Setting a baseline in the gifted education landscape

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Gifted students across Australia have diverse schooling experiences that include inconsistencies in teaching expertise and knowledge about giftedness, and provisions that vary between schools and jurisdictions. Since 2000, specific gifted education policies have been developed in all states and territories in Australia, providing research informed guidelines for identifying gifted learners and developing effective school and classroom programs. Consistent across all policies is intentional provision for gifted students in the form of identification processes and procedures, differentiated teaching practices and opportunities for enrichment and collaborative partnerships with families and schools in the support of gifted students. However there continues to be an absence of specific standards for gifted education that contributes to inconsistent school provision and teaching practice across education jurisdictions. At the same time, professional standards for teachers have been implemented in Australia to support greater consistency in teaching practices from pre-service teacher education through to educational leadership. This presentation reports on the first and second phases of a three-phased design based research project. Design based research utilises a series of approaches to the research task, intentionally seeking to produce new artefacts or practices that potentially impact on the field (Barab & Squire, 2004). We will report on the first phase where a need to bridge a greater connection between the statements in Australian gifted education policies and the practices of schools and classroom teachers was identified (Zundans-Fraser & Wood, 2016). We will then propose a draft set of gifted education standards that provide consistency, guidance and support for educators.


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