The Gifted Education Evaluation Plan
Planning before Program Implementation
An integral element of service provision to extremely intelligent students is the establishment of an effective talent appraisal method. People have previously developed and run gifted programs across different states even before formulating a concrete plan to assess children in the quest to have a fully implemented scheme running as soon as possible. The response offered by a majority of the states in the US towards gifted students has been inconsistent especially in regards to their identification across a particular state. Additionally, non-specific educational policies have curtailed the essential development of talented and gifted students. Policies such as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act provides financial assistance in education to children from poor backgrounds in the quest to ensure these children improve in academics consequently stifling the state’s Gifted Educational Plan’s growth and development (Peterson & West, 2003, p. 34). It is therefore vital that new strategies aimed at making improvements in the gift policies within a state are developed to eliminate subversive retrogressive acts which dwindle the chances of these gifted children’s bright future. Therefore, testing for brilliance, however, should always be conducted before project initiation to ensure that the services provided can be formatively analyzed (Gallagher, 2002). Formative analysis or evaluation is done to make sure that one is aware of one’s goals rather than working on imprecise aims and later introducing a plan midway through the enterprise.
The golden rule for a successful program is that all stakeholders within the evaluation process have total understanding of the concept. Good comprehension of the plan will enhance the implementation of an effective identification procedure (Rogers, 2007, p. 384). Therefore, students, instructional staff, parents, and the administration ought to grasp the assessment plan via orientation programs, visual materials, and printed matter. Notably, the state gifted education plan incorporatesa systematic plan applied to identify and develop gifted students. These standards are formed and regulated by the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC) within the US and are followed by all states as a prerequisite to their legislations regarding gifted children. Such an approach helps unravel the general and specific functionalities of all elements within the design and the unique roles of different groups of stakeholders.When interested parties comprehend the system properly, they are able to communicate more effectively through a common language understandable to all relevant participants.
Schematics of the Program
The schema proposed by the state gifted policy combines the TRIAD approach for evaluation with the Rotating Door Identification Model (RDIM) for pinpointing the program’s goals(Shavinina, 2013, p. 1166). Additionally, these stratagies are designed for the integration of a program for brilliant youngsters within a regular classroom instead of being solely for the approximately 5% of scholars who usually pass the screening process (Purcell & Eckert, 2006, p. 165). The inclusion of the total student population into a gifted evaluation plan improves the chances of identifying as many advanced learners as possible while eliminating concerns regarding prior selection that include unfairness in the testing procedures.When children believe that the assessment is not open and impartial, their perceptions eventually lead to negative attitudes in a relatively huge pool of pupils who feel rejected due to what they believe is a form of elitism.
The administrators provide the key resources for the evaluation program since they areentrusted with the scheme. It being a state-based evaluation process, the state provides the requisite financing. Hence, the local government has overall control over the procedure to identify gifted students.
The evaluation plan is imperative for analyzing the student-level outcomes, which are swayed by the components of a gifted education program, such as the identification of brilliant individuals, the curriculum to be used, instructional services and programming, continuous assessment of student learning, and guidance and counseling (Fitzpatrick et al., 2004, p. 240). Additional elements of the venture include the impact of the involvement of the parents, members of the community, the state at large, an analysis of tutors’ professional qualifications, resource programming, management, and delivery.
The majority of the pupils are not provided with appropriate challenges that correlate to their intellectual ability in terms of the school curriculum. Therefore, such individuals are incapable of living to their potential. Such constraints on gifted learners hamper their success at present and, in the future, create a loss to the youth, family, and the state (Bailey et al., 2012, p. 34). An approach that analyzes the intelligence of children from various backgrounds and enables them to nurture it will benefit the nation as a whole.
There is a widening gap between the discovery of gifted youngsters within affluent backgrounds considered as elitist and those from financially-constrained backgrounds, minority communities, or English Language Learners (ELL) within a state (Wai, 2016). However,non-gifted elite students may appear smarter than intelligent children from non-elite backgrounds due to the advantages conferred upon them by their upbringing. The division, which is dubbed the “excellence gap,”is especially valid for highly talentedindividuals (Borland, 2003, p. 297). For instance, those from predominantly African-American, Latin, or Asianorigins have lesser chances of being recognized as brilliant scholars due to the inherent struggles associated with their lives. To provide another example,it would be complicated to identify and classify gifted West African immigrant students since they are native French speakers with an imperfect command over English, which is the language used for the assessment protocol (Wai, 2016). Therefore, it is the duty of the government to eliminate the difficulties in pinpointing deserving pupils from economically weakersections of society and providing them with equal opportunities.
Moreover, the focus of American educational policies on grade-level achievement aimed at lowering disparity levels across the spectrum is another reason for the failure to identify gifted individuals within a state. The state government, therefore, seeks to eliminate these issues and promote the chances of recognizing brilliant students regardless of their backgrounds. The purpose behind the project is to enable selected pupils to attain educational success and become highly-skilled people who would spur economic growth due to their competence in their professional fields.Consequently, meticulously planned and precise coursework along with the gifted education program will ensure that every talented child has the opportunity to be selected for the limited advanced slots provided by the state government at any grade level.
In order to provide all children irrespective of their economic status with equal opportunities to develop potential talents and creativity, the gifted program should recognize talent through the tests administered by it. Equitable identification techniques would lower or even eliminate the chances of under-representation of deserving learners within gifted programs in education, thereby maximizing their potential. Therefore, an appropriate evaluation program with relevant testing modules should be implemented in schools under a directive from the state.
Key Stakeholder Groups
The main stakeholders within the gifted education evaluation plan span beyond the parents, teachers, and students. State educational officials who are the leaders of the program , gifted program teachers, school psychologists, counselors, and principals play key roles in the success of the endeavor. For instance, principals are actively engaged in the process since they coordinate the efforts of the state and the institution to provide special coaching for gifted students on a daily basis. Additionally, principals offer directions to teachers regarding the teaching strategies to be used forbrilliant individuals (Leithwood et al., 2004, p. 96). School counselors meet regularly with the pupils and discuss any problems that they may be facing and assist them in resolving the dilemmas. The school-appointed psychologist helps in identifying talented youngsters. He/she administers the evaluations and guides the special staff on the best ways to train meritorious scholars. Another major stakeholder is the district superintendent- a state representativewho collaborates with the school principal to achieve state goals concerning the tuition of intelligent or creative children or those who display leadership abilities.
AUtilization-Focused Evaluation will help determine the best methods for yielding the most information from the findings of an assessment to identify talented youngsters.According to Patton (2012, p. 23), the knowledge gained through the evaluation would assist the state to achieve its goals of providing an enriched and accelerated scheme for deserving students. It is therefore vital to analyze the key elements of a gifted education program and its cooperation with the nation’s policy and the NAGC Pre-K-Grade 12 Gifted Programming Standards (Swanson & Lord, 2013, p. 200); these standards are the highest in gifted education.
Additionally, there were two reform agendas within the 1980s and the 90s. The initial redesigning concentrated on the EIA whose core focus was on the basic abilities and skills while the later restructuring emphasized the advancement of educational standards in a state. The remodel established a multi-faceted approach via the improvement of the goals to be achieved and increased attention to gifted students through an improved school environment where they are stimulated to improve their skills and talents (Henderson & Jarvis, 2016, p. 81).An accelerated or enriched program for exceptional pupils enables them to hone their skills to a greater extent at an earlier age.
According to this State Gifted Educational Policy, it is imperative to give early attention to creative individuals as they are easily molded in their formative years. A two-year-old can become a more accomplished violin player than a youth of 21years since the child’s talent can be guided more easily compared to the young adult’s skills.Additionally, earlier identification of brilliant students from minority backgrounds may assist the individuals to maintain and improve their capabilities (Matthews & Foster, 2005). Gifted education should, therefore, be part of the state’s educational policy as it provides each talented child with an equal opportunity towards excellence.
- To what extent are the goals of the gifted program realized within the actual operation?
- To what level has the gifted program met the needs and requirements of exceptionally talented students?
- Is there any evidence to verify and cite positive trends in the performances of the student within the gifted program?
- What are the program’s merits and demerits compared to the best practices followed within gifted education?
- Are there any recommendations forimproving the program?
Plan for Data Acquisition and Analysis
Data are acquired through several methods, such as the dispensation of questionnaires to stakeholders, direct observation in classrooms, focus groups, and analysis of the program’s documents. The questionnaires are customized according to the target group and distributed to sample populations within elementary, middle, and high schools in the state. Additionally, the program documents may contain state demographics, leading to statistics regarding the number of gifted students within the state. The timeline for this study would be approximately six months.
The analysis of gifted education leads to numerous ethical issues. For instance, some parents find it difficult to select the best schools to enroll their gifted children in, while others from less priviledged backgrounds have no such choice. Essentially, all parents wish the best for their offspring, although financial constraints caused by the economic division between the rich and the poor constrain the latter from promoting their children’s talents (VanTassel-Baska, 2005, p. 96). Hence, even when certain institutions offer customized education for exceptional students, they are of no importance to such children if they are unaffordable.
Some policymakers argue that the government should not allocate finances toward gifted programs due to the notion that brilliant children do not require additional coaching to succeed. In fact, these theorists opine that money should be spent on improving the non-gifted, as failure to assist them would have detrimental effects on the state (Kronborg & Plunkett, 2013, p. 54). The parents of average-intelligence children may support these individuals and obstruct the implementation of gifted programs.
Additionally, the evaluation program creates an invisible barrier between students identified as gifted and those who were not selected(Shavinina, 2013, p. 1185). There are possibilites of unhealthy attitudes resulting from such segregation based on intellectual capacity. Both gifted and non-gifted children would suffer negative repercussions due to classification along the parameter of talented or not. Measures should be planned and implemented to prevent disputes concerning the process of assessment.
Bailey, R., Pearce, G., Smith, C., Sutherland, M., Stack, N., Winstanley, C.,& Dickenson, M. (2012). Improving the educational achievement of gifted and talented students: A systematic review.Talent Development & Excellence, 4(1), pp. 33-48.
Borland, J. (2003). Evaluating gifted programs: A broader perspective. In N. Colangelo & G. A. Davis (Eds.), Handbook of gifted education (3rd ed., pp. 293-309). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Fitzpatrick, J. L., Sanders, J. R., & Worthen, B.R. (2004). Identifying and selecting the evaluation questions and criteria. InProgram evaluation: Alternative approaches and practical guidelines (3rd ed., pp. 232-259). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Gallagher, J. (2002). Society’s role in educating gifted students: The role of public policy.Connecticut: NRC/GT. Retrieved from www.gifted.uconn.edu.
Henderson, L. C., & Jarvis, J. M. (2016). The gifted dimension of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Implications for professional learning. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 41(8), pp. 60-83.
Kronborg,L., & Plunkett, M. (2013). Responding to professional learning: How effective teachers differentiate teaching and learning strategies to engage highly able adolescents. Australasian Journal of Gifted Education, 22(2), pp. 52-64.
Leithwood, K., Louis K. S., Anderson, S.,& Wahlstrom, K. (2004). How leadership influences student learning. St Paul, MN: Center for Applied Research and Education Improvement.
Patton, M. Q. (2012). Essentials of utilization-focused evaluation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Purcell, J. H., & Eckert, R. D. (2006). Designing services and programs for high-ability learners:Aguidebookforgiftededucation.ThousandOaks,CA:CorwinPress.
Rogers, K. B. (2007). Lessons learned about educating the gifted and talented: A synthesis of the research on educational practice. Gifted Child Quarterly, 51(4),pp. 382–396.
Shavinina, L. V. (2013). The International handbook on innovation. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Pergamon.
Swanson, J., & Lord, E. (2013). Harnessing and guiding the power of policy: Examples from one state’s experiences. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 36(2), pp. 198-219.
VanTassel-Baska, J. (2005). Gifted programs and services: What are the non-negotiables? Theory into Practice, 44(2), 90-97.
Wai, J. (2016). A nation at risk -- how gifted, low-income kids are left behind. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/a-nation-at-risk-how-gifted-low-income-kids-are-left-behind-56119
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