Free Gifted Identification tool Dissertation Example
The objective of this study was to determine how DSPST tool distinguishes the gifted from the non-gifted year four and year five cohorts. Ten attributes associated with giftedness were tested, and statistically significant differences were noticed between gifted and non-gifted respondents. The study also assessed whether the DSPST tool is effective in identifying giftedness regardless of the cultural or linguistic background of the students. The findings showed that the DSPST tool was capable of identifying linguistically and culturally diverse gifted participants. Though according to the statistical analysis there was no significant difference, Non-diverse English language group continually outperformed the other cultural and linguistically diverse groups on the different characteristics for both the GBR and HL versions. A dynamic assessment was also conducted aimed at helping the native language speakers to increase their scores more than the language group that spoke in English. There were no statistically significant differences observed but the scores increased for all the groups under study, and the increase was significant. From the observations of this research, the DSPST tool can be said to have proved effective in identifying gifted students commonly underrepresented in gifted programs regardless of their linguistic or cultural backgrounds.
This chapter provides a discussion of the results obtained from the analysis of data. The chapter is divided into two sections covering each research question. The first section covering the first research question is subdivided further into the ten characteristics being tested. The characteristics are then discussed individually covering the specific hypothesis being tested, why the characteristic was hypothesized, the results obtained, comparison of the results with previous studies and finally linking the results to theory and practice. The second section covers the second research question and is divided into two subsections with the first subsection discussing the findings of the DSPST tool test and the second subsection covering the dynamic test results. In the second section, the ten characteristics that were assessed are discussed together and compared to the findings of previous studies.
Several contemporary models and identification tools have been developed over the last fifteen years to address the demand for culturally-fair gifted identification methods, but students’ abilities still remain unidentified. Gifted students, therefore, remain unappreciated and do not get to nature their unique talents because they have not been recognized for the provision of necessary and appropriate learning materials. A gifted assessment tool, the Diffuse Social Problem Solving Task (DSPST) was developed by Munro (2008) to address this problem. This tool has the potential to identify students commonly underrepresented in gifted programs by capturing a range of abilities and by offering relevant real-world and personal scenarios. Although the tool has proved effective in pilot studies, its competence in identifying gifted students in a full-scale study in Victorian primary schools remains to be explored. This study, therefore, aimed at filling this academic gap by testing the efficacy of the DSPST in identifying gifted Year 4 and Year 5 students from diverse populations. The tool was able to successfully distinguish between the gifted from the non-gifted students over a range of 10 different types of giftedness assessed. The tools were also effective in identifying giftedness in year 4 to year 5 students from minority cultures.
1.1 Linking ideas
H1: There is a significant difference between the gifted and non-gifted student’s ability to link ideas on the GBR and HL DSPST.
Upon the analysis of the data generated on the student’s ability to link ideas using GBR DSPST, statistically significant results were obtained. Gifted students were able to better link ideas when compared to non-gifted students. However, HL DSPST did not show any statistically significant differences. The ability of gifted students to link acquired information with their existing knowledge is often referred to as far transfer. The gifted students also showed more evidence of using the far transfer. The gifted students’ understanding and knowledge of the concepts was also higher than that of the non-gifted students. The non-gifted students were only able to make links on closely related ideas where the connections were more obvious.
The ability of gifted students to better link ideas than non-gifted students was tested in this research because according to several studies, it is an important measure of giftedness among students. O’Connor and Hermelin (1979) in their study on intelligence differences and conceptual judgment, realized that gifted learners made significantly more connections between newly acquired learning and previous learning. Linking ideas has also been researched in other studies in terms of the capability of using far transfers and near transfers.
The analysis of the ability of students to link ideas using GBR DSPST tool showed a significant difference between the non-gifted and gifted students, which supported the alternative hypothesis. However, for the HL DSPST tool, the results did not show a significant difference in the students’ ability to link ideas. Though the statistical tests did not show a major difference, a greater number of links were created by the gifted students compared to the non-gifted students. It is also worthwhile to note that the mean score for the gifted students was higher than that of non-gifted students meaning they had an overall better performance. The alternative hypothesis for this characteristic was, therefore, accepted.
The results of this study are consistent with what Carr, Alexander, and Schwanenflugel (1996) and Munro (2005) found in their research where they indicated that in linking ideas, gifted individuals outperformed the non-gifted. Munro (2005) found that unlike the gifted participants, the non-gifted only made reference to ideas introduced to them during the research process which indicated a limitation in their ability to link ideas. Kanevsky (1990) is also in support of this study. In his investigation between age and intelligence, he saw that gifted 5 and 4-year-old children were better at linking ideas than non-gifted 7 and 8-year-old children. The ability of gifted students to link ideas better than non-gifted students is supported by the experiential intelligence theory which holds that perceiving relations and applying the relations to another set of terms is a component of intelligence (Sternberg, 1997). FOR ME TO LOOK AT CLOSELY, JUST LEAVE PINK. According to Cotton (2010), the gifted students’ higher ability to link ideas helps them in a classroom context where they are better able to make connections between information acquired from previous subjects with that of the current subjects.
1.2 Students’ ability to understand issues at various levels
“H1: There is a significant difference between the gifted and non-gifted students’ ability to understand issues at various levels on the GBR and HL DSPST.”
The gifted students’ proposed solutions showed stronger evidence of recognising issues were not limited to a single level but instead involved more people and that the individuals and groups involved were wider spread and wider reaching than the evidence provided by non-gifted students. The gifted students expressed an understanding of the issues at levels beyond the personal level such as the family, community, State, national and international levels. The non-gifted students, on the other hand, could only perceive issues at a personal level. According to Powell (2016), higher-order thinking is used to understand the problem at different levels, and this has been found to be more difficult for non-gifted students who have to use more effort to grasp new techniques and ideas.
This characteristic was evaluated because a number of studies and gifted theorists identify the ability to understand issues at various levels as a key trait of giftedness. Tannenbaum (1983) points out, giftedness among children is the potential for producing great ideas at different levels that able to improve the community. This means that the ideas produced by gifted children should impact levels beyond the personal level such the community level. This ability differentiates the gifted from the non-gifted whose ideas concentrate more on the personal level.
Gifted students outperformed the non-gifted students, in this study in their ability to understand issues at various levels. These results go beyond previous reports on the same characteristic. According to Munro (2005), gifted students are able to categorise ideas on more levels, meaning the scope of thinking among gifted students is not limited to the classroom or family level but rather goes beyond that to higher levels, unlike non-gifted students. This characteristic is connected to the theory by Tannenbaum (1983) that giftedness involves the provision of ideas capable of making improvements at different levels. Gifted students apply this ability by relating the theory learnt in class to the real-world situation to enable a better understanding of concepts taught.
1.3 Participants’ abilities to recognize social thinking and collaboration are needed to formulate solutions
H1: There is a significant difference between the gifted and non-gifted ability to recognize multiple sources of knowledge are needed to formulate solutions on the GBR and HL DSPST.
The results showed gifted participants possessed a stronger ability to embrace social thinking and collaboration skills than their non-gifted counterparts. This entails the ability to recognize pieces of knowledge are missing from a solution pathway and working with a variety of expert, and social sources will better help fill this gap of knowledge. The gifted students were able to see how complex the problem was and conduct a deeper evaluation to identify which sources would be needed to come up with solutions addressing the needs of many. Social thinking enables a person to work with others which helps the contributions one makes in the society (Kostelnik et al., 2006). It can, therefore, be deduced that social thinking is directly related to social skills, competence, perception, and all necessary skills for collaborative learning. Dillenbourg (1999) refers to collaborative learning as a situation where individuals come together with the aim of gaining information to understand a situation or solve a problem. Results of this characteristic align with others that demonstrate gifted students being better at recognizing the significance of collaborative learning and combined efforts to formulate solutions. This characteristic was hypothesized to be more evident in gifted students based on the articles by Sternberg and Davidson (1982) and Bell (1988) on identifying three traits necessary for the identification of gifted students; the use of multiple sources of knowledge, collaboration, and social thinking. A statistically significant difference was detected between gifted and non-gifted students using the GBR and HL DSPST tool, with evidence supporting the alternative hypothesis; gifted participants are better at recognising that the use multiple sources are necessary to formulate the best solutions.
The results tie well with previous studies wherein Melser (1999) noticed that gifted individuals achieve more with cooperative learning hence it was identified as an important strategy for use with gifted students. Gifted students are therefore able to recognize that collaborative learning is needed in formulating solutions. A similar observation was made by Costley (2012) that young people gain knowledge through interaction with their peers. Non-gifted students are not able to recognize the critical role of others in knowledge acquisition because of lack of the necessary connection with their peers. Gifted students use this ability in a classroom setting through cooperating with their peers during group work discussions and teamwork efforts.
1.4 Participants’ abilities to foresee potential issues in solution pathways
“H1: There is a significant difference between the gifted and non-gifted ability to foresee issues in solution pathways on the GBR and HL DSPST.”
Gifted students portrayed higher abilities to foresee potential issues in solution pathways than the non-gifted participants. They portrayed a lot of creativity imagining future scenarios and how they could potentially play out than non-gifted students. According to Mumford et al. (1991), the ability to foresee potential issues requires an individual to evaluate the ideas generated and identify the best idea that works best. Gifted students use this process to identify potential pitfalls and difficulties that may come up and plan for them accordingly. The ability of students to foresee potential issues in solution pathways was evaluated in this study because according to several other studies, it has been identified as a key skill associated with giftedness. Smutny (1998) further noticed that gifted students are curious about cause and effect relationships. They, therefore, look at the potential consequences of the solutions they provide and adjust their ideas accordingly. Non-gifted students, on the other hand, do not think about the consequences of their solutions; therefore, they are not able to foresee the potential issues that may inhibit their solution pathways.
From the review of the ability of students to foresee potential issues in solution pathways using the GBR and HL DSPST tool, a statistically significant difference was noticed between gifted and non-gifted students indicating that there was strong evidence in support of the alternative hypothesis. This shows that gifted students are better able to foresee potential issues in their solution pathways than their non-gifted counterparts. In a classroom setting, the ability to foresee potential issues helps gifted students determine the correct answers among the available options by assessing their feasibility through projecting future consequences.
The results of this characteristic have been demonstrated by other literature in the same area. According to a survey conducted by Delisle and Squires (1989), it was noticed that gifted children are very capable of envisioning the future in realistic and optimistic ways. This ability supports the observations of this study because it involves thinking ahead and considering the potential issues that might arise. Bingham (1958) also determined that the evaluation of solutions was an important last component in problem-solving for the gifted student. The reason for this is that it offers students the opportunity to detect the problems that may arise and address them before they occur.
1.5 Participants’ abilities to be flexible and fine-tune solutions
H1: There is a significant difference between the gifted and non-gifted ability to be flexible and fine-tune solutions on the GBR and HL DSPST.
Gifted students indicated that they were more flexible and better able to fine-tune solutions when compared to the non-gifted students. They have a higher potential of embracing change, instead of feeling stuck and looking at an obstacle as a hindrance. Therefore, they are more ready and capable of fixing things that do not work. Non-gifted students mostly portrayed characteristics of rigidity in their ideas. Flexibility is an important trait necessary when one is making decisions or coming up with solutions just as Hayes-Roth and Hayes-Roth (1979) point out; it is necessary when dealing with other people and making plan adjustments as per the changes in demands and interests.
The ability of students to be flexible and fine-tune solutions was studied because it has been argued to be a key determinant of giftedness among students. According to the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), the definition of a gifted student should include excellence in innovative and dynamic thinking (Schwartz, 2016; National Association for Gifted Children, 2013). Dynamic thinking, in this case, involves flexibility in solutions and willingness to revise ideas in accordance with changing circumstances. Clark (2008) also points out that gifted students have flexible thought processes and should be allowed to solve problems in different ways.
The results of the ability of students to be flexible and fine-tune solutions using the GBR and HL DSPST tool showed a statistically significant difference between gifted and non-gifted students which indicated that gifted students were better at being flexible and fine-tuning their solutions than their non-gifted counterparts. Identification of flexibility and ability to fine-tune solutions as a trait of gifted students is supported in theory by Winebrenner’s (2012). He points out that one of the characteristics through which giftedness is demonstrated is the flexibility of ideas and points of view. Gifted students also use flexibility in a class by revising their answers when reviewing their ideas to come up with the best solution.
Others have also shown that gifted students are more flexible. For example, Shore (2000) in the study on metacognition and flexibility observed akin results. In the study, it was noted gifted children could be distinguished from non-gifted children based on whether they are flexible in their strategies.
1.6 Participants’ abilities to develop outcomes that consider the ‘greater good’ of various perspectives
H1: There is a significant difference between the gifted and non-gifted ability to develop solutions that consider the ‘greater good’ of various perspectives on the GBR and HL DSPST.
It was observed that gifted students showed they were better able to devise solutions based on the ‘greater good’ for all involved. This required the students to understand various perspectives, and consider the needs and wants of each group or individual to find satisfying resolutions. Non-gifted students trait, on the other hand, had limited ability to consider the greater good of involved parties while devising their solutions.
This characteristic was tested because many studies claim that gifted children portray high moral standards. Clark (2008) claims that even at an early age, gifted students are very sensitive to moral issues and values and they understand what is considered to be good behavior and bad behavior. Clark further claims in his study that gifted children seek what is fair and just and tend to be idealistic (Clark, 2008). Gifted students have also been known to be sensitive to the expectations and feelings of others (Clark, 2002). When examining the ability of students to develop outcomes that consider the ‘greater good’ of various perspectives, using the GBR and HL DSPST tool, a statistically significant difference was noticed between gifted and non-gifted students indicating that there was strong evidence in support of the alternative hypothesis. It was, therefore, determined that unlike the non-gifted students, gifted students possess the ability to consider the greater good hence, the alternative hypothesis was accepted.
This finding is consistent with the observation by Roeper and Silverman (2009) that gifted children express moral concerns at a younger age and in a more intensified manner than their age peers. The authors also pointed out that and some theorists have suggested that moral sensitivity increases with intelligence. In the same study, it was determined that gifted participants have heightened, emotional sensitivity, a keen aspect of justice, empathy, insightfulness, knowledge of consequences and ability to question the moral grounds of the culture than their non-gifted counterparts.
Gifted students in leadership positions use the quality of developing ideas that consider the greater good to come up with the best and most feasible solutions. They also use this quality when socializing and participating in group work with others. The ability to develop outcomes that consider the greater good among gifted students is also supported by the utilitarian theory of morality (Smart, & Williams, 1973). When a gifted person comes up with a solution, he or she will come up with the idea that has the best interest of people at heart. This characteristic is also supported by Sternberg’s triarchic theory of intelligence on possessing interpersonal and extra personal interests. According to Sternberg (1998), Interpersonal interests involve other people. They relate to desirable associations with others. Extra personal interests affect the community, environment or country.
1.7 Participants’ abilities to recognize the interests of multiple stakeholders
H1: There is a significant difference between the gifted and non-gifted ability to recognize the interests of multiple stakeholders on the GBR and HL DSPST.
According to the observations made, gifted students were better able to see the big picture than non-gifted students and in doing so, recognize which groups would play a role in the solutions proposed. They were able to figure out who would be involved or play a part in coming up with the solution. The non-gifted students did not portray similar characteristics, and their solutions did not capture the interests of all the people involved. A good solution to a problem is one that captures the interests of various stakeholders and attempts at addressing them. Gifted individuals portray this attribute when coming up with solutions. Capturing the interests of all the involved beneficiaries or the affected entities demonstrates that an individual is thinking about the bigger picture and will ultimately come up with the best solution (Ambrose, 1996). Any idea that contradicts the interests of the involved stakeholder presents challenges during implementation.
The investigation on the ability of students to recognize the interests of multiple stakeholders, using the GBR and HL DSPST tool, revealed a statistically significant difference between gifted and non-gifted students indicating that there was strong evidence in support of the alternative hypothesis. It was established that gifted students are better at recognizing the interests of multiple stakeholders than the non-gifted students. This skill is useful to gifted students practically when applying it in their class work especially social subjects involving determining the best solutions to various problems. They also apply it outside the school environment when determining the impacts of their actions and the various entities that will be affected. The characteristic is also linked to Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration which states that gifted children have got a heightened intensity of their emotions that makes them develop a high concern for others (Dabrowski,1967).
Dabrowski and Piechowski (1977) noticed a similar trend to that of this study and pointed out that gifted children show emotional over-excitability that is manifested by feelings of concern for others. These empathetic feelings are used by gifted students in identification of various interests of the groups of people involved. Fornia and Frame (2001) also made analogous observations about gifted students. The authors claimed that in situations where non-gifted students frown over concern for others hurting, gifted students would be at the verge of tears.
1.8 Participants’ ability to use divergent thinking to find ways in which their solutions affect the community
H1: There is a significant difference between gifted and non-gifted ability to use divergent thinking to find ways in which their solutions affect the community on the GBR and HL DSPST.
Gifted students were able to generate more ideas on how their solutions would affect the community. Their reasoning was not limited to only coming up with the ideas but also analyzing the potential effects of these ideas. Their ideas also showed stronger consideration of the perspectives of those in the community compared to the ideas generated by the non-gifted. According to Scales et al. (2000), gifted students are also able to develop a greater sense of concern for the welfare of other people a trait that lacks in the non-gifted students. The non-gifted participants portrayed fewer aspects of divergent thinking, and some of their solutions had potentially negative effects on the community. The ability to find ways in which a solution affects the community at large is not only a portrayal of broad thinking but also a desirable trait. Gifted individuals often show abilities of divergent thinking that are necessary for consideration of others. Non-gifted individuals hardly think about the broader effects of their solutions which indicates that it is possible for them to come up with seemingly great ideas but with detrimental effects in the long run.
Assessment of the ability of students to use divergent thinking to find ways in which their solutions affected the community, proved that gifted students performed better than the non-gifted students. The difference between the two groups of participants was also noted to be significant. This ability helps gifted students their learning process in class to understand the consequences of certain ideas or actions to the surroundings.
These observations are in harmony with those of the research by Dawes and Larson (2011) where they determined that gifted students are more aware of larger social issues. The larger social issues encompass an aspect of the community. It was observed that on the other hand, most non-gifted students, experienced difficulties in finding ways in which their solutions may affect the larger social issues.
9.0 Participants’ abilities to develop ways to monitor their solutions
H1: There is a significant difference between the gifted and non-gifted ability to develop ways to monitor their solutions on the GBR and HL DSPST.
Gifted participants were better at evaluating their solutions and thinking about them further in order to generate a practical way to determine if their solutions would actually work. A number of studies have indicated that gifted individuals possess the ability to monitor solutions via varying ways to determine whether they are feasible. According to Aiken (1996), ideas are defined as good quality ideas when they are able to fulfill the following three conditions. The first is that they should be applicable to the problem at hand. Secondly, they should offer an effective solution and finally, they should be implementable. Diehl and Stroebe (1987) point out that in order to determine whether an idea will offer an effective solution or whether it is implementable, the ability to monitor solutions is necessary.
The ability to develop ways to monitor solutions is a critical attribute of giftedness according to several studies, and therefore it had to be hypothesized to ensure the study was exhaustive. The importance of this characteristic is noted in the study by Sternberg and Davidson (1982) where they pointed out, that intellectually gifted adolescents and children spend more time defining the problem, predicting the required resources needed to complete the task, and planning how to determine whether the solution is on the right track. Deciding whether a solution is on the right track is synonymous to finding ways to monitor a solution. The creativity in developing ways to monitor solutions is also related to Sternberg and Lubart’s (1995) creative theory of intelligence. Gifted students develop ways to assess their solutions when learning in class to verify whether the ideas they present are correct. They also do so to eliminate any errors that might have been made during the decision-making process leading to the wrong conclusion.
When analyzing the ability of students to develop ways to monitor their solutions, using the GBR and HL DSPST tool, a statistically significant difference was noticed between gifted and non-gifted students that indicated there was strong evidence in support of the alternative hypothesis; therefore, it was accepted. Gifted students were, therefore, better at developing ways to monitor their solutions than the non-gifted students.
The importance of the ability to monitor solutions and develop sound ideas was also stressed in the study by Sisk (1985). She points out the ability to evaluate one’s self, situations, and the interrelation of situations and people is essential for students gifted in leadership. Self-evaluation is a type of futuristic leadership in which students look ahead, make predictions, consider alternatives, and then participate responsibly and synergistically in creative problem-solving.
10.0 Likelihood of using inferential thinking instead of literal thinking
The gifted group generated a significantly larger mean number of inferential ideas. The non-gifted group generated a significantly larger mean number of ideas that were literal.
Gifted students showed more evidence of using inferential thinking. Because of this, they had a lower mean number of Literal ideas. These students were able to use far-transfer to connect ideas in creative ways, and infer ideas and pieces of knowledge that the non-gifted students were not able to do. The non-gifted students came up with a higher number of literal ideas and made more literal connections. The literal ideas provided by the non-gifted students involved reproducing the information that was offered during the assessment. They saw the more closely related ideas and made connections with them. They used inferential thinking, but it was more of near transfers as opposed to the gifted students who made much wider and far-reaching transfers of knowledge. The non-gifted used closer reaching ideas to connect and used near transfer to make sense and understand the knowledge and problems presented in both scenarios.
The inferential thinking was hypothesized in this study because it was identified as a trait associated with gifted students by studies such as that of Ward, Saunders, and Dodds (1999). These authors claimed that gifted adolescents are more likely than their non-gifted peers to think divergently and inferentially when given creative figural tasks. It has also been pointed out in a study by Stein and Heller (1979) that gifted individuals learn a concept and then apply it widely and use active inference. Inferential thinking is also characterized by good problem solvers. According to Sutton (2003), good and poor problem solvers differ in their recall of information from previously encountered problems and by extension their ability to transfer concepts to the target problem. This difference exists because poor problem solvers tend to remember surface similarities between problems, while good problem solvers remember underlying conceptual structures that make two problems similar although they have different surface features (Johnson, 1995).
The students’ likelihood of using inferential thinking instead of literal thinking, using the GBR and HL DSPST tool was analyzed, and a statistically significant difference between gifted and non-gifted students was observed. This was an indication that there was strong evidence in support of the alternative hypothesis. It was, therefore, determined that gifted students engage more in inferential thinking than non-gifted students. Use of inferential thinking is applied in a classroom setting by gifted students to help solve complex academic problems in challenging subjects such as mathematics.
A similar conclusion was reached by Kaye and Sternberg in their study about how students figure out the meanings of new words within a passage. Gifted students reported intuitive processing as a way of figuring out the meaning of a word. They would do so by making inferences on the meaning of the word from the passage as a whole (Kaye & Sternberg, 1983).
Summary of the First Research Question
Positive results were obtained from the analysis of the ten characteristics in response to the first research question. It can, therefore, be categorically stated that the DSPST tool is effective in the identification of gifted students. From the findings of the individual characteristics, it was also confirmed that according to Sternberg’s theories, gifted students possess advanced skills in aspects such as creativity, wisdom, and practical and analytical intelligence than their non-gifted counterparts. Such skills give gifted students a competitive edge over non-gifted students that helps them perform better in most areas their classwork
The second research questions stated, “How effective is the DSPST at identifying giftedness in Year 4-Year 5 students from minority cultures?” The purpose of this research question was to assess whether the DSPST tool is effective in identifying giftedness regardless of the cultural or linguistic background of the students. The general hypothesis under consideration in this research question was whether a significant difference exists between diverse and non-diverse students. The aspects of diversity being assessed included cultural and linguistic diversity. Ten characteristics of gifted students were used in this test. The results obtained showed that the DSPST tool was capable of identifying linguistically and culturally diverse gifted participants.
It was hypothesized in this study that the cultural and linguistic background of a student would not influence the ability of the DSPST tool to identify the student as either gifted or non-gifted. Upon analysis of the results obtained, it was observed that the differences between the cultural and linguistic aspects of the students did not have any statistically significant effect on their performance. The characteristics under study included the ability to link ideas, the ability to understand issues at various levels, ability to recognize multiple sources of knowledge are needed to formulate solutions, ability to foresee issues in solution pathways, ability to be flexible and fine-tune solutions, ability to develop solutions that consider the greater good of various perspectives, ability to recognize the interests of multiple stakeholders, ability to use divergent thinking to find ways in which their solutions affect the community, ability to develop ways to monitor their solutions and finally the ability to generate inferential and Literal ideas.
The effects of diversity were hypothesized in this research because many studies note that differences in culture and other aspects affect the ability of research tools to identify the giftedness among students. The DSPST tool was therefore tested to determine whether it is capable of overcoming this inadequacy because the culture has been noted to have a great impact on how students portray their giftedness. This was pointed out by Chaffey (2009), who claimed that some cultures do not like competition. Sternberg (2006) also noted that some cultures value practical knowledge. Merrotsy (2008) pointed out that some cultures excel in group discussions. Parallel to this was the observations by Harris (2017) that African Americans learn well in groups as opposed to solitary work. Similarly, Chaffey (2009) opines that Indigenous Australian children have strong abilities to work together instead of against each other. There are therefore numerous ways in which the culture can influence the ability of a student to express his/her giftedness. An effective identification tool should, therefore, be able to identify giftedness regardless of cultural influences.
GBR DSPST Culture
This section provides a discussion of the results obtained from assessing the ability of the GBR DSPST tool in identifying giftedness among culturally diverse students. The results are discussed in relation to the findings of previous studies conducted on the effects of cultural diversity on giftedness identification. The possible cultural factors that might have been responsible for the differences observed in performance between the mainstream culture and the diverse culture are also discussed. The only characteristic that showed the significant difference is also discussed in this section.
The results obtained in this section showed that in nine out of the ten characteristics that were tested, the GBR DSPST tool was capable of identifying giftedness among culturally diverse students. It was therefore determined that the cultural background of a student had no effect on the ability to be identified as a gifted student using the GBR DSPST tool. The characteristic upon which a significant difference was observed was testing the ability of students to develop ways to monitor their solutions.
The limited ability of culturally diverse students to come up with ways of monitoring solutions using the GBR DSPST tool can be attributed to their nurturing. This argument is supported by Ho, (2014) in his study on diverse and underserved gifted students. He claims that cultural disadvantages stem from insufficient cultural stimulation. He attributes this deficiency partly to the low socioeconomic status. Although it cannot be generalized that cultural minority families have low socioeconomic status, a study by Dotterer, Iruka, and Pungello, (2012) showed that 60% of minority cultures in the US was associated with low socioeconomic status compared to 30% of the dominant culture. Ho (2014) points out that low socioeconomic status influences the nurturing of a student with regard to social, financial and educational support. This, in turn, influences the competence of the students in developing ways to monitor their ideas. Apart from this single variable, all the other variables tested for cultural effects using GBR DSPST tool showed no significant differences. This shows there is a very little chance for the culture to affect giftedness.
It was further noticed that the Mainstream culture consistently outperformed the diverse culture during the assessment. It has also been pointed out that students make better connections in learning to what they are accustomed to. Gifted students tend to want to learn in ways aligned with their beliefs, values, interests and the way in which they learn best. Pollock (2008) found evidence in her own research that students learn better and are enthusiastic when the curriculum relates to their culture and community. The mainstream culture was, therefore, able to outperform the diverse culture on the GBR test since they have grown to become more accustomed to the reef as part of their environment. They, therefore, care more about its existence than the students of diverse cultural backgrounds.
GBR DSPST Language
In this section, there is a discussion of the results obtained from assessing the ability of the GBR DSPST tool in identifying giftedness among linguistically diverse students. The results are discussed in relation to the findings of previous studies conducted on the effects of linguistic diversity on giftedness identification. The linguistic factors that might have been responsible for the differences observed in performance between the mainstream language and the diverse language are also discussed.
The results from the analysis of the ability of the GBR DSPST tool to identify giftedness among linguistically diverse students were positive. It was noted the linguistic background of an individual did not affect his/her ability to be identified as a gifted student using the GBR DSPST tool. Though according to the statistical analysis there was no significant difference observed, the mainstream language group continually outperformed the other linguistically diverse groups on all the characteristics assessed. A higher mean was noticed in support of this observation. The diverse tongue group performed the lowest for all characteristics. A possible explanation for this is because the GBR DSPST tool was administered in the English language and was supposed to be written in English. This possibly made the GBR DSPST tool easier for those with English as their first language and harder for those with English as their second language.
This is consistent with what was found in previous studies by Freeman (2012) and Ford and Harris (1999). They saw that students with low-English writing and speaking skills are likely to perform poorly on cognitive tests. This is because a strong mastery of the English language is a prerequisite to achieving high scores.
HL DSPST Culture
In this section, there is a discussion of the results obtained from assessing the ability of the HL DSPST tool in identifying giftedness among culturally diverse students. The results are discussed in relation to the findings of previous studies conducted on the effects of cultural diversity on giftedness identification. The cultural factors that might have been responsible for the differences observed in performance between the mainstream culture and the diverse culture are also discussed.
Non-significant results were obtained in this section that after analysis of the results obtained. The HL DSPST tool was capable of identifying giftedness regardless of the cultural background of a student. Though the results obtained were not significant, it was observed that the mainstream culture consistently outperformed the diverse culture in the HL DSPST tool. The influence of culture on giftedness identification can therefore not be ruled even though it is insignificant. This is supported by a previous study where it was noted by Lohman (2003) and Kaufman (2003) that the way students act within the classroom is a result of their cultural background. Moreover, children from varying cultural groups can have unique ways in which they learn and express their abilities best, but they may not align with the methods and values of the mainstream culture. Therefore the cultural background is expected to have some form of effect on the students.
It is possible that the way the HL DSPST test was administered did not align with what the students from diverse cultural backgrounds are accustomed to. The differences in performance can also be attributed to cultural differences between the interviewer and respondents. Since the respondents were accustomed to their teachers’ way of administering tests, the new ways introduced by the interviewer might have affected their ability to portray giftedness. This observation is in line with the research carried out by Jarvis (2018) noticing that the similarity with teachers and interviewers enables students to become more comfortable in expressing themselves to their teacher and thus makes it more likely for their abilities to be identified. Guild (1994) found an understanding and connection to a student’s cultural background predispose a student for success, hence the importance of finding teachers who can understand and appreciate diversity in their classroom.
HL DSPST Language
In this section, there is a discussion of the results obtained from assessing the ability of the HL DSPST tool in identifying giftedness among linguistically diverse students. The results are discussed in relation to the findings of previous studies conducted on the effects of linguistic diversity on giftedness identification. The linguistic factors that might have been responsible for the differences observed in performance between the mainstream language and the diverse language are also discussed.
It was observed that the HL DSPST tool was capable of identifying gifted students regardless of their linguistics backgrounds.
Dynamic Assessment Discussion
The importance of the dynamic assessment conducted in this study was because according to Elliot, Grigorenko, and Resing (2010), it allows intelligence assessors to recognize potentially gifted children who may not otherwise be recognized by more traditional forms of assessment, such as static testing. This is accomplished by giving assessments that attempt to measure abilities that are not fully developed. The dynamic testing conducted allowed students from lower socioeconomic status, non-Western cultures, and from different racial backgrounds to overcome some of the barriers and limitations caused by standardized tests. It provided a more thorough assessment of cognitive, situational, motivational, and attitudinal factors often responsible for low performance (Tzuriel & Kaufman, 1999).
This study also focused on the interaction component of dynamic testing because it offers more students the opportunity to be recognized as gifted or possessing high cognitive abilities on a more even playing ground with their peers. Elliot, Grigorenko, and Resing, (2010) pointed out that such students are often placed below their peers during static testing, but dynamic testing allows them to demonstrate their abilities in a practical manner better. The other reason dynamic assessment was conducted is because according to Laing and Kamhi (2003), it is not biased based on socialization practices, literacy knowledge or life experiences.
The dynamic assessment test for the DSPST GBR tool conducted in response to the second research question stemmed from the following alternative hypotheses, “The difference in the mean scores of the Written GBR DSPST (pre-DA interview) and the Merged GBR DSPST (post- DA interview) are not statistically equal for the three language groups” The results showed insignificant difference hence the null hypothesis was accepted. The home language was also noted to have an insignificant effect. Whilst the three language groups had different DSPST means for both pre-interview (Written) and post-interview (Merged) DSPST; the differences are not significant. This is an indication that the dynamic assessment interview was effective in increasing DSPST scores.
The dynamic assessment test for the DSPST HL tool conducted to address the second research question was based on the hypotheses that, the difference in the mean scores of the Written HL DSPST and the Merged HL DSPST are not statistically equal for the three language groups. A statistically significant increase was observed in student scores for the Merged HL DSPST for participants in three language groups when compared to their HL Written scores. There was no significant effect from the home language. While the difference between the pre-interview and post-interview was significant, the mean scores of students from the different language groups were not significantly different.
Though the dynamic assessment was aimed at helping the native language speakers to increase their scores more than the language group that spoke in English, there were no statistically significant differences observed. The scores; however, increased for all the groups under study and the increase was significant. The results obtained can be claimed to have helped identify more culturally and linguistically diverse students. Tzuriel & Kaufman (1999) made a similar observation when using dynamic testing to assess the learning potential of Ethiopian immigrants in Israel when compared to Israeli-born children. In the pre-interaction stage, Ethiopian children performed lower than their Israeli-born peers in all three different cognitive assessments; Raven’s Colored Progressive Matrices (CPM), the Children’s Analogical Cognitive Modifiability test (CATM), and the Children’s Inferential Thinking Modifiability test (CITM). However, after the interaction, the performance from the Ethiopian group improved at a higher rate than the Israeli- born children and lowered the mean score differences. The researchers substantiated this by suggesting the initial low scores obtained by the Ethionian children were a result of the lack of familiarity with the tasks rather than a reflection of their ability.
Linking to Practice and Theory
Linguistically and culturally diverse students use their giftedness in the classroom to solve both closed and open-ended problems. Open-ended problem solving has been shown to have long-term benefits on the development of skills related to the student’s ability to solve real-world problems. Alhusaini and Maker (2011) and Bahar and Maker (2015) support the concept of open-ended problem-solving techniques because they recognize its role in promoting creativity as individuals work towards obtaining a unique solution. Gallagher & Stepien (1992) used ill-structured, open-ended problems to teach gifted children the importance of understanding and unpacking the problem before searching for a solution. The researchers found the students’ application of the strategies had a positive impact on the way they approached and prepared to solve for a real-world type of problem. Based on the findings, the authors suggest this may be the most appropriate way to prepare students for the types of challenges they will face as adults (Gallagher & Stepien, 1992).
However, this approach of introducing real-world, open-ended problem solving to classrooms was criticized by various individuals interviewed by Ravitch (2016). These critiques claim real-world problem-solving in the classroom puts non-gifted students at a disadvantage because they are seemingly directed towards the skills of higher ability students. Conversely, other researchers argue that opportunities to practice with real-world type problem solving gives all students time to think creatively, and can help develop more globally aware young citizens with a broader perspective of world issue (Sternberg, 2018).
Culturally and linguistically diverse students can apply their giftedness capabilities not only in class but also in the real world to solve problems. According to research by Dai & Cheng (2017), and Sternberg (2017), many unresolved global issues require problem-solvers who can utilize advanced technology, think creatively, and apply mathematical concepts to begin to overcome these problems. Berry et al. (2018), and Watts et al. (2015) express concerns these problems will continue to get worse due to the lack of creative and innovative gifted individuals working on them. As stated in Sternberg’s Balance Theory of Wisdom (2005), gifted individuals could utilize their wisdom, focus, ability to apply experiential knowledge, and the capacity to balance different interests to find viable solutions to solve contemporary world problems.
Summary of the Second Research Question
From the findings of the second research question, it is clear that the DSPST tool is capable of identifying giftedness regardless of the cultural or linguistic background. This was further verified by the dynamic assessment test. Despite the findings, it was noted that the notion of giftedness does not exist in a vacuum. The aspects of cultural and linguistic constructs were reflected on the individuals’ ability to express their giftedness. This, therefore, explains why there are differences in scores between different groups based on their cultures and languages. This supports the theory that the dimensions of giftedness are defined culturally as observed by Okagaki and Sternberg that Latino Americans emphasize socio-emotional competence while Asian Americans emphasize cognitive competence (Okagaki, & Steinberg, 1993). The use of the DSPST tool can be helpful in a classroom context when identifying diverse gifted students to be placed in giftedness programs.
From the observations of this research, the DSPST tool can be said to have proved effective in identifying students commonly underrepresented in gifted programs by capturing a range of abilities. Up to ten characteristics were assessed in this research in accordance with the research questions. The first research question was assessing the ability of the tool in distinguishing gifted students from non-gifted students. The tool was able to successfully identify gifted students from the non-gifted students on both the DSPST GBR and HL apart from the characteristic on linking ideas where the HL tool did not show statistically significant results. The second research question was looking at the effectiveness of the DSPST tool in identifying giftedness among diverse students. The results obtained showed that the DSPST tool was capable of identifying linguistically and culturally diverse gifted students. A dynamic assessment was conducted to help the native language speakers to increase their scores more than the language group that spoke in English, but no statistically significant differences were observed. The DSPST tool can, therefore, be used to avoid bias identification of gifted students.
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