The effects of ability grouping on gifted and academically advanced students in rural schools

Michael Lester Taylor, Tennessee State University

Abstract

Research on the academic achievement of Tennessee students has shown that gifted and academically advanced students are making the smallest gains compared to other students (Wright, Horn, & Sanders, 1997) Kulik (1991) concluded that advanced and gifted students may not be challenged enough, especially in math and language arts. Gifted and advanced programs are an option, but most rural school districts do not have the funding to offer specific programs for gifted and academically advanced students (Milligan, 2003). The purpose of this causal-comparative study was to determine whether academic ability grouping helped gifted and academically advanced students improve their TCAP performance in math and language arts. The participants were 235 gifted and academically advanced elementary students from two rural Middle Tennessee schools: one school used ability grouping and one did not. There were 112 participants from the school that used ability grouping and 123 from the school that did not use ability grouping. The students' TCAP achievement scores from the years 2004 through 2006 were used to measure their academic progress. The hypotheses tested whether or not there were statistically significant differences in the TCAP math and language arts scores of those gifted and advanced students in ability groups compared to a group of their peers who were not in ability groups using t-tests and ANOVAs at the .05 level of significance. Other variables of interest were the students' gender and socioeconomic status. Results indicated that academically advanced and gifted students who were ability grouped had significantly higher math and language arts TCAP scores compared to their peers who were not in ability groups. Because of the positive gains for students who were ability grouped, it is recommended that rural schools should utilize ability grouping as a low cost alternative to a gifted program. This study should be replicated using a larger sample size; an urban school with a more diverse population; an experimental design; and all levels of students, not just gifted and high achieving students, to further test the effects of ability grouping. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Education, Special|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Michael Lester Taylor, "The effects of ability grouping on gifted and academically advanced students in rural schools" (2007). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3290730.
http://digitalscholarship.tnstate.edu/dissertations/AAI3290730

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