Academic journal article Science Scope

Gifted and Advanced Learners: The Forgotten Minority?

Academic journal article Science Scope

Gifted and Advanced Learners: The Forgotten Minority?

Article excerpt

This issue of Science Scope was initially intended to focus on how we can effectively differentiate for our gifted and advanced learners--a population that all too often can be unintentionally neglected under the assumption that they will do fine on their own. As classroom teachers, we are often expected to spend our energies raising the achievement of our most struggling students. Perhaps it is for this reason that Science Scope did not receive enough manuscripts concerning how to meet the needs of our gifted and advanced learners.

In hindsight, I should not have been surprised by this. High-ability students became an unintended casualty of the No Child Left Behind Act (Beisser, 2008). In their book Failing Our Brightest Kids: The Global Challenge of Educating High-Ability Students, authors Charles Finn and Brandon Wright make the argument that by concentrating on low-performing students, the United States produces fewer academically gifted students than its counterparts, particularly when it comes to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Appendix D of the NGSS, "All Standards, All Students," makes it clear that the standards were designed for all learners. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to experience comments related to elitism when it is suggested that gifted students receive differentiated instruction. In fact, I was questioned about the merit of having an issue centered on gifted and advanced learners; a question I have never received when Science Scope has focused on meeting the needs of other student populations. …

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