NRC/GT Destination: So Near and So Far

Fall 1992 Masthead

E. Jean Gubbins
The University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT

The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented is now in its third year of operation. It is hard to believe that we are on the “crest” of the five-year research grant to conduct theory-driven studies with practical applications. In the spring of 1991, Joe Renzulli, Director of the NRC/GT, wrote an article for Gifted Child Quarterly entitled “The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented: The Dream, the Design, and the Destination.” I can still recall the day he was working on the article. He called out over the transom in our old office asking for a ‘d’ word to round out the title. Destination was it! Well, we are beginning to realize our destination. In June of 1990, we initiated seven large scale research studies. Since our national needs assessment, we have designed twelve more. A consortium of four universities and a network of thousands of teachers, administrators, parents, and students are making it possible to carry-out nineteen research studies.

We are now in the process of finalizing the technical reports for several year long studies at The University of Connecticut. The initial results were highlighted in the March 1992 NRC/GT Newsletter. We will let you know when the technical reports for the following studies will be available to the public:

National Needs Assessment Study
   Joseph S. Renzulli
   Brian D. Reid
   E. Jean Gubbins

Curriculum Compacting Study
   Sally M. Reis

Classroom Practices Survey
   Francis X. Archambault

Classroom Practices Observation Study
   Karen L. Westberg

All the NRC/GT researchers are involved in implementing new studies for 1992-93 which are based on the results of the national needs assessment. The research will focus on the high school experiences of bright students in urban environments, successful classroom practices with an emphasis on teaching thinking skills, program performance of students identified using alternative criteria, staff development, preservice teacher preparation, and social and emotional adjustment of gifted students. The timeline for each study varies from one year to three years. As the research evidence accumulates, we will share it with you. Abstracts of the new studies and the continuation studies are highlighted in this newsletter.

While the research studies are being conducted by The University of Connecticut, University of Georgia, University of Virginia, and Yale University, we have been working with several Content Area Consultant Bank members on our Research-Based Decision Making Series. Five monographs have been published and others are being reviewed. The following research summary points from the series may be of interest to you:

Gifted and talented students should be given experiences involving a variety of appropriate acceleration-based options.

Grouping Practices
Karen B. Rogers


Bright, average, and slow youngsters profit from grouping programs that adjust the curriculum to the aptitude levels of the groups. Schools should try to use ability grouping in this way.

Ability Grouping
James A. Kulik


If a school is committed to cooperative learning, student achievement disparities within the group should not be too severe.

Cooperative Learning
Ann Robinson


Some indirect evidence exists that labeling a child gifted would have a positive impact on self-esteem, but direct evidence is lacking.

Robert D. Hoge & Joseph S. Renzulli


Identification of artistically gifted and talented students should be based upon attention to student potential and work in progress, as well as final performance and products.

Identification in the Arts
Gilbert Clark & Enid Zimmerman

Thousands of copies of these monographs have been disseminated to people. We are also very fortunate that several newsletters have reprinted the executive summaries for their own subscribers, which furthers our ability to “get the word out.” One newsletter reprinted the executive summary on Grouping Practices by Karen Rogers and sent it to 15,000 people!

Moving toward our destination would definitely not be possible without our Collaborative School Districts (CSD) and the cooperation of the state and territorial departments of education consultants. Our CSD network has reached 305 districts throughout the country.

Working with Collaborative School Districts and state and territorial departments of education consultants provides a “reality check” for all of our research. Research can be complex and mystifying at times; it can also be demystified. We are asking the questions that practitioners wanted answered and moving ahead with our research agenda. Look for the highlights of research studies conducted in 1991-92 in our next newsletter.


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