Programming Options and Instructional Strategies (page 4)
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.
- Colangelo, N., Assouline, S. G., & Gross, M. U. M. (2004). A nation deceived: How schools hold back America's Students: The Templeton National Report on Acceleration. Iowa City, IA: Belin-Blank Center. (Volumes 1 and 2).
- Southern, T. & Jones, E. (Eds.) (1991). The academic acceleration of gifted children, New York, NY: Teachers’ College Press.
- VanTassel-Baska, J. (2004). The acceleration of gifted students’ programs and curricula. In Karnes, F. A. & Stephens, K. R. (eds.) fastback series, Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.
- National Association for Gifted Children's Position Statement on Acceleration
Differentiation- the modification of instruction based on a student's academic needs. The content, process, product, or learning environment can be modified to address the needs of the learner. Some common differentiation strategies include:
- Tiered Assignments- assignments within the same lesson plan which are structured at varied levels of complexity, depth and abstractness to meet the need of students with diverse abilities.
- Learning Contracts- give students freedom to plan their time and yet provide guidelines for completing work responsibly.
- 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.
- Flexible Pacing- students are allowed to work at the level most appropriate to their abilities.
- Self-Directed Learning- students make decisions about what they would like to learn, set goals and assume responsibility for completing their work, resolve problems that arise during the experience, and evaluate their own work.
- Learning Centers- a designated area or portable center designed to enrich a student’s interest in a given content area. These centers can supplement curriculum covered in the classroom, as well as provide information on a variety of topics not formally covered.
- Problem-Based Learning- type of problem solving in which students are presented with an "ill-structured" problem that resembles a real-life situation. Students are responsible for identifying additional data and resources that they need and for deciding how to present their findings and demonstrate their learning.
- Seminars- a small groups of students meet to learn more about topics that are not covered in the regular classroom or to expand on a topic that they have learned about in class.
- Berger, S. L. (1991). Differentiating curriculum for gifted students. ERIC Digest #E510.
- Tomlinson, C. (1995). How to differentiate instruction in mixed- ability classrooms. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
- National Association for Gifted Children's Position Paper on Differentiation
Enrichment- provides students with experiences in regular classrooms that are additional or supplemental to the established curriculum. The enrichment experiences are planned with students’ particular needs and abilities in mind. Some common enrichment strategies include:
- Academic Competitions- provide opportunities for the growth and development of a variety of skills (i.e. creative problem solving, critical thinking, communication, leadership, etc.) in an array of academic areas.
- Independent Study- an individual, in-depth study of a topic. Students usually work with a teacher or other adult to set an appropriate pace for covering work in the subject.
- Learning or Interest Centers- a designated area or portable center designed to enrich a student’s interest in a given content area. These centers can supplement curriculum covered in the classroom, as well as provide information on a variety of topics not formally covered.
- Field Trips- a group excursion that extends learning beyond the classroom into the community allowing students to engage in firsthand observation and experimentation.
- Mentorships- an enrichment program that pairs an individual student with someone who has advanced skills and experiences in a particular discipline. This mentor can serve as an advisor, counselor, and role model to the student.
- Summer and Weekend Programs- enrichmentclasses or courses during the summer months. Such programs are often available through colleges and universities as well as public and private organizations
- Roberts, J. (2004). Enrichment opportunities for gifted learners. In Karnes, F. A. & Stephens, K. R. (eds.) fastback series, Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.
International Baccalaureate Programme- a nonprofit educational foundation based in Switzerland which offers advanced curricular options for students in the final two years of secondary school, for students in the 11-16 age range, and for students aged 3 to 12 years.
Pull-Out Program- students are "pulled-out" of the general education classroom and a gifted education specialist facilitates instruction and special studies based on ability and interests to a group of identified students.
Special Schools- Specialized schools for high ability students, usually with a specific focus (e.g., performing arts and/or science, magnet schools, or schools within schools).
Reprinted with the permission of Duke University. © 2008 Duke University Talent Identification Program.
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