E. Jean Gubbins
The University of Connecticut
We have had a wonderful response to our work at The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. All our contacts with the Collaborative School Districts, Consultant Bank members, State Directors of Programs for the Gifted and Talented, National Research Center Advisory Council, and State Parent and Teacher Organizations have been very positive. You have all helped us to get the word out about our research studies through newsletters, personal communications, and conferences. We have received copies of newsletters from around the country highlighting specific findings from Year 1 studies. Thanks to all of you for helping us maintain such an extensive dissemination plan.
Further updates of several Year 1 studies are the focus of this newsletter. You will learn more about:
- Regular Classroom Practices with Gifted Students: Findings from the Classroom Practices Survey
- The Classroom Practices Study: Observational Findings
- The Curriculum Compacting Study
- Investigations into Instruments and Designs Used in the Identification of Gifted Students and the Evaluation of Gifted Programs
- The Learning Outcomes Study
- A Theory-Based Approach to Identification, Teaching, and Evaluation of the Gifted
The University of Connecticut Research Site, under the direction of Dr. Francis X. Archambault, was responsible for implementing studies 1-3. On January 27, 1992, we held a press conference to announce the results of these studies and received extensive local, state, and national newspaper, radio, and television press coverage. The studies have generated considerable interest and the follow-up requests for more information on curriculum compacting and classroom practices have been extensive. We have been mailing information daily and returning numerous phone calls.
In addition to the 14 studies being conducted over the past two years at the Research Center, we have been working on the commissioned papers from the Research-Based Decision Making Series. The paper by Dr. Karen Rogers on The Relationship of Grouping Practices to the Education of the Gifted and Talented Learner has been well received. Orders for the executive summary and full-length paper are filled daily. In several instances, the findings from the paper have been used as the basis for other articles such as one by Lee Wolf, Iowa Department of Education, entitled Grouping and the Gifted: A More Thoughtful Look in the Iowa Talented and Gifted Newsletter (January 1992). One comment by Wolf that is quotable is: “Doing away with gifted education programs because tracking is detrimental to less able students is making too much soup from one carrot.”
Look for announcements in this newsletter for other papers in the Research-Based Decision Making Series on ability grouping by Dr. James Kulik, cooperative learning by Dr. Ann Robinson, and self-concept by Dr. Robert Hoge and Dr. Joseph Renzulli. The information in these papers will help you build a strong case for creating, maintaining, or expanding programs for students with special gifts and talents.
One “small” study that we are now implementing with our Collaborative School Districts and Consultant Bank members that extends the scope of our present NRC/GT research agenda is known as Assumptions Underlying the Identification of Gifted and Talented Students. This study is an opportunity to involve our contacts in the role of “teachers as researchers.” The contact persons are working with a sampling plan to obtain responses from teachers, parents, and administrators on survey items on identification—a topic that is often debated and always a concern when you begin to outline program plans. We have received hundreds of responses from over 30 states and 1 territory on items focusing on testing, student background, non-intellectual factors, and case study data. If you have not returned your surveys, there is still time.
The Collaborative School District network continues to expand. As of February 1, 1992, there are 283 districts involved with the Research Center. Welcome aboard goes out to:
Weston Public Schools, Weston, CT
Harford County Schools, Bel Air, MD
Hardin Public Schools, Hardin, MT
Contoocook Valley, SAU #1, Peterborough, NH
Eastern Camden County Schools, Vorhees, NJ
Lincoln School District, Lincoln, RI
Custer School District #1, Custer, SD
Once again, we would like to invite readers to submit articles for the NRCIGT Newsletter in three areas: Commentary, Just Off the Press, and Research in Progress. We would be happy to review your work. One article that appeared in the June 1991 newsletter by Linda L. Manwill entitled Talented and Gifted Education in Rural Alaska: A Universal Model became the focus of another article in The New Republic (December 16, 1991). Therefore, your submissions will reach 4,000 readers of the NRC/GT Newsletter and possibly thousands more around the country. Send your submissions to:
The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented
The University of Connecticut
362 Fairfield Road, U-7
Storrs, CT 06269-2007