On March 26, 2021, the National Center for Research on Gifted Education hosted an all-day workshop to review findings in our field of gifted education during the past seven years. They reported on much of the data obtained from studies funded by the Javits Grant (the only nationally funded engine for research in gifted education in America).
The best news of the day came very early – Wisconsin had more people registered for this event than any other state or country! Way to go, Wisconsin! It was great “to see” so many of you online.
As the day progressed, it became very evident that we continue to have much to do in the field of gifted education in our nation. Many of the problems that have plagued gifted education for decades continue to be problems. Here are some of my takeaways from the day’s first presentation by Betsy McCoach, which were based on the data analyzed from three (unidentified) states in the United States:
After the initial review of the data, a panel of experts shared their “take” on the data. The panel included Del Siegle, Paula Olzewski-Kubelius, Joyce VanTassel-Baska, Rena Subotnik, Jennifer Jolly, Todd Kettler, and Michael Matthews. Here are some of their observations:
A second presentation was by Dr. Daniel Long and then by Dr. E. Jean Gibbins. Highlights of Dr. Long’s presentation included these ideas:
Dr. E. Jean Gibbins then followed with a presentation that highlighted what could be done to improve identification of English Learners. She recommended these things:
Dr. Gibbins’ presentation was followed by another panel discussion. Members of the panel included Don Ambrose, Laura Guiliano, Marcia Gentry, Dante Dixon and Matt Makel. Here are some questions and recommendations from this panel:
Allison Kenney and Carolyn Callahan provided the next glimpse into the state of gifted education by examining the qualitative portion (or phase 2) of what teachers who work with gifted students actually DO. Here are her observations, gleaned from 87 interviews with teachers, 148 classroom observations, and 16 interviews with administrators:
A panel discussion with Lauri Kirsch, Lisette Rodriguez, Dr. Jann Leppien, Emily Mofield, and Sandra Kapan followed. Here are some of their thoughts regarding what is actually happening regarding differentiated instruction for gifted students:
Finally, Susan Dulong facilitated table discussions and questions and answers about the question “What needs to be done?” Some promising ideas emerged from the group at large. These included:
While the findings shared this day were somewhat discouraging for me, I am eternally hopeful that we will continue to make progress in gifted education. Persistence, ingenuity, and doing better as we continue to learn will be our motivators. I look forward to hearing ideas from all of you about these findings. Together we grow.
Jackie Drummer, Past President
WI Association for Talented and Gifted
To view the recording of this day, go to: ncrge.uconn.edu
(WATG would like to extend a huge thank you to Dr. Martha Aracely-Lopez of Milwaukee Public Schools for translating this article into Spanish for our Spanish-speaking families and educators. The translation can also be found in our website blogs.)
Gifted in Perspective
A column designed to link the gifted perspective to other perspectives, and to make you think.