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Evaluating Gifted Programs (updated January 2002)

How can we evaluate our gifted programs?

Developing an evaluation plan is one of the most critical elements of providing programs and services for students who are gifted. Many people make the mistake of planning evaluation after the program has been running for a couple of years because they want to make sure that the program is fully implemented before assessment or evaluation. Evaluation should be built in to the original program plan so that you know you are offering services that can be evaluated formatively and summatively. Formative evaluation (usually conducted during implementation) can be used to make sure you are accomplishing what you want to accomplish. Summative evaluation (conducted after the program is fully implemented) tells you the degree to which your program is accomplishing its goals and objectives.

This file includes information about several types of program evaluation. Fetterman (1993) offers information on self-evaluation. Other authors provide ways to evaluate a variety of programming options representing different service delivery models. The authors and citations listed below represent a variety of perspectives, ranging from program evaluation experts to those who serve primarily as classroom teachers.

The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented offers the following guidelines for program evaluation:

  • Make evaluation procedures a part of planning from the earliest stages of program development and develop a specific plan for the use of evaluation findings.
  • Develop clear program descriptions and goals utilizing multiple data sources (e.g., teachers, parents, students, administrators, school board members).
  • Provide adequate funding and time for evaluations while preparing staff for conducting and analyzing the results of the evaluation.
  • Clearly identify all audiences who have an interest in or need for evaluation results and involve them in the evaluation process.
  • Develop or select assessment tools that address the complex issues of measurement that characterize outcomes of gifted programs.
  • Use a variety of data gathering methods designed to reflect the unique structure and goals of programs for gifted learners (i.e., out-of-level testing, portfolio assessment, product rating with demonstrated inter-rater reliability).
  • Disseminate reports to all appropriate audiences in a timely fashion and with recommendations designed to encourage follow-through.

    Reference: Callahan, C. M., Tomlinson, C. A., Hunsaker, S. L., Bland, L. C., & Moon, T. (1995). Instruments and evaluation designs used in gifted programs (Research Monograph 95132). Storrs, CT: The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, University of Connecticut. http://www.gifted.uconn.edu/calltoml.html.

Following are links to related Internet resources and Internet discussion groups, as well as selected citations from the ERIC database and the search terms we used to find the citations.

You can search the ERIC database yourself on the Internet through either of the following web sites:

ERIC Citations

The full text of citations beginning with an ED number (for example, EDxxxxxx) is available:

The full text of citations beginning with an EJ number (for example, EJxxxxxx) is available for a fee from:

ERIC Search Terms Used



program evaluation

EJ621382 EC626630
Title: Documenting Gifted Program Results for Key Decision-Makers.
Author(s) Hunsaker, Scott L.
Roeper Review, v23 n2 p80-82 Dec 2000
Publication Date: 2000
ISSN: 0278-3193
Language: English
Document Type: Journal articles (080); Opinion papers (120)
Journal Announcement: CIJAUG2001
This article emphasizes the importance of documenting gifted education results to governing bodies such as state legislatures and school boards. It discusses three general issues of communication with decision-makers: being clear on intentions, being considerate of decision-makers, and providing useful information. Data gathering suggestions for documenting program results are listed.
Descriptors: Accountability; *Communication Skills; Elementary Secondary Education; *Gifted; Interpersonal Communication; Interpersonal Competence; *Lobbying; Outcomes of Education; Policy Formation; Program Evaluation; *Public Relations; Special Education

EJ581796 EC621128
Title: Perspectives: Evaluating an Early Childhood Gifted Education Program.
Author(s) Hertzog, Nancy B.; Fowler, Susan A.
Roeper Review, v21 n3 p222-27 Feb-Mar 1999
ISSN: 0278-3193
Language: English
Document Type: Journal articles (080); Reports--Descriptive (141); Reports--Research (143)
Journal Announcement: CIJOCT1999
Addresses the issues faced when evaluating an early-childhood gifted-education program from two fields of study, early childhood and gifted education, that represent different perspectives. Describes the evaluation process and the resulting effect of the evaluation on the constituents and stakeholders of an early-childhood program.
Descriptors: Change Strategies; Early Childhood Education; Evaluation Methods; *Gifted; Institutional Characteristics; Instructional Effectiveness; *Program Evaluation; *Special Schools

EJ593192 EC623338
Title: Curriculum Review as a Catalyst for Gifted Education Reform at the Secondary Level.
Author(s) VanTassel-Baska, Joyce; Leonhard, Paul; Glenn, Cathy B.; Poland, Donna; Brown, Elissa; Johnson, Dana
Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, v10 n4 p173-83 Sum 1999
Publication Date: 1999
ISSN: 1077-4610
Language: English
Document Type: Journal articles (080); Reports--Descriptive (141)
Journal Announcement: CIJAPR2000
Explores a curriculum-review process for assessing how a specialized secondary school for the gifted might improve its programs and services. The review process used document review, interviews, focus groups, and classroom-observation techniques to arrive at recommendations and an action plan.
Descriptors: Change Strategies; Classroom Observation Techniques; *Curriculum Evaluation; Evaluation Methods; Focus Groups; *Gifted; Interviews; Program Evaluation; Secondary Education; *Special Schools

ED424707 EC306795
Title: NRC/GT's Suggestions: Evaluating Your Programs and Services.
Author(s) Gubbins, E. Jean
Author Affiliation: National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, Storrs, CT.(BBB29762)
Pages: 5
Publication Date: 1998
Sponsoring Agency: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC. (EDD00036)
Available from: EDRS Price MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Availability: National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, University of Connecticut, 362 Fairfield Road, U-7, Storrs, CT 06269-2007; Tel: 860-486-4676; Fax: 860-486-2900.
Language: English
Document Type: Guides--Non-classroom (055)
Geographic Source: U.S.; Connecticut
Journal Announcement: RIEAPR1999
Target Audience: Practitioners
This paper provides a list of questions to help teachers and administrators determine whether initial plans for gifted and talented services are actually aligned with the program implementation. Questions focus on students, curriculum, program implementation, and service delivery and relate to: (1) identification and services provided to gifted and talented students; (2) available data indicating effectiveness of the screening and identification system; (3) additional screening and identification criteria used to ensure that special populations are not being overlooked; (4) curricular options available to meet students' academic needs; (5) available data indicating the effectiveness of the curriculum; (6) the use of acceleration; (7) effectiveness of acceleration options; (8) implementation of program goals and objectives; (9) connection of program goals and objectives to the district's mission and philosophy statements; (10) impact of the programs and services on the regular education program; (11) available advanced training opportunities for all teachers; (12) the use of formal and informal feedback to improve program quality; (13) educational outcomes of students involved in the program; (14) implementation of curriculum approaches at various grade levels; and (15) available evidence illustrating the merit of present service delivery models. The paper also suggests strategies for data collection.
Descriptors: Ability Identification; *Curriculum; Delivery Systems; Elementary Secondary Education; *Evaluation Criteria; *Gifted; Higher Education; Inservice Teacher Education; *Outcomes of Education; *Program Evaluation; *Program Implementation; Talent

EJ555534 EC617740
Title: Evaluating Programs for Gifted Students: Meeting the Challenge.
Author(s) Doina, Richard D., Jr.
Gifted Child Today Magazine, v20 n5 p38-40 Sep-Oct 1997
Publication Date: 1997
ISSN: 1076-2175
Language: English
Document Type: Information Analysis (070); Journal articles (080)
Journal Announcement: CIJMAY1998
Discusses the challenges in evaluating gifted programs and the limitations of current evaluation instruments. Describes the overreliance on self-evaluation assessments, and stresses the need for both qualitative and quantitative data that measure program effectiveness and student growth in order to ward off program budget cuts.
Descriptors: *Educational Assessment; Elementary Secondary Education; *Evaluation Methods; *Gifted; Outcomes of Education; *Program Evaluation; Self Evaluation (Individuals)

ED366158 EC302761
Evaluate Yourself. Evaluation: Research-Based Decision Making Series, Number 9304.
Fetterman, David M.
National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, Storrs, CT. Mar 1993 70p.
Sponsoring Agency: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Contract No: R206R00001
Available From: NRC/GT, The University of Connecticut, 362 Fairfield Rd., U-7, Storrs, CT 06269-2007.
EDRS Price - MF01/PC03 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Geographic Source: U.S.; Connecticut
Journal Announcement: RIEJUN94
Target Audience: Researchers; Administrators; Practitioners This document considers both self-examination and external evaluation of gifted and talented education programs. Principles of the self-examination process are offered, noting similarities to external evaluation models. Principles of self-evaluation efforts include the importance of maintaining a nonjudgmental orientation, soliciting views from the insider's perspective, and triangulating data. The most important techniques in self-evaluation are observation, interviewing, and participation. While self-evaluation maintains an educational program's quality on a daily basis, expert external evaluation is essential to an in-depth and objective understanding. Important considerations in external evaluation include working with an external evaluator and understanding qualitative and quantitative approaches. Clear communication of evaluation findings is important for both internal and external evaluations. General evaluation guidelines and specific guidelines for evaluating gifted and talented education programs are given. A case study illustrates many of these guidelines, including the importance of context; preparing a program description; the use of verbatim quotations; assessment and analysis; review of the standard program mechanisms (referral, identification, and selection); refinements; analyzing underlying factors; addressing larger sociopolitical concerns; and communicating evaluation findings. Appendices provide further explanation of evaluation components. Descriptors: Elementary Secondary Education; *Evaluation Methods; Formative Evaluation; *Gifted; Models; *Program Evaluation; *Self Evaluation [Groups]; Special Education; Summative Evaluation; *Talent
Identifiers: *External Evaluation

EJ519846 EC613191
Creating an Evaluation Plan That's Right for Your Program: Monitoring to Ensure Needs of Gifted Students Are Met.
Ross-Fisher, Roberta L.
Gifted Child Today Magazine, v19 n1 p32-33,49 Jan-Feb 1996
ISSN: 1076-2175
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJJUL96
Target Audience: Practitioners
Guidelines for developing an evaluation plan for a gifted education program include recognizing the reluctance to spend money on evaluation, identifying what should be evaluated, deciding when programs should be reevaluated, determining overall evaluation principles, creating the evaluation design, and designing the evaluation plan to fit a specific program.
Descriptors: Elementary Secondary Education; *Evaluation Methods; Evaluation Utilization; *Gifted; *Program Evaluation; Special Education

ED429391 EC307129
Instruments and Evaluation Designs Used in Gifted Programs.
Callahan, Carolyn M.; Tomlinson, Carol A.; Hunsaker, Scott L.; Bland, Lori C.; Moon, Tonya
National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, Storrs, CT.(BBB29762); Virginia Univ., Charlottesville.(YUB92100)
Pages: 149
Publication Date: September 1995
Sponsoring Agency: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC. (EDD00036)
Contract No: R206R00001
Report No: RM-95132
Available from: EDRS Price MF01/PC06 Plus Postage.
Availability: NRC/GT, University of Connecticut, 362 Fairfield Road, U-7, Storrs, CT 06269-2007.
Language: English
Document Type: Reports--Research (143)
Geographic Source: U.S.; Virginia
Journal Announcement: RIESEP1999
This report presents results of a series of studies documenting current practices in the evaluation of gifted programs and investigating the factors which make evaluation more useful to decision-makers. The investigation involved establishing several databases containing three kinds of information: (1) abstracts of articles relating to evaluation utility and the evaluation of gifted programs; (2) instruments that have been used by other school districts in the evaluation of gifted programs as well as reviews of these instruments; and (3) actual evaluations used across the nation to assess the effectiveness of gifted programs. Studies identified factors which improve the likelihood that results of an evaluation will be useful and will lead to development of a set of guidelines. Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the National Repository databases. Chapter 2 reviews the literature on program evaluation. Chapter 3 reports on a study of current practices in the evaluation of gifted programs. Chapter 4 presents case studies in program evaluation utilization in gifted programs. Chapter 5 offers a summary and conclusions. Ten appendices include tables, the scale developed for evaluation of the program evaluation instruments, a planning guide for program evaluation, the program evaluation guidelines, and the evaluation instruments database form.
Descriptors: Case Studies; *Data Analysis; Data Collection; Databases; Decision Making; Educational Practices; Elementary Secondary Education; *Evaluation Criteria; *Evaluation Methods; *Gifted; National Surveys; Program Development; *Program Evaluation; Research Design; Research Methodology

ED379849 EC303722
State Policies Regarding Education of the Gifted as Reflected in Legislation and Regulation. Collaborative Research Study CRS93302.
Passow, A. Harry; Rudnitski, Rose A.
National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, Storrs, CT. Oct 1993
Sponsoring Agency: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Contract No: R206R00001
Available From: NRC/GT, The University of Connecticut, 362 Fairfield Rd., U-7, Storrs, CT 06269-2007.
EDRS Price - MF01/PC05 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Document Type: EVALUATIVE REPORT (142)
Geographic Source: U.S.; Connecticut
Journal Announcement: RIEJUL95
Target Audience: Policymakers
This study analyzed state policies on the identification and education of gifted students as reflected in legislation, regulations, rules, recommendations, and guidelines provided by 49 states. The elements examined include: (1) state mandated services, (2) district plans for the gifted, (3) gifted education as part of special education, (4) philosophy or rationale, (5) definitions of gifted and talented, (6) identification procedures, (7) programs for the gifted, (8) differentiated curriculum and instruction, (9) counseling and other support services, (10) parent involvement, (11) program evaluation, (12) teacher education and certification, and (13) state funding for the gifted. The analysis indicated that all states have formulated policies that support education of the gifted and talented but that considerable variability among states exists with respect to specific components. Major recommendations are made in the following areas: establishing challenging curriculum standards; providing high-level learning opportunities; ensuring access to early childhood education; offering extended opportunities for economically disadvantaged and minority children; providing teacher training and technical assistance; and matching the high performance of similar students throughout the world.
Descriptors: *Ability Identification; Compliance [Legal]; Counseling; *Curriculum Development; Definitions; Educational Legislation; Educational Philosophy; *Educational Policy; Elementary Secondary Education; Eligibility; Financial Support; *Gifted; National Surveys; Needs Assessment; Program Development; Program Evaluation; Pupil Personnel Services; School Districts; State Aid; State Legislation; *State Programs; *State Standards; Teacher Education
Identifiers: *Differentiated Curriculum [Gifted]

ED388019 EC304374
Qualitative Extension of the Learning Outcomes Study. Research Monograph 94110.
Delcourt, Marcia A. B.; Evans, Karen
National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, Storrs, CT., Nov 1994 235p.; Executive Summary on p.ix-xxvi also published separately. Sponsoring Agency: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Contract No: R206R00001
Available From: NRC/GT, University of Connecticut, 362 Fairfield Road, U-7, Storrs, CT 06269-2007.
EDRS Price - MF01/PC10 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Geographic Source: U.S.; Connecticut
Journal Announcement: RIEMAR96
This report describes an extension of the Learning Outcomes Study (a nationwide longitudinal investigation of 1,010 students just entering programs for gifted learners in grades 2 and 3) to investigate excellence within each of the four program types considered: within-class programs, pull-out programs, separate classes, and special schools. The qualitative extension focused on an "exemplary" model from each of the program types. Two program evaluation tools, the Program Profile Form and Program Satisfaction Survey (with versions for students, parents, teachers, and administrators), were created to document key program components. Program profiles included a description of each program's setting and general procedures (identification process, curricular options, staff selection, school demographics) and five criteria: leadership, atmosphere and environment, communication, curriculum and instruction, and attention to student needs. In addition, ways that all selected programs addressed the needs of diverse populations of students were addressed. Appendices provide additional information on program demographic information, program profiles, the interview questions used, the program satisfaction surveys, and other research aspects of the study. Executive Summary is also published separately.
Descriptors: Academic Achievement; *Delivery Systems; Demonstration Programs; *Educational Quality; *Gifted; *Grouping [Instructional Purposes]; Longitudinal Studies; Mainstreaming; Outcomes of Education; Participant Satisfaction; Primary Education; Program Effectiveness; Program Evaluation; Qualitative Research; Special Classes; Special Schools; Standards; Student Placement; *Teaching Models

EJ489443 EC609278
Evaluation of Programs for Disadvantaged Gifted Students.
House, Ernest R.; Lapan, Stephen
Journal for the Education of the Gifted, v17 n4 p441-66 Sum 1994
Special Issue: Reformers Speak.
ISSN: 0162-3532
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJJAN95
Target Audience: Administrators; Researchers; Practitioners
This paper suggests methodologies and guidelines appropriate for evaluating projects in the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Program. The paper aims to help projects carry out their evaluations, assist the Javits staff in determining the success of the evaluations, and aid in long-range program planning.
Descriptors: *Economically Disadvantaged; Elementary Secondary Education; *Evaluation Methods; *Gifted; *Gifted Disadvantaged; Limited English Speaking; Long Range Planning; *Program Evaluation; Talent
Identifiers: *Jacob K Javits Gifted Talented Stdnt Educ Act 1988

EJ491111 EC609641
Planning Effective Evaluations for Programs for the Gifted.
Tomlinson, Carol A.; Callahan, Carolyn M.
Roeper Review, v17 n1 p46-51, Sep 1994
ISSN: 0278-3193
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJFEB95
Target Audience: Practitioners
This article presents a framework for conducting effective evaluations of programs for gifted students, reflecting current best practice. The evaluation framework proceeds through four stages: preparing for the evaluation, designing data collection and analysis, conducting the evaluation, and reporting findings and follow-up. A planning matrix is provided.
Descriptors: Educational Planning; Educational Practices; Elementary Secondary Education; *Evaluation Methods; *Gifted; *Models; *Program Evaluation

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