« ForrigeFortsett »
behavioral objectives, major concepts and generalizations, teaching approaches and learning activities which reflect learning theories and processes eliciting higher levels of thinking, a sample lesson plan, a sample unit plan, and suggested sources of materials.
In the application for the $85,000 Title V, ESEA grant the following statement was made as to how the proposal project would significantly "develop, improve, and expand activities” of the California State Department of Education :
"This project seeks to develop curriculum models uniquely tailored to the needs of intellectually gifted children. The typological approach suggested should have a spreading effect and result in improvement of programs planned for other typologies of children.
This project should stimulate reevaluation of all existing curriculum and encourage the selection and preparation of curriculum guides, teaching guides, and sample materials (including textbooks) which foster systematic improvement of higher intellectual skills and specific traits of creativity in pupils.
Another anticipated outcome is the construction of inservice education and teacher training programs which will help teachers become skilled educational diagnosticians and prescription experts—persons able to orchestrate optimum development of the gifted.
CURRENT STATUS OF THE PROGRAM Today the California Mentally Gifted Minor Program is an example of a categorical aid program that has from its inception specified intents (objectives), in terms of the uniqueness of children in that category. Obvious examples of this are the demonstration projects, publications, and guidelines which stress the importance of deliberate and effective development of higher intellectual and creative skills. Prior program approval procedures, through which school districts qualify for "special allowances”, involve careful scrutiny of program elements such as differentiated learner objectives, curriculum activities that elicit higher levels of thinking, the scheduling of each gifted child into 200 minutes per week of qualitatively different learning experiences, and the required annual review of pupil progress and of the operation of the program. Approval of continuing programs in the 1971-1972 school year is contingent upon review by the state of evaluative procedures and data on pupil progress and program effectiveness,
An interesting observation is that districts with mentally gifted minor programs have experienced a “spreading effect” involving improvement of the total educational program. This might be attributable to the focus upon the needs and requirement of a group (typology) of children with particular characteristics and recognition of and an attempt to meet the needs of other typologies of children. The spreading effect might also be attributable to the requirement of an individual case study and the use of it in placement of children and in planning educational experiences for them.
Another reason for this spreading effect could be growing recognition of the teacher as an orchestrator of higher intellectual and creative skills. The California Mentally Gifted Minor Program has promoted this concept through use since 1963 of certain models of educational objectives and of intellectual abilities. Epecially useful in this regard have been the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives : Cognitive Domain" and "The Structure of the Intellect".
ENROLLMENT AND EXPENDITURES
As mentioned above, the current enrollment in the Mentally Gifted Minor Program is estimated at 111,700 full-time equivalent pupils, an increase from 35,200 during 1961-1962, the first year of the program. District participation rose during the same period from 188 to 250. Expenditures (from local and state funds) have increased from $2,936,700 (1961-1962) to $13,175,000 in 1969–1970. The total state contribution rose from $1,342,000 to $7,938,000.
The annual per pupil level of funding extra expenses is still a fraction of the $250 per pupil amount documented as needed through the three-year study financed by the California State Legislature from 1957-1960. School districts receive up to $40 per pupil for the initial cost of identification and up to $60 per pupil per year for the cost of operating the program. The average per pupil expenditure for 1969– 1970 was $121. It is interesting to note that in 1969–1970, 26.3 percent of reported expenditures were from local school district funds. This increased to 73 percent in 1968–1969 and decreased to 40 percent in 1969-1970.
There exists currently a need for up to $150 per pupil for program expenses and up to $50 for the costs of identification. The validity of these figures has been documented in recent studies.
TYPES OF PROGRAMS
The types of programs which the initial state regulations identified as appropriate for mentally gifted minors were:
1. Enrichment in regular classes.
In addition to these there was a seventh option that allowed for innovation in program design. Through this option, school districts could create and conduct a composite or comprehensive program or some other kind of program that could not be classified under the above-mentioned categories.
Changes in the state regulations in 1969 6 established two general categories of programs: (i) special services or activities and (2) special day classes.
Approved types of special services or activities are described as follows:
1. Pupils remain in their regular classroom but participate in supplemental educational activities planned to augment their regular educational program. While engaged in these activities, pupils use advanced materials or receive special help through persons other than the regular classroom teacher. These mentally gifted minors may be specially grouped within a regular classroom setting.
2. Pupils are provided with additional instruction by the school of attendance either by special tutoring or through correspondence courses. Correspondence courses are to be supervised by a certificated employee within the pupils' school of attendance.
3. Pupils are placed in grades or classes more advanced than their chronological age group and receive special instruction outside of the regular classroom in order to assist them in handling the advanced work.
4. High school pupils for a part of the day attend classes conducted by a college or junior college or participate in college advanced placement programs. Instruction may be carried out on either a high school or college campus.
5. Pupils participate regularly on a planned basis in a special counseling or instructional activity or seminars carried on during or outside the regular school day for the purpose of benefiting from additional educational opportunities not provided in the regular classroom in which the pupils are enrolled.
6. Special classes or seminars are organized to provide advanced or enriched subject matter for a part of the school day.
7. Pupils identified as culturally disadvantaged underachieving mentally gifted minors participate for a part of the school day in educational activities designed to assist them to overcome as soon as possible their cultural disadvantage and their underachievement and to enable them to achieve in their academic classes at levels commensurate with their individual abilities.
8. Other services or activities approved 9 days in advance by the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The second category of programs is the special day class. This program option consists of one or more classes totaling a minimum school day* and involves only those pupils identified as mentally gifted minors. These classes must be especially designed to meet the specific academic needs of mentally gifted minors for enriched or advanced instruction and must be qualitatively different from other classes in the same subjects in the school. These classes must be taught by a teacher, who in the judgment of the administrative head of the school district or the county superintendent has specific preparation, experience, and personal attributes desirable for a teacher of gifted children.
If a school district is to receive "special allowances" for the mentally gifted minor program, pupils must participate a minimum of 200 minutes per week in a "qualitatively different" instruction program for at least 17 weeks of a semester. A summer program of three 40-minute periods a day for 20 days may be counted as one of two possible semesters of "special allowance" entitlement.
It should be noted that this is a voluntary program and that to a large extent the small amount of money available to date has had a desirable seeding effect. However, many school districts find it necessary to limit their expenditures to only the money available from the state.
OTHER PROGRAM ELEMENTS Other requirements include careful identification of children as mentally gifted using all available evidence and procedures outlined in state regulations; consent of parents; development and maintenance of a case study on each child; and pupil participation at least 200 minutes per week in a program that is "qualitatively different" from the regular program of the school.
*For Kindergarten-180 minutes ; for Grades 1-3—230 minutes; and for Grades 4-12– 240 minutes.
CONCERN FOR CULTURALLY DISADVANTAGED, UNDERACHIEVING, MENTALLY
GIFTED MINORS Described above is a type of program through which it is hoped that these children will overcome their cultural disadvantage and their underachievement and achieve in their academic classes at levels commensurate with their individuals abilities.
An entire issue of The Gifted Pupil, a state newsletter on the men. tally gifted minor program, was devoted to the needs and means of identifying and making special provisions for culturally disadvantaged, underachieving, mentally gifted minors. Although the state has suggested some ways for identifying these children, there still need to be prepared valid and reliable criteria for accomplishing this task.
PROBLEMS AND SOME SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS A review of the current status of a program would be incomplete without identifying current problems, suggested solutions, and trends.
Eight problems confronting mentally gifted minor and talent development programs are:
1. Lack of general awareness and convincing evidence of the uniqueness and special value of educational provisions for gifted children.
2. Public concern about the lack of data showing the cost effectiveness of programs.
3. Inertia—tendency to maintain current program format, educational provisions, and administrative procedures.
4. Failure to allow, develop, and promote (a) a number of program options and (b) composite programs.
5. Lack of meaningful, credible, adaptable, and disseminatable program models.
6. Lack of an effective delivery system of pupil and program information.
7. Lack of trained personnel in program evaluation.
8. Need for teachers who are skilled professionals (diagnosticians, prescription experts, and evaluators) in developing higher cognitive skills and leadership skills and in getting children to produce creative products.
SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS Credibility with respect to the uniqueness or special values of special educational provisions for gifted children can be developed through:
1. Procurement and dissemination of credible evidence of pupil progress in acquiring advanced knowledge, achieving outstanding proficiency in higher cognitive skills, producing creative products, demonstrating a high degree of effectiveness in applying leadership skills, and in artistic performance.
2. Formulation and use of behavioral objectives uniquely appropriate for gifted children as targets of intent for:
2.1 Acquiring significant knowledge.
2.5 Leading other persons. 3. The design and/or application of evaluative methods and instruments that assess the degree to which individuals have attained behavioral objectives.
4. Cost effectiveness can be shown by detailing out the cost in terms of money, time of professional persons, etc., to provide children with certain experiences; to advance academic skills by established increments; to create certain products; to achieve a certain degree of knowledge acquisition as measured by standardized tests; and to be rated superior in performance of higher cognitive, creative, leadership, and artistic performance skills.
Inertia probably can best be overcome through creative reconceptualization of the program. This would necessitate an analysis of all parameters, generation and consideration of alternatives, synthesis of ideas, refinement and implementation of new or more effective programs for gifted and talented children and youth. Possibly needed at this time, would be the development of a number of valid program options in the design and implementation of master plans for full development of human potential.
5. Closely related to the previous idea would be that of establishing and describing credible, adaptable, and disseminatable program models. These might be entirely new designs or modifications or replications of model programs previously demonstrated in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, and Oregon.
6. Effective delivery systems necessitate full-time expert personnel with knowledge of information storage, retrieval, processing, and dissemination. Such systems can deliver needed information on the progress of pupils and on the effectiveness of programs. They can also deliver data needed for identifying pupils as gifted and/or talented and for placing them in suitable educational programs.
7. There is at this time a need to prepare a reservoir of program evaluators and to organize program evaluation teams. T
could assist school districts and state departments of education in assessing the key parameters of programs of talent and intellectual potential development.
8. To meet the need for teachers who are skilled professionals who are facilitators and orchestrators of higher cognitive skill and leadership skill development—it is necessary to establish college teachertraining and inservice education programs. These should be supported by a system of fellowships and scholarships.
The California Assembly Interim Committee on Education published a report in 1967 in which it stated:
1. Contrary to some popular notions, intellectually superior children are often the neglected children in the classroom.