Does grouping gifted kids in special classes reduce boredom? The latest research by Feuchter, M. D., & Preckel, F. (2022) found that it didn't help much! The authors conclude, "This 3.5-year study examines the development of boredom in mathematics and German in Grade 5 to 8 in secondary school students. Students either attended regular classes or special classes for the gifted (i.e., full-time ability grouping). Comparing boredom development across class types, we found only limited evidence for benefits of special classes for the gifted regarding the development of boredom. Rather, boredom increased in both class types over time. Despite other favorable effects of special classes for the gifted, tackling boredom does not seem to be one of them. Direct boredom prevention deserves increased attention throughout secondary school independent of class-type." Citation: Reducing boredom in gifted education—Evaluating the effects of full-time ability grouping. Journal of Educational Psychology, 114(6), 1477–1493. https://doi.org/10.1037/edu0000694
However, other research has suggested that grouping could be an effective way to reduce boredom for gifted kids. For example, Little (2012) writes that curriculum can be motivating for gifted students and suggests that ensuring curriculum for gifted students can contribute to reduced boredom in the classroom. Additional research from Norway has found that teachers' mathematical competence is associated with boredom in school.
The NAGC lists grouping as one of the research based methods that does work! You can read their literature summary here.
EDUCATIONAL MODELS FOR GIFTED STUDENTS:
As research often shows, gifted students often experience perfectionism. Grades and school performance can contribute to stress. A new study from Norway explored whether gradeless formative assessment could be a way of the future in gifted education. The case study included only 22 students, but explored students' experiences using open and close-ended questions. Findings showed that students were positive about gradeless formative assessment, and they reported less stressful and more motivating learning situations. Citation: Svendsen, B., & Burner, T. (2023). Gifted Students and Gradeless Formative Assessment: A Case Study From Norway. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 0(0). https://doi.org/10.1177/01623532231180883
Another recent study explored whether gifted students learned best via invention-first instruction or explicit example-first instruction. That study found that invention-first instruction may be more effective for gifted students, which researchers say challenges the conventional teaching approach often used today (Lim & Kalyuga, 2023).
Perhaps no surprise, but additional research has confirmed that the teacher-student relationship is paramount to the socioemotional development of high-ability students. Steenberghs, Lavrijsen, & Vershueren (2023) found that positive and negative teacher-student relationships contributed to the development of students' behavioral and emotional engagement and disengagement. They also found that negative relationships had a stronger effect on low SES students related to behavioral disengagement.
One aspect that has been found recently to negatively affect gifted students is the four-day school week. Thompson et al. (2023) recently found that gifted students are among those most negatively impacted by a 4-day school week during the early elementary period.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN GIFTED EDUCATION:
ChatGPT and AI are all the rage at the moment. Some research is supporting their use in gifted education programs. Del Siegle recently published an article proposing that AI can provide advanced content, personalized learning, and individualized feedback for gifted students.
MOTIVATION OF GIFTED STUDENTS:
What motivates gifted students? Why are some gifted students more motivated than others? Research abounds on a variety of topics related to this issue.
One study in Israel found that gifted students in STEM programs reported higher levels of self-regulated learning, meaning they used an active process to manage their thoughts, behaviors and emotions to navigate their education and learning. The study found that gifted students from low-SES environments used more organization strategies than gifted students from high SES backgrounds (Paz-Baruch & Hazema, 2023).
Research abounds on this topic, and it's pretty clear...acceleration for gifted students works. The Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa has published the most comprehensive review of this subject in two impressive pieces of work that can be found here.
The National Association for Gifted Children lists this as one of the research-based methods for gifted students. Read more here.
PULL OUT PROGRAMS:
The NAGC also lists pull-out programs as a research-based method. Read their summary here.