Capstone/Dissertation Title

Independent investigations encourage gifted students for future productivity

Term

2006

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAEd

Abstract

My research study resulted from the challenge which many educators have in providing gifted students with an appropriate and differentiated curriculum. Academically precocious students often spend their days in classrooms where they learn the least amount of new material. Most often this is the case because the curriculum is geared for the average student. Renzulli's Type III enrichment model offers the opportunity for students to self-select a topic and engage in an independent investigation. Students are given the autonomy to decide on what to study, how to study it, how to share the information and evaluate their own progress. Students are encouraged in the constructivist theory of methodology during this process. My review of literature provides evidence that gifted students who engage in Type III independent investigations show improvement in self-efficacy, creativity, task commitment, and help students become responsible for their own learning. In addition, it is proven that these types of enrichment activities provide training for future creative endeavors. The purpose of my case study was to examine the impact that this type of independent study had on gifted students' motivation to learn, task commitment, and engagement. My study group consisted of six identified gifted students in a sixth grade pull-out gifted/talented classroom. Throughout the study, students were observed in the following areas: self-efficacy, creativity, task commitment, and motivation during and eight week session that met for 2 hours per week. The results indicated that this type of enrichment does increase student self-efficacy, creativity, task commitment and success for future creative projects inside of school and out. Students gained a sense of pride at having the opportunity to be involved in authentic learning. Students became investigators of their own knowledge and not consumers.

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