A MULTIPLE CASE STUDY OF HOW THREE LIGHTHOUSE MIDDLE SCHOOLS MEET THE NEEDS OF GIFTED AND TALENTED YOUNG ADOLESCENTS
The middle school years, grades sixth through eighth, have been identified as a time when gifted and talented young adolescents’ needs have not been met. The Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) and the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) agreed that gifted and talented young adolescents have needs which may differ from their peers and should be addressed by educators. There were no research studies of how schools identified as exemplary middle schools by the Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform and designated as Georgia Lighthouse Schools To Watch © met the needs of gifted and talented young adolescents. The purpose of this multiple case study was to describe how the needs of gifted and talented young adolescents were met at three Georgia Lighthouse Schools To Watch ©. The following research question was a guide for this investigation: how are the needs of gifted and talented young adolescents met at three Georgia Lighthouse Schools To Watch © within the middle school philosophy? Three cases were selected using purposeful criterion sampling from designated Georgia Lighthouse Schools To Watch © as identified on the Georgia Middle School Association website. A qualitative multiple case study design was used. Participants included principals and teachers from three Georgia Lighthouse Schools To Watch ©. Data were collected using interviews, focus groups, and documents analyzed. Data were analyzed using single case analyses and a cross-case analysis where categories and subcategories were identified as well as similarities and differences between the findings of each case. The research findings were organized and reported based on the following categories which emerged during data analysis: (a) middle school philosophy and gifted education, (b) identification and grouping of gifted students, (c) services, (d) assessment, and (e) professional learning opportunities. Research findings indicated the needs of gifted and talented young adolescents were met when educators intentionally implemented services with differentiated curriculum and instruction based on individual needs. Future research is needed to better identify, refer, and serve students who are typically underrepresented in gifted programmings such as economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, and students from cultural and ethnic minorities.