This information was produced by the staff of the Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development (B-BC) at the University of Iowa ( The resources and information listed here are for informational purposes; there is no direct or implied endorsement by the B-BC. Services provided by the B-BC include programs for academically talented K-12 and college students, professional development for teachers, the Assessment and Counseling Clinic, the Acceleration Institute (, and graduate programs and research in gifted education.

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Annotated Bibliography

Articles are listed in descending order by year (most recent first), and then by first author's last name.

Models of Service Delivery

Roberts, J. L. (2013). Special schools come in many variations. Gifted Child Today, 36(3), 157–158.

Special school is a term that describes all of the possibilities for schools that are created for specific purposes. Special schools are not a recent phenomenon, but rather have existed as long as there have been schools in the United States, beginning with schools for boys to prepare for college. They may be planned for elementary, middle, or high school young people. They may be formed as a school for students with specific talents and interests—law and government; visual and performing arts; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; or health care careers. The motivation to create the school may be to establish a magnet school, a charter school, a private school, or a parochial school. Special schools may be residential or nonresidential. They may be freestanding schools or a school-within-a-school. Special schools come in many variations and serve multiple purposes.

Makel, M. C., Putallaz, M., & Wai, J. (2012). Teach students what they don't know but are ready to learn: A commentary on "Rethinking giftedness and gifted education." Gifted Child Quarterly, 56, 198–201. (TS)  

Makel, M. C., Putallaz, M., & Wai, J. (2012). Teach students what they don't know but are ready to learn: A commentary on "Rethinking giftedness and gifted education." Gifted Child Quarterly, 56, 198–201. [Keywords: Talent identification]

We were thrilled to see an article focusing on giftedness, written by such thoughtful and well-respected researchers as Subotnik, Olszewski-Kubilius, and Worrell (2011). The expansive scope of their synthesis is so impressive that it could serve as a crash course introduction to gifted education. In our commentary, we focus specifically on the perspective of education service delivery. From this perspective, we review their guiding principles, chief goal, and provide some follow-up questions for further clarification as well as an implementation option also based on talent development.

VanTassel-Baska, J., & Wood, S. M. (2009). The Integrated Curriculum Model. In Renzulli, J. S., Gubbins, E. J., McMillen, K. S., Eckert, R. D., & Little, C. A. (Eds.), Systems & models for developing programs for the gifted & talented (2nd ed.) (pp. 655-691). Mansfield Center, CT: Creative Learning Press, Inc.

This article explicates the Integrated Curriculum Model (ICM) which has been used worldwide to design differentiated curriculum, instruction, and assessment units of study for gifted learners. The article includes a literature review of appropriate curriculum features for the gifted, other extant curriculum models, the theoretical basis for the ICM model, a description of the model, research that has been conducted to date on its effectiveness, and specific implications for use in classroom settings in schools.

Gavin, M. K., Casa, T. M., Adelson, J. L., Carroll, S. R., Sheffield, L. J., & Spinelli, A. M. (2007). Project M³: mentoring mathematical minds - A research-based curriculum for talented elemetary students. Journal of Advanced Academics, 18(4), 566-585.

To date, there has been very little research-based mathematics curriculum for talented elementary students. Yet the gifted education and mathematics literature suggest support for curriculum that is both enriched and accelerated with a focus on developing conceptual understanding and mathematical thinking. Project M3: Mentoring Mathematical Minds is a 5-year Javits research grant project designed to create curriculum units with these essential elements for talented elementary students. These units combine exemplary teaching practices of gifted education with the content and process standards promoted by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The content at each level is at least one to two grade levels above the regular curriculum and includes number and operations, algebra, geometry and measurement, and data analysis and probability. The focus of the pedagogy encourages students to act as practicing professionals by emphasizing verbal and written communication. Research was conducted on the implementation of 12 units in 11 different schools, 9 in Connecticut and 2 in Kentucky. The sample consisted of approximately 200 mathematically talented students entering third grade, most of whom remained in the project through fifth grade. Students in this study demonstrated a significant increase in understanding across all mathematical concepts in each unit from preto posttesting. Thus, Project M3 materials may help fill a curriculum void by providing appropriate accelerated and enriched units to meet the needs of mathematically talented elementary students.

Matthews, D., & Kitchen, J. (2007). School-within-a-school gifted programs: Perceptions of students and teachers in public secondary schools. Gifted Child Quarterly, 51(3), 256-271.

The authors used open-ended surveys to gather teacher and student opinions regarding satisfaction and perceptions of different types of school-within-a-school programs (gifted program, international baccalaureate program, science-focused program). Though participants in each setting were satisfied with the program, including the benefit of exposure to like-minded peers, their appraisals of the relationship between the gifted/regular programs differed by setting. The authors conclude that, in order to foster and maintain healthy relationships between schools utilizing this approach, it is necessary to provide transparent communication, allow flexible access to the gifted programming, ensure that students from both programs have equitable access to resources, work to diminish stereotypes between schools, and promote multiple approaches to success. These suggestions can help to decrease the misunderstandings and misperceptions about fairness and privilege that may permeate school-within-a-school programs.

VanTassel-Baska, J. (2006). A content analysis of evaluation findings across 20 gifted programs: A clarion call for enhanced gifted program development. Gifted Child Quarterly, 50(3), 199-215.

This article delineates the results of 7 gifted program evaluation studies conducted in 20 different school districts and places them in the context of major areas for gifted program improvement. The author suggests that the field of gifted education may be vulnerable to losing its infrastructure at local levels if enhanced program development in key areas does not occur over the next few years and if the studied districts are at all similar to the larger group. The paper discusses key areas of program development including identification, curriculum, program design, staff development, parental involvement assessment, and evaluation. The author contends that attention to these areas is essential for improving gifted program quality and stabilizing programs.

Winebrenner, S. (2006). Effective teaching strategies for open enrollment honors and AP classes. The Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 17(3), 159-177.

A trend is emerging to open enrollment for honors and AP classes to all students who wish to take them. Teachers of these open enrollment classes may be facing several dilemmas. How can the high standards and academic rigor of the course be maintained? How can students who struggle to learn be supported in their endeavors to keep up with the course content and pacing? What specific strategies can teachers use to meet the wide variety of learning needs in open enrollment classes? This article describes compensation strategies for students who may be struggling to keep up, as well as opportunities to work more independently for the most advanced students in a class.

Stamps, L. S. (2004). The effectiveness of curriculum compacting in first grade classrooms. Roeper Review, 27(1), 31-41.

This article provides new information about how compacting can be effective with first grade high ability students in a rural Alabama school district. Curriculum compacting was designed to eliminate already‐mastered content and to provide students with enrichment activities in the time saved. The study, which replicated some aspects of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented curriculum compacting study, includes qualitative and quantitative data from teachers, students and parents concerning the positive attitudes of the first grade treatment group. There was a significant difference between the treatment and control group teachers’ responses regarding their use of compacting, with treatment teachers reporting greater use of compacting practices. There was also a significant difference between treatment and control parents’ responses regarding their attitudes of curriculum compacting and replacement enrichment activities, with treatment parents reporting more positive attitudes. Results indicate that treatment group students’ responses were slightly higher than control group students’ responses regarding student preference toward school subjects.

Bernal, E. M. (2003). To no longer educate the gifted: Programming for gifted students beyond the era of inclusionism. Gifted Child Quarterly, 47(3), 183-191.

The Growing Giftedness Model for teaching gifted students is presented, which includes the following features: identification that relies entirely on scores and on demonstrated performance; cluster grouping during elementary school and classes dominated by gifted students at the secondary level; acceleration and enrichment; creative expression opportunities; service learning; and counseling.

Sullivan, S. C., & Rebhorn, L. (2002). PEGS: Appropriate education for exceptionally gifted students. Roeper Review, 24(4), 221-225.

The education of exceptionally gifted children requires curricular adaptations that are difficult to implement in regular classrooms. In addition, such children are found so rarely that educators are often unfamiliar with their special learning needs. In St. Louis, Missouri, an innovative program has operated for 10 years to identify exceptionally gifted children from area school districts and bring them together in a full-time, articulated program that blends acceleration and enrichment. Currently, approximately 50 students in grades 1 through 12 are enrolled in the Program for Exceptionally Gifted Students (PEGS).

McAdamis, S. (2000). A district-wide plan for acceleration and enrichment. Gifted Child Today, 23(3), 20-27.

This article profiles the Rockwood School District, a district that has adopted a differentiated instruction to accommodate learning differences in children. Tiered assignments are described, along with the benefits of differentiation and the impact on student learning. Suggestions for educators wanting to develop a district-wide plan for differentiation are provided.

Pyryt, M. C. (1999). Acceleration: Strategies and benefits. Presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for the Advancement of Gifted Education (SAGE), Calgary, Alberta, Canada. [On-line]. Available:

Highlights some of the major benefits of acceleration. Pioneered by Stanley and colleagues; this model has generated significant research pointing to its effectiveness. IAS is introduced as a tool for decision-making.

Olenchak, R. F., & Renzulli, J. S. (1989). The effectiveness of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model on selected aspects of elementary school change. Gifted Child Quarterly, 33(1), 36-46.

Examined the effects of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model of J. S. Renzulli and S. M. Reis (1985) that applied some of the technology of gifted education to the school wide enrichment process. Subjects were 1,698 elementary students, 236 teachers, and 120 parents at 11 elementary schools. The service delivery components that constituted the major focus of the experimental treatment included curriculum compacting, assessment of student strengths, and three types of enrichment activities. Results show that student attitudes toward learning were positively enhanced by participation in the school wide enrichment treatment. Participation in the treatment did not negatively influence teacher attitudes toward teaching.

Renzulli, J. S., Smith, L. H., & Reid, S. M. (1982). Curriculum compacting: An essential strategy for working with gifted students. The Elementary School Journal, 82(3), 185-194.

Most exceptionally able children spend far too much time practicing skills already mastered and repeating tasks or doing assignments which they have already covered. Joseph Renzulli proposes that, to avoid this reputation, teachers should initially ascertain, by pretesting, what skills exceptional children already have and in what curriculum areas they are already knowledgeable and experienced. This means that teachers have to know what their aims and objectives are in, for example, mathematics, reading, science, etc. Then a pupil's learning program can be developed from his/her level of competence and knowledge. He calls this process of assessment prior to planning 'Compacting'. The time thus 'saved' by omitting unnecessary practice or repetition can then be spent on extension activities.

Robeck, M. C. (1968). California Project Talent: Acceleration programs for intellectually gifted pupils. Sacramento, CA: California State Department of Education.

A description of Project Talent includes discussions of preceding research indicating that acceleration was effective and beneficial and outlines provisions utilized for acceleration (early admission, ungraded primary and elementary, individual and advanced placement, grade skipping, combination grades, and time compression). Detailed are the administrative procedures involving the advantages and problems of the program and the establishment of new programs, as well as the identification and placement of pupils in connection with the role of psychologists, counselors, and psychometrists, plus the counseling of pupils, parents, and teachers. The curriculum for the grade 3 summer session, with its goals, content, organization, and evaluation is provided. Functions and selections of case studies as used in the process of identification, and the study of intellectual development of the accelerate are discussed along with counseling methods. Evaluations are presented of the California Project Talent program, Pasadena's acceleration program, the Ravenswood program, and the placement of individuals in the California program. Also included are eight recommendations for the future, research suggestions, appendixes, and tables of results.