Marcia Boatright Imbeau
The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
High ability students frequently spend time in school completing assignments they have already learned because teachers too often follow an outline prescribed by textbooks without regard to students’ capabilities or previous mastery. Curriculum compacting exists to assist teachers with a strategy to provide students with an appropriate and challenging curriculum. The purpose of this recent research was to determine the combination of teacher variables and staff development strategies that influence teachers’ use of curriculum compacting. Teachers’ attitudes toward making curricular modifications was the dependent measure in the study. The influence of the years of teaching experience, graduate gifted education credits, and training with follow-up activities was also examined.
A quasi-experimental design (non-equivalent control group) was used to examine three different treatment groups and one control group of teachers. One hundred and sixty-six teachers representing grade levels 1-12 within a large, urban school district comprised the sample. Teachers in the control group did not receive any training or follow-up assistance. Teachers in the treatment groups received a full day of inservice training by the researcher and different types of follow-up assistance during the second semester of the school year. Follow-up assistance involved contact with the researcher to provide technical assistance and encouragement for Group 1, teacher to teacher coaching (peer coaching) for Group 2, and district program specialists coaching (district coach) for Group 3.
Statistical analyses were used to examine the manner and the degree to which the following variables affect teachers’ attitudes toward curriculum compacting:
- number of years teaching experience,
- number of graduate gifted education credits,
- ratings of compactors,
- pretest attitude scores, and
- group membership.
The results indicated that peer coaching (Group 2) had a positive affect on teachers’ attitudes toward making curriculum modifications.