THE DOWNINGTOWN EDUCATIONAL ENRICHMENT PROGRAM: AN EVALUATION (PENNSYLVANIA)
This study was designed to (1) develop a process to evaluate a gifted program that could be used by other school districts and (2) provide an assessment of the elementary gifted program of the Downingtown Area School District. Even though program evaluation has been widely discussed in the literature, there have been relatively few systematic evaluations of gifted programs.
School district administrators were asked to submit their questions about Downingtown's elementary gifted program. Eight questions were developed from their responses that formed the heart of the evaluation. Data were gathered from questionnaires given to the gifted students and sent to parents, regular class teachers, and program graduates. Teachers of the gifted were interviewed for their input, using the same questions.
Findings from the study include the following: (1) Survey respondents seemed to believe that the program goals were appropriate for gifted children. (2) Responses indicated that most survey participants believed that the general program goals were being met. (3) Enrichment appeared to be preferred over acceleration by most respondents. (4) It seemed that most survey participants believed that the program placed adequate stress upon the responsibilities that the gifted should feel toward society. This area, however, probably needs additional clarification and discussion. (5) It appeared that most respondents wanted to keep program attendance on a one day per week basis. (6) The most often mentioned program implementation concerns centered around the problems associated with missing one-fifth of the regular classes. (7) Learning about how to work with gifted children in a regular class setting seemed to be the highest priority of teachers as they considered possible staff development activities. (8) Modification of the elementary gifted program should be considered in order to resolve some of the implementation concerns of the survey respondents. (9) The questions and concerns of key district decision makers can be used as the basis for obtaining data for the purpose of improving a school district program.