Status of High School Gifted Programs 2013

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1 Status of High School Gifted Programs 2013 National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented University of Virginia Curry School of Education Charlottesville, Virginia Carolyn M. Callahan, Ph.D. Tonya R. Moon, Ph.D. Sarah Oh, Ph.D. The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305A to the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction... 1 Method... 1 Development of the Survey Questionnaire... 1 Sample... 1 Data Collection... 2 Data Analysis... 2 Results... 3 Response Rate... 3 Gifted Program Status... 4 State Regulations... 8 Funding Administration of Gifted Program Endorsement Requirements for Teaching Gifted Students Definition of Giftedness Student Identification Representation of Certain Groups of Students in Gifted Programs Overarching Goals of the High School Programs for Gifted Students Framework for High School Gifted Programming Program Service Delivery Type Student Outcome Measures Use of the National Gifted Education Programming Standards Professional Education Evaluation and Program Improvement Summary References i

3 LIST OF TABLES Table 1 Response Rate by State... 3 Table 2 Response Rate by Urbanicity... 4 Table 3 Respondents by District Size... 4 Table 4 Program Status... 5 Table 5 Program Status by Urbanicity... 5 Table 6 Program Discontinuation or Cut in Past Five Years... 5 Table 7 Program Discontinuation or Cut in Past Five Years by Urbanicity... 5 Table 8 Number of Years Program in Existence... 6 Table 9 Number of Years Programs in Existence by Urbanicity... 6 Table 10 Educational Opportunities Provided to High School Gifted Students... 6 Table 11 Educatioinal Opportunities Provided to High School Gifted Students by Urbanicity... 7 Table 12 Elements Governed by State Law or Regulations... 8 Table 13 Elements Governed by State Law or Regulations by Urbanicity... 9 Table 14 Funding Sources Table 15 Funding Sources by Urbanicity Table 16 Gifted Education Administrator Status Table 17 Gifted Education Administrator Status by Urbanicity Table 18 Endorsement Requirements for Teaching Gifted Table 19 Endorsement Requirements for Teaching Gifted by Urbanicity Table 20 Districts Requirements Beyond State Requirements for Teaching Gifted Table 21 Districts Requirements Beyond State Requirements for Teaching Gifted by Urbanicity Table 22 Definition of Giftedness Table 23 Identification of Gifted Students at the High School Level Table 24 Identification of Gifted Students at the High School Level by Urbanicity Table 25 Standardized Instruments Used in Identification Table 26 Non-standardized Instruments Used in Identification Table 27 Non-standardized Instruments Used in Identification by Urbanicity Table 28 General Student Demographics Table 29 General Student Demographics by Urbanicity Table 30 Percentage of Identified Gifted Students Table 31 Percentage of Identified Gifted Students by Urbanicity Table 32 Gifted Program Student Demographics Table 33 Gifted Program Student Demographics by Urbnacity Table 34 Alignment of Black Student Representation in a District and in District s Gifted Programs Table 35 Alignment of Hispanic Student Representation in a District and in District s Gifted Programs. 28 Table 36 Alignment of Student of Poverty Representation in a District and in District s Gifted Programs Table 37 Primary Gifted Programming Model Utilized Table 38 Primary Gifted Programming Model Utilized by Urbanicity Table 39 Program Service Delivery Type Table 40 Program Service Delivery Type by Urbanicity Table 41 Percentage of Students Served by the Primary Service Delivery Type ii

4 Table 42 Percentage of Students Served by the Primary Service Deliverty Type by Urbanicity Table 43 Time per Week Students Received Gifted Education Services Table 44 Time per Week Students Received Gifted Education Services by Urbanicity Table 45 Most Developed Content Area Table 46 Most Developed Content Area by Urbanicity Table 47 Most Developed Skills Area Table 48 Most Developed Skills Area by Urbanicity Table 49 Areas to Which the NAGC Standards Were Applied Table 50 Areas to Which the NAGC Standards Were Applied by Urbanicity Table 51 Desirable Qualities and Characteristics of Teachers in Gifted Programs Table 52 Desirable Qualities and Characteristics of Teachers in Gifted Programs by Urbanicity Table 53 Staff Development Areas in Gifted Education Table 54 Staff Development Areas in Gifted Education by Urbanicity Table 55 Staff Development Hours per Year Devoted to Areas in Gifted Education Table 56 Staff Development Hours per Year Devoted to Areas in Gifted Education by Urbanicity Table 57 Program Evaluation Requirement Table 58 Program Evaluation Requirement by Urbanicity Table 59 Program Evaluation Frequency Table 60 Program Evaluation Frequency by Urbanicity Table 61 Time of Last Program Evaulation Table 62 Time of Last Program Evaluation by Urbanicity Table 63 Program Evaluation Design and Implementation Table 64 Program Evaluation Design and Implementation by Urbanicity Table 65 Areas of Planned Program Changes Table 66 Areas of Planned Program Changes by Urbanicity LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1 Percentage of Students on Free/Reduced Lunch Price in General and in Gifted Programs LIST OF APPENDICES Appendix 1: The Status of High School Programs for Gifted students Survey Appendix 2: Black Student Representation in High School Gifted Programs Appendix 3: Hispanic Student Representation in High School Gifted Programs Appendix 4: Representations of Students of Poverty in High School Gifted Programs Appendix 5: Representation of Certain Subgroups of Students in High School Gifted Programs iii

5 Introduction The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented (NRC/GT) at the University of Virginia was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education to conduct a national survey for the purpose of developing a national portrait of programs for gifted students and programming options at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels. Surveys were designed at each level to gather information describing the current status of programs for gifted students nationwide, and the results may be used by policymakers, K-12 education leaders, researchers, and stakeholders in the field of gifted education to formulate future directions for quality education of gifted and talented students. In this report, the results of the high school survey are presented. Method Development of the Survey Questionnaire NRC/GT principal investigators consulted with officials in the U.S. Department of Education [Office of Elementary and Secondary Education] to identify areas of importance in describing the status of gifted education programs nationally. Based on the areas identified by these officials, the researchers drafted an initial survey, which was reviewed by the Department. The draft survey was informed by current research and national level gifted education standards and included questions across the areas of: administration of gifted program, funding, identification of gifted students, gifted program services, curricular emphases, teacher qualifications, and program evaluation. Pilot Study. Personnel responsible for gifted programming in three districts representing variations in size of the district, state, and district-level policies regarding gifted and talented education participated in a pilot study of the instrument. These districts also represented rural, suburban, and urban districts and had a wide range of financial allocations for programming. The principal investigators queried each district gifted program coordinator who completed the pilot on his or her experience completing the survey. The survey questionnaire was modified for clarity and length based on the feedback. Sample Sample size was determined by implementing a 95% confidence level with a 3% margin of error, resulting in a target sample of 1,062. In order to account for potential non-responses, the research team utilized oversampling of 2,000 districts for the survey. Market Data Retrieval (MDR) provided district level information for 2,000 public school districts across the United States stratified according to urbanicity, district size, and distribution of ethnic groups for the high school level survey. The sample was made up of 750 urban (35%), 750 suburban (35%), and 500 rural school districts (25%) reflecting the distribution of public school districts across nation at the time of sampling 1. The research team reviewed the sample and eliminated overlapping districts sampled for the earlier surveys for studies of The Status of Elementary Gifted Programs and The Status of Middle School Gifted Programs Surveys. In addition, school districts that do not serve high school grades were also 1 The source of this data and classification system is the U.S. Department of Education through its statistical branch, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The NCES maintains a database of public schools, the Common Core of Data (CCD), and assigns a locale code to the CCD public school records. MDR has applied the CCD locale codes to the related zip codes, thus providing selection by locale code for all U.S. records. 1

6 removed. The final sample for the Status of High School Gifted Programs Survey was comprised of a total of 1,160 school districts including 443 urban school districts (38.2%), 422 suburban school districts (36.4%), and 295 rural school districts (25.4%). The investigators attempted to determine the names and contact information for each program coordinator in the sample districts. A letter from the principal investigators was sent to each state-level directors of gifted education or their designees in October 2010 soliciting that information. Twelve state directors (Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming) provided contact information for high school programs for gifted students in their states. To complete the contact information not supplied for districts in the sample, the homepage of each district was consulted. If addresses could not be identified, U.S. Postal addresses were noted. contact information for 940 school districts and mailing addresses for 220 school districts in the sample of 1,160 school districts across the country were identified using the combined strategies. The District of Columbia and the state of Hawaii were in the initial sample of 2,000, but not included in the final sample because all of the districts in the initial sample were used for either The Status of Elementary Gifted Programs Survey or The Status of the Middle School Programs Survey. A gifted program was defined on the survey as a program that had a specific process for the identification of a group of students who were provided educational options in ways that differ from regular classroom curricula and/or instructional practices. District level coordinators/directors were asked to report data for their high school programs for gifted students defined as 9 th grade through 12 th grade. The survey questions requested generic information on school district demographics, size, funding, and teacher resources. In addition, the survey included questions related to gifted program services such as administration of the gifted program, student identification, gifted program delivery, the evaluation of student outcomes and program components, and professional education. Data Collection The Status of High School Programs for Gifted Students Survey was sent to the individual contacts (the gifted coordinators or their designees) in the 1,129 school districts identified by the sampling strategy described above. The survey was distributed primarily using an online survey system, SurveyMonkey. The 940 district level contact persons for whom addresses were available received an invitation to participate in the study with a link to the survey. Five reminders over 12 weeks were sent encouraging the district directors/coordinators to respond to and complete the survey. The other 220 school district coordinators received a questionnaire packet through the mail including a brief study rationale and directions for completing the survey from the principal investigators. All participants were asked to share any documents from their school districts pertinent to their high school programs for gifted students if they thought the documents would add to understanding and/or description of their program. All the returned paper surveys were entered manually into the survey response database. Data Analysis Frequencies of responses were computed on each multiple choice item. The open-ended section of the survey and the additional documents supplied by respondents were analyzed inductively seeking patterns and common themes in the responses. 2

7 Results Response Rate A total of 315 districts (27.2%) of 1,160 gifted coordinators responded to the survey. New Mexico had the highest percentage response rate (3 of 4 districts reporting, 75%). Alaska, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Wyoming has the lowest percentage response rate with no district responding. Pennsylvania had the greatest number of district coordinators responding with a count of 34. The research team received about the same proportion of responses across demographic categories (28.8% rural, 27.5% urban and 25.4% suburban). Table 1 Response Rate by State State Surveys Surveys Response Surveys Surveys Response State Distributed Returned Rate Distributed Returned Rate AK 2 0 0% MT % AL % NC % AR % ND % AZ % NE % CA % NH 6 0 0% CO % NJ % CT % NM % DC 0 0 0% NV % DE % NY % FL % OH % GA % OK % HI 0 0 0% OR % IA % PA % ID % RI % IL % SC % IN % SD % KS % TN % KY % TX % LA % UT % MA % VA % MD % VT 2 0 0% ME 9 0 0% WA % MI % WI % MN % WV % MO % WY 1 0 0% MS % Not Reporting 1 Total Survey Survey Response Distributed Returned Rate 27.2% Note. Among 315 responses, 1 school district did not provide state information. 3

8 Table 2 Response Rate by Urbanicity Category Surveys Distributed Surveys Returned Response Rate Urban % Suburban % Rural % Total 1, % Note. Urbanicity for one school district was not reported. Among the 202 school districts that provided district size as indicated by student enrollment, the greatest number of districts reported enrollment of less than 5,000 students (109; 54.0%). Table 3 Respondents by District Size Options Number of Districts Percent Less than 5, ,000-10, ,001-30, ,001-50, ,001-70, , , , , , , More than 500, Total number of districts responding 202 Gifted Program Status Two hundred and thirty two (75.1%) district coordinators indicated that they were providing gifted and talented opportunities to their students at the high school level, while 77 (24.9%) school district cooridnators reported not providing gifted and talented opportunities at the high school level. Fifty (16.3%) district coordinators reported that a gifted program had been discontinued or cut within the past 5 years. The remaining 256 did not report program discontinuation or cuts within the past 5 years. While a few districts had added programs recently, more than 80% of the districts reported having programs that had been in existence more than 10 years. For the districts that indicated that specific educational opportunities are provided to gifted high school students, Advanced Placement courses (n=194, 90.7%), dual enrollment (n=186, 86.9%) and/or ability grouping (n=152, 71.0%) were most frequently noted as the educational opportunity offered. 4

9 Table 4 Program Status Options Number of Districts Percent Yes No Total number of districts responding 309 Table 5 Program Status by Urbanicity Options Urban Suburban Rural N % N % N % Yes No Total number of districts responding Note. N= Number of Districts Reporting. %= Percent of the districts reporting the category. Among the responded districts, urbanicity for one school district was not reported. The percentages presented were computed based on the number of respondents within each urbancity group. Table 6 Program Discontinuation or Cut in Past Five Years Options Number of Districts Percent Yes No Total number of districts responding 307 Table 7 Program Discontinuation or Cut in Past Five Years by Urbanicity Options Urban Suburban Rural N % N % N % Yes No Total number of districts responding Note. N= Number of Districts Reporting. %= Percent of the districts reporting the category. The percentages presented were computed based on the number of respondents within each urbancity group. 5

10 Table 8 Number of Years Program in Existence Options Number of Districts Percent Less than 1 year years years years More than 10 years Total number of districts responding 209 Table 9 Number of Years Program in Existence by Urbanicity Options Urban Suburban Rural N % N % N % Less than 1 year years years years More than 10 years Total number of districts responding Note. N= Number of Districts Reporting. %= Percent of the districts reporting the category. The question allowed multiple responses. The percentages presented were computed based on the number of respondents within each urbancity group. Table 10 Educational Opportunities Provided to High School Gifted Students Options Number of Districts Percent Advanced Placement (AP) Dual Enrollment (in college or university) Ability Grouping (e.g., student are placed in advanced classes such as honors classes) Distance learning or online opportunities

11 In-class differentiation in general classrooms with no clustering of gifted students Special classes of homogeneously grouped gifted students within a regular school setting After-school learning opportunities (either through programs such as Destination Imagination or Future Problem Solving or through activities developed by the school) Cluster grouping of gifted students in general education classrooms with in-class differentiation International Baccalaureate (IB) A state-sponsored residential high school A full-time school for gifted students Other Total number of districts responding 214 Note. The question allowed multiple responses. Table 11 Educational Opportunities provided to High School Gifted Students by Urbanicity Options Advanced Placement (AP) Dual Enrollment (in college or university) Urban Suburban Rural N % N % N % Ability Grouping (e.g., student are placed in advanced classes such as honors classes) Distance learning or online opportunities In-class differentiation in general classrooms with no clustering of gifted students Special classes of homogeneously grouped gifted students within a regular school setting After-school learning opportunities (either through

12 programs such as Destination Imagination or Future Problem Solving or through activities developed by the school) Cluster grouping of gifted students in general education classrooms with in-class differentiation International Baccalaureate (IB) A state-sponsored residential high school A full-time school for gifted students Other Total number of districts responding Note. N= Number of Districts Reporting. %= Percent of the districts reporting the category. The question allowed multiple responses. The percentages presented were computed based on the number of respondents within each urbancity group. Among the responded districts, urbanicity for one school district was not reported and the district information was not included in this table. State Regulations State law or regulations were most likely to govern the definition of gifted and talented students (n=110, 81.5%) at the high school level if they provided guidance at all, while curriculum provided to gifted students (n=15, 11.1%) was least often governed by state law or regulations. District coordinators in 15 (11.1%) school districts reported that their states did not have any rules or regulations governing programs for gifted and talented. Among the 15 district coordinators in 10 states who reported absence of state level rules or regulations, six districts in five states (Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, Michigan, and Wisconsin) actually had state level regulations regarding identification of and services for gifted students at the time of data collection as indicated by the state-level directors for gifted education (personal communication with each state director or his or her designe(es)). This result suggested that some of the district level gifted education administrators were not aware of state level rules or regulations regarding education of gifted students. Table 12 Elements Governed by State Law or Regulations Options My state does not have rules or regulations governing programs for the gifted and talented Number of Number of Percent Districts States The definition of gifted and talented The qualifications of teachers who may teach in the gifted program

13 The areas of giftedness served by my program The evaluation of the programs for gifted students The age at which students are identified The way in which data are considered for selecting students to receive services The instruments used in the identification process The types of grouping arrangements (e.g., pull-out or selfcontained) used to serve gifted students The curriculum provided to gifted students Other Total number of districts responding 135 Note. Multiple responses were possible. Table 13 Elements Governed by State Law or Regulations by Urbanicity Urban Suburban Rural Options N % N % N % My state does not have rules or regulations governing programs for the gifted and talented The definition of gifted and talented The qualifications of teachers who may teach in the gifted program The areas of giftedness served by my program The evaluation of the gifted programs The age at which students are identified The way in which data are considered for selecting students to receive services The instruments used in the identification process

14 The types of grouping arrangements (e.g., pull-out or self-contained) used to serve gifted students The curriculum provided to gifted students Total number of districts reporting Note. N= Number of school districts reporting the category. %= Percent of the districts reporting the category. Multiple elements could be selected. The percentages presented were computed based on the number of respondents within each urbancity group. One district that did not report urbanicity was not included in the table. Funding As shown in Table 14, 32.3% of the districts were funded by local sources only while in another 16.1% of districts the funding comes from a combination of state and local sources. In 28 districts (27.7%) the coordinators reported having no funding to support their high school gifted program, and in 30 (29.7%) district coordinators reported not receiving any state level funding support for high school programs for gifted students. While the research team collected data relative to funding amounts for gifted education programming, the question was apparently interpreted in many different ways with some districts including salaries of all personnel including all teachers teaching in heterogeneous classrooms that included gifted students at one extreme and others including only expenses directly relating to gifted services. For that reason, the research team determined that the data was not interpretable in a defensible way and, hence, is not reported. Table 14 Funding Sources Source of Funding Number of Districts Percent State funding only Local funding only Other funding source only A combination of state and local A combination of state and other A combination of local and other A combination of state, local, and other No funding Total number of districts responding

15 Table 15 Funding Sources by Urbanicity Urban Suburban Rural Options N % N % N % State funding only Local funding only Other funding source only A combination of state and local A combination of state and other A combination of local and other A combination of state, local, and other No funding Total number of districts responding Note. N= Number of Districts Reporting. %= Percent of the districts reporting the category. The percentages presented were computed based on the number of respondents within each urbancity group. Administration of Gifted Program The most prevalent administrative allocation for high school gifted program was a part-time (less than 50%) administrator for district wide gifted programs whose assignment includes gifted education among other responsibilities (reported by 73 (50.3%) district coordinators). Less than 10% of the districts reported a full-time administrator for just high school gifted and talented programs. Nearly 5% had a parttime administrator for high school programs for gifted students specifically in addition to a fulltime administrator responsible for district wide programs for gifted students. Twenty-four (16.6%) respondents in 30 states reported having no specific administrative assignment above a teacher level position. Other district staff assigned responsibilities for supporting gifted and talented programs at the high school level, school psychologists and counselors are named in 64 districts and gifted education teachers or specialists are named in 37 districts. While school psychologists responsibilities were reported to be limited to administering tests for identification, counselors and gifted education teachers or specialists were reported to have a broader range of responsibilities including identification of students, supporting and training teachers and staff, and/or parent education. Table 16 11

16 Gifted Education Administrator Status Options Number of Districts Percent A full-time administrator for high school gifted and talented programs A full-time administrator for gifted and talented programs in the school district with a part-time administrator for the high school gifted program (A part-time administrator can be a full-time employee whose assignment includes gifted education among other responsibilities) A full-time administrator for gifted and talented programs in the school district, but no additional administrator with specific high school administrative responsibilities A part-time (at least 50%) administrator for high school programs for gifted students in the district (A part-time administrator can be a full-time employee whose assignment includes gifted education among other responsibilities) A part-time (less than 50%) administrator for programs for gifted students in the district (A part-time administrator can be a fulltime employee whose assignment includes gifted education among other responsibilities) No administrative assignment (e.g., there is a teacher level position as coordinator) Total number of districts responding 145 Table 17 Gifted Education Administrator Status by Urbanicity Options Urban Suburban Rural N % N % N % A full-time administrator for high school gifted and talented programs A full-time administrator for gifted and talented programs in the school district with a part-time administrator for the high school gifted program (A part-time administrator can be a full-time employee whose assignment includes gifted education among other responsibilities) A full-time administrator for gifted and talented programs in the school district, but no additional

17 administrator with specific high school administrative responsibilities A part-time (at least 50%) administrator for high school programs for gifted students in the district (A part-time administrator can be a full-time employee whose assignment includes gifted education among other responsibilities) A part-time (less than 50%) administrator for programs for gifted students in the district (A part-time administrator can be a full-time employee whose assignment includes gifted education among other responsibilities) No administrative assignment (e.g., there is a teacher level position as coordinator) Total number of districts responding Note. N= Number of Districts Reporting. %= Percent of the districts reporting the category. The percentages presented were computed based on the number of respondents within each urbancity group. Endorsement Requirements for Teaching Gifted Students Two-thirds (n=90; 66.2%) of the district coordinators s reported that an endorsement in gifted education was not required for teaching high school gifted and talented students. Table 18 Endorsement Requirement for Teaching Gifted Options Number of Districts Percent Yes No Total number of districts 136 responding Table 19 Endorsement Requirement for Teaching Gifted by Urbanicity Urban Suburban Rural Options N % N % N % Yes No Total number of districts responding 13

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