Intro to Gifted Education
by Mary Codd
History of Gifted Education and Intelligence Theories
Formal gifted programs in the United States can be traced back to 1918. In 1924,
The Education of the Gifted was published by the University of Chicago Press. Guy Whipple, Chairman of the Committee of the Society that was responsible for this volume (the second in a series), provided a brief historical summary of the interest in and concern for the education of gifted individuals, observing that perhaps the first systematic approach to providing for
bright pupils was developed by the Superintendent of Schools in St. Louis, Dr. William T. Harris. In his reports for 1868-69 and for 1871-73, Harris commented on the advantages of promoting pupils at short intervals, as short as five weeks in the lower grades and of accelerating gifted pupils through the grades. He noted that the plan provided gifted pupils with more challenging work and prevented them from acquiring habits of laziness.
In the historical evolution of concern for education of gifted students, the public is alternatively supportive and antagonistic toward the gifted/talented. Periods of intense concern about their educational welfare are often followed with periods of apathy, antagonism, or lack of concern. During the post-Sputnik 1950s there was a great deal of interest in action on behalf of the gifted. The 1960s were a decade of turmoil during which large numbers of able students were encouraged to enroll in science programs early in the decade while attention turned to other pressures later, such as school integration, compensatory education, and Vietnam and the disenchantment of youth. The 1970s saw renewed attention to the gifted, due to federal legislation targeting gifted students and the issuing of the Marland report which documented the deteriorated condition of gifted programs. The 1980s were marked by well-established programs for the gifted/talented in many American schools, educational provisions for underprivileged minorities, and less reliance upon Intelligence Quotients as measures of giftedness. The 1990s saw the educational pendulum swing back the other way with programs for the gifted being cut because, in some cases, they are not considered “politically correct”. In other cases, gifted programs have been eliminated due to economic slowdowns and budget cutting, or the lack of state mandated gifted services.
Some of the Important Contibutors to the
Field of Gifted Education
Leta Stetter Hollingworth (1886-1939)
Psychologist and educator, Leta Hollingworth, published more than thirty studies of the gifted and was the first advocate of multiple criteria in the identification of the gifted. She was the first counselor of the gifted and the first to study their emotional and social development, and she taught the first course in gifted education in 1922-23, thereby inaugurating the field. She designed the first program for emotional education/the affective curriculum. She battled to refute beliefs of her time that females were innately inferior in intelligence to males. She initiated one of the most famous experimental programs for gifted learners at the Speyer School in New York City. She is most remembered for the publication two books:, Gifted Children: Their Nature and Nurture (1926) and Children above 180 IQ-Stanford-Binet. The latter remains the most comprehensive longitudinal study ever conducted of children in this range of abilities. Dr. Hollingworth found that the IQ range of 125-155 was socially optimal, and that children above 170 IQ were at higher risk for social and emotional problems because their intellectual abilities were so far beyond those of their same age peers. Among her findings was the fact that many exceptional children suffered from adjustment problems due to two things: inept treatment by adults and lack of intellectual challenge. In examining children with exceptionaly high IQs, Leta Hollingworth confirmed, “Isolation is the refuge of genius, not its goal” [Hollingworth, 1942] Sixty years ago Hollingworth noted that “In the ordinary elementary school situation, children of 140 IQ waste half of their time. Those above 170 IQ waste practically all of their time” (Hollingworth, 1942, p. 299)
Raymond Cattell – (1905-1998)
Designed a series of intelligence tests that were widely utilized, improving on earlier versions by Binet. Best known for his personality tests such as a 16 PF, HSPQ, CPQ (Children’s Personality Questionnaire), CAQ (Clinical Analysis Questionnaire), Eight State Scales, he also designed non-verbal tests and presented a theory of fluid and crystallized intelligence which is now widely applied.
Fluid Intelligence: Intelligence which allows us to learn new things, regardless of past experience. (Innate Intelligence)
Crystallized Intelligence: Ability to solve problems based upon previous experience.
- 1936 – Three Ring Model and Schoolwide Enrichment Model
Developed the Schoolwide Enrichment Model, which evolved from his original Enrichment Triad Model, and is based upon a vision that
schools are places for talent development. The model uses the pedagogy of gifted education to make school more challenging and enjoyable for all students. The Schoolwide Enrichment Model
blueprint for total school improvement serves as a practical plan for K-12 teachers and administrators to make this vision a reality. While detailed enough to provide educators with the means to successfully implement the program, the model provides the flexibility for each school to develop its own unique program in accordance with local resources, student population, and faculty interests and strengths. Two major objectives of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model include: providing a broad range of advanced-level enrichment experiences for all students and using student responses to these experiences as stepping stones for relevant follow-up. To read more click here.
- 1943 – Theory of Multiple Intelligences
reason, intelligence, logic, knowledge are not synomous. . ., Howard Gardner (1983) proposed a new view of intelligence which, despite the fact that it was not designed as an educational prescription, is rapidly being incorporated in school curricula. In his Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Gardner described intelligence as multifacted, and expanded the concept of intelligence to also include such areas as music, spatial relations, and interpersonal knowledge in addition to mathematical and linguistic ability. To read more click here.
- 1949 – Triarchic Theory and Implicit Theory
Sternberg does not believe that intellectual giftedness can be represented by a single IQ number. He developed the Triarchic Theory of Human Intelligence. The Triarchic Theory includes Analytic Giftedness (the kind of giftedness measured by typical IQ tests), Synthetic Giftedness (which has to do with creativity, insightfulness and intuition), and Practical giftednes (which involves applying abilities to everyday pragmatic situations). Sternberg also defined an implicit theory of giftedness that specifies five conditions that gifted people must have in common. The five conditions are excellence, rarity, productivity, demonstratability and value.
References and Credits
History Reference: EC115052. Passow, A. Harry (Ed) (1979). The Gifted and the Talented: Their Education and Development. The Seventy-Eighth Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education. Part I. 473P. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 5801 Ellis Ave. Chicago, IL 60637.
ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education http://ericec.org/digests/e527.html
Mary Codd has been interested in the arts and education for a long time. She has a BFA in Art Education from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a M.Ed. in Gifted Education from the University of Connecticut. She is currently the President of Growing Minds, Inc.