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Selected Readings: Gifted Education
and Middle Schools
The ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education
ERIC EC Minibib EB7
Updated January 2000
Compiled by Sandra Berger
Citations with an ED (ERIC Document; for example, ED123456) number are available in
microfiche collections at more than 1,000 locations worldwide; to find the ERIC
Resource Collection nearest you, point your web browser to: http://ericae.net/derc.htm. Documents can also be
ordered for a fee through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS): http://edrs.com/, email@example.com, or 1-800-443-ERIC.
(no longer available)
Journal articles (for example, EJ999999) are available for a
fee from the originating journal (check your local college or public library),
through interlibrary loan services, or from article reproduction services such as:
Infotrieve: 800.422.4633, www4.infotrieve.com, firstname.lastname@example.org; or ingenta: 800.296.2221, www.ingenta.com, email@example.com.
Braddock, J. H. II. (Feb 1990). Tracking the Middle
Patterns of Grouping for Instruction. Phi Delta Kappan, 71(6),
To shed light on appropriate grouping practices for early
this article presents current data on using between-class
regrouping in American schools serving this population, based on
Johns Hopkins University middle school survey. Findings show that
opportunities in the middle grades remain highly stratified.
Burton-Szabo, S. (Jan-Feb 1996). Special Classes for
Absolutely. Gifted Child Today Magazine, 19(1), 12-15, 50.
This article makes a case for special classes for gifted
answers objections to special classes raised by the middle school
and the cooperative learning movement. A sample "Celebration of
taught to gifted seventh graders which involved poetry,
development, art, music, and physical fitness is outlined.
Clinkenbeard, P. R. (1991). Unfair Expectations: A
Study of Middle School Students' Comparisons of Gifted and
Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 15(1), 56-63.
Analysis of essays comparing experiences in gifted and
written by sixth grade gifted students found that many students
and peers outside the gifted class had unfair expectations of
topics addressed by students included grading, group work, lack
for effort, treatment by peers, and teacher expectations.
Coleman, M. R. , & Gallagher, J. J. (Sum 1995). The
Blending of Gifted Education with Middle Schools and Cooperative
Two Studies. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 18(4),
Features of programs that successfully blended the middle
model or cooperative learning (CL) model with gifted education
Site visits were made to five MS sites and five CL sites at the
middle, and high school levels. Studies showed that gifted
can be met within these programs, with appropriate planning and
Coleman, M. R., & Gallagher, J. (Nov 1992). Middle
Survey Report: Impact on Gifted Students. Chapel Hill, NC: Gifted
Policy Studies Program. ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS), ED353728.
This study investigated attitudes of educators from both the
school movement and gifted education, by means of a survey of 400
of relevant professional organizations. The survey focused on six
clusters: (1) grouping strategies, (2) identification issues, (3)
modifications, (4) teacher preparation, (5) program evaluation,
the emotional/social needs of gifted students. Opposing attitudes
found for two clusters: first, grouping practices (with educators
gifted favoring ability grouping and middle school educators
grouping) and second, social development (with only middle school
seeing the "gifted" label as creating social adjustment
problems). On the
remaining clusters the groups had the same opinions but differed
strongly they felt. Educators of gifted students felt more
the regular curriculum was not challenging enough for gifted
that the programs for gifted students should address the
of the students, and that middle school teachers need more staff
in the characteristics and needs of gifted students. Educators of
ranked their top three priorities as curriculum, teacher
appropriate identification while middle school educators selected
grouping practices, and teacher preparation as most important.
form and 24 references are attached.
Elmore, R., & Zenus, V. (1994). Enhancing
Development of Middle School Gifted Students. Roeper Review,
Thirty sixth graders in accelerated mathematics classes were
in cooperative learning teams for 12 weeks. Students appeared to
academically, personally, and socially from the cooperative
used to teach mathematics, cooperative learning skills, effective
internal locus of control, and personal responsibility in
Epstein, J. L. (Feb 1990). What Matters in the Middle
Span or Practices? Phi Delta Kappan, 71(6), 438-444.
A 1988 Johns Hopkins University survey gathered data on
variations among schools containing grade seven to study how
affects school programs, teaching practices, and student
article reports selected results on the relation of grade span to
size, grade level enrollment, school goals, report card entries,
Epstein, J. L. & Mac Iver, D. J. (Feb 1990).
the Middle Grades: Overview of National Practices and Trends.
MD: Center for Research on Elementary and Middle Schools, The
University. ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS), ED330082.
In spring 1988, the Johns Hopkins Center for Research on
and Middle Schools (CREMS) conducted a national survey of
2,400 public middle grade schools that include grade 7. Using the
survey date, this document presents an overview of educational
and practices in schools that serve early adolescents. Topics
include: (1) grade span; (2) size; (3) grouping; (4) number of
per students; (5) changing classmates; (6) homeroom and advisory
(7) guidance counselors; (8) teams of teachers; (9) curriculum;
(11) goals for students; (12) transitions and articulation
remediation; (14) report card entries; (15) teacher
(16) teacher talents. This document also summarizes principals'
of their overall evaluation of present practices and presents
regarding middle grades reform based on survey data. The survey
Erb, T. O. (1992). Encouraging gifted performance in
Midpoints Occasional Papers, 3. Available from National Middle
Columbus, OH 43265.
No Abstract Available
Erb, T. O. (1994). The Middle School: Mimicking the
Routes of the Information Age. Journal for the Education of the
This article examines the unique organizational structure of
schools and the historical context leading to their development.
middle school is described as providing personalized curricula
learning needs of diverse learners through use of
teams and flexible grouping practices.
Forsbach, T., Pierce, N. (1999). Factors Related to the
Identification of Minority Gifted Students. Paper presented at
of the American Educational Research Association (Montreal,
19-23, 1999). ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS), ED430372.
Middle schools throughout New York State were surveyed
recruitment of gifted students. Data from 199 schools revealed
middle schools in New York do not have programs for the gifted
they do, minority students are underrepresented. A multivariate
of variance demonstrated that none of the identification
used were useful for identifying minority gifted students.
facilitated the identification of African-Americans, whereas the
did not affect the identification of Latino-Americans.
Gallagher, J. J., Coleman, M. R., & Nelson, S. (Spr
Perceptions of Educational Reform by Educators Representing
Cooperative Learning, and Gifted Education. Gifted Child
The perceptions of 175 gifted education teachers and 147
teachers concerning gifted education needs were compared. Gifted
disagreed with proponents of cooperative learning concerning
and disagreed with middle-school educators on the value of
and the social consequences of being labeled gifted.
Gallagher, J. J. (Mar 1992). Gifted Students and
In: Challenges in Gifted Education: Developing Potential and
in Knowledge for the 21st Century. Columbus: Ohio State Dept. of
This paper examines gifted education in the context of
reform efforts. It offers a rationale for the differentiated
of gifted students based on American values and equitable
educational resources. Examples are offered of curriculum content
for math, science, language arts, and social studies which
approaches: (1) acceleration, (2) enrichment, (3) sophistication,
novelty. The relationship of gifted education to the America 2000
and to the six national education goals is noted. The paper then
major reform efforts in the areas of accountability, the middle
concept, and cooperative learning. Issues remaining to be solved
identified and include personnel preparation, unidentified
the culturally different), curricular options, strategies and
and the value of the term, "gifted," itself.
Gentry, M., Neu, T. W. (May-Jun 1998). Project High
Institute: Curriculum for Developing Talent in Students with
Roeper Review, 20(4), 291-95.
Describes a summer institute curriculum used with 27 middle
students with disabilities who were identified as gifted in the
arts, performing arts, engineering, or life sciences. The
real world, multidisciplinary, and problem based. Using a
process, students identified problems, developed solutions, and
Gifted Education and Middle Schools (1996). Videotape
Reston, VA: Council for Exceptional Children. A product of the
Training Program for Gifted Education. Based on a Council for
Children Symposium on Gifted Education and Middle Schools
January 1995). ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS), ED398666.
This book and video are based on a symposium of leaders in
of gifted education and middle-level education, which was held to
and explore areas of agreement in often contrasting philosophies.
is on identifying areas of agreement between the fields, areas of
and promising directions that could engage educators in mutual
of appropriate services for all middle-school students. The book
the following papers: (1) "The Middle School: Mimicking the
of the Information Age" (Thomas O. Erb) which reviews the
surrounding gifted education and middle-level education; (2)
and Their Impact on Talent Development" (Mary Ruth Coleman and
Gallagher) which describes two studies, one which compared
middle school and gifted educators and the other which looked at
best practices; (3) "Gifted Learners and the Middle School:
Promise?" (Carol Ann Tomlinson) which outlines areas of tension
the two fields and suggests areas where leaders might
"Differentiating Instruction for Advanced Learners in the
Middle School Classroom" (Carol Ann Tomlinson) which provides
suggestions for differentiating curriculum; and (5)
Management Strategies for Differentiated, Mixed-Ability
Ann Tomlinson) which provides a matrix of instructional
include a list of symposium participants and the video script.
presents views of symposium participants and gifted students on
and demonstrates students' needs for both integrated and separate
Guerrero, J. K. (1995). Serving the Advanced Middle
in the Heterogeneous Classroom. Paper presented at the Annual
the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA,
18-22, 1995). ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS), ED385361.
The Chapter 2-Carnegie Middle School Project was designed to
educational programming and to provide appropriate services to
and gifted learners within the restricted middle school
study examined the extent to which trained teachers could
advanced instructional techniques and curricula for gifted
a heterogeneous middle school environment. Data were collected
field notes and unstructured interviews covering seven
teacher assessment; (1) teacher self-perception of professional
(3) academic challenge; (4) curricular decisions; (5)
classroom environment; and (7) classroom management. Findings
the teachers most successful in implementing thematic and
curricula were those who expressed enthusiasm for their
excitement in learning new teaching skills. There was little
instructional differentiation in depth, complexity, novelty, or
for advanced and gifted learners. Teachers tended to
students' readiness for more sophisticated instructional
the results indicated that students showed understanding of their
themes and generalizations, and expressed enthusiasm for their
Ingels, S. J. (Apr 1990). Findings from the NELS:88 Base
Student Survey. National Opinion Research Center, Chicago, Ill.
at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research
Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics (ED).
ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS), ED319747.
The National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88),
study sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics,
trend data about transitions experienced as young people develop,
school, and embark on careers. The study began with a national
about 26,000 eighth graders in 1988 and follows these students at
intervals through high school and further. Findings of the base
summarized, drawn from the descriptive summary "A Profile of the
Eighth Grader" by A. Hafner and others (1990). Characteristics of
members, in-school and out-of-school experiences, and aspirations
behaviors are described. The paper is divided into three
background on the study; (2) cross-sectional findings from the
base year, with 24 tables and 16 graphs; and (3) issues for the
of data. Appendix 1 describes generating the sample; Appendix 2
chart of key questionnaire items.
McCarthy, C. R. (Spr 1998). Assimilating the Talent
into the School Day. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 9(3),
Describes a multi-district/higher-education collaborative
incorporates the talent-search model within the school-year
acceleration and fast-paced instruction are assimilated into
regular school day. In 180 hours of instruction over two school
middle school students complete four years of high-school
McEwin, C. K. & Thomason, J. (Apr 1991) Curriculum:
Frontier. Momentum, 22(2), 34-37.
Discusses the national movement to improve middle school
with respect to school reorganization, curricular issues,
strategies, and various ways of applying the middle school
McIntire, J. A. (Feb 1998). Developing Middle Level
Aspects of Gifted Education Be Applied to the Benefit of All
Students? NASSP Bulletin, 82(595), 110-118.
Middle schools are uniquely able to help early adolescents
healthy, positive identities. Youngsters should expect to achieve
success and recognition. To develop and recognize individual
schools must expand areas expertise is recognized, valued, and
become aware of students' interests and goals; create a favorable
climate; provide sufficient time, resources, and documenting
and make developing expertise the school mission.
McPartland, J. M. (Feb 1990). Staffing Decisions in the
Grades: Balancing Quality Instruction and Teacher/Student
Delta Kappan, 71(6), 465-69.
Staffing patterns can significantly affect educators' efforts
high-quality instruction and create positive teacher/student
in the middle grades. State data and Johns Hopkins University
are used to show how staffing patterns serving one goal may
accomplishing another goal. Corrective staffing measures are
Parker, J. P. (Sep 1998). The Torrance Creative
Roeper Review, 21(1), 32-35. Theme Issue: Creativity and Gifted
Describes the Torrance Creative Scholars Program, a program
University of Southwestern Louisiana designed to identify and
potential. The program offers two levels for students completing
four through eight, and a summer program that provides
practice in several creative strategies.
Peterman, F. P. (May 1990). Successful Middle Level
the Development. NASSP Bulletin, 74(526), 62-65.
Discusses Joan Lipsitz's 1984 treatise on ideal middle level
characteristics. Many middle schools' creative approaches to
and instruction (through interdisciplinary team teaching,
activities, thematic schoolwide events, creative problem solving,
experience) and responsiveness to young adolescents'
embody the best features of effective gifted programs.
Plucker, J. A., & McIntire, J. (1996). Academic
in high-potential, middle school students. Gifted Child
Qualitative methodology examined behaviors and strategies
used by 12
high- potential middle school students when they did not feel
in school. Data analysis found students engaged in the following
selective attention, focused curricular involvement, involvement
humor, participation in extracurricular activities, and lack of
effort. Few teachers associated these behaviors with lack of
Pool, H., & Page, J. A. (Eds). (1995). Beyond
Success in Inclusive Schools. Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa
Foundation. ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS), ED386873.
This collection of papers addresses tracking, whether it
abolished, the movement toward inclusiveness in schools,
meet all students' needs, and the process of untracking. Contents
follows: "Why Ability Grouping Must End: Achieving Excellence and
in American Education" (Jomills Henry Braddock II and Robert E.
"Understanding Ourselves: The Ancestry of Tracking" (Kathleen
"Conditions That Enhance the Reintegration of Schools" (Anne
"Is It Possible To Live with Tracking and Ability Grouping?"
(Paul S. George);
"More Than Meets the Eye: Links between Tracking and the Culture
(Jeannie Oakes); "Tracking and Its Effects on African-Americans
Field of Education" (Jane A. Page and Fred M. Page, Jr.);
Leadership and the Tracking Controversy" (Malcolm Katz); "Beyond
What? Discursive Problems and Possibilities" (Bryan Deever); "The
of Tracking and Grouping in Early Childhood and Middle Grades:
Are We Speaking
the Same Language?" (James J. Barta and Michael G. Allen); "Ideas
To Assist in the Untracking of American Schools" (Howard D.
Equity for All: Meeting the Needs of High-Ability Students"
(Sally M. Reis);
"Promoting Gifted Behavior in an Untracked Middle School Setting"
O. Erb et al.); "Untracking Your Middle School: Nine Tentative
Long-Term Success" (Paul S. George); "In the Meantime: Using a
Approach To Raise Levels of Intellectual Stimulation and Inquiry
Classes" (Barbara G. Blackwell); "Synthesis of Research on
Learning" (Robert E. Slavin); "Incorporating Cooperation: Its
Instruction" (Harbison Pool et al.); "Improving All Students'
Teaching Cognitive and Metacognitive Thinking Strategies" (Robert
and Dorothy A. Battle); "Integrating Diverse Learning Styles"
(Dan W. Rea);
"Reintegrating Schools for Success: Untracking across the United
(Anne Wheelock); "Creatinga Nontraditional School in a
(Nancy B. Norton and Charlotte A. Jones); "Ungrouping Our Way: A
Story" (Daphrene Kathryn Sheppard); "Educating All Our Students:
in Serving At-Risk Youth" (Edward B. Strauser and John J. Hobe);
Education: A New Application of the Principles of Untracking at
Level" (N. Creighton Alexander); "Tracking and Research-Based
A Georgia School System's Dilemma" (Jane A. Page and Fred M.
and "A Call to Action: The Time Has Come To Move beyond Tracking"
Pool and Jane A. Page).
Schatz, E. (Feb 1990). Ability Grouping for Gifted
as It Relates to School Reform and Restructuring. Madison:
Dept. of Education. ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS), ED327047.
This monograph uses a question-answer format to address
with meeting the needs of gifted students as Wisconsin schools
and change grouping practices as part of raising standards of
for all students. Among 12 questions considered are the
Aren't some of the principles of middle level education,
and whole class instruction in reading harmful from the
standpoint of providing
appropriate programs to gifted students? (2) Isn't acceleration a
component of gifted education but contradictory to the middle
(3) If one views middle level education as anti-tracking and
grouping, then how is grouping at the middle of the pyramid ever
(4) "Doesn't participation in Midwest Talent Search promote
an "earlier is better" approach to gifted education? (5) Don't
reports and declining test scores clearly support as little
as possible at all levels of education? (6) Won't cooperative
increase boredom in gifted students and hold them back? (7) How
gifted readers be challenged by whole class instruction in
(8) How can we be sure school districts are asking the right
about gifted education as these strategies are implemented?
Schuler, P.A. (1999). Voices of Perfectionism:
Gifted Adolescents in a Rural Middle School The National Research
on the Gifted and Talented, University of Connecticut, 362
U-7, Storrs, CT 06026-2007; http://www.gifted.uconn.edu.
ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS), ED430352.
This study investigated the characteristics of
adolescents in a rural middle school, how they perceived their
the influences on their perfectionism, and the consequences of
behaviors. Findings support the multidimensional theory of
which states that perfectionism exists on a continuum with
healthy to dysfunctional
Schulthes, D., Wolosky, J. (Nov-Dec 1998). Developing
Potential: The Discovery Program. Gifted Child Today Magazine,
Describes a middle school program that focuses on creating
experiences that foster life-long learning for all students. The
Program provides a range of differentiated teaching/learning
including research competitions, language-arts studies,
art exhibitions, mathematics projects, and technology training.
Sicola, P. K. (Fall 1990). Where Do Gifted Students Fit?
of Middle School Philosophy as It Relates to Ability Grouping and
Learner. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 14(3), 37-49.
Educational Reform: Impact on Gifted.
The emphasis of middle school philosophy on heterogeneous
is examined in relationship to the needs of gifted learners.
supporting such grouping based on developmental needs of young
social discrimination, and the need for positive role models are
Cooperative learning is seen to be an unproven instructional
Stanley, J. C. (Feb 1985). A Baker's Dozen of Years
All Four Aspects of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth
Roeper Review, 7(3), 172-175.
Since its inception in 1971, the Study of Mathematically
Youth has expanded from a local program serving 19 mostly seventh
to a national program with an enrollment of 1,600. This article
trends experienced during the 13-year period and their
the program's future.
Stevens, M. (Mar 1992). School Reform and Restructuring:
to Gifted Education. In: Challenges in Gifted Education:
and Investing in Knowledge for the 21st Century. Columbus: Ohio
of Education. ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS), ED344408.
This chapter reviews recent trends toward increasing emphasis
in American business and applies these trends to school reform
in the context of gifted education. First, it notes the main
ideas of recent
business and education excellence studies which call for radical
in the American education system. Examined is the dilemma of
the educational demands of equity and excellence especially in an
major demographic shifts. A quality-oriented paradigm is proposed
merges equity and excellence and focuses on the individual thus
the industrial model paradigm which focused on the "system". The
of ability grouping is considered and research supporting within
grouping is cited. Concepts underlying the middle school approach
as another example where the equity/excellence dilemma and
emerge. "Equifinality" is offered as a concept which suggests
ways to reach resolution especially when the focus is always on
gifted learner and the teacher/facilitator.
Tomlinson, C. (Spr 1992). Gifted Education and the
Movement: Two Voices on Teaching the Academically Talented.
the Education of the Gifted, 15(3), 206-238.
Comparison of the fields of gifted education and middle
indicates some major differences in such areas as organizing for
how students learn, mainstreaming, delivery of instruction,
and the concept of giftedness.
Tomlinson, C. (1994). Gifted learners: The Boomerang
Kids of Middle
School? Roeper Review, 16(3), 177-182.
A variety of beliefs and practices central to middle schools
special difficulties for gifted learners. Such practices often
potentially competing goals of student competencies versus
and include such practices as heterogeneous grouping, cooperative
and an absence of clearly defined middle school curricula.
Tomlinson, C. (Jan-Feb 1995). "All Kids Can Learn":
Diversity in Middle School. Clearing House, 68(3), 163-166.
Suggests that the cliche that "all kids can learn" validates
practices that mask middle school learners' diversity. Presents
of two middle school learners, one student who could not read,
who was gifted. Suggests that the hard truth is that middle
greatly in the ways they learn and in their learning needs.
Tomlinson, C. (Spr 1995). Deciding to Differentiate
in Middle School: One School's Journey. Gifted Child Quarterly,
A case study examines the experience of a middle school
provide differentiated instruction for academically diverse
considers factors affecting movement toward differentiated
Clarity in defining the concept is discussed, along with
barriers, issues related to changing expectations, and need for
Van-Tassel-Baska, J.; Olszewski-Kubilius, P.; &
M. (1994). A Study of Self-Concept and Social Support in
Disadvantaged Seventh and Eighth Grade Gifted Students. Roeper
This study investigated differences among intellectually
of junior high age participating in full time intensive programs
gifted. Findings indicated some differences based on ethnicity
but most differences were observed between lower and higher
groups, particularly for social support and social and behavioral
Worrell, F. C., Roth, D. A., Gabelko, N. H. (Sum.
Age and Gender Differences in the Self-Concepts of Academically
Students. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 9(4), 157-162.
This study examined age and gender differences in global,
athletic, and social self-concepts in 311 academically talented
and high school students. Males scored significantly higher on
athletic self-concepts whereas females obtained significantly
higher scores on social self-concept. No gender differences were
on academic self-concept and no age differences were found.