MERVIL ELIZABETH DORR, University of Pennsylvania


The purpose of this study was to examine the status of preschool gifted education in the United States today. To that end, this study addressed three questions: (1) What practices do program directors report are included in existing preschool gifted programs in the United States? (2) What practices do selected experts recommend to be included in an "ideal" preschool gifted program? (3) What relationships may be noted between reported practices of existing programs and recommended practices of an "ideal" program? In order to answer these questions, a national sruvey of directors of existing preschool gifted programs and of experts in preschool gifted education was conducted. Directors were requested to respond to a questionnaire concerning practices actually being implemented in their programs. Experts were asked to recommend on a parallel questionnaire those practices which should be included in an ideal preschool gifted program. The major focus of both questionnaires concerned respondents' ratings of 91 items on the basis of a Likert-type scale. These items represented specific program practices and were clustered into nine categories. Additional information relative to administrative provisions of preschool gifted programs was collected from responses to non-rated items. Measures of central tendency and Chi square tests of significance were employed in the comparative analysis of the responses of the two groups. The findings of the study indicated that: (1) Administrative provisions of existing and ideal preschool gifted programs were generally consistent with respect to enrollment age of students, type of sessions offered, and use of conceptual model. There was less agreement with regard to class size and to number, type, and certification of employees. (2) Practices of existing and ideal preschool gifted programs were generally consistent with respect to program philosophy and objectives, areas of giftedness served by the program, instructional techniques, curriculum content, resources, and program evaluation. However, significant differences were noted with respect to identification instruments and techniques, methods of grouping students, and evaluation of pupil progress. Further research is needed to explain the discrepancies noted by this study, and to indicate the superiority of specific practices and administrative provisions in preschool gifted programs.

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Recommended Citation

DORR, MERVIL ELIZABETH, "PROGRAMMING FOR PRESCHOOL GIFTED CHILDREN" (1983). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI8405855.