Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM)

The Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) (Renzulli, 1977; Renzulli & Reis, 1985, 1997) is widely implemented as an enrichment program used with academically gifted and talented students and a magnet theme/enrichment approach for all schools interested in high-end learning and developing the strengths and talents of all students. The major goal of the SEM is the application of gifted education pedagogy to total school improvement. The SEM provides enriched learning experiences and higher learning standards for all children through three goals; developing talents in all children, providing a broad range of advanced-level enrichment experiences for all students, and providing advanced follow-up opportunities for young people based on their strengths and interests. The SEM focuses on enrichment for all students through high levels of engagement and the use of enjoyable and challenging learning experiences that are constructed around students' interests, learning styles, and preferred modes of expression.

Separate studies on the SEM have demonstrated its effectiveness in schools with widely differing socioeconomic levels and patterns of program organization. Information about this research is provided at this web site. The SEM has been implemented in over 2,500 schools across the country and programs using this approach have been widely implemented internationally. The effectiveness of the model has been studied in over 20 years of research and field-testing about: (a) the effectiveness of the model as perceived by key groups, such as principals, teachers, students, and parents; (b) research related to student creative productivity; (c) research relating to personal and social development; (d) the use of SEM with culturally diverse or special needs populations; (e) research on student self-efficacy; (f) the use of SEM as a curricular framework; (g) research relating to learning styles and curriculum compacting; and (h) longitudinal research on the SEM.

This research on the SEM suggests that the model is effective at serving high-ability students in a variety of educational settings and in schools serving diverse ethnic and socioeconomic populations. These studies also suggest that the pedagogy of the SEM can be applied to various content areas resulting in higher achievement when implemented in a wide variety of settings, and when used with diverse populations of students including high ability students with learning disabilities and underachievers.

The most recent research on the SEM has focused on the application of instructional communication technology to enrichment learning and teaching. Information about this Internet based application of the SEM can be found at Individual computer generated student profiles are used as the basis for matching personalized resources from a data bank that contains thousands of carefully selected enrichment resources. These resources and students' electronic portfolios can be used for curriculum planning, differentiating instruction, and individual and small group project based learning.