Gilbert A. Clark
The major purpose of a visual arts program for artistically gifted and talented students is to bring students together with high interests and abilities in art in ways that will broaden and deepen their knowledge about art, sharpen their art skills, and offer them learning opportunities rarely found in a regular art classroom setting. There is considerable research about programming opportunities for gifted and talented students with high academic abilities. There is a paucity of research, however, about program options for artistically gifted and talented students. Some surveys, case studies, and program evaluation studies about students gifted and talented in the arts are reported in relation to ability grouping and acceleration options for students. Before large-scale research might begin, however, there are many definitional and semantic problems in relation to programming options for gifted and talented arts students that need to be clarified. Many writers have proposed different categories and definitions of programming opportunities for gifted and talented students currently offered by schools across the country. Based on a review of the literature of gifted and talented education, and of art education, categories of mixed-ability grouping, ability grouping, and acceleration as programming opportunities for gifted and talented visual arts students are generated. Examples of programming opportunities in each of these categories are offered.
Four national surveys of programs for students with high abilities in the visual and performing arts are reported that offer some descriptive, demographic baseline data. The work of gifted and talented students with precocious abilities in the visual arts also is reported in eight contemporary case studies and these offer a baseline from which future case studies can be contrasted and compared. In addition, research about the effectiveness of ten program options for students gifted and talented in the arts offers a beginning from which other evaluation studies can be compared.
It is concluded that there is no foundation of research findings on which to conduct meta-analysis about programming opportunities for students gifted and talented in the visual arts. There is an obvious need for such a foundation and six recommendations are made to help rectify this situation.
Programming Opportunities for Students Gifted and Talented in the Visual Arts
Gilbert A. Clark
- There should be development of some agreed upon vocabulary of terms relative to programming opportunities for the education of students with high abilities in the visual arts.
- Research should be conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of programming options such as mixed-ability grouping, ability grouping, and acceleration as applied to students gifted and talented in the visual arts.
- Universities and colleges and private, federal, and state agencies should be encouraged to support ongoing, large-scale survey research to address demographic issues about the nature of programming opportunities for high ability arts students, including size, purpose, design, selection, curriculum, funding, time allotments, and arts-related experiences being offered.
- Evaluation studies need to be conducted, and results compared and contrasted, with respect to specific program options within mixed-ability grouping, ability grouping, and acceleration programs to help identify the most efficient and effective options appropriate to various contexts and diverse populations of students who are artistically gifted and talented.
- More individual case studies, and the initiation of longitudinal research about large populations, are needed to create a basis for understanding which educational interventions are best suited for students with high abilities in the visual arts.
- Authors of reports that include evaluation of programming opportunities for students with high abilities in the visual arts should adopt a standard practice of reporting a program’s weaknesses, as well as its strengths, and such evaluations to be conducted, using authentic as well as standard measures, by persons not directly associated to the program being assessed.