The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented (NRC/GT)

The National Research Center on Gifted and Talented (NRC/GT) current 5-year research plan will lead to empirical and descriptive understandings of "what works in gifted education." This plan requires the integrated study of identification systems, model-based curricula in reading and math, and assessments. The focus of the research study will be to: (a) extend and enhance prior studies by developing a defensible identification system; (b) analyze the effects of curricular units in reading and math on students identified using traditional and expanded criteria; and (c) measure outcomes using extended standards-based assessments, structured performance assessments, or standardized achievement measures. An identification system will be created to be responsive to students from across all cultural groups and from all socioeconomic groups. In the spring of 2008, a talent pool of grade 2 students will be identified using the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, Cognitive Abilities Test, and teacher rating scales. This talent pool, as well as their classmates, will participate in the math or reading curriculum (randomly assigned at the school level) in grade 3 (2008-2009 academic year). In the spring of 2009, a second group of grade 2 students will be identified using the same criteria, and they will participate in the reading or math curriculum along with their classmates during the 2009-2010 academic year.

Model-based curricula in reading will reflect the following instructional/curricular models: (1) Differentiation of Instruction Model, (Carol Ann Tomlinson); (2) Depth and Complexity Model (Sandra N. Kaplan), and (3) Schoolwide Enrichment Model (Joseph S. Renzulli and Sally M. Reis). State directors of gifted education, representatives from state and national organizations, and developers of instructional/curricular models will nominate a national sample of districts implementing gifted and talented programs. Schools will be selected representing rural, suburban, and urban schools of varying socioeconomic levels with diverse populations.

Two sets of outcome measures will be developed collaboratively with panels of experts from state departments of education and other assessment and content experts. The first set of measures will extend existing state standards and assessments to reflect expectations for advanced levels of achievement in reading and math. The second set of measures will be performance-based measures of investigative and problem-solving skills. Students will be assessed on all measures at the end of grade 3 (group 1-2009; group 2-2010). Multi-level modeling techniques will be applied to the assessment of all quantitative outcomes. On-site qualitative data collection will document fidelity of the instructional/curricular models and student and teacher reactions to identification and programming procedures.

Since 1990, theory-based models of identification, alternative assessment, programming, evaluation, professional development, curriculum, and intelligence have been the hallmarks of our quantitative and qualitative research portfolio. Our new research agenda addresses questions such as the following:

  1. Does expanding the identification criteria result in the identification of a greater number of students from under-represented groups (Black and Latino/a students; students with identified abilities and disabilities, and students from economically disadvantaged communities) than traditional identification criteria?
  2. Do identified students [traditionally identified and those identified using non-traditional criteria] who receive the model-based curriculum outperform identified students who receive their school's general education curriculum on the extended standard-based assessments, the structured performance assessments, and/or standardized achievement measures?
  3. Do students identified by traditional criteria outperform students identified by the expanded criteria on standardized measures of reading and math achievement and performance-based measures?
  4. Are there any interactions between treatment condition and identification criteria on standardized measures of reading and math achievement and performance-based measures?
  5. Does the delivery of the model-based intervention enhance or hinder the achievement of the non-identified students in the treatment classes? Do non-identified students in the treatment classes perform as well as non-identified students in non-treatment classes on standardized measures of reading and math achievement?
  6. How do personal and environmental factors shape teachers' implementation of model-based curriculum units in reading and math? How do teachers' personal characteristics (e.g., length of time in the classroom, grade level, and or subject; beliefs about teaching and learning; approach to classroom management) shape understanding and implementation of the curriculum? How do grade, department, building, or district level factors shape teachers' understanding and implementation of the curriculum?

The emphasis on identification, model-based reading and mathematics curriculum units in reading and mathematics, and traditional and performance-based assessments will demonstrate how to nurture and develop the talents and abilities of young people while promoting equity and excellence in our educational systems throughout the country.

UConn Logo
UVA Logo

Information for Schools

The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented (NRC/GT) is conducting a study entitled What Works in Gifted Education: Excellence and Equity in Educating Gifted Students. The NRC/GT is creating a defensible and equitable identification system, developing challenging reading and math units, and designing and implementing performance assessments for all levels of 3rd grade students in general education classrooms in your school district. Testing and identification of 2nd grade students will take place in the Spring of 2008, and curriculum units will be implemented in the 2008-2009 school year. The assessment and curriculum phases of the study will be repeated for a new group of 2nd grade students in the Spring of 2009 who will then be involved in the curriculum units during the 2009-2010 school year. This study is conducted only with school districts within the United States.

Benefits to your school district include:

  • Reading and math units based on national standards that are differentiated to challenge all levels of students in general education classrooms
  • Identification tools at no cost
  • Assessment tools at no cost
  • Professional development support, including online technical assistance
  • Priority registration for select staff members at summer professional development sessions
The math and reading curriculum units reflect the commonalities of well-known models in the field of gifted and talented education. The units:
  • Tailor instruction to meet the needs of academically diverse students.
  • Emphasize conceptual thinking, real-world disciplinary inquiry, and problem solving.
  • Assess learning needs of students.
  • Help students acquire increasing levels of expertise.

The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented is funded under the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act, Institute of Education Sciences, United States Department of Education.

Web Counter
Web counter courtesy of Digits.Com.