Programming Options and Instructional Strategies
A variety of methods can be used to address the educational needs of gifted students, and it is important to match the child to the program. Ideally, a school should offer a continuum of services, or an array of services that vary in types and intensity. Services should address different learning styles, learning paces, and levels of content. Descriptions of programming options are typically offered for gifted students with references to supporting research.
Ability Grouping- the flexible regrouping of students based on individual instructional needs.
- Kulik, J. A. (1992). An analysis of the research on ability grouping: Historical and contemporary perspectives (RBDM 9204). Storrs, CT: University of Connecticut, The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented.
- Rogers, K. B. (1991). The relationship of grouping practices to the education of the gifted and talented learner (RBDM 9102). Storrs, CT: University of Connecticut, The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented.National Association for Gifted Children’s Position Paper on Ability Grouping (http://www.nagc.org/policy/pp_ability_grouping.pdf)
Cluster Grouping- the placement of a group of similar-ability students in a regular classroom for all of or a portion of their day.
- Cluster Grouping of Gifted Students: How to Provide Full-Time Services on a Part-Time Budget by Susan Winebrenner and Barbara Devlin, ERIC EC Digest #E607.
- Gentry, M. L. (1999). Promoting Student Achievement and Exemplary Classroom Practices Through Cluster Grouping: A Research-Based Alternative to Heterogeneous Elementary Classrooms (RM99138). Storrs, CT: The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, University of Connecticut.
Acceleration- the process of allowing high-ability students to progress through school curriculum at a rate faster than the average. These students are able to cover the same amount of material, with the same degree of understanding as students in a regular classroom setting, but in a shorter time frame. Some common acceleration strategies used in schools include:
- Advanced Placement (AP)- students have the opportunity to complete college level coursework and earn college credit through examination while still in high school. Visit the College Board’s AP site <www.apcentral.collegeboard.com>.
- Continuous Progress Curriculum (Flexible Pacing)- the content and pacing of curriculum and instruction are matched to the student’s abilities and needs. Students are pre-tested and begin learning right where they are ready. Students are able to advance as they master the curriculum.
- Concurrent or Dual Enrollment- students are enrolled in elementary school and middle school or middle school and high school, or high school and college simultaneously.
- Curriculum Compacting- allows highly able students to “compact” or eliminate material already mastered from the curriculum, thus allowing them to complete subject material in a shorter time span. The time that is freed by compacting can be used for more challenging learning opportunities.
- Early Entrance- students enter school (i.e., kindergarten or college) earlier than is expected.
- Grade Advancement or “Skipping”- occurs when a student advances into a new grade that is at least one grade beyond the next in sequence, also known as double promotion or grade skipping; for example, a third grader who begins fifth grade without entering the fourth. This option is probably the most controversial way of meeting the needs of high ability students.
- Subject Acceleration- taking a course earlier than is typical. For example, a third-grade student advanced in reading may join a fifth-grade class for reading instruction.
Reprinted with the permission of Duke University. © 2008 Duke University Talent Identification Program.
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