Program Models, Structures, and Organizations
Administrative and Curricular
- For decades, enrichment, acceleration, and grouping have been used in various forms as administrative and curricular modifications to provide appropriate educational opportunities for gifted and talented learners at school.
- The evidence is clear that none of these modifications should be used alone in programming and in curriculum models designed for gifted learners.
- Enrichment is the modification most used in programs for gifted and talented learners at both the elementary and the secondary levels.
- Enrichment can refer to adding disciplines or areas of learning not normally found in the regular curriculum, using more advanced or in-depth material to enhance the core curriculum, or expanding the teaching strategies used to present instruction.
- However acceleration is implemented, it usually results in a student’s completion of formal schooling in less time than is typically required.
- Since the early use of acceleration by Terman in 1947, research has been almost uniformly positive in its results.
- Grouping alone is insufficient to have significant effects on achievement. The curriculum content and processes must also be modified so as to be more appropriate to gifted learners.
- Clustering gifted learners in an elementary classroom and differentiating their instruction in order to provide appropriate education constitute a grouping option that is growing in popularity.
- Clustering can work well for moderately gifted learners only if differentiation, flexible grouping, continuous progress, intellectual peer interaction, continuity, and informed teachers are provided.
- Gifted students in heterogeneously grouped classes may too often be asked to demonstrate mastery of fact-based information that was mastered years before. Such practices may result in mediocre performance by them and lack of challenge in their learning.
- Research on homogeneous grouping for high-ability students shows a significant positive effect on their academic achievement, allowing them to achieve significantly better than when placed in heterogeneously grouped classes.
- The use of gifted students as teachers’ aides, demonstrators, tutors, or record keepers for a good part of the school day prevents appropriate education for them and healthy social interactions with their classmates.
- Grouping in any form does not overcome poor teaching or an inappropriate curriculum, but without grouping, we can limit the effects of good teaching and the delivery of an appropriate curriculum.
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