This research program should be designed to determine whether there are reliable and valid indicators of current exceptional performance in language, mathematical, or other domains, or indicators of later exceptional performance. To the extent that the assessments described above provide information relevant to the identification of gifted students, they should be used for that purpose.

In addition to research to support the development of identification instruments, research on classroom practice designed to encourage the early and continued development of gifted behaviors in underrepresented populations should be undertaken so that screening can be followed by effective intervention. That research should be designed to identify:

  • Opportunities that can be provided during the kindergarten year to engage children in high-interest learning activities that allow development of complex, advanced reasoning, accelerated learning pace, and advanced content and skill learning capabilities.

  • Interventions in later school years with children who demonstrate advanced learning capabilities and their impact on the performance of these children over time.

  • The effect of curricular differentiation through various options, such as resource room instruction, independent study, and acceleration, and the interaction of treatments with individual student profiles. Group size, instructional method, and complexity of the curriculum should all be variables under study.

An enriched curriculum designed for gifted students may well improve educational outcomes for all children. As mentioned in Chapter 5, when class size was reduced in 15 schools in Austin, Texas, the two that showed improved student achievement were schools that made other changes as well, including making the curriculum for gifted students in reading and mathematics available to all students (NRC, 1999a). This does not imply, however, that the pace of instruction or the level of student independence is necessarily the same for all students. We recommend that research be conducted using control groups to determine the impact of interventions designed for children identified as gifted on children who have not been so identified.

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