A Needs Assessment of K-5 Gifted Services in a Rural School Division

Whitesell, Lee, Curriculum and Instruction - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Whitesell, Lee, Education Graduate-cug, University of Virginia

Consistent, coherent, and purposefully designed gifted programs that are effectively implemented by local school divisions are necessary to best serve gifted students. While there are mandatory components to be included in gifted program in Virginia (2012), local school divisions have the autonomy to design, implement, and evaluate their program as fits their needs. As a result, there is a wide variability among localities regarding definitions and philosophy of giftedness, skill in designing gifted programs, accountability for outcomes of gifted programming, and fidelity in implementing the program as planned.

The purpose of this study was to conduct a needs assessment of the K-5 gifted program for River Run Public Schools (RRPS) and to provide data to the school division for decision making, planning, and improving educational services. The philosophy, operational definitions of giftedness, program goals, program design and delivery, and curriculum and instruction were the primary program components examined in this needs assessment.

Researcher developed instruments ( classroom observation protocols, interview protocols, surveys and document reviews) were used to collect data about the K-5 gifted program from teachers, gifted and talented coordinators, principals and instructional supervisors in the school division’s nine elementary schools.

Results from the needs assessment informed division leaders of the current status of gifted programming in relationship to the critical program components (philosophy, definitions of giftedness, program goals, program design and delivery, and curriculum and instruction).

EDD (Doctor of Education)
gifted programs, needs assessment, rural
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