Developing the Review of the Literature dissertation

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gifted middle school students and the efficacy of the instruction provided by their teachers is entitled A synthesis of research on psychological types of gifted adolescents, which was written by Ugur Sak. One of the particular benefits of this article was the many recommendations directly related to instruction of gifted students which was offered based upon the findings of the studies conducted, which were synthesized results of 14 studies that had been coded with 19 different samples. In total, there were 5,723 gifted participants in middle and high school that were evaluated for personality types and inherent proclivities inherent within them based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. One of the potential gaps in this type of population sample can be attributed to the fact that since the studies were synthesized and came from published articles, books technical reports and unpublished dissertations, there may have been unforeseen variables in their results that are not consistent with the entire population sample.

However, the findings revealed that the most common type of personality traits among gifted students is intuition, which is one of the factors that indicate that gifted adolescents may not be as withdrawn or introverted as previous studies may lead researchers to believe (Sak, 2004, 77). To that end, it was ascertained that gifted students may benefit from group projects and interactive learning among peers as well as through individualized, personal instruction.

The second article that was reviewed for the initial theme which is an introductory overview of giftedness and psychology towards a subject in terms of varying measures of intellectual ability is Patricia Wallace's Distance learning for gifted students: outcomes for elementary, middle, and high school students. Interestingly enough, the research which this article is based upon appears to somewhat contradict the findings in Sak's article, since Wallace's research details gifted students who choose to learn autonomously through distanced means of communication such as email and telephone, as opposed to in a conventional classroom setting. However, one of the benefits of Wallace's research is that it was not synthesized and consisted of a methodology of surveying 690 students of various grade levels completing a course evaluation following their conclusion of courses at John Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth between July 1,2005 and March 30, 2007.

Still, it must be mentioned that one of the rather significant gaps in sampling from such a diverse population group (students from elementary, middle and high school took one of 54 different classes offered) was the variation rate for having so many different course offered to such a wide-spanning sample, which may contribute to several idiosyncrasies in both the quality of the instruction given as well as in the results gleaned from such research. Additionally, it should be noted that Wallace concerned herself more with the results of the elementary school students than that of the middle and high school students in the data analysis and recommendations section, for the simple fact that there are fewer opportunities to gain such insight into distance learning for younger students (Wallace, 2009). Although most findings indicate that computer-based software, which accounts for distance learning, was effective for the majority of the students involved in the study, there needs to be future research in this area to indicate what specific technological applications benefit which areas of study (language, mathematics, science, etc.…) as well as to explore individual differences between the effects of such technology upon gifted and non-gifted students.

The final article related to this theme is by Catherine Brighton at al. And is entitled The feasibility of high-end learning in a diverse middle school. This particular study investigated a pair of staff development programs that were based upon either differentiated instruction or differentiated authentic assessment to properly serve the needs of not only gifted middle school students, but also of minority and proficient students with limited English capabilities. By utilizing a concurrent mixed method design, various data were collected to distinguish the effects upon these two separate experimental groups.

Unfortunately, the findings of this study were somewhat ambiguous, due to a number of factors pertaining to the sample population (which was not homogenous and consisted of three separate types of student populations, only one of which was that of gifted students) and methodology. Due to the fact that the population was taken from a national sample, there was not a consistent presence of research personnel involved in all of the many regions in which the study took place, which may account for variation in the findings. The study concluded that differentiation was of benefit to both teachers as well as to students, yet further research should be conducted to determine how practical it is to apply such differentiation, particularly to gifted students, when there are others in the classroom who do not meet that criteria.

In terms of the second theme for which this article review assignment is based upon, which is the identification of the gifted, the first article reviewed is Joyce VanTassel-Baska's The talent search as an identification model, in which standardized achievements tests are used to indicate whether or not a junior high school student qualifies as gifted. In this particular article, research is based upon the search for gifted students at five separate locations at John Hopkins, Duke, Arizona State, Denver, and Northwestern Universities, which identified middle school students from a pool of 80,000 that have scored at the 95th percentile or higher on grade level standardized achievement tests. A second examination, the Scholastic Aptitude Test, is then used to evaluate the verbal and mathematical ability of the students to determine whether or not they are to be considered gifted.

One of the definite gaps in this article is that the author synthesized the results from the research of the aforementioned universities and did not perform the testing and the sampling herself, which may attribute to a degree of variation in the results. Also, two of the universities, John Hopkins and Duke, required students to score at the 97th percentile before taking the SAT, which is another variable which should be corrected. Findings indicated that student scoring above 650 on the SAT need to be educated at a collegiate institution or at a collegiate level of instruction with a significant mentorship with an adult to guide them through social and emotional issues.

The next study that adhered to this theme was conducted by Carolyn Callahan et. al and is called Instruments used in the identification of gifted and talented students. The strength of this study was definitely in its methodology, which did much to advance the level of research and findings related to the evaluation of students to determine whether or not they may truly be categorized as gifted. The research began by cataloguing published literature, strategies, and identification instruments in a computer data base, and then reviewing these standard instruments with the Scale for the Evaluation of Gifted Identification Instruments for specific constructs in areas in which schools had determined there to be gifted students (Callahan et al., 1995). Once these reviews were input into the aforementioned database standards for determining gifted students, they were compiled based upon the previously mentioned identification procedures, which were used to determine three instruments for offering data on screening and talent identification, the Diet Cola Test, the Peer Referral Form, as well as the Teacher Search List. Although all three of these exams were found to be reliable indicators of gifted students, only the Teacher Search List was applicable to middle school students. Further research in this are should provide for more identification instruments pertaining specifically to middle school students who are gifted.

The final article reviewed for the theme of identification of the gifted is entitled Instruments and evaluation designs used in gifted programs, and was authored by Carolyn Callahan et al. Essentially,…[continue]

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