MILLERSVILLE, Pa., May 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- When the No Child
Left Behind Act (NCLB) was introduced in 2001, its purpose was to set goals
for improved test scores in low-performing elementary and secondary
schools. With the program entering its seventh year, researchers and
educators are finding improvements in some schools, but several educators
are arguing the NCLB leaves high-performing students behind.
Dr. Barbara Marinak, Millersville University of Pennsylvania professor
of elementary education says that attention is being focused on students
who are less than proficient in reading and mathematics leaving gifted
students unchallenged. In addition, Marinak is concerned about how
statewide assessment data is being used. "We are hearing stories of gifted
students being included or excluded from gifted programs based on
individual state tests which are not an appropriate measure of gifted
performance or potential." She explains that school districts' main concern
is moving toward the 97% percent proficiency mark by 2014 as stated in the
"The trends we are seeing that impact gifted education include less
time being available for curricular variety and individualization," said
Marinak. "As schools feel increasingly pressured to meet the demands of the
current NCLB, opportunities beneficial to gifted students are disappearing.
An additional problem is that districts are seeing lower test scores of
gifted students. We are seeing an erosion in scores from advanced to
proficient or from proficient to basic."
Dr. Carol Welsh, Millersville professor of educational foundations,
sees the effects more often in urban schools. "It is in urban schools that
serve gifted students from the most at-risk socio-economic point of view
where the impact of NCLB is most evident. In my opinion, the urban students
need more experience, more relevant practice and at least as much time on
subjects like science and social studies and the arts as their suburban
counterparts to develop their talent, not less," she said.
The solution for gifted students in all socio-economic areas? Welsh
suggests move beyond normal standardized testing. "Create a system where
gifted students can take the test with older grade levels and complete the
tests as soon as they have mastered the grade 11 test. This would allow
them to work on research projects in the available time," she said.
Beginning this fall Millersville University will become the only public
institution of higher education in Pennsylvania to offer a master's of
education degree in gifted education.
SOURCE Millersville University