An evaluation of a differential education program for able and gifted high shcool students in southwestern Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/x633f338v

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  • The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the effects of a six week residential summer program of differential education for gifted high school students. It was designed to determine the extent to which participants in the program were proficient in aspects of critical and creative thinking, and in the ability to maintain an open mind and adjust to the stress imposed by constant environmental change. One hundred eight-five scholars from a parent population of 547 who met the selection requirements for the program participated in the project. Two hundred and fifty students from the parent population were selected to serve as a control group of Promethean Alternates who did not participate in the project. Participants, referred to as Promethean Scholars, took part in an intensive, interwoven matrix of experiences involving interdisciplinary classes of timely significance, small group seminars on topics concerning conflicts in American culture, lecture-demonstrations and addresses from prominent national figures keyed to seminar topics, and a tremendous diversity of evening cultural experiences and weekend field experiences. Promethean Scholars and Promethean Alternates were tested prior to initiation of the program to establish covariance controls for intelligence and academic ability. Final testing was conducted at the end of the project, with an additional evaluation by means of a teacher questionnaire administered one academic year after the termination of the project. Data used in this study were obtained from four tests. They were: Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal, Form YM, Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking, Form A, Dogmatism Scale, Form E, Test of Behavioral Rigidity. The following conclusions were drawn from the data analyzed in this investigation. 1. Critical thinking abilities of Promethean Scholars were significantly greater (.01) than those of Promethean Alternates. 2. Creative thinking abilities of Promethean Scholars were not significantly greater than those of Promethean Alternates. 3. Promethean Scholars were significantly less dogmatic (.01) than Promethean Alternates. 4. Promethean Scholars exhibited significantly less behavioral rigidity (.01) than Promethean Alternates. 5. On the basis of a questionnaire administered one year after participation, Promethean Scholars exhibited significantly greater critical thinking abilities (. 01), creative thinking abilities (.01), love of learning (.05), and tolerance of ambiguity (.05) than did Promethean Alternates. No significant difference was noted in understanding of self, social conscience, leadership, quantity and quality of production, or response to challenge. 6. Evidence was obtained to indicate that it is possible to make significant changes in complex behavioral criteria in an intensive interdisciplinary program of differential education during a six week period. 7. Evidence was obtained to indicate that it is possible to get the cooperation and the necessary resources of many schools and agencies within a region in order to provide a differential education program for gifted high school student.
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