaluations at the conclusion of the arrangement; and
  • allowing either the student or mentor to withdraw from the arrangement at any time.

Apart from common sense the essential principles are to ensure that all parties are fully informed and to ask that the parents or guardians make the decision to proceed and thereby take on the risk. From a parental viewpoint this is hardly unusual - parents frequently take risks in regard to activities as part of their children's broader education.





9/26/2016 - 9/30/2016

Independent Learning Strategies

An overview of the way independent learning strategies can be introduced into a school's educational strategies

INDEPENDENT LEARNING STRATEGIES facilitate parts of a differentiated curriculum.. Emphasis is placed on student negotiation and modification of tasks, and on students pursuing these tasks with greater independence.

This can be achieved by

  • preparing in advance options for the students to select as part of a unit's work (with options set at variable levels, involving different skills and appealing to different learning styles),
  • encouraging students to choose the option they felt was most relevant - with this involving teacher input to facilitate student awareness of the match between the options and the student's talents and needs,
  • encouraging students to suggest and pursue variations to the suggested options if they can present them as viable options to the teacher,
  • encouraging students to work in groups if appropriate to the task (and, where this is done, encouraging cooperative group skills),
  • encouraging students to seek out appropriate resources independently, and
  • encouraging students to seek out and utilise working environments conducive to the task (for example, the "recital performance" based task involved moving outside and the analytic discussion based option involved moving to another room or an "independent learning centre" - see below).

Independent learning strategies can be utilised with appropriate students in primaryor elementary schools as well as those in high schools.

Fostering students' independence in shaping their learning empowers them and increases the motivation and enthusiasm they bring to the process and to individual tasks. They become engaged in and responsible for their own education and this flows through to the way they view life as a whole.

Independent Learning Centres

An "independent learning centre" is a flexible space with appropriate resources where students can pursue independent projects or learning. Key elements of an "independent learning centre" (ILC) are:

  • a space for one or more groups or individuals to work in relative harmony (at higher discussion/noise levels than a library),
  • suitable furnishings and resources (tables, computers, sound equipment, lock-away spaces, etc) to encourage flexible and relatively spontaneous use,
  • a coordinator to handle ILC "bookings" and overall management,
  • a teacher roster (perhaps at half teacher loading, supplemented by appropriate parent volunteers) to allow for necessary supervision and, where appropriate, assistance - the coordinator may try to link students using the ILC with ILC rostered teachers and parents with appropriate skills (particularly with interdisciplinary projects), and
  • an understanding amongst the teaching staff that the ILC is there as a resource area for individuals or groups to flow into - this may develop over time.

Independent Learning Centres and other independent learning strategies can be utilised in primary as well as high schools.





9/19/2016 - 9/23/2016
Curriculum Differentiation

CURRICULUM DIFFERENTIATION is a broad term referring to the need to tailor teaching environments and practices to create appropriately different learning experiences for different students. Keirouz (1993) suggests typical procedures in the case of gifted and talented students include:

  • deleting already mastered material from existing curriculum,
  • adding new content, process, or product expectations to existing curriculum,
  • extending existing curriculum to provide enrichment activities,
  • providing course work for able students at an earlier age than usual, and
  • writing new units or courses that meet the needs of gifted students.

Maker's model of differentiated curriculum (Maker 1982a, 1982b, 1986) suggests that curriculum needs to be differentiated in terms of:

1. Learning environment: The aim is to create a learning environment which encourages students to engage their abilities to the greatest extent possible, including taking risks and building knowledge and skills in what they perceive as a safe, flexible environment. It should be:

  • student-centred - focusing on the student's interests, input and ideas rather than those of the teacher,
  • encouraging independence - tolerating and encouraging student initiative,
  • open - permitting new people, materials, ideas and things to enter and non-academic and interdisciplinary connections to be made,
  • accepting - encouraging acceptance of others' ideas and opinions before evaluating them,
  • complex - including a rich variety of resources, media, ideas, methods and tasks, and
  • highly mobile - encouraging movement in and out of groups, desk settings, classrooms, and schools.

2. Content modification: The aim is to remove the ceiling on what is learned, and use the student's abilities to build a richer, more diverse and efficiently organised knowledge base. This building can be facilitated by encouraging:

  • abstractness - with content shifting from facts, definitions and descriptions to concepts, relationships to key concepts, and generalisations,
  • complexity - with content shifting to inter-relationships rather than considering factors separately,
  • variety - with content expanding beyond material presented in the normal program,
  • study of people - including the study of individuals or peoples, and how they have reacted to various opportunities and problems, and
  • study of methods of inquiry - including procedures used by experts working in their fields.

3. Process modification: The aim is to promote creativity and higher level cognitive skills, and to encourage productive use and management of the knowledge the students have mastered. This can be facilitated by encouraging:

  • higher levels of thinking - involving cognitive challenge using Bloom's Taxonomy of Cognitive Processes (1984 - see Appendix A for brief details), logical problems, critical thinking and problem solving,
  • creative thinking - involving imagination, intuitive approaches and brainstorming techniques,
  • open-endedness - encouraging risk-taking and the response that is right for the student by stressing there is no one right answer,
  • group interaction - with highly able and motivated students sparking each other in the task, with this sometimes being on a competitive and sometimes on a cooperative basis (depending on the task and its objectives),
  • variable pacing - allowing students to move through lower order thinking more rapidly but allowing more time for students to respond fully on higher order thinking tasks,
  • variety of learning processes - accommodating different students' learning styles,
  • debriefing - encouraging students to be aware of and able to articulate their reasoning or conclusion to a problem or question, and
  • freedom of choice - involving students in evaluation of choices of topics, methods, products and environments.

4. Product modification: The aim is to facilitate opportunities for talented students to produce a product that reflects their potential. This can be encouraged by incorporating:

  • real problems - real and relevant to the student and the activity,
  • real audiences - utilising an "audience" that is appropriate for the product, which could include another student or group of students, a teacher (not necessarily the class teacher), an assembly, a mentor, a community or specific interest group,
  • real deadlines - encouraging time management skills and realistic planning,
  • transformations - involving original manipulation of information rather than regurgitation, and
  • appropriate evaluation - with the product and the process of its development being both self-evaluated and evaluated by the product's audience using previously established "real world" criteria that are appropriate for such products.

A number of management strategies that are often useful in implementing curriculum differentiation strategies include:

  • the use of contracts - allowing individualised and student negotiated programs and promoting the student's time-management skills and autonomy,
  • conferencing - allowing dedicated student negotiation and review, and
  • grouping strategies - facilitating children to work with "like minds" and encouraging group interaction (see separate notes on ability grouping).



9/12/2016 - 9/16/2016

Curriculum Compacting

An overview of the research into curriculum compacting as a educational strategy for schools

CURRICULUM COMPACTING "is the process of identifying learning objectives, pretesting students for prior mastery of these objectives, and eliminating needless teaching or practice if mastery can be documented" (Reis et al. 1992, p.10).

Curriculum compacting is increasingly being used in classrooms as part of teaching that is more precisely focused on student needs. The aim is to avoid wasting time and risking loss of motivation in teaching material that students have already mastered. The technique simultaneously generates the time needed for extension activities, independent projects, mentoring and similar educational strategies that are more appropriate for the students.

Research from the US suggests [1] that the difficulty level of textbooks has declined (Farr & Tulley 1985) with "new work" in mathematics texts only accounting for about half of the texts' content (Flanders 1987), [2] that most average late primary students can pass pretests on basal comprehension tests before the material is presented (Taylor & Frye 1988), [3] that eliminating up to 50% of the grade level curriculum for gifted students made no difference in achievement test results (Reis et al. 1992), and [4] that with minimal training teachers can effectively identify and eliminate already mastered material (Reis et al. 1992).

Curriculum compacting involves the following steps (Gibson 1993, Reis et al. 1992, Winebrenner 1992):

  • identifying the relevant learning objectives
  • finding or developing some means of assessing students' achievement of these objectives prior to instruction - important for teaching focus and accountability, pretests can often be found in textbooks
  • determining if all or only selected students should be pretested for possible curriculum compacting - any selection could be based on a wide range of factors covering general indications of both giftedness and subject-specific talent, it could also be voluntary with the purpose made clear to students
  • pretesting - the assessment should be detailed enough to indicate particular sub-areas of mastery and non-mastery, the concept of mastery relates to the defined learning objectives, and may be at a similar level to what would be considered "mastery" after instruction
  • eliminating practice and instruction in areas where students have achieved the learning objectives - generating time for these students to participate in or pursue enrichment or acceleration options
  • streamlining instruction of those sub-areas where students have indicated achievement of some of the learning objectives
  • offering acceleration and enrichment options - this challenging step involves teacher preparation and planning and can include: students working their way through the curriculum with teacher oversight, individual or small group research or hands-on projects, mentoring, etc.
  • keeping records - for both professional accountability and teacher ease of management, records can include both specially designed forms and student products and self-evaluation reports.





9/05/2016 - 9/09/2016

Ability Grouping Strategies

An overview of the research on the ability grouping educational strategy

GROUPING STRATEGIES based on ability are used in various forms in schools and classrooms world-wide, and are certain to arouse discussion, though this is less so in sports and musical areas. The tragic extremes of the debate are probably epitomized on the one hand by students "labeled" at enrolment to the point that their educational paths are fully determined, and on the other by students clearly in need of a particular educational program but denied it on the basis that all students, no matter how different they and their needs may be, should be provided with the "same education".

Beneath this often heated debate, the research provides strong support for ability grouping. Grouping on the basis of ability "with appropriate differentiated instruction" is clearly beneficial, not only to high ability students but also to average and low ability students (Allan 1991).

Grouping strategies can be usefully divided into categories.

1. Within-class ability grouping

Such groupings within mixed-ability classrooms clearly benefit students (Slavin 1986, Karweit 1984). Kulik and Kulik (1989) consider both those within-class ability grouping strategies designed for all students and those targeting only academically talented students. They find the former benefits all students to a small extent whilst the latter shows particularly strong advantage for academically talented students.

The problems of self-fulfilling "labelling" of students in terms of ability level can be minimised by:

  • avoiding conspicuous labelling altogether, allowing groups just to be groups with non-judgemental identifiers if identifiers are required,
  • adopting a student-centred approach to learning where expectations are student-initiated rather than teacher-imposed,
  • not setting group compositions in concrete, but allowing different students to enter and exit as appropriate, including a degree of self-selection and other broad identification procedures, and
  • facilitating different groups for different curriculum areas or units.

There are a multitude of different ways of devising and using ability groups depending on the teacher, class and subject area. They can range from teacher-nominated to those with large degrees of self-selection based on predetermined tasks with clearly different levels of ability and motivation required.

2. "Streaming" classes

Kulik (1985) found that students permanently streamed in classes based on ability slightly outperformed students in non-streamed classes, with the effect strongest in high ability classes, weaker (but still positive) in middle level classes and making no difference in low ability classes. Slavin (1986) found no significant positive or negative effects for such permanent streaming.

Looking solely at gifted and talented programs Kulik (1989) found these students performed significantly better than comparable students in mixed-ability classes.

The research is more uniformly supportive of ability class grouping for specific subject areas. This selective streaming is often applied in mathematics and/or language arts. Slavin (1986) suggests this can be particularly effective:

  • when it is done for only one or two subject areas,
  • when it reduces the range of subject skill levels in each group,
  • when the group composition is frequently reviewed, and
  • when teachers vary the teaching pace accordingly.

Kulik (1989) found selective streaming advantageous even without these constraints.



8/29/2016 - 9/02/2016

Explination of Gifted Categories

General intellectual ability or talent. Laypersons and educators alike usually define this in terms of a high intelligence test score--usually two
standard deviations above the mean--on individual or group measures. Parents and teachers often recognize students with general intellectual talent by their wide-ranging fund of general information and high levels of vocabulary, memory, abstract word knowledge, and abstract reasoning.

Specific academic aptitude or talent. Students with specific academic aptitudes are identified by their outstanding performance on an achievement or aptitude test in one area such as mathematics or language arts.

Creative and productive thinking. This is the ability to produce new ideas by bringing together elements usually thought of as independent or dissimilar and the aptitude for developing new meanings that have social value. Characteristics of creative and productive students include openness to experience, setting personal standards for evaluation, ability to play with ideas, willingness to take risks, preference for complexity, tolerance for ambiguity, positive self-image, and the ability to become submerged in a task.

Leadership ability. Leadership can be defined as the ability to direct individuals or groups to a common decision or action. Students who demonstrate giftedness in leadership ability use group skills and negotiate in difficult situations. Many teachers recognize leadership through a student's keen interest and skill in problem solving. Leadership characteristics include self-confidence, responsibility, cooperation, a tendency to dominate, and the ability to adapt readily to new situations.

Visual and performing arts. Gifted students with talent in the arts demonstrate special talents in visual art, music, dance, drama, or other related studies.

Psychomotor ability. This involves kinesthetic motor abilities such as practical, spatial, mechanical, and physical skills. It is seldom used as a criterion in gifted program.



8/08/2016 - 8/12/2016


* Provide an environment that allows the child to explore and play without undue restraints.
* Adapt to children's ideas rather than trying to structure the child's ideas to fit the adult's.
* Accept unusual ideas from children by suspending judgement of children's divergent problem-solving.
* Use creative problem-solving in all parts of the curriculum. Use the problems that naturally occur in everyday life.
* Allow time for the child to explore all possibilities, moving from popular to more original ideas.
* Emphasize process rather than product.

Adults can encourage creativity by emphasizing the generation and expression of ideas in a non-evaluative
framework and by concentrating on both divergent and convergent thinking. Adults can also try to ensure that
children have the opportunity and confidence to take risks, challenge assumptions, and see things in a new way.






8/08/2016 - 8/12/2016

Teaching Gifted Children: Ideas, Tips & Lesson Plans

Whether it is the beginning of a new school year or close to the end of the final semester, educators are always searching for information on new activities, lesson plans and projects for advanced learners. This guide is chock-full of information dedicated to advanced learners.

Identifying Advanced Learners

How do educators or parents identify advanced learners? Parents are usually the first to identify a learner of this nature. Children who can read at an early age, for instance, are more likely to be placed in classes for the gifted students. Within the public school system, there is a set procedure for assessing the ability of students. This guide to gifted and talented teaching resources begins with several articles that look at the various aspects of this question.

Supporting Advanced Learners

Unfortunately, in many states and school systems, the lack of funding has limited the access to classes for students termed, "gifted and talented." What happens when these students do not receive the support they need and deserve? Are there specific things teachers and parents can do to help students, even when gifted and talented programs are lacking or unavailable? What does the world gain when advanced learners are nurtured and supported?

Lessons Specifically for Advanced Learners

Educators, regardless of grade level, find it helpful to have lesson plans specifically created for students with exceptional abilities. This is especially true if the school system does not have programming for gifted and talented students. Lessons that capture advanced learners' imaginations, inspiring them to step out of their comfort zones to investigate, research, create, develop and produce assignments that are evidence of their best work are imperative. Here are some engaging lessons for the advanced learner.

Enrichment and Other Programs

Even if schools have classes specifically for advanced learners, parents and teachers might want to encourage participation in extracurricular enrichment programs, summer school/camp or other activities that will nurture the gifts and talents of their child or student. Check out these ideas for enriching the gifts and talents of advanced learners.

Issues and Problems

Advanced learners often have problems that other students do not have, simply because they are so bright. Both parents and teachers find it difficult to deal with the advanced learner's restlessness in the classroom when they become bored as well as their feelings of inadequacy because their peers tease them. The following articles offer information on these issues.

Assessing Advanced Learners

Assessing a student with exceptional talents can sometimes be difficult, simply because they score off the rubric. Developing various means of assessing, other than standardized testing, helps give both the student and the teacher a clear idea of progress gained.

Other Tips and Ideas

Methods and strategies for teaching vary across the curriculum, within the school district and around the world. No one way is best. Therefore, learning various ways to teach and prepare lessons is extremely helpful to educators, especially when teaching advanced learners. Here are a variety of different tips and ideas to add to your "bag of tricks."