NRC/GT Running Head

Regular Classroom Practices With Gifted Students: Results of a National Survey of Classroom Teachers

Francis X. Archambault, Jr.
Karen L. Westberg
Scott W. Brown
Bryan W. Hallmark
Christine L. Emmons
Wanli Zhang

The Classroom Practices Survey was conducted by The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented (NRC/GT) to determine the extent to which gifted and talented students receive differentiated education in regular classrooms across the United States. Four questions guided this research: (1) Do classroom teachers modify instructional practices and curriculum materials to meet the needs of gifted and talented students?; (2) Do classroom teachers in various parts of the country and in communities of different size provide different services for gifted students?; (3) What instructional practices are used with gifted and talented students in classrooms across the country?; and (4) Are there differences in the types of regular classroom services provided for gifted students in districts with and without formal gifted programs? The survey samples, which were drawn using stratified random sampling procedures, included a general sample of 3993 third and fourth grade teachers working in public school settings, 980 private school third and fourth grade teachers, and four samples of third and fourth grade teachers in public schools with high concentrations of African-Americans students (n=592), Asian-Americans (n=587), Hispanic-Americans (n=582) and Native-Americans (n=580). A survey instrument called the Classroom Practices Questionnaire (CPQ) was developed to obtain background information on the teachers, their classroom and their school districts as well as their perceptions of their teaching behavior related to gifted and average students in their classes. Approximately 50% of the teachers surveyed responded to the questionnaire.

The major finding of this study is that third and fourth grade teachers make only minor modifications in the regular curriculum to meet the needs of the gifted students. This result holds for public school teachers, for private school teachers, and for teachers in schools with high concentrations of the four types of ethnic minorities included in this research. The same general conclusion also applies to teachers and classrooms in various regions of the country (Northeast, South, West and North Central) and to teachers and classrooms in rural, urban, and suburban communities. Teachers who make provisions for the gifted are likely to assign them advanced readings, independent projects, enrichment worksheets, and reports of various kinds. Some classroom teachers also attempt to eliminate material that students have mastered, provide the opportunity for more advanced level work, give gifted students some input into how classroom time is allocated, and expose gifted students to higher level thinking skills, however, these modifications are not used widely. The survey also revealed that the regular classroom services provided to gifted students in schools with formal gifted programs are similar to those provided in schools without formal programs.

Reference:
Archambault, F. A., Jr., Westberg, K. L., Brown, S. W., Hallmark, B. W., Emmons, C. L., & Zhang, W. (1993). Regular classroom practices with gifted students: Results of a national survey of classroom teachers (Research Monograph 93102). Storrs, CT: The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, University of Connecticut.


NRC/GT Bar

Regular Classroom Practices With Gifted Students: Results of a National Survey of Classroom Teachers
Francis X. Archambault, Jr.
Karen L. Westberg
Scott W. Brown
Bryan W. Hallmark
Christine L. Emmons
Wanli Zhang


Recommendations

  1. Every effort should be made to continue to offer gifted programs, thereby bringing gifted students in contact with teachers who are specially trained to meet their needs.
  2. New and more concentrated efforts must be made to help classroom teachers provide gifted students with an enriched curriculum. These efforts include:
    • development of curriculum materials that are challenging
    • teacher training in using curricular materials, identifying the gifted, compacting the regular curriculum, and becoming flexible in meeting the needs of all students, including gifted students.
  3. Gifted and talented students need more opportunities to:
    • pursue advanced level work
    • be exposed to higher level thinking skills
    • use enrichment centers
    • pursue a self-selected interest
    • work in groups with students having common interests
    • move to a higher grade for specific subject area instruction
    • work with students of comparable ability across classrooms at the same grade level
    • work on an advanced curriculum unit on a teacher-selected topic
    • participate in competitive programs focusing on thinking skills/problem solving
    • receive concentrated instruction in critical thinking and creative problem solving
  4. A redefinition of the role of the gifted specialist may be necessary. In addition to serving as a resource to students, gifted specialists may also be needed to spend significant portions of their time serving as a resource to teachers.