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The State of the Art of G ifted Education

The State of the Art of G ifted Education

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The State of the Art of G ifted Education

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  1. The State of the Art of Gifted Education Joyce VanTassel-Baska, College of William and Mary National Science Board August 24, 2009 Washington DC

  2. Outline of presentation • The general educational landscape • The intersections with gifted education • Research on giftedness and talent development • Applications to policy and practice • Special issues and problems

  3. The Educational Landscape of Schools • Content standards have been reduced to lower level skill attainment in many states. • Instruction is driven by the use of low level materials implemented with rigidity to prepare for state assessments. • Equity and excellence are still viewed as dichotomies. • Individual differences are obscured by group norms. • Little teaching of science, social studies or the arts occurs.

  4. What’s wrong with this picture? • Discouragement of innovation/experimentation in teaching practices, • Attention focused on a few students who may make AYP, • Students losing valuable instructional time in unchallenging curriculum dominated by reading, • A climate of fear for teachers and principals with little reward, less so in our current economy.

  5. How are gifted students faring in this climate? • Languid performance on NAEP across the last ten year period (Loveless, 2008) • Lack of attention from teachers (Farkas & Duckett, 2008) • Little differentiation of curriculum or instruction being actualized (Westberg et al, 1993, 2004) • Gifted services have been cut or curtailed in many states. (State of the States, 2006-7) • US students lag in advanced math and science course-taking and achievement (TIMMS, 1995)

  6. Shared concerns • Challenging curriculum, instruction, and assessment • Teacher quality • International competitiveness • Working with students from poverty

  7. Research on giftedness and talent development What do we know?

  8. Gagne’s Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent INTRAPERSONAL CATALYSTS PERSONALITY Autonomy Self-Confidence Self Esteem, etc. MOTIVATION Initiative Interests Persistence GIFTEDNESS Aptitude Domains Intellectual { Creative { Socioaffective { Sensorimotor { Others { TALENT Fields of Talent (sample) Arts Athletics & Sports Business & Commerce Communications Crafts & Trades Education Health Services Science & Technology Transportation ___ ___ ___ Learning/Training/Practice ___ ___ ___ SIGNIFICANT FACTORS Persons Places Interventions Events Chance ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ENVIRONMENTAL CATALYSTS

  9. A System for Talent Development (Stanley, 1985)

  10. Talent Search Findings • Younger students can perform at levels comparable to older students in a shorter amount of time in areas of strong aptitude (Stanley, 1976; Olszewski-Kubilius , 1998; Colangelo , Assouline & Gross, 2004). • Accelerative, short term, and intensive learning experiences are retained well by gifted learners and allow them to advance academically in math, science, the humanities and social science coursework (Lynch, 1992; Stanley et al. 1991; Stocking & Goldstein, 1992; Swiatek , 2007). • Scoring in the top 1% of students in ability on the SAT at middle school and accelerating one’s studies predicts creative achievement over 30 years later, career tilt, and areas of accomplishment (Wai, Lubinski & Benbow,2009; Lubinski , 2009).

  11. The Talent Development Process (Insight from Bloom, 1985) • Early exposure to the field • Right teacher at the right time (romance, rigor, master) • Role of schools as facilitative or blocking (not directly nurturing) • Progressive development characterized by high standards, much time and much hard work • Role of home environment in developing work ethic and sense of excellence (parental modeling)

  12. Adolescent Talent Development Csikszentmihalyi, 1993 • Talented students have personality traits conducive to concentration (e.g., achievement and endurance) as well as to being open to experience (e.g., awareness, or sentience, and understanding) • Families providing both support and challenge enhance the development of talent. • Talented teenagers liked teachers best who were supportive and modeled enjoyable involvement in a field.

  13. Eminence Literature • Early exposure to like-minded children and adults is propitious for talent development (Cox, 1926; Simonton, 2000) • Serious study with a tutor/mentor/coach followed by intensive practice over time leads to high performance in selected domains (Bloom, 1985; Gardner, 2004; Ericcson, 2007) • Psychological states and habits of mind positively or negatively impact the talent development process (Csiksenmihalyi, 2000; Oschle, 2000; Dweck, 2007).

  14. Program and Instructional Findings • Enhanced use of critical and creative thinking and student-centered work produces higher academic achievement for gifted students across years (Moon & Feldhusen, 1994; Delcourt, 1994; VanTassel-Baska et al., 2004). • Compacting and grouping studies continue to suggest the benefits of both approaches (Rogers, 2007; Reis et al, 1998; Gentry & Owen, 1999).

  15. Instructional Studies cont. • Using instructional approaches that match aptitudes produces stronger learning effects for the gifted (Rogers, 2007; Sternberg, 2006) • Using inquiry-based approaches to learning enhances both motivation and achievement (Gallagher, Stepien & Rosenthal, 1992; VanTassel-Baska et al., 1998)

  16. Studies of Scientific Talent Development • Early models and mentors • Challenging school programs and opportunities • Competitions • Collaborators • Access to science resources • Internal curiosity, commitment, and spirit of creativity --Subotnik et al, 1993; Simonton, 1992; Feiss, 2004

  17. Student IBO Quotes Advice to those who wanted to pursue a career in science or math: • Get in on all the contests you can; it’ll teach you what you’re good at and where your limits are. And we do all have limits, and that’s okay, so don’t panic if you don’t win them all. And don’t forget to have fun, either. • Take as many advanced classes as you can as early as possible; don’t listen to others when they try to tell you what you can and cannot do. Try to earn recognition in science, competitions, and seize any research opportunity you can find. If you get discouraged because your school’s scientific community is a community of one, seek refuge in your studies until you can find peers you identify with, but never compromise who you are to fit in with your school community. • Seize your own opportunities—create a niche for yourself and above all, Do Not let the dogma of the educational system encumber your interests, talent, and dreams.

  18. Student IBO Quotes Cite the factors that most inhibited the development of your science talent: • Inability to accelerate, parents believe more in having fun than in working hard, advanced courses unavailable before high school, no opportunity for me to do extensive research near home. • The elementary schools gifted program consciously avoided any accelerated learning. When I was young, I connected the idea of school less with learning than with laborious projects that must be meticulously colored in.

  19. Implications for Future Research: What don’t we know? • What doses of intervention (intensity) are necessary for gifted learners to thrive in a school learning context? • How late can interventions occur and still have an important impact on life trajectory? • What combination of interventions is most propitious for the gifted at differential stages of development?

  20. Applications of Researchto Policy and Practice Between the idea and the reality falls the shadow. --T.S.Eliot

  21. State Policy Components: A Patchwork Quilt • Only 18 states have an endorsement or certification for teachers of the gifted. • Only half the states have a fulltime person working in gifted education. • Only a handful of states include a policy on acceleration as part of their service delivery mechanisms. • Only a few states include special provisions for the identification and service of students from low income backgrounds. • State of the States, 2006-2007

  22. Other State Policies that may benefit the gifted • Advanced Placement • Dual enrollment • Waivers for coursework • Testing out

  23. Need for Coherent Systems • School systems that align all facets of the school (e.g., finance, curriculum, instruction, decision-making) produce higher achievement gains among students (Hoy & Miskel, 2001). • Systems of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development must work together to enhance achievement (Clune, 1993; Ball & Cohen, 2000; McLaughlin & Mitra, 2001).

  24. Professional development study findings • Little intensive time is committed to the professional development of teachers (2 days per year on average in their specialty area) • Professional development is often not related to other aspects of the instructional system. • Lack of follow-up at the school and classroom level hinders teacher change in practices. --Stanford and NSDC Report, 2009

  25. How People Learn • New knowledge is constructed based on existing conceptions and beliefs • Usable knowledge is connected and organized around important concepts that support transfer of learning • The use of deliberate learning strategies to scaffold instruction - National Research Council, 2000

  26. Research-based Models in Practice • Using concept maps • Articulation of thinking • Promoting higher level thinking • Making connections • Using metacognition Source: William and Mary curriculum units of study, 1996-2009

  27. Strategies for Aligning Curriculum for the Gifted with Content Standards

  28. What do We Know about Curriculum for High End Learning? • Coherence in design is necessary (blueprint). • Tryouts and pilots are critical. • Providing training directly on materials helps implementation. • Use of cognitive learning models helps students internalize higher level thinking. • Fidelity of implementation is essential to assess an innovation. • Differentiated curriculum and instruction matter! --VanTassel-Baska, 2008

  29. Implementation problems • Fidelity • Lack of sufficient and consistent professional development • Teacher knowledge and skills in content pedagogy • Leadership • Sustained innovation

  30. What is Differentiated Curriculum for the Gifted in the Context of Standards? Features: • Acceleration • Complexity • Depth • Creativity

  31. Goal of assessment-driven instruction: To raise the mean for all and the variance for top students Student A Proficient Student B We must expect progress for all students.

  32. Authentic assessment approaches for the gifted • Off-level testing with high ceiling • Performance-based assessment • Portfolio of work

  33. Self Perception as a Filter to Adult Achievement Adult Creative Productivity Educational Attainment Occupational Attainment Self Perception Self Perception Self Perception

  34. Life Trajectories • High achieving students from poverty less likely to graduate and go on to college or graduate school than more advantaged counterparts. • Students from poverty more likely to choose careers commensurate with background rather than ability or achievement. --The Achievement Trap, 2007

  35. Promising Identification Approaches with Gifted At-Risk Learners • Traditional measures (ability and achievement) • Non-traditional measures (nonverbal tests and performance-based assessment) • Nomination by knowledgeable community members (e.g. pediatrician, social worker) • Use of individual profile data

  36. Key Services for PromisingLow Income/Minority Students • Early identification and nurturance • Personalized Learning • Tutoring, mentoring, counseling • Value-added Learning Opportunities • Extended time, out-of-school opportunities • Family Involvement • Access to intellectual, cultural, and social capital

  37. Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence. – Abigail Adams

  38. Center for Gifted EducationSchool of EducationThe College of William & Mary Joyce VanTassel-Baska, Ed.D. Professor Emerita 427 Scotland Street Williamsburg, VA. 23185 (757)221-2362