The state of gifted education in Nebraska
The purpose of this study was to examine the current status of gifted education in the state of Nebraska and to determine the extent to which the school districts' programs align with best practices, as determined by a review of the existing literature. The study identified and evaluated specific gifted and talented program components that were compared with the practices recommended in the gifted and talented program literature. Areas of evaluation included student identification methods, program options, staff development, and program evaluation.
Of the 252 public school districts in Nebraska, 203 districts submitted gifted program plans. Data were obtained by examining each of the district plans with the use of the rubric and checklist instruments created by the researchers. Rubrics were set forth with rating scales to determine exemplary, minimum, or non-existent program standards. Checklists were used to provide specific criteria about each program plan. Data were analyzed using frequency counts, percentages, and cumulative percentages.
Based on the research findings, the following conclusions were drawn by the researchers as they relate to current gifted program components of identification, staff development, program options, and program evaluation: (1) A majority of school districts rely on staff with limited knowledge of gifted/talented learners in the nomination process and use identification measures that are limiting and narrow in scope. (2) Most Nebraska school districts provide some type of services for these students, yet they vary greatly from district to district. (3) Staff development in the area of gifted education is a weak component in Nebraska school districts. (4) To evaluate gifted programs, it was noted most school districts utilized a formative evaluation process to guide their programs.