Examination of theoretical program models for the delivery of middle school gifted education

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Examination of theoretical program models for the delivery of middle school gifted education
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EXAMINATION OF THEORETICAL PROGRAM MODELS
FOR THE DELIVERY OF MIDDLE SCHOOL GIFTED EDUCATION














By

BRANDY LORD KAMM


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2005













ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This has been a wonderful and enlightening endeavor for me-one that I could not

have achieved without the support of some very special and caring people. I have to

thank my family for their unwavering support and encouragement, even though I am sure

they all wondered if this was ever going to end. I thank my parents for instilling in me a

love of learning and a determination to achieve. They have always pushed me to reach

for the stars and have provided the guidance and support to enable me to do it. My

husband, Eric, has been my rock throughout this journey. I began this doctorate program

just one month after we got married, and he has known nothing but the stressful life of

being married to a "doc" student. I appreciate all his encouragement and his willingness

to sacrifice to be sure that I reached my goal. If I could, I would grant him an honorary

doctorate, because I feel that he has been as much a part of this journey as I have. I want

to thank my daughter, Brea, who was born to the tribulations of a mother completing her

dissertation. She was always smiling and giving me a reason to actually complete it.

My committee chair, Dr. Phil Clark, has been an inspiration since I began this

journey five long years ago. Dr. Clark told me that this was a "marathon and not a

sprint." Was he ever right-that was a lesson I learned all too quickly. I thank him for

his support, his caring demeanor, his feedback, and his words of wisdom. Dr. Doud has

also been an influential part of my doctoral studies. He has always encouraged me to

push myself and "stretch myself to think that much deeper." I thank him for his kind

words and supportive feedback. I would like to thank Dr. Paul George for wonderful








insights and knowledge into the world of middle school education. He pushed me to

think deeper and gave me a great deal of knowledge and information along the way.

I thank everyone who had to endure this tiring journey with me. I know that the

sacrifices of my family and friends were many and often unmentioned or seemingly

unnoticed. I want them all to know that I noticed everything they have done for me, and I

truly thank them from the bottom of my heart. I feel that this accomplishment belongs as

much to all of them as it does to me.













TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS................... .................................... ii

LIST O F TA B LE S .......................................................................... ........................... vi

ABSTRA CT............ ...............................................................................................viii

CHAPTER

1 IN TR O D U C TIO N ........................................................................ ...................... 1

G ifted Education .......................................................................... ....................... 2
M middle School Education........................... .... ................. ......... ............. 4
R research Focus ............................................................................. ...................... 5
Program D delivery M odels.............................................................. ..................... 8
State ent of the Problem .............................................................. .................... 10
G lossary of Term s.......................................... ................................................... 10
Delimitations and Limitations of the Study................... .................. 12
Significance of the Study .............................................. ................... ....... ......... 13
O overview ........................................................... .......... ......... 14

2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ..................................................... .... ................. 15

Introdu action .......................................................... ................................................... 15
State ent of the Problem ................................. ....................................................... 15
Historical Development of Gifted Education ........................... ............................. 16
Identifying and Serving the Gifted ............................................. 23
M middle School Setting...... .......................................................... .... 28
Middle School Program Models................ ................................................... 36
Gifted Program M odels.......................... ........................................ ... 40
H om ogeneous C classroom .......................................................... ............................. 45
Alternatives to the Homogeneous Classroom............................ ...................... 52
Differentiated Curriculum ................................................................. ..... 54
R relevant R esearch........................................................................ ........................... 58

3 M ETH O D O LO G Y .................................................... ....................................... 63

State ent of the Problem ........................................ ................. .................... 63
Sum m ary .................................................... ................................................ ....... ... 70








4 R E S U L T S .................................................................................................................... 7 1

Statement of the Problem.............................................................. .................... 71
L literature R results ...................................................................... ..... .................. 72
M middle School M odels.................................. ............................... ....................... 79
Middle Schools in a Large Public School District......................... .................. 89
School Interview Results ........................................................ ....................... 91
Summary ................................................................................... 110

5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS............................................. 113

Introdu action .......................................................... .................................................. 113
Statement of the Problem............................................................ ....................... 113
C on clu sio n s................................................................................................................. 1 14
D discussion of Findings................................................................................................ 117
R ecom m endations....................................................................................................... 122
Implications for Future Research................................... ......... 125
Sum m ary ........................................ ........................................... .................. 128

APPENDIX

A INTERVIEW QUESTIONS ..................................................................... .................129

B GLOSSARY OF TERMS ........................................................ .... ................... 133

R E FE R E N C E S ...................................................... ....................... ................... 137

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .................................................................................... 146
























v














LIST OF TABLES
Table Page

4-1. Clark's M odel for Gifted Education............................................ ... .................. 74

4-2. Gallagher's Model for Gifted Education............................. ....................... 75

4-3. Kaplan's Model for Gifted Education................................... ......................... 75

4-4. Renzulli's Model for Gifted Education.................................. .................... 76

4-5. Taylor's Model for Gifted Education............................................... 77

4-6. Treffinger's Model for Gifted Education ................................ ...................... 77

4-7. Components Found in Two or More Gifted Education Models............................. 78

4-8. Alexander's Model for Middle School Education............................ ............ 80

4-9. Beane's Model for Middle School Education Delivery System........................... 81

4-10. Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development's Model for Middle School
E du cation .............................................. ........................................................... ........... 82

4-11. Eichom's Model for Middle School Education.............................. ......... .. 83

4-12. George and Alexander's Model for Middle School Education............................. 84

4-13. Lounsbury and Var's Model for Middle School Education.................................. 84

4-14. National Middle School Association's Model for Middle School Education......... 85

4-15. Components Found in Four or More Middle School Education........................ 86

4-16. Components of Gifted Education and Middle School Education....................... 87

4-17. All Components Identified in Middle School and/or Gifted Education Models.... 88

4-18. Number of Schools (N= 1) with Components............................................ 89

4-19. Interview Question Components with Likert Scale Values.................................. 90








Table Page

5-1. Common Components in Gifted Education and Middle School Education
M odels....................................................... ......................................................... 116














Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

EXAMINATION OF PROGRAM DELIVERY MODELS FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL
GIFTED EDUCATION PROGRAMS

By

Brandy Lord Kamm

December, 2005

Chair: Phil Clark
Major Department: Educational Administration, Policy, and Foundations

The purpose of this study was to identify common components of both middle

school and gifted education. The literature suggests a conflict between the philosophy of

gifted education and the philosophy of middle school education. The middle school

philosophy and practice have been largely viewed by gifted educators as antithetical to

the educational needs of gifted and talented students. Middle school and gifted

education models were reviewed to develop a list of components common to both sets of

models. A single Florida school district was then studied to determine the components

present at each middle school and to what extent. Since the purpose of this study was to

identify themes of a model that fall into the identified category, the term "component"

was utilized as the label for the individual part of each model that pertains to the category

of program delivery.

This qualitative study was approached by taking the identified components of

gifted and middle school education and developing a questionnaire. The questionnaire








was utilized in interviews with middle school principals or their designees within a large

Central Florida school district. Classroom and campus observations were then conducted

to determine any identified components present and to what degree.

This research provides educators with current data on how middle school and gifted

education theory come into balance as well as a current look into how a public school

district in Florida is managing the balance of delivering a gifted education program

within the middle school setting. This body of research also offers insight into the impact

of Florida accountability measures on middle school gifted education program delivery.













CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Since 1971 when Sydney P. Marland, then U. S. Commissioner of Education,

issued his report to Congress concerning the condition of gifted education in America,

curriculum development and program delivery options have become a primary focus of

gifted education. The Marland Report (1971) stated that gifted and talented students

require differentiated educational programs beyond those normally provided in the

regular school program (Chance, 1998). The term "differentiated curriculum" has

become a primary objective of educating gifted students. The focus of this research was

gifted education program delivery models within the middle school setting.

The literature suggests a conflict between the different philosophies of gifted

education and middle school education. The middle school philosophy and practice have

been largely viewed by gifted educators as antithetical to the educational needs of gifted

and talented students (Clark, 1992; Feldhusen, 1990). Feldhusen believed that "the

middle school movement demands an end to all special classes for the gifted" (p. 47).

Many gifted advocates believe that the middle school philosophy, which relies heavily on

heterogeneous grouping, will virtually make gifted and talented education extinct

(Silvenran, 1990). The philosophical difference between gifted educators and middle

school philosophers has created much debate and made policy development an intensely

political endeavor among school boards. Recent research, however, supports the notion

that characteristics of effective middle schools are also necessary characteristics of








apparent philosophical difference between middle school education and gifted education,

observing that characteristics of effective middle schools are also necessary

characteristics for successful programs for gifted students.

The apparent conflict between advocates for gifted education and for middle school

education was the primary impetus for this study. "If characteristics of middle school

education were also characteristics of gifted education as Peterman (1990) suggested,

then educational practices for gifted students should be able to be successfully

implemented within the middle school context" (Chance, 1998, p. 6). However, if

characteristics of middle school education and gifted education are in conflict, as

Feldhusen (1990) and Silverman (1990) suggest, there may be underlying philosophical

assumptions supporting these incompatible characteristics. The propositions suggested

by the previous statements prompted the need for analysis of current educational models

from both gifted education and middle school education. These models can then be

applied to middle schools to compare how actual middle schools are serving gifted

students, utilizing the common themes that exist in both models as the means for

comparison.

Gifted Education

Gifted education has been a source of debate for decades. Much of the debate has

been centered on the various definitions of the term "gifted," program delivery options,

and funding. Clark (1992) described "giftedness" as "a dynamic process in which a

person's innate ability is in constant and continuous interaction with the environment" (p.

12). She went on to offer a definition of"giftedness" as "a biologically rooted concept

that serves as a label for a high level of intelligence and indicates an advanced and








accelerated development of functions within the brain, including physical sensing,

emotions, cognition, and intuition" (p. 8).

Gallagher (1985) described "gifted" as follows:

The one factor that youngsters labeled "gifted" have in common is the ability to
absorb abstract concepts, to organize them more effectively, and to apply them
more appropriately than does the average youngster. Apart from that, however,
the range of other variables, such as social abilities and personality, is almost as
great as one would find in a random selection of youngsters of a given age. (p. 21)

Gallagher and Weiss (1983) describe leadership as a major component ofgiftedness. Part

of their research centers around the debate that the environment or given circumstances

play a role in identifying or defining leaders:

Two classic leadership theories pose competing views of the emergence of a
leader: "Great Man Theory" holds that particular individuals are endowed with
characteristics that cause them to stand out and permit them to guide, direct and
lead the majority; the "Times Theory" views leadership as a function of a given
set of social characteristics and situations. (p. 9)

Gallagher and Weiss (1983) have combined the theories to create a list of

leadership qualities evident in the gifted and talented:

* strong drive for responsibility and task completion

* vigor and persistence in the pursuit of goals

* venturesomeness and originality in problem-solving

* self-confidence and sense of personal identity

* willingness to absorb interpersonal stress

* ability to influence others' behavior

* willingness to tolerate frustration and delay

* capacity to organize people for a specific purpose.

"Giftedness," as defined by Tannenbaum (1983), was exhibited in children who

"have a potential for becoming critically acclaimed performers or exemplary producers of








ideas" (p. 86). Renzulli (1978) developed a three-ring conception of giftedness to include

(a) well above-average ability, (b) task commitment, and (c) creativity. Renzulli defined

"well-above average ability" as "performance or the potential for performance that is

representative of the top 15 to 20 percent of any given area of human endeavor" (p. 23).

Middle School Education

Middle school years, typically between the ages of 10 and 15, represent an age

period characterized by physical, emotional, and cognitive changes (Eichorn, 1966; Van

Hoose & Strahan, 1988). The period was called "transescence" by Eichom, emphasizing

the fact that it is a transitional period of development linking childhood and adolescence.

Eichom labeled this time frame the "transescence period" because it is

based on the many physical, social, emotional, and intellectual
changes in body chemistry that appear prior to the puberty
cycle to the time in which the body gains a practical degree of
stabilization over these complex pubescent changes. (p. 3)

Middle school education reflects a philosophy that "schools should be a place

where close, trusting relationships with adults and peers create a climate for personal

growth and intellectual development" (Caregie Council on Adolescent Development,

1989, p. 37). "The challenge of middle school education is to develop an educational

program that is based on the needs and characteristics of a most diverse and varied

population" (National Middle School Association, 1992, p. 3). Proponents of the middle

school philosophy advocate an educational environment that equally addresses students'

social-emotional needs as well as their physical and cognitive needs (Chance, 1998).

The nature of the transescent stage of development may in itself be a cause for

underachievement in gifted students in middle school (Compton, 1982). Rimm (1986)

suggests, however, that underachievement is a phenomenon that exists throughout all








levels of education. The focus of gifted underachievement has prompted much attention

to developing a gifted education program that offers a differentiated education to meet

the special needs and unique characteristics of gifted students (Clark, 1992; Gallagher,

1985; Tannenbaum, 1983).

Research Focus

The problems associated with the implementation of a middle school gifted

education program are the central focus of this study. The primary question is: How do

middle schools deliver gifted education programs when the primary objectives of each

program are seemingly in conflict? This research examined existing research on how to

deliver a gifted program in a middle school and looked at how current middle schools are

delivering gifted education. The goal was to determine if there is any correlation

between research and the current trends of middle schools that offer insight into the

themes and practices that must exist in both gifted education and middle school education

in order to make both programs successfully function in conjunction with one another.

The problem addressed by this study was the identification of compatible themes

that exist between gifted education and middle school education. A sample of gifted

education models and middle school education models was identified in the literature.

These models were examined to identify common themes in both categories. These

themes were organized into a series of questions and observations developed to examine

the various ways one Florida school district organizes its gifted education program and

how it is utilizing the identified components in its schools.

In 1972, then U. S. Commissioner of Education Sydney Marland formed a federal

task force to study gifted and talented education. This task force followed a

Congressional mandate to grant federal funds to gifted education programs (Eby &








Smutny, 1990). Marland issued his report to Congress concerning the status and

condition of gifted education in the U. S. The Marland Report sparked new

investigations and the creation of new public policy in relation to serving the gifted and

talented. The definition utilized by the Marland Report has been the foundation for most

state education policies regarding identification and program development. The initial

definition stated:

Gifted and talented children are those identified by professionally qualified
persons who, by virtue of outstanding abilities, are capable of high performance.
These are children who require differentiated educational programs and/or
services beyond those normally provided by the regular school program in order
to realize their contribution to self and society. (Marland, 1972, p. 13)

The Marland Report categorized children capable of high performance to include those

with demonstrated achievement or potential in any of the following areass:

1. general intellectual ability

2. specific academic aptitude

3. creative or productive thinking

4. leadership ability

5. visual and performing arts ability

6. psychomotor ability.

As a result of the Marland Report, most states utilized uniform goals regarding the

development of gifted education programs. Public Law 94-142 was created to insure

that education meets the special individual needs of youth. While this law pertains only to

the education of handicapped and learning-disabled youth, it has provided a framework

under which gifted and talented policies have developed.

Chapter 228, F. S., requires the Florida public school system to provide 13

consecutive years of instruction for all children, including exceptional students. The law








defines an "exceptional student" as "any child who has been determined eligible for a

special program in accordance with State Board of Education rules" (p. 3). The State of

Florida has included gifted and talented students in its Exceptional Student Education

Program since 1968. Rule 6A-6.03019, F.A.C, defines a "gifted student" as "one who

has superior intellectual development and is capable of high performance" (p. iii).

Florida eligibility requires the student to meet one of the following criteria:

1. The student demonstrates a need for a special program, has a majority of
characteristics of gifted students according to a standard scale or checklist, has
superior intellectual development as measured by an intelligence quotient of two (2)
standard deviations or more above the mean on an individually administered
standardized test of intelligence; or

2. The student is a member of an under-represented group and meets the criteria
specified in an approved school district plan for increasing the participation of under-
represented groups in programs for the gifted. (The Florida rule defines under-
represented groups in programs for gifted as "groups whose racial/ethnic backgrounds
are other than white non-Hispanic, or who are limited English proficient, or who are
from a low socio-economic status family.")

In 1991, the Florida Department of Education adopted the Plan B rule, which

encouraged school districts to develop innovative strategies to increase the number of

under-represented students in gifted programs. The State of Florida considers gifted

education as a part-time program.

The purpose of this study was to determine the common components that exist

between both gifted education and middle school education. The review of literature

identified compatible themes between middle school and gifted education, and these

themes were used as the basis for the comparison of the program delivery models.

Content analysis was utilized to provide a framework for the design of the study. Models

designed specifically for gifted education, as well as middle school education models,








were compared to find common components. Existing school policies and practices were

identified through a case study approach of middle schools within one school district.

Program Delivery Models

Samples of gifted education models were selected from various documents to

survey models that present a general overview of gifted middle school education. The

three major areas identified to assist with the determination of the delivery model were

(a) content, (b) instruction, and (c) delivery system. A comparison of gifted education

models to middle school education models added a theoretically significant component to

this study. Prominent middle school models were compared to gifted education models.

Several middle school models were used, including those proposed by Alexander,

Williams, Compton, Hines, & Prescott (1968), Beane (1990), Eichom (1966), Lounsbury

and Vars (1978), George and Alexander (2003), the National Middle School Association

(2003), and the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development (1996).

Alexander et al. (1968) focused their model of personal development through

guidance and counseling, student activities, and continued learning. Beane (1990)

recommended that middle schools address problems and concerns of the average

adolescent student. Eichorn (1966) proposed a socio-psychological model based on

flexible scheduling, team teaching, and grouping of students by teams. George and

Alexander (2003) proposed that the focus in middle schools should be on the individual

student through developmentally appropriate and challenging structuring of the school

day. Lounsbury and Vars (1978) advocated the block scheduling approach. They

proposed cross-grouping according to age and flexible scheduling. The National Middle

School Association (2003) focused on comprehensive guidance for students, family and

community involvement, flexible structuring, and a focus on adolescent development.








The Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development (1996) advocated creating education

reform for middle schools through the use of new partnerships between schools, families,

healthcare system, and community.

The gifted education models utilized were proposed by Clark (1992), Gallagher

(1985), Kaplan (1974), Renzulli and Reis (1985), Taylor (1978), and Treffinger(1986).

Clark (1992) established a gifted education delivery model that included multi-age

grouping and was based on the interacting spheres theory of intelligence encompassing

the four major intellectual components: thinking, intuition, feeling, and sensation.

Gallagher's delivery system model for gifted education (1985) is based on a modified

learning environment that might include (a) enrichment in the regular classroom, (b)

consultant teacher, (c) resource room, (d) mentor, (e) independent study, and (f) special

interest classes or schools.

The gifted education delivery model presented by Kaplan (1974) presents a more

segregated or homogeneous setting for gifted students. Kaplan suggests that gifted and

talented students spend time with their intellectual peers at various times throughout the

day. The Kaplan model places emphasis on outside enrichment activities that allow for

multiple class groupings and provide activities that are an extension of the regular

classroom curriculum.

The Schoolwide Enrichment Model, as presented by Renzulli and Reis (1985),

offers a more wide-range approach to educate high-ability students. Renzulli's plan

focuses on the top 15% to 20%, as opposed to the typical 3% to 5% represented in most

gifted and talented programs. Taylor (1986) proposed a gifted education delivery model

that primarily focuses on using the current subject matter in regular classrooms to

develop each student's talents. Taylor recommends the use of a biological screening tool








to focus on multiple talent areas and to identify students from multiple talent pools.

The gifted education delivery model, which was developed by Treffinger (1986),

is based on individualized planning and programming for gifted students. Treffinger

suggests that the highest students be targeted, based on above-average ability, creativity,

or task commitment.

Statement of the Problem

This study was designed to investigate the presence of consensus-based

components for gifted education within a middle school setting. Specifically, this

research addressed the following questions:

1. What are the major components identified by existing middle school models?

2. What are the major components identified by existing gifted education delivery
models?

3. What categories are compatible themes across both gifted education and middle
school education delivery models?

4. What components of middle school education and gifted education are present in
the middle schools of a large Central Florida public school district?

5. What components of middle school education and gifted education most frequently
occur in conjunction with one another?

Glossary of Terms

This section includes the definitions of terms that are used in this research report.

Ability grouping is the act of placing students of similar ability in the same class or

group for purposes of instruction.

Acceleration is when there is a faster presentation of content to more closely match the

speed at which gifted students learn.

Achievement is an accomplishment or performance and the realization of potential.

Affective education is the study of identifying and dealing with emotions.








Alternative schools are schools designed with flexible programs for exceptional learners

or with an educational philosophy different from regular public education.

Asynchronous development refers to the different rates for physical, cognitive, and

emotional development, also known as "dyssynchronous development."

Commonality is the identification of themes among a group of models, that is, gifted

education models or middle school education models, which appeared in at least 60% of

the models in that group (Chance, 1992).

Compatibility exists when items are in agreement or congruous (Merriam-Webster's

Collegiate Dictionary, 1997).

Curriculum is the total educational program, including content, instruction, and delivery

systems (Chance, 1992).

Delivery system encompasses the delivery of educational services, including the

scheduling and organization of academic and co-curricular activities, and the inclusion of

student support services, such as guidance or health-related programs (Chance, 1992).

Exceptional learners are students with an IQ in the bottom (disabled) or top (gifted) 3%

of the population, or those with other physical or mental differences that affect learning.

Extrinsic motivation includes reinforcers, rewards, or incentives used by one person to

bring about desired behaviors.

Gifted programs are special academic and social opportunities that try to meet the needs

of gifted students through acceleration, ability grouping, enrichment, independent study,

and/or pull-out.

Gifted education is a curriculum for students who exhibit outstanding performance in

academic areas (e.g., social sciences, language arts, science, or mathematics) or who

show potential for high academic performance.








Homogeneous classroom exists when all students are of the same academic level within

the same classroom.

Interactionism is a social-psychological theory that the self is formed by interacting

with others and that social life depends on the ability to imagine ourselves in other social

roles.

Instruction includes the strategies and methods employed to teach the curriculum, or

how content is presented to students (Chance, 1992).

Least-restrictive environment (LRE) is the school placement where the student's needs

can be met in an environment that most closely approximates the regular classroom.

Middle school education program is a developmental approach to schooling in Grades

5 through 8 that builds the curriculum around perceived social-emotional needs of the

average early adolescent. (National Middle School Association, 1982).

Model is a set of plans, principles, or criteria based on a stated or implied rationale and

presented as a unified framework worthy of being initiated or replicated. (Unruh &

Unruh, 1984, p. 124).

Normal is a range of behavior that is considered socially acceptable.

Perfectionism is the desire to execute tasks flawlessly.

Self-esteem is a subjective feeling of self-worth built from the respect and sense of worth

reflected back on the person from significant others.

Delimitations and Limitations of the Study

This section identifies the delimitations and limitations for this study.

Delimitations

This section identifies the delimitations for this study:








1. This study was conducted in a school district in Florida. Results cannot be
generalized to other areas in the U. S.

2. The data were collected from public schools. Results and conclusions do not
necessarily apply to non-public schools.

3. The current study was limited to instructional and program delivery models in gifted
education programs in middle schools.

4. This study was limited to data gathered during the 2004-2005 school year. Therefore,
conclusions and generalizations made from this study should not be generalized to
other time periods.

5. This study was limited to a comparative analysis of gifted education program
implementation within the middle school setting in one Central Florida school
district.

Limitations

This section identifies limitations that were present in this study:

1. The assumption was made that respondents answered accurately to questions
regarding the participating school's middle school gifted education program during
the interview.

2. The assumption was made that observations of the researcher represented an accurate
depiction of each school's policies and practices.

Significance of the Study

This study was intended to contribute to the understanding of factors that were

present in the delivery of an effective middle school gifted education program in a large

Central Florida public school district. This compilation of research was intended to

provide a further investigation into the existing literature regarding the development of a

gifted education model that is compatible with middle school philosophy at the local

level. Cox, Daniel, and Boston (1985) have identified three major themes that have

helped develop gifted curriculum: age level, type of giftedness, and instructional strategy.

Programming options related to age level were the primary focus of this research,

because the study focused on gifted education within the middle school setting.








Descriptions of gifted programs that are organized by age or grade level generally

categorize programs as "elementary" or "secondary."

Typically, middle school education and gifted educational needs have functioned

separately. "The junction of these separate populations, that is, of gifted middle school

students, has been treated by one field as a subset of the other" (Chance, 1992, p. 7).

Research and literature on middle school education usually address students between

ages 10 and 14 as a whole without specifically focusing on any specific group within this

population. This study adds to the knowledge of both middle schools and gifted

education through a formal comparative analysis of individual middle schools in a

Central Florida public school district. These data also provide information for

developing a delivery model for gifted education within the middle school setting.

Overview

Chapter 1 provides an introduction, statement of the problem, purpose of the study,

glossary of terms, delimitations and limitations of the study, and the significance of the

study. Chapter 2 consists of a review of relevant literature. This includes a description of

the theory of program delivery models, as well as an historical perspective of the

development of gifted education program implementation. Chapter 3 consists of the

proposed methodology of this study. Chapter 4 presents the results and analysis of the

data in this study. Chapter 5 includes a summary, discussion, conclusions, and

recommendations for future study.













CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Introduction

A review of the literature was conducted in gifted education and middle school

education to provide a background for this comparative study. Philosophical and

theoretical backgrounds in both areas were reviewed to establish a foundation for the

work of research. Educational theories and models were reviewed in both areas to

provide insight into past and current policy development.

Statement of the Problem

The problems associated with the implementation of a middle school gifted

education program are the central focus of this study. The primary question is: How do

middle schools deliver gifted education programs when the primary objectives of each

program are seemingly in conflict? The target of this research was to examine existing

research on how to deliver a gifted program in a middle school, as well as to look at how

current middle schools are delivering gifted education. The goal was to determine if

there is any correlation among research and the current trends of middle schools that offer

insight into the themes and practices that must exist in both gifted education and middle

school education in order to make both programs successfully function in conjunction

with one another.

This study was designed to analyze and compare the multiple methods of delivery

for gifted education within a middle school setting. Specifically, this research addressed

the following questions:








1. What are the major components identified by existing middle school models?

2. What are the major components identified by existing gifted education delivery
models?

3. What categories are compatible themes across both gifted education and middle
school education delivery models?

4. What components of middle school education and gifted education are present in
the middle schools of a large Central Florida public school district?

5. What components of middle school education and gifted education occur most
frequently in conjunction with one another?

Historical Development of Gifted Education

The history of gifted education can be traced back to 1870 with the publication of

Hereditary Genius: An Inquiry into Its Laws and Consequences by Sir Francis Galton.

Galton's work was the first quantitative psychological study of giftedness (Association

for the Gifted, 1978). Galton was the first to develop a conceptual basis for

differentiation in human intellect, as well as a theory of fixed intelligence. Between 1865

and 1900, a number of schools introduced programs that paid special attention to gifted

children (Gallagher & Weiss, 1983). In 1867, William Harris, Superintendent of the St.

Louis Public School System, developed a plan of flexible promotions to adapt for

students' different rates of progress. This program allowed children to advance at their

own rates and allowed for promotions every 5 weeks, based on student achievement.

Harris's plan was one of the first attempts to accelerate students. The major trend during

this time period was multiple tracking-establishing fast, medium, and slow groups. The

first of these programs occurred in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1866. Little evidence exists

that the courses actually offered altered content; it appears that the program merely

accelerated the existing curriculum.








During the era of 1900 to 1925, a major development occurred in gifted education

with the development of instruments to measure intelligence. French scientists Alfred

Binet and Theodore Simon developed Galton's ideas from the late 1800s to create the

first intelligence test (Gallagher & Weiss, 1983). The test designed by Binet and Simon,

however, was primarily used to identify the mentally retarded.

In 1916 Lewis Terman revised the Binet scale and published the Stanford-Binet

Individual Test of Intelligence. It yielded an intelligence quotient (IQ) that gave a rating

of a person's standing in relation to the rest of the population. This test served as the

primary tool for the identification of gifted students during the immediate 40 years after

its inception. Terman theorized that giftedness or IQ was determined by heredity (Clark,

1992). "Terman defined intelligence as a difference in degree of ability rather than in a

kind of ability" (Chance, 1992, p. 15). The theoretical basis of Terman's work was based

on the development of giftedness in early childhood. His work not only indicated the

need for special education of gifted students, but it helped develop early identification

programs to identify students based on his IQ scale and then to educate these students

using a differentiated learning environment (Tannenbaum, 1983).

In 1903, J. Cattell published A Statistical Study of Eminent Men, introducing the

idea that gifted characteristics were innate rather than a product of social tradition or

physical environment. In 1916, Terman's book, The Measurement oflntelligence,

suggested that certain courses of study should be designed to permit gifted and talented

students to progress at a rate appropriate for each individual student. Terman further

suggested that teachers determine the coursework for a student in proportion to the

child's mental ability. Frederick Burke, along with Carlton Washburne, designed a self-

instructional plan for gifted learners in 1912. Their plan, proposed in Winnetka, Illinois,








was the first of its kind. The plan allowed gifted children to progress at their own rates.

A few years later, the Dalton Plan was proposed in New York, which similarly allowed

students to self-pace. But the Dalton Plan organized the content into monthly units under

which students contracted to develop their own individualized education plans. This was

a popular plan for advanced learners during this time period. However, due to increasing

populations of students, school administrators were forced to seek other options for gifted

learners (Gallagher & Weiss, 1983). The development of the Cleveland Major Work

Classes became what is now a popular model for gifted education. The emphasis of this

program was placed on enrichment, utilizing special curricula, and the acceleration of

course content rather than purely speeding the student through a standard curriculum

(Gallagher & Weiss, 1983). In Massachusetts in 1901, the first separate school for the

gifted was established, along with the Lincoln School and Horace Mann School in New

York.

In 1925, Terman conducted a longitudinal study on 1,500 students with high IQs.

Terman's study was titled Genetic Studies of Genius-Mental and Physical Traits of a

Thousand Gifted Children, Volume I. In 1926, Graham Wallas identified four stages in

developing new thoughts: preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification.

Wallas's work, The Art of Thought, began to revolutionize how educators approached

gifted student development. The 1945 report of the Harvard Committee, A General

Education in a Free Society, launched a new development in the ideals of gifted

education. The report stressed that equality of opportunity did not mean identical

provisions for all. Instead it meant that students should have access to those avenues of

education that matched their gifts and interests.








The 1950 Education of the Gifted, written by the National Education Association's

Educational Policies Commission, identified America's neglect of the mentally gifted and

talented that was producing diminishing numbers of personnel in the sciences, arts, and

other professional roles. J. Paul Guilford's presidential address to the American

Psychological Association challenged its members to pursue research studies of the

mentally superior. Guilford proposed that intelligence was based on internal human

components. In the mid-1950s, Abraham Maslow and Benjamin Bloom grouped learning

experiences in hierarchies, which determined that gifted minds were self-actualizing and

sought stimulation. By 1948, the movement was leaning away from ability grouping,

with less than 1% of large school districts reporting such programs. Aside from grade-

skipping, in the early 1950s, early admissions programs entered the educational scene.

This allowed extremely bright students to enter grade school early. The first of such

programs began in Massachusetts and Nebraska.

The 1957 launch of Sputnik by the Russians created an increased look into how all

children, including the gifted, were educated. The National Science Foundation

sponsored several projects to encourage gifted students to pursue careers in math and

science. The projects included: School Mathematics Study Group, Physical Sciences

Study Committee, Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, Chemical Bond Approach, and

Project Physics (Gallagher & Weiss, 1979). The Rockefeller Brothers Fund published

The Pursuit ofAmerican Excellence: Education and the Future ofAmerica in 1958 to

emphasize the importance of enabling every citizen to achieve his optimal performance

as a way of stimulating the American citizenry. The introduction of John Flanagan's

project TALENT in 1960 created a flurry of research and writing regarding delivery

models of gifted education. Flanagan's study included a national longitudinal inventory








of human talents, utilizing more than 44,000 students in 1,350 secondary schools across

the U. S. The study was an attempt to relate adult performance to aptitudes measured in

adolescence and to compare those to educational experiences. Later in 1960, Goalsfor

Americans was issued in the Report of the President's Commission on National Goals.

This report stated that "equality of opportunity for all citizens to experience an

educational program uniquely reflective of the individual citizen's capabilities is the only

goal worthy of a free society." The national push became individualized education for

the gifted and talented. Excellence: Can We Be Equal and Excellent Too? by John

Gardner in 1961 emphasized the importance of recognizing and developing the talents of

all students. Gardner stated that equalitarianismm is wrongly conceived when it ignores

differences in native capacity and achievement. All who care about excellence in a

society should vigilantly strive to prevent the waste of talent" (p. 12). During this era, the

focus became not only how to arrange the education of gifted children (special classes or

acceleration), but what should be included in the content of those classes (Gallagher &

Weiss, 1983). In this same era, Guilford (1967) developed the theory of the Structure of

Intellect. The Structure of Intellect categorized intelligence into three major dimensions:

operations, contents, and products. The dimensions outlined 150 factors of intelligence

or abilities.

The evolution of educational thought regarding higher ability learning was further

encouraged by the work of David Krathwohl (1980). His research grouped educational

objectives into a hierarchy with each level demanding a greater intellectual commitment

and higher level of decision-making capability. Many educators used this and other types

of research to delineate the fact that gifted and talented students required education








delivered at a level more compatible with their individual cognitive development. The

new ideas in curricula created a general objective for gifted students to include:

mastering the structure of disciplines at the heart of the subject matter (rather than
simply learning facts and associations), learning the skills of problem solving,
creativity, scientific methods, and to become more autonomous learners,
unconstrained by the limits of teacher or programs. (Gallagher & Weiss, 1983, p.
18)

The 1960s brought changes that affected not only gifted education, but middle

grades education as well. The traditional 8-4 plan of 8 years in grade school and 4 years

of high school was replaced with the 6-3-3 plan. This new plan incorporated 3 years for

middle grades or junior high school education. Educators began to feel that the capable

learner would be better suited to spend more time in high school. "A growing trend in

both city and suburban communities is to terminate the junior high school sequence at the

eighth grade, grouping the young adolescents with the older teenagers rather than with

younger children" (Hildreth, 1966, p. 404). This was also thought to help aid in the grade

acceleration process.

In 1970, Congress encouraged the U. S. Commissioner of Education to conduct a

study to evaluate the status of education for the gifted and talented students of the nation.

In 1971, Sidney Marland, U. S. Commissioner of Education, reported to Congress.

Marland's report, Education of the Gifted and Talented, later became known as the

"Marland Report." The report generated attention for the gifted and talented on the

federal, state, and local levels. Many school districts were utilizing special classes for

gifted children during this time period. The special classes, which used a special and

sophisticated curriculum designed for the gifted, were taught by trained teachers.

However, many psychologists and educators began to feel that these children were

spending insufficient time with non-gifted children. A new movement gradually








developed that was based on modified special classes. This allowed the gifted students to

split school time with peers of their age and the other part with a special instructor in

resource rooms or enrichment classes (Gallagher & Weiss, 1983). The goal of such a

program was to meet both the intellectual and social needs of the child.

The establishment of the Education Resource Information Center (ERIC)

Clearinghouse on Handicapped and Gifted Children in 1972 provided a database for past

and future research by gathering, evaluating, and disseminating information and

developments in gifted education. ERIC was operated by the Council for Exceptional

Children. Shortly following the establishment of ERIC, the National/State Leadership

Training Institute (LTI) on Gifted and Talented was created. The national spotlight was

placed on improving gifted and talented education, and such programs were backed by

congressional action.

In 1975, the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act guaranteed

a free and appropriate public education for all exceptional children. The Council for

Exceptional Children published The Nation's Commitment to the Education of Gifted and

Talented Children and Youth. The report outlined the findings from the 1977 study of

policies, services, and resources in gifted education in all 50 states. In 1978, Congress

again put a national spotlight on gifted and talented education when it passed an act that

provided financial assistance to public and private, state and local, K through 12, and

higher education institutions to improve services and programs for gifted and talented

students. In the 1970s, Joseph Renzulli advocated the use of the Enrichment Triad

Model. The model would allow the students to be exposed to places, events, persons,

hobbies, topics, and disciplines not regularly afforded in the regular education classroom.








In 1981, Florida developed the Challenge Grant Program for the Gifted. It was

created to encourage public schools to develop exemplary programs that challenge gifted

students. Multiple projects are funded under this grant and are designed to improve

existing programs, develop a new model for existing programs, or expand student

participation.

The late 20th century brought an abundance of research into human intelligence that

built on the existing controversial data. Sternberg (1986) developed the triarchic theory

of intelligence that included three major components: internal mental mechanisms, the

role of experience, and environmental interaction. Gardner (1985) developed the theory

of multiple intelligence in which he categorized intelligence into seven categories: (a)

linguistic, (b) musical, (c) logical-mathematical, (d) spatial, (e) bodily-kinesthetic, (f)

interpersonal, and (g) intrapersonal. Gardner's theory built on biological research and

brain development (Chance, 1992).

Identifying and Serving the Gifted

Clark (1992) described giftedness as "a dynamic process in which a person's innate

ability is in constant and continuous interaction with the environment" (p. 12). She went

on to offer a definition of "giftedness" as "a biologically rooted concept that serves as a

label for a high level of intelligence and indicates an advanced and accelerated

development of functions within the brain, including physical sensing, emotions,

cognition, and intuition" (p. 8). Clark's definition was based on the interaction of four

functions: physical, thinking, emotion, and intuition. "Physical," as determined by Clark,

represents the interaction that a person has with his environment and his senses.

Gallagher (1985) described "gifted."








The one factor that youngsters labeled "gifted" have in common is the ability to
absorb abstract concepts, to organize them more effectively, and to apply them
more appropriately than does the average youngster. Apart from that, however,
the range of other variables, such as social abilities and personality, is almost as
great as one would find in a random selection of youngsters of a given age. (p. 21)

Feldhusen (1985) developed a theory of giftedness that relied on four principal

domains that interact to produce talent: high-level ability, self-concept, motivation, and

creativity. Feldhusen further defined each domain to offer specific insight into each area.

High-level ability was defined as "capacities or potential for receiving and processing

information about the world and for generating adaptive actions in response to their

world" (p. 5). Self-concept, as described by Feldhusen, requires an understanding by the

person regarding his own abilities as well as his social and emotional relationships with

other high-ability individuals. Self-concept also encompasses feelings of satisfaction or

pride in one's own endeavors. Feldhusen places a high emphasis on creativity in terms of

its relation to the gifted and talented.

Gallagher and Weiss (1983) also noted the role of creativity in the minds of the

gifted and talented: "While there is a close relationship between high mental ability and

creativity, it has become clear that there are particular intellectual skills and personality

traits that predispose certain children and adults to creativity" (Gallagher & Weiss, 1983,

p. 7). Research has offered a suggestion that the personal traits of gifted children make

them predisposed to do the intellectual operations that are necessary to the creative

process. Gallagher and Weiss (1983) describe leadership as a major variety of giftedness.

Part of their research centers around the debate that the environment or given

circumstances play a role in identifying or defining leaders.

Gallagher and Weiss (1983) have combined the theories to create a list of

leadership qualities evident in the gifted and talented:








1. strong drive for responsibility and task completion

2. vigor and persistence in the pursuit of goals

3. venturesomeness and originality in problem-solving

4. self-confidence and sense of personal identity

5. willingness to absorb interpersonal stress

6. ability to influence others' behavior

7. willingness to tolerate frustration and delay

8. capacity to organize people for a specific purpose.

"Because these qualities are in many respects responsive to training, the concept of

enhancing or creating gifted leaders appears to be reasonable, given a base of such strong

personal characteristics as high intellectual ability" (Gallagher & Weiss, 1983, p. 9).

"Giftedness," as defined by Tannenbaum (1983), was exhibited in children who "have a

potential for becoming critically acclaimed performers or exemplary producers of ideas"

(p. 86). He further noted that for such talents to be fostered into becoming gifted adults,

the students must "not only have the personal attributes that are often mentioned in

definitions of giftedness, but also some special encounters with the environment to

facilitate the emergence of talent" (p. 86). Tannenbaum combined five variables to

develop his multifactor theory of intelligence to include: (a) general ability, (b) special

ability, (c) non-intellective factors, (d) environmental factors, and (e) chance factors.

Renzulli (1978) developed a three-ring conception of giftedness to include: (1) well

above average ability, (2) task commitment, and (3) creativity. Renzulli defined "well

above average ability" as "performance or the potential for performance that is

representative of the top 15% to 20% of any given area of human endeavor" (p. 23).

Task commitment was defined as "perseverance, endurance, hard work, dedicated








practice, self-confidence, and a belief in one's ability to carry out important work" (p.

26). Renzulli further described creativity as the products or successes of an individual, as

opposed to personality traits.

Many theorists combined the concepts of nature and nurture in their development

of gifted definitions and theories. Passow (1985) discussed the importance of nurturing

gifted children in order for them to reach their full potential and capacity.

Many gifted students lack social development. One of the main areas of

underdevelopment is "found in the relationship between advanced intellectual

development and the development of emotional and social skills" (Hirsch, 1996, p. 99).

The majority of gifted students understand what is involved in solving social conflicts

and cooperative interaction; however, they cannot transfer this concretely and have a

difficult time carrying out such activities. This can often be attributed to a lack of

practice (Berzonsky, 1981; Compton, 1984).

When gifted children are denied the opportunity to interact with children of other

ability groups, chance meetings or interactions can become very frustrating for the

adolescent. Communication is often hindered because of the differences in expressions

and vocabulary (Winitzky, 1997). If the child makes the discovery that he is quite

different from other students, "then the child misses peer acceptance as well" (Constable,

1989, p. 87). For this reason, "Children learn to hide or deny their abilities so as to fit in

better with the other children. This may cause the gifted child to develop behavioral

problems or psychosomatic symptoms such as stomach aches or headaches" (Rimm,

1986, p. 172).

Gifted adolescents require a lot of guidance and support. Their academic

curriculum is very important; however, support for the social and emotional aspects of








maturing may be even more critical (Gallagher, 1996). A gifted child, like any other

child, needs a well-rounded environment to help him understand his feelings and develop

his self-concept. This social development can begin by teaching the gifted child how he

is similar and different from other people. These children should be encouraged to "feel

pride in their abilities, rather than guilt or anxiety" (Buchanan & Feldhusen, 1991;

Feldhusen & Teffinger, 1985; Hall, 1983; Howley, Howley & Pendarvis, 1986; Shore,

Cornell, Robinson, & Ward, 1991; Sloan & Stedtnitz, 1993, p. 205; Smutny & Blocksom,

1990; Terman & Ogden, 1951). The gifted child must learn how to accept and value

those with different talents and abilities other than himself. They must be allowed to

internalize and own their talents and understand how they fit into their school,

community, and world (Maker, 1982; Taylor, Lloyd, & Rollins, 1971; Whitmore, 1980).

Most researchers agree that all students must develop a sense of belonging within the

school, and isolationism does not support such development.

Gifted students tend to lack "extra-perception" (Bireley & Genshaft, 1991). Extra-

perception involves the ability to have a deeper understanding and more acute awareness

of the social and interpersonal aspects of life. They are developed in an atmosphere that

concentrates on high-ability academics and are themselves therefore centered on similar

aspects (Sloan & Stedtnitz, 1993). "Because of their increased sensitivity to thoughts,

actions, interests, and materials, there is often frustration with those who do not exhibit

the same characteristics" (Rice, 1994, p. 34). For this reason, accelerated learners need to

be placed in constant situations where they must interact with peers of different ability

groupings. This will help them not only to develop a toleration of others, but it will give

them an understanding of how to interact effectively with their school community. Such

an academic setting will also enhance their ability to accept their own talents, and in turn








diminish their need to hide from others (Parkay & Stanford, 1992). This is displayed

through "high standards of truth and morality, and these students are quick to judge those

who do not measure up" (Alvino, 1994, p. 108).

It is common for gifted students to display high levels of emotional sensitivity or

super-sensitivity. This makes them very aware of hypocrisy, double standards, untruths,

and other forms of ethical contradiction. This same social and emotional sensitivity

lends itself to a common obsession with perfectionism (Passow, 1979; Winitzky, 1997).

The gifted child can become so concerned with accomplishment and excellence that often

he is "unable to accept a product of high-quality, because it is not perfect" (Rice, 1994, p.

38). Perfectionism can become a problem not only in his own self-evaluation, but in the

evaluation of his peers as well. The gifted child may tend to make his peers feel

inadequate or unprepared and thus harbor resentment among his cohorts. The ideal social

setting for these students would be one that assists them in developing criteria for judging

the work of people of all ability groups (Alvino, 1994; Office of Program Policy Analysis

and Government Accountability, 1996; Passow, 1979; Taylor, 1985). Adult guidance in

developing coping strategies can assist gifted children in setting more realistic goals for

themselves and others. Many researchers have found that "mixed-ability cooperative

learning should be used for gifted and talented students, if for nothing other than the

development of social skills" (Sloan & Stedtnitz, 1993, p. 205).

Middle School Setting

Research suggests a conflict between the philosophy of gifted education and the

philosophy of middle school education. Seven compatible themes exist between gifted

and middle school education: (1) problem-centered content, (2) content based on

individual interests, (3) critical and creative thinking skills and problem-solving skills, (4)








social skills, (5) flexible scheduling and regrouping, (6) independent study, and (7)

student interest activities (Chance, 1998).

Middle school years, typically between the ages of 10 and 15, represent an age

period characterized by physical, emotional, and cognitive changes (Eichom, 1966;

George, 1984; Van Hoose & Strahan, 1988). The period was called "transescence" by

Eichom, emphasizing the fact that it is a transitional period of development linking

childhood and adolescence. Eichom labeled this time frame the transescence period

because it is:

based on the many physical, social, emotional, and intellectual changes in body
chemistry that appear prior to the puberty cycle to the time in which the body
gains a practical degree of stabilization over these complex pubescent changes.
(p. 3)

Eichom further divides the transescence into three subdivisions: prepubescence, early

adolescence, and adolescence.

In describing the middle school age student, physical characteristics and changes

are often of primary focus. Van Hoose and Strahan (1988) differentiate the physical

growth between middle school age girls and boys. They noted that boys and girls grow 10

to 20 inches on average and gain 40 to 50 pounds in weight. This growth is often uneven,

and due to the rapid bone growth and slower muscle growth, this time period often lends

itself to more frequent bone fractures and over-exertion muscle injuries. Other physical

changes include increased activity of the sweat glands, changes in basal metabolism, and

alterations in blood sugar stability (Chance, 1992). Alexander et al. (1968) also noted a

wide variety of physical maturation during this time and that multiple years of physical

growth actually exist within this short period of time.

Regardless of when a particular child reaches puberty, a marked
acceleration in the rate of growth will occur before pubescence and








decelerate following pubescence. .. The duration of time involved in the
acceleration and stabilization period may range from three and one-half
to five years. (Chance, 1992, p. 35)

Along with the physical changes of the middle school years come sexual

developmental changes as well. Again, a substantial differentiation can be noted between

the development of girls and boys. During this period, girls show breast development,

begin the growth of pubic hair, and experience their first menstrual period. Boys

experience the growth of sexual organs and pubic hair as well. "These changes will

begin as early as 83/ in girls and 9 V2 in boys" (Chance, 1992, p. 36).

The Carnegie Task Force on Education of Young Adolescents has made

observations regarding the trend of adolescent development:

Youth enter puberty at a significantly younger age today than in
previous generations. In the United States 150 years ago, the average
age of a girl's first menstrual period was 16 years, today it is 12.5 years....
While they become biologically mature at earlier ages, many young
adolescents remain intellectually and emotionally immature. (p. 21)

When considering the development of a middle school age child, one must also

consider his social and emotional development. Self-concept, self esteem, and socio-

emotional development are synchronous. Epstein (1973) characterizes self-concept as

"self-theory" and defines it as "a theory that the individual has unwittingly constructed

about himself as an experiencing, functioning individual" (p. 407). In addition, Beane

and Lipka (1987) have applied the self-theory to the transescence period and described it

as follows: "The self-concept consists largely of perceived images of... developmental

characteristics, transescence may be viewed as a time when the self-concept undergoes

virtual reconstruction" (p. 11).

The self-theory stage of adolescence is subdivided into three areas: specific

situation, category/attributes, and general.








A thesis of Beane and Lipka's work was that self-theory developed
largely in a social context but that for transescents, developmental
characteristics of this age had a strong impact on self-concept due
to changing physical, cognitive, and affective characteristics and the
emergence of the increased importance of the peer group and the
decreased importance of adults in the lives of early adolescents.
(Chance, 1992, p. 37)

Erik Erickson (1968) developed the eight stages of human development. The

adolescent period, as classified by Erickson, is known as "ego identity versus confusion."

Elkind (1970) described this developmental stage as:

the adolescent's newfound integrative abilities, his task is to bring together all of
the things he has learned about himself... and integrate these different images of
himself into a whole that makes sense and that shows continuity with the past
while preparing for the future .. .versus role confusion and a sense of not
knowing what he is, where he belongs or whom he belongs to. (Elkind, 1970, p.
88)

"Van Hoose and Strahan noted that young adolescents removed themselves from

parents and family and that acceptance by peers became their central concern" (Chance,

1992, p. 38). Van Hoose and Strahan (1988) have described this period as a continual

transition between child-like behaviors and adult-like behaviors.

Parents often describe transescents as belligerent, rude, angry, and defiant, while
children have described their parents as too restrictive, old fashioned, and too
demanding.... The young adolescent probably changes faster than the parents
change their rules and adjust to the child's growth. (Lounsbury & Clark, 1990, p.
8)

"Middle school researchers have noted that many of the rules and regulations of the

transescent's peer group center around wearing acceptable clothes, saying the right thing,

and behaving according to the rules of their particular peer group" (Chance, 1992, p. 39).

Elkind (1967) described the aspect of peer acceptance as the "imaginary audience."

The middle school movement emerged from the junior high concept, which was

developed around 1910 (Chance, 1992). The Committee of Ten, in 1893, urged that








some subjects that were taken in high school should be taken earlier. They also

recommended that elementary school be 6 years rather than 8 and that secondary

education be 6 years rather than 4 (Melton, 1984; Vars & Lounsbury, 1967). The

Committee of Ten wanted to improve the quality of work performed by those entering

universities. From their recommendations emerged the concept of the junior high school.

The report by the committee stated: "The junior period emphasis should be placed upon

the attempt to help the pupil explore his own aptitudes and to make at least provisional

choice of the kinds of work to which he shall devote himself" (p. 18). The committee

further urged that the junior high period should be grouped by department and subject

rather than grade. Thomdike (1906) and Hall (1905) also placed special emphasis on

such a movement based on the idea that adolescents were characterized by individual

differences in development.

The middle school movement in the 1960s was an impetus of reform urged by

many educators (Alexander & McEwin, 1988). The reform was based on the major

components of the junior high, combined with theories of adolescent development and

grouping that best benefit middle school age students. Six functions of junior high school

were identified by Gruhn and Douglas (1947): (a) integration, (b) exploration, (c)

guidance, (d) differentiation, (e) socialization, and (f) articulation.

The middle school education era is characterized by the philosophy that "schools

should be a place where close, trusting relationships with adults and peers create a

climate for personal growth and intellectual development" (Carnegie Council on

Adolescent Development, 1989, p. 37). Middle school proponents that the educational

environment address social-emotional needs as well as physical and cognitive needs

(Alexander, et al. 1968; George & Renzulli, 1997). The middle school years are crucial








for retaining students in school (Chance, 1992). Alexander et al. (1968) stressed three

major components of middle school education: (a) personal development; (b) skills for

continued learning; (c) organized knowledge. Other triad models of developing middle

school education were developed by Lounsbury and Vars (1978), who advocated that

core curriculum, continuous progress, and a variable component of exploratory and

special interest classes be combined to develop a well-rounded model. Wiles and Bondi's

(1981) triad model included personal development, social competence, and skills for

continuous learning. "Areas identified as basic functions generally revolved around the

needs of transescents in terms of cognitive, physical, and social-emotional development"

(Chance, 1992, p. 54).

The focus of middle school education was the balance of cognitive growth, as well

as emotional and social development. The dilemma was "how to successfully balance the

conflicting demands of promoting student growth and development and still focus on

student learning" (Merenbloom, 1988, p. 15). Exploratory or elective courses have been

the heart of developing this balanced curriculum. Intramural sports programs have also

been incorporated in many programs to assist in the development of team work, social

skills, and sportsmanship (Eichom, 1966).

The middle school concept should ensure that students experience success by

offering new ways of organizing school routines (Lipsitz, 1984). Such organization

prevents disengagement and promotes "a sense of membership, identity, and self-esteem"

(Arhar, 1992, p. 144). Advisory provides a nurturing relationship with one caring teacher

who monitors and supports students' educational, social, and emotional progress (George

& Alexander, 2003). The organization supports successful student experiences through a

team of teachers that work and plan together to provide a developmentally responsive








curriculum that meets the needs of all students (Carnegie Council, 1996; George &

Oldaker, 1985; Johnson & Markle, 1986; National Middle School Association, 1996).

Middle schools designed to be developmentally responsive to early adolescents can

help promote healthy life styles (Bush, 1999). The responsibility of health services has

often been left to community agencies and guidance counselors. Middle school

proponents have helped to develop programs to help early adolescents understand their

own development, their relationship with their parents and peers, and characteristics of a

healthy life style (Carnegie Council, 1996).

How students are taught has an underlying focus around the way each student's day

is scheduled. Many middle school proponents advocate the use of flexible scheduling to

allow interdisciplinary teams to schedule groups of students as they see necessary.

However, most Florida middle schools are utilizing a strict six- or seven-period school

day (George, 2001).

Tomlinson and George (2004) suggest that an underlying dichotomy exists in

decisions regarding middle school gifted education. They believe that equity and

excellence drive many decisions affecting how and what we teach in middle school, and

specifically, gifted students. They emphasize that each student should an equal

opportunity (equity) to a high level curriculum that is authentic, while at the same time

those with advanced capabilities should have knowledgeable staff that maximize their

potential (excellence). According to Swaim (2003), middle school proponents believe

that the middle school curriculum should "engage every student in a relevant,

challenging, integrative, and exploratory curriculum, in an environment that fosters

respectful and supportive relationships among students, faculty, family and community"

(p. 4).








Using Eichom's transescent stage as a model, Compton (1982) suggested that the

very nature of this developmental age may be a cause for underachievement of middle

school gifted students. Gallagher (1985) estimates that the underachievement of the

gifted students may range from 15% to 50%. The attempts by educators to decrease the

underachievement and better meet the needs of gifted adolescents led to gifted and

talented models that focused on differentiated curricula (Chance, 1992; Clark, 1992;

Gallagher, 1985; Kindred, Wolotkiewicz, Mickelson, & Coplein, 1981).

Middle school advocates began looking at the grouping of all students, not just the

gifted and talented. Johnson and Markle (1986) proposed that ability grouping had a

negative effect on students, citing that it is "especially antithetical to the goals and

objectives of the middle school" (p. 59). "Ability grouping has negative effects on

teacher expectations and instructional practices, student perceptions of self and others,

and on academic performance of lower ability students" (Chance, 1992, p. 55).

Eichorn (1966) recommended the use of flexible grouping based on mental,

physical, and cultural factors. Alexander et al. (1968) also suggested the use of flexible

grouping combined with a variety of other grouping practices, including independent

study. Moss (1969), building on similar ideas of Eichom and Alexander, developed a

plan called "triple grouping." This plan combined individual, heterogeneous, and

homogeneous grouping. Moss strongly advocated what has come to be known as the

"house plan," which created schools within a school. It allowed for homogeneous

grouping based on age and grade, with heterogeneous interaction based on ability,

physical, and cultural perspectives.

Three major models of student grouping were proposed by Vars (1987): (a)

interdisciplinary teams, (b) total staff approach, and (c) block-time or self-contained








classes. The most popular model, according to Vars (1987), was the team approach. An

interdisciplinary team was composed of teachers from four to five core subject areas. The

teaching team would have a common planning time, share a core group of students, and

plan interdisciplinary units together. The team approach would allow the teachers to

better focus on the whole child and look at social-emotional adjustment and development

as well. George (2001) stated that "of all the components of the middle school concept,

teaming is the one that school leaders refuse to give up" (p. 40). George also noted the

cohesiveness that teaming brought to middle school education. He noted that teams

brought identity to both teachers and students, centering around team names or mascots

with which all student members can identify.

Advisory grouping was also identified as a vital part of the middle school

curriculum to allow for social development through character education, team building,

and the development of self-concept and self-esteem. Vars (1987) described block-time

scheduling as a double period or an expanded amount of instructional time per subject

area. This would allow for more hands-on learning, scientific method, research, and

whole and small group interaction.

The National Middle School Association (1996) outlined six characteristics needed

for effective middle school programs. These characteristics are: (a) educators committed

to young adolescents, (b) a shared vision, (c) high expectations for all, (d) an adult

advocate for every student, (e) family and community partnerships, and (f) a positive

school climate.

Middle School Program Models

Alexander et al. (1968) focused his model of personal development through

guidance and counseling, student activities, and continued learning. He recommended








that student guidance be delivered through a homeroom setting in which the teacher

would have time during the day to devote solely to counseling activities. The idea was

for the students to develop a strong relationship with one of their teachers with whom

they could seek guidance throughout the year as needed. Alexander also proposed, as

part of his model, that time is set aside using flexible scheduling to allow for social

activities, such as clubs, student government, and intramurals. He also advocated

abbreviated semesters for the exploratory classes so that students would have maximal

exposure to a large variety of special interest courses. This model advocated team

teaching, team planning, and continuous progress development.

George and Alexander (2003) emphasized a middle school delivery system that

includes organizing teachers into interdisciplinary academic teams that allow for flexible

scheduling that includes team/teacher autonomy. George and Alexander also advocated

the use of a teacher-based advisory program for all students. This model suggests that the

curriculum should be based on exploration and should build on all the concepts that were

merely introduced in elementary school. This model proposes differentiated instruction

to help encourage independence and responsibility. George and Alexander recommended

flexible grouping and encouraged schools to explore a variety of grouping practices for

middle-level students. Specialized teachers who are knowledgeable about adolescent

development and subject area-specific create a faculty best suited for creating a student-

centered rather than a subject-centered environment.

George and Alexander (2003) also proposed that middle schools create success

experiences for all students and that the schools attempt to reconnect the home and

community with the education of early adolescent learners. Improving health and

physical education was also a component noted in this model of an Exemplary Middle








School. They also placed emphasis on shared decision making among the professionals

of the school.

Beane (1990) recommended that middle schools address problems and concerns of

the average adolescent student. He also suggested that those themes be combined with

the general education curriculum. He proposed that middle school teachers be sensitive

to student needs in these areas. Beane placed emphasis in this model on team teaching

with collaborative teacher planning and heterogeneous grouping plus flexible scheduling

(Chance, 1992). Beane defined "heterogeneous grouping" as "grouping regardless of

ability, school achievement, home background, gender, race, class, personal aspirations"

(p. 56). Beane ascertained that gifted labels, as well as learning disabilities, would not

affect the heterogeneous grouping.

Eichorn (1966) proposed a socio-psychological model based on flexible

scheduling, team teaching, and grouping of students by teams. Eichorn's model focused

on skill development of cognitive skills required for progress, as well as acquisition of

social skills. This model also placed emphasis on an intramural program and interest

activities for students during the school day.

Lounsbury and Vars (1978) advocated the block scheduling approach. They

proposed cross-grouping according to age and flexible scheduling. This model allowed

for continuous progress and individual acceleration, enabling students to move through

the curriculum at their own rates. Lounsbury and Vars recommended a non-graded

approach that was also focused on community involvement and social activities. The role

of teachers as guidance was also stressed in this model. Thematic, interdisciplinary units

played a large role within this set-up. Block scheduling would be utilized at opposite

times to facilitate cross-age scheduling and multiple subject interaction.








Under the category of delivery systems, the theme of team teaching and team

planning appeared in all four models. Three of the four models recommended that

content be organized in thematic, interdisciplinary units" (Chance, 1992, p. 96). Other

common middle school delivery model themes included flexible scheduling. These

encouraged physical activity, as well as social and personal development activities.

The National Middle School Association [NMSA] (2003) proposed that successful

schools for young adolescents provide a culture that breeds success. This culture of

success is created by utilizing developmentally appropriate curriculum and instruction

delivery in an environment that focuses on the needs of the young adolescent. The

NMSA advocates these characteristics of a successful school for young adolescents:

1. educators who value working with this age group and are prepared to do so

2. courageous, collaborative leadership

3. a shared vision that guides decisions

4. an inviting, supportive, and safe environment

5. high expectations for every member of the learning community

6. students and teachers engaged in active learning

7. adult advocate for every student

8. school-initiated family and community partnerships.

NMSA (2003) also suggested that effective schools for adolescents provide a

curriculum that is relevant, challenging, integrative, and exploratory. They propose that

multiple learning and teaching approaches be utilized to respond to diversity.

Assessment and evaluation programs should promote quality learning. Organizational

structures should support meaningful relationships and learning (Bruner, 1960).








Schoolwide efforts and policies should foster health, wellness, and safety. The NMSA

also strongly advocates the use of multifaceted guidance and support services.

The Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development (1996) advocated middle school

reform to help connect schools, communities, and families. They proposed that middle

schools be more intellectually challenging and provide opportunities for adolescents to

learn about themselves. The Carnegie Council also emphasized the use of team teaching

and cooperative learning for students, along with academically supervised community

service. They also noted that middle schools should integrate students of varying ability

levels in a single classroom.

The Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development (1996) proposed eight

principles for transforming the education of young Americans:

1. create communities for learning

2. teach a core of common knowledge

3. provide an opportunity for all students to succeed

4. prepare teachers for the middle grades

5. improve academic performance through better health and fitness

6. re-engage families in the education of adolescents

7. strengthen teachers and principals

8. connect schools with communities.

Gifted Program Models

The gifted program is designed to educate talented students through the use of

accelerated curriculum and enrichment activities. The program is aimed at students who

qualify based on an IQ score of 130 plus-or-minus I standard deviation of 3. The

program focuses on development of the student's full academic potential as well as








preparing him to be a future leader. The gifted program is delivered in multiple settings.

Local conditions primarily determine which kind of program is likely to be the most

effective. In deciding the program delivery model, four major issues have been identified

as determining factors in policy decisions regarding program implementation (Ward,

1979):

1. major sex, racial, and ethnic differences in the proportions of students identified as
"gifted and talented"

2. a variety of interpretations of "giftedness" and therefore a variety of
measurement/qualification and identification options

3. a lack of systematic and suitable curriculum material for the gifted and talented in all
subjects

4. overwhelming patterns of the chronic underachiever.

The students may be in regular classrooms and pulled out during the day for

enrichment activities. The second approach is an inclusion model where the regular

education teacher offers accommodations and enrichment through a standard education,

heterogeneous classroom. The third model is a homogeneous classroom setting that

isolates the gifted students throughout the day in a self-contained setting with an

exceptional education teacher.

The special class program or "homogeneous grouping" can be utilized throughout

the whole day or just part of the day.

As a rule, programs that have achieved demonstrable success group their gifted
children together for some part of the school day, have personnel who are
sophisticated in the content and skills the gifted should develop, and enjoy the
support of the school administration. ... This plan provides an intensive program,
but some feel the children have insufficient association with non-gifted children.
(Gallagher & Weiss, 1983, p. 22)

The modified special class allows the children to spend part of the time with their

age- level peers, as well as their intellectual peers. They spend part of the day in a








resource room with a trained instructor in gifted education best practices. This model

allows for the stimulation of intellectual and social development. Research varies as to

the exact amount of time necessary for the grouping to be effective (Gallagher & Weiss,

1983).

The mentor model is another approach to gifted education. This model is
primarily utilized in California and Florida. This allows the gifted students to
spend time with experts in different careers, and they can work as part-time
interns or apprentices in the field while earning academic credit. The students
receive guidance and counseling throughout the process. (Kaplan, 1974)

Out-of school programs have become increasingly popular among gifted education.

An example of such a program is one organized by the Gifted Child Society in New

Jersey. The program offers Saturday workshops that are enrichment courses in math,

science, and the humanities (Kaplan, 1974). Another example of an out-of school model

is in North Carolina, the first program of this type. This residential program creates six-

and eight-week classes over the summer. The top intellectual students are invited to

participate in enrichment activities (Kaplan, 1974).

Fiedler, Lange, and Winebrenner (2002) identified six major myths regarding

gifted education and program delivery.

1. Tracking and ability grouping are basically the same practice.

2. Ability grouping is elitist.

3. Ability grouping inevitably discriminates against racial and ethnic minority students.

4. Gifted students will make it on their own; grouping them by ability does not result in
improved learning or achievement for them.

5. Providing heterogeneously grouped cooperative learning experiences is most
effective for serving all students, including the gifted.

6. Assuring that there are some gifted students in all classrooms will provide positive
role models for others and will automatically improve the classroom climate.








Fiedler et al. (2002) dispel these myths by first stating that the practice of tracking

involves assigning students to groups for predetermined curricula to be delivered to each

group based on predetermined criteria. Ability grouping, however, may change from

year to year and class to class and allows for a reference point from which the teachers

can prepare their curriculum. In reference to ability grouping being "elitist," Fiedler et al.

(2002) addressed the following idea:

Gifted students may be better at many academic tasks, but this does not imply that
they should be seen as being better than anyone else. The truth is that most
educators of the gifted work diligently to help develop an understanding of
giftedness in the context of individual differences rather than as an issue of
superiority versus inferiority. (p. 44)

Educators have made great strides in improving the identification of minority

students for gifted and talented programs, and national mandates have added to such

efforts, according to Fiedler et al.

Fiedler et al. (2002) addressed the myth of grouping gifted students by stating that

"educators have known for years that gifted students benefit cognitively and effectively

from working with other gifted students" (p. 10). Gifted students do not always benefit

from cooperative learning groups based on heterogeneous grouping. Many times they

have already mastered what is being taught, and teachers become tempted to use them as

helpers, and thus they do not benefit from the activity, according to Fiedler et al.

Some school districts still employ the ideology of the early 1900s that included

acceleration for gifted learners. An example of an acceleration plan is as follows:

Grade Level Acceleration

Primary (K-3) Early admission
Ungraded primary

Intermediate (4-6) Ungraded classes
Grade-skipping








Grade Level Acceleration

Junior High (7-9) Shorten 3 years to 2

Senior High (10-12) Extra class load
Courses for college credit

College (13-16) Early admission to college honors
program

The long-standing practice of "grade skipping" has continued to exist based on the

theory that "gifted children can condense school requirements with no difficulty and with

superior performance" (Gallagher, 1979, p. 44). The idea of acceleration has slowly

faded during the past 20 years. Palcuzzi (1979) asserted his views of integrating

acceleration with specialized instruction:

1. Children should be grouped by ability.

2. Part of the school day should be given over to special instruction.

3. Talented students should be allowed time to share their talents with children of other
schools in the area or throughout the state (transportation will be provided).

4. A child should be advanced according to his talents, rather than according to his age.

5. These children should have special teachers, specially trained and highly salaried.

Gifted students perform at very high levels in many academic fields. These

students require special activities and services that would not ordinarily be provided to

other students of their age or grade level in order to maximize their capabilities (Anthony,

1994). This requires instruction in basic subject matter at a level and pace that meets

their academic needs. In order to accomplish this goal, many educators have established

a homogeneous environment for these accelerated learners. This homogeneous

classroom includes only gifted students within their age or grade level. This environment

provides for stimulation of higher level thinking and enrichment learning experiences.








However, it deprives these students of the opportunity to develop adequate socialization

skills. These skills include peer interaction and cooperation with students of all ability

levels, peer evaluation, self-evaluation, self-esteem, and connectedness with the school

environment (Smith, 1995).

Homogeneous Classroom

The homogeneous classroom-in the case of gifted education-is based on ability

grouping. This setting involves placing all students of a high-ability or "gifted" status

into one classroom. The students are placed by age or grade level. This would be in

contrast to a typical classroom where any given teacher may have 50% of his students

performing at an average level, with 25% below average and 25% above average. Mixed

grouping is considered a heterogeneous classroom. In a homogeneous gifted

environment, students are grouped with their gifted peers and perform all their daily tasks

and activities within the realm of that group. This is also referred to as a "self-contained

gifted classroom."

"The most serious consequence is that students so labeled are taught to feel

inadequate, inferior, and limited in their options for growth" (Parkay & Stanford, 1992, p.

340). Whenever students are grouped by ability and placed within a homogeneous

environment, "there is danger that some group labels can evoke negative expectations,

causing their peers to isolate or reject them" (p. 341). Due to this type of grouping, gifted

students have been the target of many myths and stereotypes. These stereotypes label the

gifted child as "uncooperative," "boistrous," and "impersonable," thus making it difficult

for outside students or teachers to open up to them.

Many middle schools maintain an educational model for the gifted education

program that offers gifted students little or no outside exposure to students of other ability








groups. This is especially true in the case of elementary schools, where these students

even participate in music, art, and physical education classes within their own

homogenous group (Chance, 1992). They must sit together as a class during their lunch

period and even tend to have recess at an isolated period from the rest of the school. This

type of daily routine limits these students' ability to feel a part of the school community,

which is required as an integral part of their own social development (Elkind, 1967).

The common conception of educators is that gifted students do not communicate

well with lower ability students, and they become frustrated by such interaction.

However, it seems that the frustration is a by-product of the lack of integration. Students

do not learn their multiplication tables by reading them from a book and watching the

numbers from afar. They learn them through practice, repetition, and hands-on

interaction with the numbers (Alvino, 1994). The same is true for teaching socialization

skills. The students must have practice interacting with students of other ability groups.

They need to have the opportunity to work with other students solving problems and

doing integrative tasks (Rimm, 1986).

Society is not a homogenous environment, and if a gifted child is going to function

in this world, he must learn how to act cooperatively with all ability groups. The central

focus of education is to prepare students to be active as adequately functioning citizens

within society. It seems that the educational system is doing them an injustice by

inhibiting their access to all walks of life. Therefore, the institution itself is contributing

to the frustration that gifted students feel when they try to interact with students outside

their homogenous realm (Alvino, 1994).

Gifted students tend to have a harder time adjusting to high school and other

secondary institutions (Sloan & Stedtnitz, 1993). This difficult adjustment is partly








because gifted students become very comfortable within their inner circle of other gifted

students. When gifted children enter the middle school, this becomes even more

pronounced. When they make the move to high school, it is very difficult for them to

adjust to being outside of this group and in classes that consist of all ability levels, since

most high schools do not offer a gifted program. This change in setting can cause the

students to become extremely introverted and nervous about expressing their own

knowledge (Constable, 1989). Quite frequently, the problem not only becomes their

inability to communicate with their peers but also their hesitancy to share knowledge and

ideas. This manifests itself during paired or group activities and projects (Sloan &

Stedtnitz, 1993). "Ability grouping works against democratic egalitarian norms, and is

socially ineffective" (Braddock & Slavin, 1989, p. 38). Braddock and Slavin also state

that research evidence does not support the belief that ability grouping enhances a

student's self-concept. Gifted students typically enter the program around third grade,

they stay with relatively the same group of students during all of their elementary school

years and are grouped considerably the same in middle school. Braddock and Slavin

concluded that the most effective way to integrate gifted students socially would be to

"organize for instruction using cooperative learning groups involving individual

accountability and group goals" (p. 15). Heterogeneous grouping can enhance

achievement because of the more productive interaction that will occur within the groups

(Winitzky, 1997).

Clark (1992) established a gifted education delivery model based on the interacting

spheres theory of intelligence encompassing the four major intellectual components: (a)

thinking, (b) intuition, (c) feeling, and (d) sensation. This model was centered around a

heterogeneous classroom setting. The program would utilize a gifted program








coordinator to oversee all major program scheduling and development. Clark also

emphasized the compatibility of this program with an open-education model that would

include multi-age grouping. Clark's model encouraged individual learning outside of the

regular classroom, as well as access each day to intellectual peers through enrichment

pull-out programs. Cooperative planning involving the student, teacher, and parent was

encouraged in this model, as well as flexible scheduling and grouping for social

activities, such as leadership training, student government, and peer mentoring.

Gallagher's (1985) delivery system model for gifted education is based on a

modified learning environment that might include: (a) enrichment in the regular

classroom, (b) consultant teacher, (c) resource room, (d) mentor, (e) independent study,

and (f) special interest classes or schools. This model encourages an open-ended,

constantly changing learning environment that encourages student selection of

curriculum and activities. Gallagher encourages independent study and individualized

assignments and tasks for the gifted learners. Flexible scheduling is also incorporated to

encourage socialization skills through peer interaction in leadership activities. A specific

focus is placed on the gifted underachiever, and a specific counseling and classroom

modification component is established to foster the development of the gifted

underachiever. This model also places emphasis on a diverse student population,

including identification of minority students for gifted education programs, as well as

counseling services to assist minority students in developing their individual talents.

The gifted education delivery model presented by Kaplan (1974) presents a more

segregated or homogeneous setting for gifted students. Kaplan suggests that gifted and

talented students spend time with their intellectual peers at various times throughout the








day. Kaplan also suggests that the gifted students spend a portion of their day interacting

with students of various ability levels. This type of heterogeneous interaction can take

place by providing enrichment and individualized program instruction for gifted students

within the regular education classroom. The Kaplan model places emphasis on outside

enrichment activities that allow for multiple class groupings and provide activities that

are an extension of the regular classroom curriculum. This Kaplan model also allows for

multi-age grouping and continuous progress learning in which students are allowed to

enter into learning experiences based on their individual ability rather than on their age or

grade level. Unlike some other models that have been reviewed, Kaplan accepts the use

of acceleration in this model via early entry, double promotion, advanced placement

courses, and multi-age grouping. The model presented by Kaplan also provides for

identification and intervention for underachieving gifted students as well as minority

students. This intervention program can be accomplished through off-campus

enrichment and apprenticeships.

Kaplan (1974) also provides for differentiated instruction as well as a differentiated

curriculum within the regular education classroom. Flexible scheduling should be

allowed to provide students the opportunity for leadership and social development, as

well as independent and self-directed study. Access to experts, according to Kaplan, is

an important part of students obtaining real-world applications to their studies to help the

gifted students find meaning in their learning.

The Schoolwide Enrichment Model, as presented by Renzulli & Reis (1985), offers

a more wide-range approach to educate high-ability students. Renzulli's plan focuses on

the top 15% to 20%, as opposed to the typical 3% to 5% represented in most gifted and

talented programs. Renzulli (1978) focuses on increasing the talent pool based on








general ability or specific performance areas. The enrichment experiences, as described

in this model, involve activities such as guest speakers, learning centers, and regularly

scheduled enrichment activities. Renzulli recommends that a resource teacher be

scheduled to assist the students at a ratio of 60 to 70 students per teacher. Individual

education plans and records should be continuously reviewed and revised to formulate

the best plan for each student.

The enrichment model, as proposed by Renzulli & Reis (1985), also suggests that

the analysis of students in the gifted education talent pool should be based on interests,

strengths and learning styles. A thorough assessment of student interests will assist the

enrichment committee with developing interest centers for students, as well as

individualized enrichment activities. The enrichment committee would be comprised of

faculty and staff members throughout the school and across disciplines, and thus would

require extensive involvement by teachers and support staff. In-depth individualized or

small-group investigations would be based on extreme student interest and task

commitment that would be coordinated by the resource teacher and monitored by the

teacher or mentor. Outside experts, as suggested by Renzulli, should be brought in as

field experts to provide exploratory activities.

Taylor (1986) proposed a gifted education delivery model that primarily focuses on

using the current subject matter in regular classrooms to develop each student's talents.

Taylor recommends the use of a biological screening tool to focus on multiple talent

areas and to identify students from multiple talent pools. Taylor, Lloyd, & Rollins (1971)

proposes that extracurricular activities should be a part of the regular education

curriculum and that these should be related to career or life activities. The primary focus

of this model is delivery of the gifted program through the regular education classroom,








with specific focus on talent identification and enrichment throughout the entire school

curriculum.

The gifted education delivery model, which was developed by Treffinger (1986), is

based on individualized planning and programming for gifted students. Treffinger

suggests that the highest students be targeted, based on above-average ability, creativity,

or task commitment. The primary delivery of the gifted program would be through the

regular education classroom. However, multivariate grouping would allow for variable

progression rates within each regular classroom. Individual or independent study time, as

well as enrichment activities, would be planned around each student's abilities and

interests and delivered within the regular education classroom. Community resources

would be utilized as mentors and/or field experts.

Treffinger (1986) emphasized the importance of assessment for gifted students and

recommended the use of outside agencies and experts to assess advanced projects or

activities. This model also calls for a gifted resource specialist within each school. The

specialist would work with staff to plan for individual accommodations, locate resources,

provide enrichment opportunities, and offer inservice to teachers. The individual plan for

each student would be determined by the team consisting of the regular education

teacher, the gifted resource specialist, and outside assessment agency.

Treffinger's (1986) plan makes provisions for intellectual peer grouping and

advanced or accelerated classes with in-depth coverage of content. The model

recommends placement by instructional level versus age or grade level. Treffinger

places emphasis on the personal and social growth of gifted and talented students as well.

Portfolios and individual programming options offer a truly individualized approach to

gifted education.








Some common themes existed among these major gifted education delivery

models. All the models suggested that gifted programs utilize enrichment activities

within the regular education classroom (Chance, 1992). Flexible scheduling and

regrouping of students were also popular options in a majority of these models to help

accommodate for intellectual peer grouping and individual and small group instruction.

"Common recommendations for delivery systems also included the use of

apprenticeships, mentors, and outside experts" (Chance, 1992, p. 130). Common to many

models was the idea that teachers should be highly qualified and skilled in teaching

middle grade students as well as in creating a student- centered environment that allows

all students to succeed. Exploratory and student interest activities were also a recurring

theme from these theorists.

Some common options are discussed that pertained to the delivery of gifted

education within the middle school education model. "Flexible scheduling and

regrouping of students was recommended by all middle school education models and by

four gifted education models" (Chance, 1992, p. 132). Individual study and self-pacing

were mentioned by a majority of the middle school models, as well as the gifted

education models. Student interest activities, a team approach to developing a student's

education plan, and attention to personal as well as intellectual growth were also primary

themes in most of these models. Total school enrichment activities and interest activities

were mentioned as themes for middle school and gifted education students within all

classrooms.

Alternatives to the Homogeneous Classroom

The literature indicates that a viable alternative to the homogeneous gifted setting

would be to place these students in all-inclusive environments. Merely placing students








in a particular setting or providing them with a particular set of activities does not

necessarily lead to success (Gallagher, 1993). Gifted children need to be well-rounded

and encompassed with interaction at all levels. Research does not fully discount the idea

of ability grouping. Ability grouping, however, according to Gallagher, would be used

sparingly and implemented along with other forms of grouping. Some middle schools

have implemented programs where gifted students meet in specialized settings for math

and reading but are kept with regular education classes for the rest of their day's

activities. The literature supports the use of such programs. This allows the students to

receive extra attention and challenging instruction in these fields, while still allowing

them the opportunity to socialize and integrate with their peers of other ability levels.

This may also cut down on the frustrations that gifted children feel with each other.

"Gifted" is defined in many ways and through many subject areas. Some children

are highly gifted in one area but not others. They may begin, therefore, to feel inferior

and isolated among their peers who may be very well rounded and gifted in most areas.

Mixed ability grouping with isolated pull-out programs gives students the challenges and

enrichment that they need to perform at high levels, but not taking away from their

interaction with peers at their own ability level and below (Alexander, 1992; Rice, 1994).

Gifted students represent a body of children who have the capacity to perform at

very high levels. Research has indicated, however, that these educationally elite are

being deprived of the very bare essentials of a productive social life. When gifted

children are placed in homogeneous classrooms, they are not being given the experiences

or taught the skills that will allow them to function adequately in a heterogeneous society.

Because our society is pluralistic, it is vital that educators teach our youth, even the

brightest, how to interact and function within this realm. Failing to introduce gifted








students to peer interaction and cooperation with people at all levels leads to the

frustration that is experienced by these students when dealing with students they feel are

below their capabilities. That frustration leads to unhealthy and unproductive social

interaction. In society, we cannot always choose those with whom we wish to work or do

business. For these reasons, educational institutions must prepare all youth to develop

socialization skills that will allow them to adapt to a variety of intellectual levels and

function within this society.

Differentiated Curriculum

A differentiated curriculum is often addressed when referring to the education of

the gifted and talented. A differentiated curriculum, as described by Tannenbaum (1983),

is often referred to as "enrichment." Tannenbaum defines enrichment as "a unique

curriculum distinguishable from the general scope and sequence of studies .. .having a

comprehensive plan with its own built-in rationale" (p. 373). Three major characteristics

must be considered when determining a differentiated gifted and talented education

program: curriculum, instructional models, and delivery system (Fox & Washington,

1985). Tomlinson (1995) emphasizes four important characteristics of an effective

differentiated classroom:

1. Instruction is concept focused and principle driven. All students are given the
opportunity to explore and apply key concepts of the subject being studied. This
instruction stresses "sense making" rather than retention and regurgitation.

2. On-going assessment of student readiness and growth is performed.

3. Flexible grouping is consistently used.

4. Students are active explorers, utilizing goal setting.

Renzulli and Reiss (1985) proposed the Enrichment Triad Model that was an all-

inclusive schoolwide enrichment program. Renzulli identified three types of school








experiences within his triad model. Type I activities were general activities that would be

available to all students, not just the gifted and talented. These activities were designed

to spark student interest and offer them exposure to new topics and ideas that would not

typically be covered in the regular curriculum. The delivery of Type I activities would

take place within the regular education classroom. Type II activities, also available to all

students, would inspire and encourage higher level thinking. Type II activities would be

conducted in the regular classroom and/or a resource room for gifted students. Type III

activities would involve small group or individual instruction and interaction in which

students would research and investigate topics of personal interest. Type III activities

would be conducted in a gifted resource room (Renzulli & Reiss, 1985).

Tomlinson (1995) recommended several practices to ensure effective

differentiation for gifted students within the middle school setting to include the

following:

1. the use of multiple texts and supplementary materials

2. the use of computer programs

3. interest centers

4. learning contracts

5. compacting

6. tiered, sense-making activities

7. tasks and products designed with multiple intelligence orientation

8. independent learning contracts

9. complex instruction

10. group investigation.








The uniqueness of Renzulli's model is that it proposed that such instruction would

provide best practices for all students. Renzulli proposed that this model would

encourage gifted thinking to a larger number of students. He also suggested that such a

model would limit socialization concerns, such as self-esteem and elitism, and would

offer a well-rounded program for gifted children and adolescents. "This model has been

designed to provide an organizational plan for achieving these goals through the

maximum utilization of both specialists and the general faculty" (Renzulli & Reiss, 1985,

p. 4).

Feldhusen (1989) identified categorical programming options for gifted education

at both the elementary and secondary levels. At the elementary level, Feldhusen cited

the following models: pullout classes; differentiated instruction within the regular

education classroom; cluster grouping; after-school or summer enrichment classes; full-

time self-contained classes in regular classrooms; special class offerings, such as art,

music, computers, dance; and foreign language. Feldhusen identified the following

models at the secondary level: honors classes, acceleration, magnet schools, mentorships,

and enrichment seminars. Researchers have studied program delivery models for gifted

education for several decades. They have been able to develop a list of existing models

utilized in the U. S. (Cox, et al., 1985, p. 30):

1. enrichment in the regular classroom

2. part-time special classes

3. full-time special classes

4. independent study

5. itinerant teacher

6. mentorships








7. resource rooms

8. special schools

9. early entrance

10. continuous progress

11. nongraded school

12. moderate acceleration

13. radical acceleration

14. College Board and advanced placement

15. fast-paced courses

16. concurrent and dual enrollment.

In the new millennium, the word of choice is "inclusion" for all special education

students. Many schools are opting to educate their gifted students in regular education

classrooms. Robert Slavin, Director of The Johns Hopkins University Center on

Effective Schooling for Disadvantaged Students, proclaimed:

It's best to accommodate gifted children within the context of the regular
heterogeneous classroom. I would not agree that it is such a terrible thing that the
separate gifted programs are going by the wayside. I see no reason at all to
provide separate gifted programs at any level. (Shields, 1994, p. 33)

In some large school districts, every interdisciplinary team within the middle school

setting is an interdisciplinary teams. These include a number of special education

students on each team (George, 2001).

David French, Director for Student Development of the Massachusetts Department

of Education, is withholding funds to discourage schools from putting children in

different classrooms based on their ability (Shields, 1994). Gifted education is currently

not mandated in half of the states and typically benefits only 3% to 5% of the nation's








children. These reasons have also provided a backdrop for budget cuts and restraints that

cause the elimination of more traditional programs. In the early 1980s, the education

reform movement was stressing economic competitiveness, as it did in the Sputnik era in

the late 1950s that created a small boom for gifted education programs. However,

"presently a number of education reforms have called for an end to traditional classroom

practices of grouping students by ability" (Gallagher, 1985, p. 18). Tomlinson and

George (2004) note that middle grades grouping is most likely effective when (a)

heterogeneity is emphasized; (b) teachers are effectively supported in teaching high

quality, meaning-making, expert-focused curricula in heterogeneous settings; and (c)

teachers are effectively supported in attending to learner variance within their classes.

Their belief is that "the issue is not so much where we put students as the quality of what

we do with them" (p. 9).

Relevant Research

This review of relevant research in middle school and gifted education provided

insight into current and past trends in both fields. Research in these fields was the

background for the development and direction of this study and offered a standard of

comparison for the results.

Guerrero (1995) examined the extent to which trained teachers could effectively

implement advanced instructional techniques and curricula for gifted students in a

heterogeneous middle school environment. There was little evidence of instructional

differentiation in depth, complexity, novelty, or acceleration for advanced and gifted

learners. Teachers tended to underestimate their students' readiness for more

sophisticated instructional experiences. Guerrero's study indicated that gifted learners did

not receive differentiated instruction at any level within the heterogeneous environment.








The Chapter 2-Carnegie Middle School Project was designed to develop educational

programming and to provide appropriate services to advanced and gifted learners within

the restricted middle school environment. Data were collected through field notes and

unstructured interviews covering seven categories: (a) teacher assessment, (b) teacher

self-perception of professional growth, (c) academic challenge, (d) curricular decisions,

(e) instruction, (f) classroom environment, and (g) classroom management.

Gallagher and Coleman (1995) looked at the perceptions of 175 gifted education

teachers and 147 middle school teachers concerning gifted education needs. Gifted

educators disagreed with proponents of cooperative learning concerning student needs

and disagreed with middle school educators on the value of ability grouping and the

social consequences of being labeled as gifted. The survey focused on six interest

clusters: (a) grouping strategies, (b) identification issues, (c) curriculum modifications,

(d) teacher preparation, (e) program evaluation, and (f) emotional/social needs of gifted

students. Educators of gifted students felt more strongly that the regular curriculum was

not challenging enough for gifted students, that programs for gifted students should

address their emotional needs, and that middle school teachers need more staff

development in the characteristics and needs of gifted students. Educators of the gifted

ranked their top three priorities as curriculum, teacher preparation, and appropriate

identification; while middle school educators selected curriculum, grouping practices,

and teacher preparation as most important.

Neba, Fisterwald, and Urban (2001) studied the extent to which grouping affected

the achievement of gifted students in the middle grades. The study looked at whether

gifted students were best served by heterogeneous or homogeneous grouping. The study

found that cooperative learning offers strong potentials for further improving the quality








of instruction with gifted and high-achieving students. The study concluded that

interaction of gifted students with gifted and non-gifted peers throughout their school day

provided the optimal academic environment.

In 1997, Cohen published results from a study of middle school gifted education

teachers. The purpose of this study was to examine whether peer coaching was perceived

by participating middle school teachers as a useful professional development technique

for the acquisition of curricular and instructional differentiation strategies for high-ability

and high-achieving students in the regular classroom. Findings from this study supported

the use of the principles of peer coaching. Data indicated conflicting perceptions among

teachers, students, and parents about the amount of challenge and differentiation initially

provided to high-ability middle school students.

Plucker and Mclntire (1996) conducted a qualitative research study that examined

behaviors and strategies used by 12 high-potential middle school students when they did

not feel challenged in school. They found that students engaged in the following

behaviors: selective attention, focused curricular involvement, involvement with others,

humor, participation in extracurricular activities, and lack of effort/selected effort. Few

middle school teachers associated these behaviors with lack of challenge. The teachers

had received little training in motivation of high-ability learners.

Sicola (1990) studied the emphasis of middle school philosophy on heterogeneous

grouping in relationship to the needs of gifted learners. Arguments supporting such

grouping based on developmental needs of young adolescents, social discrimination, and

the need for positive role models were considered. Cooperative learning was seen to be

an unproven instructional method with this population. Sicola found that heterogeneous








grouping worked best with adolescents. Differentiation of curriculum was explored to

assist students in achieving instruction within the regular education classroom.

Ascher (1992) conducted research on tracking in middle schools. The study found

that many schools were moving away from tracking. The greatest concern among both

parents and educators was that heterogeneous grouping may slow down the learning of

high-achieving students in view of the evidence that high achievers do better in

accelerated classes for the gifted and talented. The conclusions of the study pointed out

that the benefits these gifted students experienced were not from the homogeneity of the

group but from their enriched curriculum and that lower track students would also thrive

on the same enriched curriculum, given sufficient support.

The review of literature found that middle school models, which have their

historical roots in the earlier junior high school movement, are grounded in the constructs

of human development. Middle school models have been designed to attend specifically

to the cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development needs of early adolescents.

The middle school movement is primarily focused on assisting adolescents to develop

emotionally and socially in an academically sound environment. The movement has

encouraged the promotion of school pride, social and emotional awareness, and teacher

and subject cohesion.

The literature review showed that models of gifted education have been based on

the constructs of intelligence and creativity. The gifted education models have been

developed in order to provide appropriate educational opportunities for highly intelligent

and creative individuals. Gifted education theorists have encouraged homogeneous

groupings to assist with academic development and heterogeneous groupings to





62


encourage socialization and cooperative learning. Gifted education encourages

differentiated curricula and expanded educational opportunities and curricula.













CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

This study addressed the problem of identifying components of both middle school

education and gifted education that are compatible across both sets of models. The

specific focus of this study was on program delivery models. Delivery systems

incorporated components that were related to scheduling and organization of both

academic and co-curricular activities as well as other student support services (Chance,

1992). A component was identified as part of the delivery system if it referred to

organization, scheduling, or structure of the total school environment or if it referred to

student support services, total school programming, or staffing decisions.

Statement of the Problem

This study was designed to investigate the presence of consensus-based

components for gifted education within a middle school setting. Specifically, the study

addressed the following questions:

1. What are the major components identified by existing middle school models?

2. What are the major components identified by existing gifted education delivery
models?

3. What categories are compatible themes across both gifted education and middle
school education delivery models?

4. What components of middle school education and gifted education are present in the
middle schools of a large Central Florida public school district?

5. What components of middle school education and gifted education most frequently
occur in conjunction with one another?








This chapter describes research methods, population and setting, sample and

instrumentation, and data analysis. The purpose of this study was the identification of

compatible themes that exist between gifted education and middle school education.

The following questions were addressed in this study:

Question 1: What are the major components identified by existing middle school
models?

The data analyzed in the first question of this study consisted of written documents;

therefore, the research methodology utilized was content analysis. "In general, content

analysis applies empirical and statistical methods to textual material" (Lindkvist, 1981, p.

34.) Holsti (1969) describes content analysis as:

A good research design makes explicit and integrates procedures for selecting a
sample of data for analysis, content categories, comparisons between categories,
and the classes of inference which may be drawn from the data. (p. 25)

The consideration of sampling procedures was a major criterion for this portion of

the study. The selection of models for middle school education began with surveys of

texts cited in the review of literature that met the criteria: (a) that they were written as a

survey of a variety of models and (b) that they presented a general view of middle school

education.

A second consideration in designing the content analysis of this study was the

selection of categories that were used as a basis for analysis. Holsti (1969) stated that

"categories should reflect the purpose of the research, be exhaustive, be mutually

exclusive, independent, and be derived from a single classification principle" (p. 95).

Holsti identified the most important criteria for selecting categories for content analysis

as adequately reflecting the research question, and he added that "familiarity with one's

data is an important asset for developing valid and reliable categories" (Holsti, 1969, p.








95). Thus, for the purpose of the study, the category selected for review was limited in

scope to that of program delivery models. Curriculum and instruction (the other major

categories identified in the literature) were not reviewed because the focus was on the

delivery of middle school gifted education.

Holsti (1969) ascertained that "for many purposes the theme, a single assertion

about some subject, is the most useful unit of content analysis" (p. 116). Since the

purpose of this study was to identify themes of a model that fall into the identified

category, the term "component" was utilized as the label for the individual part of each

model that pertains to the category of program delivery.

Lincoln and Guba (1985) discussed reliability as "typically demonstrated by

replication, if two or more repetitions of essentially similar inquiry processes under

essentially similar conditions yield essentially similar findings, the reliability of the

inquiry is indisputably established" (pp. 298-299). One way that Everson and Green

(1986) noted that reliability can be obtained is by coding the data a second time. Bowers

and Courtright (1984) established that "stability in measurement across time is inferred

from intraobserver reliability" (p. 115). Intraobserver reliability is defined, according to

Becker (1983), as "the degree of agreement of a rater with himself when he judges or

unitizes or categorizes, with himself when he judges or unitizes or categorizes the same

object at different times" (p. 116).

The middle school models used were proposed by William Alexander et al. (1968);

James Beane (1990); Donald Eichom (1966); and John Lounsbury and Gordon Vars

(1978); Paul George and William Alexander (2003); The National Middle School

Association (2003); and the Carnegie Council for Adolescent Development (2003).








Question 2: What are the major components identified by existing gifted education
delivery models?

Samples of gifted education models were selected from documents that presented a

general view of gifted education and surveyed a variety of models. The consideration of

sampling procedures was a major criterion for this portion of the study in which models

for gifted education were selected for analysis.

Other considerations in designing the content analysis for gifted education delivery

models were identical to those discussed in Question 1 above for middle school

components.

This study selected the gifted education models proposed by Barbara Clark (1992);

James Gallagher (1985); Sandra Kaplan (1974); Joseph Renzulli & Reis (1985); Calvin

Taylor (1978); and Donald Treffinger (1986).

Question 3: What categories are compatible themes across both gifted education
and middle school education delivery models?

Content analysis research requires that data be compared to other data (Holsti,

1969). One comparison that can be made with content analysis is comparing the

messages produced by two or more different sources (Chance, 1992). In this study the

components of gifted education program delivery models and middle school education

program delivery models were compared. The purpose of this class of comparisons is to

"relate theoretically significant attributes of communicators to differences in the

messages they produce" (Chance, 1992). The differences in messages produced by

writers in gifted education and those produced by writers in middle school education

provided the initial impetus upon which the questions for this study evolved.

The review of literature was used to identify compatible components between

middle school and gifted education, which were then used as the basis for the comparison








of the program delivery models. Models designed specifically for gifted education, as

well as middle school education models, and school policies and practices were identified

through a survey of the components identified. The technique of content analysis was

utilized to provide a framework for the design of the study.

Question 4: What components of middle school education and gifted education are
present in the middle schools of a large Central Florida public school district?

During the study, the large Central Florida public school district studied had an

enrollment of 65,044 students. The students in Grades 6-8 that are served in 11 middle

schools with an ongoing gifted program were utilized as a research base. The student

population was 68% White; 14.7% Black; 12.4% Hispanic; 3.1%, Multi-racial; and 4.2%

classified as Other. The district employed 4,586 teachers.

The process of identifying intellectually gifted students within the district includes

several stages. The first stage is the referral stage in which a referral may be originated

by school personnel, parents, or students. The referral source may contact the school's

guidance counselor to initiate the referral. The school will then seek to obtain parental

permission to continue the screening process. The teachers and parents of the nominated

student will then complete a checklist of the student's characteristics. A short-form

intelligence test or screening is then administered. The information obtained from these

documents is then presented to the school-based student study team for review and

recommendations. If the student study team recommends further testing, then a certified

school psychologist will conduct an individual intelligence evaluation. The student study

team will then reconvene to review all testing and declare the student eligible or

ineligible for the gifted education program. According to the school district's manual for

Exceptional Student Support Services, eligibility includes, but is not limited to: a superior








intellectual development as measured by an intelligence quotient of 2 standard deviations

or more above the mean on an individually administered standardized test of intelligence.

The specific focus of this question was on the large public school district studied.

The district delivers middle school gifted education by utilizing a variety of methods. A

case study approach was employed to determine the practices actually being utilized in

11 middle schools within the district. Each school principal or designee was asked to

answer questions containing the components that are common to both middle school

education and gifted education. In a case study approach, information obtained from

school principals was compared with information observed by the researcher in campus

visits. Marshall and Rossman (1989) suggest that this approach entails "immersion in the

everyday life of the setting chosen for the study; the researcher enters the informant's

world and through interaction seeks the informants' perspectives and meanings" (p. 17).

A case study concentrates on the way a particular group of people confronts specific

problems, situations, or programs. It brings new perceptions and helps the reader

understand how and why events happen, or verifies what is already known (Fraenkel &

Wallen, 1996). Shaw (1998) explained that "case studies are problem centered, small

scale, entrepreneurial endeavors which are often used when understanding is needed in

order to improve practice" (p. 29). Observation is a crucial part of the data collection

process in qualitative research (Merriam, 1998). Observations of the 11 middle schools

utilized in this study yielded insights into the relevant activity, behavior, and

environmental conditions that were better noted when observed first-hand.

The participants for this portion of the study were representative of each of the 11

middle schools in the public school district studied. Random selection or sampling was

unnecessary, because a principal or designee from every school in the study was used.








The population of this study included all district middle schools during the 2004-2005

school year. An interview was conducted with each school principal regarding their

middle school gifted education program. The interview was oriented toward the

components that have been identified as common to both middle school education and

gifted education by the literature. An observation was then conducted for each school to

allow the researcher to observe the presence and degree to which each identified

component existed. Qualitative research methods allowed the researcher an opportunity

for exploration of the commonly identified components that are evidenced by both

middle school and gifted education literature and then to further explore these

components as they occur in practice. This case study was an inductive investigation in

which emergent information gathered during fieldwork may reformulate the original

questions (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992). A thorough, richly detailed description of school

culture emerged as the researcher observed and interviewed participants. Data in this

investigation were gathered through observation, interviews, and review of literature.

This was a multi-case exploratory case study because it used multiple middle schools and

sought to uncover the existence or non-existence of commonly identified components of

a middle school gifted education program (Yin, 1994).

Prior to fieldwork, permission to conduct the research was obtained from the local

school districts and from the University of Florida Institutional Review Board.

Question 5: What components of middle school education and gifted education most
frequently occur in conjunction with one another?

Through the use of interviews and campus observations, the school practices were

analyzed to determine if any common pairings of components were being utilized. The

researcher wished to determine if there were other groups of components that middle





70

school gifted education programs tend to commonly combine and to determine if there

was a consistent rationale for doing so.

Summary

This study took a comprehensive look at literature, current school practices, and

recommended models of both gifted education and middle school education. The

information gathered was compared to give an overall sense of what components of

middle school and gifted education appear to work in congruence with one another. In

Chapter IV, the results and conclusions of the data gathered are discussed.













CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

This study addressed the problem of identifying components of both middle school

education and gifted education that are compatible across both sets of models. The

specific focus of this study was on program delivery models. Delivery systems

incorporated components that were related to scheduling and organization of both

academic and co-curricular activities as well as other student support services (Chance,

1992). A component was identified as part of the delivery system if it referred to

organization, scheduling, or structure of the total school environment or if it referred to

student support services, total school programming, or staffing decisions.

Statement of the Problem

This study was designed to investigate the presence of consensus-based

components for gifted education within a middle school setting. Specifically, the study

addressed the following questions:

1. What are the major components identified by existing middle school models?

2. What are the major components identified by existing gifted education delivery
models?

3. What categories are compatible themes across both gifted education and middle
school education delivery models?

4. What components of middle school education and gifted education are present in the
large public school district studied ?

5. What components of middle school education and gifted education occur most
frequently in conjunction with one another?








Literature Results

The content analysis portion of this study was developed from six gifted education

models and seven middle school education models. The content analysis was utilized to

identify compatible components of middle school education models, gifted education

models, and both gifted education and middle school education. The categorization used

for identifying the components was the program delivery model. Components from each

model were studied and all program delivery model elements were extracted from the

model. From each model, a component list was developed consisting of all program

delivery model components from each middle school model and from each gifted

education model. Two levels of comparison were made for the content analysis. First,

common components of middle school education were identified along with common

components of gifted education. Second, common components of both middle school

and gifted education were identified.

Several gifted education models were utilized for content analysis. The models

were chosen from surveys and overviews of multiple models of gifted education. The

gifted education models included in the study are listed below:

Clark, B. (1992). Growing upgifted. Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill.

Gallagher, J. J. (1985). Teaching the gifted child. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Kaplan, S. N. (1974). Providing programs for the gifted and talented: A handbook.
Ventura, CA: Office of the Ventura County Superintendent of Schools.

Renzulli, J. S., & Reis, S. M. (1985). The schoolwide enrichment model: A
comprehensive plan for educational excellence. Mansfield Center, CT: Creative
Learning Press.

Taylor, C. W. (1978). How many types of giftedness can your school tolerate? The
Journal of Creative Behavior, 12(1), 39-51.








Taylor, C. W., Lloyd, B., & Rollins, J. (1971). Developing multiple talents in classrooms
through the implementation of research. Journal of Research and Development in
Education, 4(3), 42-50.

Treffinger, D. J. (1986). Blending gifted education with the total school program. East
Aurora, NY: D.O.K. Publishers.

Each gifted education model was reviewed to identify components of the program

delivery method of each model. The category of delivery system included components

that were related to scheduling and organization of both academic and cocurricular

activities as well as other student support services. A component was defined as a single

assertion about some subject that can be classified under a category (Chance, 1992). A

component was identified by the researcher when assertions were made by the author in

terms of recommendations, suggestions, or essential components.

A component was placed under the category of program delivery system if it

referred to the organization, scheduling, or structure of the total school environment.

Program delivery components also addressed particular student support programs or

referred to the organization of content, staff, or students within the context of the total

school curriculum. Also identified were program delivery components referring to the

selection of staff or students that related to total school programming (Chance, 1992).

Clark's Model

Table 4-1 presents components identified in Clark's (1992) model for gifted

education. Clark (1992) proposed a gifted education delivery model that included

components ranging from enrichment within the regular classroom to special education

classes and schools. Clark proposed multiple acceleration options with an open-

education concept that included non-graded, multi-age classrooms with flexibility for








regrouping. Clark proposed an individualized approach to meeting the needs of each

gifted student.

Table 4-1. Clark's Model for Gifted Education
Delivery System
Within heterogeneous classroom (1)
Open-education model with cross-age grouping (2)
Coordinator for gifted programs (3)
Individual learning outside regular classroom (4)
Flexible grouping and scheduling (5)
Access to intellectual peers (6)
Learning centers (7)
Advanced placement (8)
Mentorships (9)
Individual pacing (10)
Use of community to access data (11)
Community service (12)
Student government (13)
Cooperative student/teacher/parent planning (14)
Use of adult experts in areas of student interest (15)
Identify and serve students who have high levels of intellectual ability or
promise of such development, multiple criteria for selection (16)

Gallagher's Model

Table 4-2 presents components identified in Gallagher's (1985) model for gifted

education. Gallagher (1985) focused a great deal on making accommodations for gifted

students. In the area of learning environment modifications he recommended a wide

range of individualized options for students. His recommendations ranged from

enrichment in the regular classroom to specialized classes and activities for gifted

students. Flexible scheduling and grouping are important aspects of this model.








Table 4-2. Gallagher's Model for Gifted Education
Delivery System
Modified learning environment, enrichment in regular classroom, consultant teacher,
independent study or resource room (1)
Changed learning environment, students select interest activities, magnet schools (2)
Individual assignments or projects (3)
Flexible scheduling (4)
Counseling and programs for gifted underachiever (5)
Classroom modifications and accommodations for gifted underachiever (6)
Counseling and programs for culturally diverse gifted students to develop talents (7)
Individualized Education Plans for gifted students with disabilities (8)
Identify students with special abilities for applying abstract concepts, multiple criteria (9)

Kaplan's Model

Table 4-3 presents components identified in Kaplan's (1974) model for gifted

education.

Table 4-3. Kaplan's Model for Gifted Education
Delivery System
Homogeneous environment for gifted students for various times/activities (1)
Heterogeneous environment for gifted students for various times/activities (2)
Enrichment within the regular classroom (3)
Enrichment outside regular classroom in within class groupings (4)
Learning experiences based on ability rather than age or grade (5)
Various grouping practices to include seminars, team teaching, resource room, special
interest clubs (6)
Acceleration opportunities,early entry, self-pacing, multi-age grouping,independent study (7)
Guidance services, individual conferencing, group meetings (8)
Identification and interventions for underachieving gifted students (9)
Identification and interventions for culturally diverse gifted students (10)
Apprenticeships/ mentors (11)
Leadership development (12)
Identification and development of creativity (13)
Flexible programming (14)
Differentiated curriculum within regular classroom (15)
Independent study/ contracts (16)
Learning centers (17)
Professional mentors (18)
Independent learning (19)








Kaplan's (1974) model for gifted education program delivery relies heavily on

grouping practices and enrichment. Kaplan also proposes various methods of

acceleration and program delivery that focus on ability rather than a student's age or

grade. Kaplan contends that homogeneous grouping of gifted students is a necessary part

of individual student development.

Renzulli's Model

Table 4-4 presents components identified in Renzulli's (1985) model for gifted

education.

Table 4-4. Renzulli's Model for Gifted Education
Delivery System
Serve top 15-20 percent of school population (talent pool) (1)
Enrichment experiences, guest speakers, learning centers (2)
Daily enrichment and learning activities (3)
Resource teacher (1:60 ratio) (4)
Individual Education Plans (5)
Student analysis for interests, strengths and learning styles (6)
Interest development activities (7)
Enrichment planning committee (8)
Faculty involvement in committees and needs assessments (9)
Critical thinking skills and research skills taught in regular classroom setting (10)
Experts/ professional mentors (11)
Individual and small-group investigation of student interests (12)
Student exhibitions (13)
Curriculum compacting/ acceleration (14)

Renzulli's schoolwide enrichment model focuses on the top 15 to 20% of the

school population. This top 20% is what he calls the "talent pool." His model calls for

enrichment experiences in and out of the regular classroom, outside of the school day,

and with professional mentors. The enrichment model would also allow students to work

on independent research projects and have a possibility for self-paced acceleration

through the curriculum.








Taylor's Model

Table 4-5 presents components identified in Taylor et al.'s (1971) model for gifted

education.

Table 4-5. Taylor's Model for Gifted Education
Delivery System
Identify multiple areas of student talent (1)
Extracurricular activities and life learning experiences as part of regular curriculum (2)
Curriculum taught in regular classroom (3)

The Taylor et al. (1971) model focuses primarily on the delivery of gifted

education program within the regular classroom with outside enrichment activities.

Taylor recommends that extracurricular activities be built into the regular school day as

to have maximum impact on the school population.

Treffinger's Model

Table 4-6 presents components identified in Treffinger's (1986) model for gifted

education.

Table 4-6. Treffinger's Model for Gifted Education
Delivery System
Use of portfolios for individual development (1)
Serve students with potential for above-average ability (2)
Appropriate student services based on individual needs (3)
Multiple grouping/ learning experiences within one classroom (4)
Independent study (5)
Gifted curriculum provided in regular classroom (6)
Gifted specialist in each school (7)
Individual education planning committee (8)
Faculty involvement in committees and needs assessments (9)
Critical thinking skills and enrichment provided in regular classroom setting (10)
Experts/professional mentors (11)
Individual and small-group investigation of student interests (12)
Student exhibitions (13)
Curriculum compacting/ acceleration (14)
Heterogeneous grouping throughout the day (15)









Table 4-6. Continued
Delivery System
Placement by ability rather than age or grade (16)
Personal and social skill development (17)
Variety of delivery methods for each student (18)

Treffinger's (1986) model focuses a great deal on providing each gifted student

with an individualized education approach. The foundation of his model provides gifted

education students enriched experiences and curriculum within the regular classroom

with accommodations. However, Treffinger did suggest that gifted students be provided

with access to their gifted peers for a portion of each day and that activities be structured

accordingly. This model proposes that students be placed in classes and programs based

on their individual talents rather than chronological age or grade level.

Common Themes in Gifted Education Models

Table 4-7 identifies components found in two or more of the gifted education models,
organized by categories of gifted education. These categories were developed and
classified by Chance (1992).

Table 4-7. Components Found in Two or More Gifted Education Models
Components
Theme Identified # of Models
Apprenticeships 7 5
Mentors/outside experts 3 2
Acceleration 5 4
Exploratory/student interest activities 5 4
Independent study 10 5
Learning centers/ Individual pacing 6 4
Special classes outside regular classroom 7 5
Flexible scheduling 5 4
Regrouping 1 1
Enrichment within regular classroom 8 6
Guidance component 2 2








All gifted education models recommended the use of enrichment activities within

the regular classroom as part of the program delivery for gifted education. Special

classes in a heterogeneous setting were included in five of the six models.

Apprenticeships and independent learning activities were also noted in five of the six

models. Learning centers, exploratory activities, flexible scheduling, and acceleration

were also represented in four of the six models.

Middle School Models

Seven middle school education models were utilized for content analysis. The

models were chosen from surveys and overviews of multiple models of middle school

education. The models included in the study are listed below.

Alexander, W., Williams, E., Compton, M., Hines, V., & Prescott, D. (1968). The
emergent middle school. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
Beane, J. (1990). A middle school curriculum: From rhetoric to reality. Columbus, OH:
National Middle School Association.
Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development. (1996). Turning points: Preparing
American youth for the 21s century. New York: Carnegie Corporation.
George, P., & Alexander, W. (2003). The exemplary middle school. Belmont, CA:
Thomson Wadsworth.
Eichorn, D. (1966). The middle school. New York: The Center for Applied Research in
Education.
Lounsbury, J. H., & Vars, G. E. (1978). A curriculum for the middle school years. New
York: Harper & Row.
National Middle School Association. (2003). This we believe. Columbus, OH: Author.


Each middle school education model was reviewed to identify components of the

program delivery method of each model. The category of delivery system included

components that were related to scheduling and organization of both academic and

cocurricular activities as well as other student support services. A component was defined

as a single assertion about some subject that can be classified under a category (Chance,








1992). A component was identified by the researcher when assertions were made by the

author in terms of recommendations, suggestions, or essential components.

A component was placed under the category of program delivery system if it

referred to the organization, scheduling, or structure of the total school environment.

Program delivery components also addressed particular student support programs,

referred to the organization of content, staff or students within the context of the total

school curriculum. Program delivery components referring to the selection of staff or

students that related to the total school programming were also identified (Chance, 1992).

Alexander's Model

Table 4-8 presents components identified in Alexander's (1968) model for middle

school education.

Table 4-8. Alexander's Model for Middle School Education
Delivery System
Intramural activities part of P.E. (1)
Health services (2)
Laboratory courses (3)
Character education through a counseling teacher (4)
Activity schedule for clubs, games etc. (5)
Gifted curriculum provided in regular classroom (6)
Counseling through a home base teacher (7)
Health education (8)
Shortened exploratory classes (9)
Study skill centers (10)
Team planning (11)
Team teaching (12)
Teacher planning and group conferencing (13)
Flexible scheduling (14)
High school students as tutors/mentors (15)
Independent study (16)
Teachers that are experts in remedial and basic skill development (17)
Teachers that are experts in multiple fields (18)
Non-graded, continuous progress plan (19)








Table 4-8. Continued
Delivery System
3 systems in congruence: personal development, skills for continued learning,
and organized knowledge (20)
Relationship with one teacher for personal/ educational guidance (21)
Individualization (22)


Alexander et al. (1968) makes a variety of recommendations regarding a middle

school education delivery model. The model focuses a great deal on scheduling and

providing student guidance services. Alexander's model proposes that every student

meet with a home base teacher each day or each week to develop a continuous

relationship for the child to seek social and emotional support through their academic

endeavors. This model also proposes the use of flexible scheduling in order to provide

time during the school day for student interest activities, student clubs, or intramurals.

Alexander also proposes the use of exploratory courses with shortened curricula in order

to allow students to explore their interests.

Beane's Model

Table 4-9 presents components identified in Beane's (1990) model for

middle school education.

Table 4-9. Beane's Model for Middle School Education Delivery System
Thematic units (1)
Team structure (2)
Large group instruction with teams (3)
Small group instruction within team (4)
Flexible scheduling (5)
Individual activities (6)
Collaborative planning (7)
Intramural and club activities (8)
Heterogeneous grouping (9)








Beane's (1990) primary focus is on providing a team structure and team teaching

with the middle school students. Beane emphasizes the importance of flexible scheduling

in providing true team teaching. This model advocates the use of heterogeneous

grouping, without special classes for gifted or learning disabled students. Beane also

encourages the use of intramural and club activities as part of each student's regular

school day.

Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development Model

Table 4-10 presents components identified in the Carnegie Council on Adolescent

Development (1996) model for middle school education.

Table 4-10. Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development's Model for Middle
School Education
Delivery System
Supervised community service (1)
Team structure (2)
Exploratory classes (3)
Specially trained teachers (4)
Supportive grouping (5)
Health and fitness focus (6)
Heterogeneous grouping (7)
Family and community partnerships (8)

The Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development (1996) model focuses on

adolescent development through increased partnerships with their family and community.

They advocate a community learning approach through supervised community service

projects and increased parental interaction and decision making. They encourage special

training of teachers and staff to work with adolescents and their needs and to allow

special exploration time for adolescents to discover themselves, their interests, and their

talents.








Eichorn's Model

Table 4-11 presents components identified in Eichorn's (1966) model for middle

school education.

Eichorn's (1966) model also proposes a team approach. This approach utilizes

team teaching and flexible scheduling with regrouping. Eichorn's model allows for

acceleration through middle school from 2 to 4 years. Individual progress and

development are emphasized in this plan, along with interest activities and intramurals.

These interest activities would be scheduled as part of the regular school day.

Table 4-11. Eichorn's Model for Middle School Education
Delivery System
Interrelated units within curriculum (1)
Intramural athletic program (2)
Close relationship between students and staff (3)
Student association (4)
Equal ratio of male/female instructional staff (5)
Team planning (6)
Individual PE facilities (7)
Grouping-based ability rather than age or grade (8)
Resource centers/individual study (9)
Grouping based on physical and emotional growth for physical activities (10)
Students involved in decision making (11)
Team teaching (12)
Teacher planning and group conferencing (13)
Flexible scheduling (14)
Instructional personnel take on guidance role (15)
Acceleration (16)
Large group social activities (17)
Interest activities as part of school day (18)
Counselors to be utilized for extreme cases (19)

George & Alexander's Model

Table 4-12 presents components identified in George and Alexander's (2003)

model for middle school education. George and Alexander's (2003) model focuses on








adolescent development and exploration. They advocate a team learning approach with

flexible scheduling and supportive grouping to focus on students's academic as well as

emotional needs. The advisor set-up proposed by George and Alexander gives middle

school students that extra support they need to transition to the middle school years.

Exploratory classes along with interest activities and clubs allow students an opportunity

to explore their own talents and interests while discovering their own social and

emotional skills.

Table 4-12. George and Alexander's Model for Middle School Education
Delivery System
Advisors (1)
Team structure (2)
Exploratory classes (3)
Flexible scheduling (4)
Specially trained teachers (5)
Supportive grouping (6)
Small school setting (7)
Intramural and club activities (8)
Shared decision making (9)

Lounsbury and Var's Model

Table 4-13 presents components identified in Lounsbury and Var's (1978) model

for middle school education.

Table 4-13. Lounsbury and Var's Model for Middle School Education
Delivery System
Students progress through the curriculum at their own rate (1)
Thematic, interdisciplinary units (2)
Faculty mentors as counselors/mentors (3)
Block scheduling (4)
Group by age or grade (5)
Multiple groups working on different curricula (6)
Multiple sequence, variable rate, and continuous progress scheduling (7)
Cross-age grouping (8)
P.E. each day (9)









Table 4-13. Continued
Delivery System
Intramurals (10)
Teachers as counselors/mentors (11)
Student interest activities (12)
Interest activities part of school day (13)
Flexible scheduling (14)
Health education (15)

The Lounsbury and Vars (1978) delivery model of middle school education focuses

around flexible scheduling and block scheduling. This scheduling allows for student

interest activities to be scheduled during the school day, as well as provide for regrouping

of students by age or grade level. Lounsbury and Vars also propose multiple methods of

curricula tracking and sequencing. They recommend that each student has access to a

faculty mentor.

National Middle School Association Model

Table 4-14 presents components identified in the National Middle School

Association (2003) model for middle school education.

Table 4-14. National Middle School Association's Model for Middle School Education
Delivery System
Advisors (1)
Team structure (2)
Exploratory classes (3)
Flexible scheduling (4)
Specially trained teachers (5)
Social skill development (6)
Collaborative planning (7)
Family and community partnerships (8)
Health, wellness, and safety focus (9)

The National Middle School's (2003) model focuses on creating a small school

atmosphere or possibly a school within a school set-up. They advocate a team learning








approach with flexible scheduling and supportive grouping of students to meet their

social and emotional needs. The National Middle School Association also focus on

training teachers to work specifically with adolescent students and to provide a wealth of

exploratory learning opportunities to assist the students in engaging and developing their

individual talents.

Common Themes of Middle School Education

Table 4-15 identifies components found in four or more middle school education

models, organized by categories of middle school education developed by Chance

(1992).

Table 4-15. Components Found in Four or More Middle School Education
Component
Theme Identified # of Models
Thematic, Interdisciplinary units 4 4
Guidance through teachers 5 3
Intramural activities 4 4
Student Interest activities 4 4
Team Teaching 7 7
Team Planning 4 4
Independent study/study skill centers 5 3
Flexible Scheduling 4 4
Regrouping 3 2
Continuous progress/non-graded 4 4
Guidance Component 1 4
Specially trained teachers 1 3

The middle school models had many common components in relation to the

delivery system. Team teaching appeared in all seven models, and team planning or

conferencing appeared in over half the models. Four out of seven models recommended

thematic units and interdisciplinary instruction. Continuous progress or non-graded

approaches that included alternate pacing or acceleration appeared in four of the seven








models. A guidance component made up of teachers was also evident in a majority of the

models.

Common Themes in Gifted Education and Middle School Education Models

Table 4-16 identifies components found in two or more gifted education models as

well as two or more middle school education models in the area of program delivery

organized by themes of gifted and middle school education as developed by Chance

(1992).

The gifted education models had many components in common with the middle

school education models. Independent study and exploratory or student interest activities

were among the top components that were recognized across both disciplines. Flexible

scheduling and enrichment activities were also consistently included as components of

both middle school and gifted education models. The use of some form of acceleration

was noted by over half of the models studied and was described in eight different

component sections. Providing a guidance component was emphasized as an important

element to both middle school and gifted education models as well.

Table 4-16. Components of Gifted Education and Middle School Education
Component
Theme Identified # of Models
Acceleration 8 6
Exploratory/Student interest activities 8 8
Independent Study 14 8
Learning centers/ Individual pacing 6 4
Flexible Scheduling 8 8
Regrouping 5 4
Enrichment within regular classroom 8 6
Guidance component 7 5








Components in Gifted Education and Middle School Education Models

Table 4-17 lists all components that were identified in a middle school education

model and/or a gifted education model. To be included on this list, the component had to

be identified in a middle school model, a gifted education model, or both.

Table 4-17. All Components Identified in Middle School and/or Gifted
Education Models
Component
Theme Identified # of Models
Apprenticeships 7 5
Mentors/outside experts 3 2
Acceleration 5 4
Exploratory/Student interest activities 5 4
Independent Study 10 5
Learning centers/Individual pacing 6 4
Special classes outside regular classroom 7 5
Flexible scheduling 5 4
Regrouping 1 1
Enrichment within regular classroom 8 6
Guidance component 2 2
Thematic, Interdisciplinary units 3 3
Guidance through teachers 5 3
Intramural activities 4 4
Student Interest activities 4 4
Team teaching 4 5
Team planning 2 2
Independent study/study skill centers 5 3
Flexible scheduling 4 4
Regrouping 3 2
Continuous progress/non-graded 4 3
Guidance component 1 1
Acceleration 8 6
Exploratory/Student interest activities 8 8
Independent study 14 8
Learning centers/ Individual pacing 6 4
Flexible scheduling 8 8
Regrouping 5 4
Enrichment within regular classroom 8 6
Guidance component 7 5








Middle Schools in a Large Public School District

A case study approach examined the 11 middle schools within a large Central

Florida public school system. Interviews were conducted at each school with the school

principal or designee. Interview questions (Appendix A) were derived from the common

components of middle school gifted education that were identified through content

analysis of the literature. Following each interview, the researcher conducted campus

observation of gifted classrooms and gifted teacher interaction to determine the extent to

which these components were present in the schools.

Common Components in Gifted Education and Middle School Education Models

Table 4-18 lists components as identified by the 11 middle school principals who

were studied in the school district. These components were identified by the principals or

a designee during an interview and through campus observations by the researcher,

including items from all the commonly identified components of the models studied.

This information was obtained from either the school interview, observations, or both.

Table 4-18 indicates the number of schools reporting components. The extent (0-3)

is defined for each component in Table 4-19.


Table 4-18. Number of Schools (N= 1) with Components
Theme 0 1 2 3
Acceleration 3 7 1 0
Exploratory classes 0 0 0 11
Student interest activities 4 7 0 0
Independent study 1 10 0 0
Learning centers/Individual pacing 2 8 1 0
Flexible scheduling 8 2 0 1
Regrouping 9 2 0 0
Enrichment within regular classroom 0 0 0 11
Guidance component 0 11 0 0








The following is a chart to demonstrate the meaning of each Likert value for the

components that were part of the interview questions (Appendix A) and observations.

The definitions of these components were provided for all participants (Appendix B).

Table 4-19. Interview Question Components with Likert Scale Values
Acceleration
0- Never
1- Students may progress through individual teacher work at desired pace
2- Students advance through courses at their own rate
3- Students can earn credits and advance though yearly curriculum at their own pace
Exploratory Classes
0- Never
1- Occasionally throughout school year
2- Students participate in exploratory classes weekly or quarterly
3- Daily exploratory classes
Student Interest Activities
0- Never
1- Occasionally throughout school year
2- Students participate in weekly or quarterly interest activities
3- Daily interest activities
Independent Study
0- Never
1- Individual teachers assign independent study assignments sparingly throughout the year
2- Weekly or monthly portfolio or individual assessment projects
3- Each student completes a contract of independent study/research for school curriculum
Learning Centers
0- Never
1- Individual teachers use learning centers sparingly in their classrooms during the year
2- Each team creates interdisciplinary activities that are rotated by subject area
3- Students participate in small group instruction daily with enrichment activities and
practice
Flexible Scheduling
0- Never
1- Have an occasional activity day or special project that allow teachers to change the
schedule
2- Allow teachers to adjust schedule at least once a week
3- Allow teachers full authority over creating and implementing their team schedule








Table 4-19. Continued
Regrouping
0- Never
1- During special activities only
2- During a weekly or monthly block schedule
3- Teachers have full autonomy to regroup students daily as needed
Enrichment within regular classroom
0- Never
1- Instruction within the regular classroom at various times throughout the year
2- Instruction within regular classroom weekly
3- Instruction within regular classroom daily
Guidance Component
0- Never
1- Each student is assigned a guidance counselor
2- Each student is assigned to a teacher they see each week to discuss progress, issue, etc.
3- Each student is assigned to a teacher they see each day to discuss progress, issues, etc.


School Interview Results

To accomplish this case study, interviews were conducted with principals or their

designees regarding the identified components that the research indicated to be a part of

middle school and gifted education delivery models. Interviews are used two ways in

case study research. "It may be the main strategy for collecting data, and it may be used

to provide understanding of observations and document analysis" (Bogdan & Biklen,

1992, p. 83). For the purpose of this study, the interviews were used to help the

researcher gain insight and understanding of current practices and research observations.

In addition to the 11 participants formally interviewed for this study, informal

interviews were often initiated with teachers and counselors as part of the campus

observations. These participants were considered elite interviewees, who were defined

by Marshall and Rossman (1989) to be "the influential, the prominent, and the well-

informed people in an organization, which were selected for interviews on the basis of

their expertise in areas relevant to the research" (p. 94). The participants were considered




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