Innovative Curriculum and Teaching Practice for Advanced Learners

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102). This special issue belongs to the section "Curriculum and Instruction".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2024 | Viewed by 1577

Special Issue Editor

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Guest Editor
Center for Gifted Education, William & Mary School of Education, Williamsburg, VA 23185, USA
Interests: Gifted education

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,


This special issue addresses the needs of academically talented students, at a time of limited resources, and support for their academic development.  Many schools have limited their gifted programs, some have eliminated them, and others have merely neglected them in the face of political interventions in school curricula and limited money to run effective operations. Talented learners also experienced a decrease in test scores during the pandemic, yet no one has mentioned the importance of this fact in respect to their learning.  We hope that this special issue will renew concerns about the academic progress of these learners, even in the face of public apathy.

The field of gifted education and talent development has experienced periods of intense activity (1974–1985) and periods of less intense engagement or support  (2010–current).  However, research efforts have grown and longitudinal studies have been conducted that verify the characteristics, predilections, and life trajectories of these learners. Research on the effectiveness of all forms of acceleration has continued to grow. Smaller studies have suggested other intervention pathways that have been successful.  Research on programmatic approaches including special schools has been ongoing. 


This special issue has several purposes: 

-To address the issue of talent development in schools;

-To demonstrate innovative pathways for schools to address the needs of talented K-12 learners;

-To explore differentiated learner needs, based on their profiles of strengths. 


The audience for this special issue will be educators at all levels from K-12 through college, parents, and politicians, including school board members, who want to gain insight into this special needs population. 

Outline of the Special Issue 

In keeping with the theme of innovative practices, the chapter’s authors have been selected to address areas of their current research that speak to such practices in their work with talented students and their teachers. 

The outline of the special issue has been organized to reflect an overview of the concept of talent development, a brief review of research supporting it, and a few models that have addressed it. This chapter is followed by one that focuses on finding talent in all of its forms and domains and the individuals most likely to access the tools necessary to uncover it at different stages of development. Three chapters on domain-specific talent areas follow that attempt to lay out the interventions that have proven to be effective with students who possess talent in the verbal, mathematical, and spatial domains.  These are also the domains that schools typically address in school curricula. The next two chapters focus on underrepresented populations in schools’ gifted programs, students who are twice-exceptional, and the gifted and disabled; students from poverty; and students who are not yet proficient in English. One chapter focuses solely on Black students. Taken together, these two chapters highlight the evidence of success in finding and serving these students in gifted programs. Next, two chapters emphasize the research-based approaches to both the curriculum and instructions across content areas, one addressing curriculum models and the other focusing on innovative instructional approaches that assist teachers and parents in developing talent.  The Specia Issue concludes with a glance to the future, where the arc of talent development needs to advance in order to best serve these deserving students in the future.  

The suggested authors have extensive experience in teaching and administering gifted programs for talented learners at K-12 levels as well as working in state agencies and universities to prepare teachers and others to be effective with them in classrooms.  They also have research expertise in studying the processes of talent development in selective domains.  

References (recent) 


 VanTassel-Baska, J. & Little, C. eds. (2023) Content-based curriculum for gifted learners 4th ed.Routledge. 

 Johnsen, S. & VanTassel-Baska, J. eds. (2022) Handbook on assessment: Identification, learning progress, and evaluation. Routledge. 

VanTassel-Baska, J. Ed. (2021) Talent development: Theory, Research, and Practice. Routledge. 

VanTassel-Baska, J. & Baska, A. (2020) Curriculum planning and instructional design. 3rd edition.  Prufrock Press. 

Refereed Articles and guest editorships* of proposed editor 

VanTassel-Baska, J. (2023). The Case for Content-Based Curriculum for Advanced Learners. Gifted Child Today, 46(2), 142–145. 

VanTassel-Baska, J., & Brown, E. (2022). An analysis of stakeholder perceptions of gifted programs: A report card on gifted program performance. Gifted Child Today, 45(3), 160-175. 

*VanTassel-Baska, J. & Videgor, H. (2020) From the guest editors, a special issue on curriculum, Roeper Review, 42, (3). 

VanTassel-Baska, J., Hubbard, G., & Robbins, J. (2020) The role of teacher behaviors in differentiating instruction. Roeper Review, 42,(3). 

*VanTassel-Baska, J. (2019) Introduction to special issue on evaluation, From the editor’s perspective. Gifted Child Today, 42,(4).

VanTassel-Baska, J. (2019) A coordinator’s perspective on the utilization of gifted program evaluation. Gifted Child Today, 42, (4).

VanTassel-Baska, J. & Hubbard, G. (2019) An evaluation of eight gifted programs, using the NAGC program standards. Gifted Child Today, 42, (4).

VanTassel-Baska, J. (2019) Are We Differentiating Effectively for the Gifted or Not? A Commentary on Differentiated Curriculum Use in Schools. Gifted Child Today, Column, 42, 3, 165-167. 

VanTassel-Baska, J. (2018) Achievement unlocked: Effective curriculum interventions with low income students. Gifted Child Quarterly.  Special issue on gifted students from low income households, 62, (1) 68-82. 

*VanTassel-Baska, J & Stambaugh, T. (2018) Introduction to the special issue on gifted students from low income households. Gifted Child Quarterly, 62, (1) 3-5. 

VanTassel-Baska, J. (2018) American gifted education policy. Gifted Child Today, 41,4. 

*VanTassel-Baska, J & Coleman M. R. (2018) Introduction to special international issue on policies in other countries in gifted education. Gifted Child Today, 41,4. 

VanTassel-Baska, J. & Hubbard, G. F.  (2016) Rural gifted curriculum.  Journal of Advanced Academics. 

Prof. Dr. Joyce VanTassel-Baska
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

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  • talent development
  • spatial ability/aptitude
  • verbal ability/aptitude
  • mathematical ability/aptitude
  • content-based curriculum
  • advanced learning
  • instructional strategies
  • critical thinking
  • creative thinking/innovative thinking
  • problem-solving
  • independent thinking
  • innovation
  • creativity
  • open-ended questioning

Published Papers (2 papers)

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9 pages, 183 KiB  
Curriculum Considerations for Developing Mathematical Talent in Elementary Students
by M. Katherine Gavin
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(7), 796; (registering DOI) - 22 Jul 2024
Viewed by 189
To effectively nurture the talents of elementary students with mathematical talent they need to be challenged with an advanced curriculum that is designed with their specific needs in mind. The purpose of this paper is to describe an effective model for developing such [...] Read more.
To effectively nurture the talents of elementary students with mathematical talent they need to be challenged with an advanced curriculum that is designed with their specific needs in mind. The purpose of this paper is to describe an effective model for developing such a curriculum and explore effective, research-based examples of curriculum and instruction using this model. The paper begins with a review of literature covering a broadened definition of mathematical talent that showcases the need for a more complex and multi-dimensional curriculum to nurture their talents. Next, evidence-based curriculum considerations for talented students at the elementary level are explored. Essential characteristics of mathematics curriculum for talented students are detailed including a focus on advanced content, conceptual development and higher-level processes akin to those used by mathematicians. Accompanying research-based instructional strategies to increase challenge, complexity, and creativity are outlined. Examples at the primary and elementary grade levels are provided to illustrate effective, research-based curriculum and instruction that develop mathematical talent in advanced students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Curriculum and Teaching Practice for Advanced Learners)


Jump to: Research

13 pages, 717 KiB  
Spatial Reasoning Excellence: A Synergy of VanTassel-Baska’s Integrated Curriculum Model and Talent Development
by Alicia Cotabish, Debbie Dailey, Jason Trumble and Rachelle Miller
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(7), 716; - 1 Jul 2024
Viewed by 763
This manuscript explores the integration of spatial reasoning into K-12 education through the lens of Joyce VanTassel-Baska’s Integrated Curriculum Model (ICM) and a talent development approach. It emphasizes the significance of nurturing spatial reasoning components—visualization, rotation, orientation, and perception—for academic success, problem-solving, and [...] Read more.
This manuscript explores the integration of spatial reasoning into K-12 education through the lens of Joyce VanTassel-Baska’s Integrated Curriculum Model (ICM) and a talent development approach. It emphasizes the significance of nurturing spatial reasoning components—visualization, rotation, orientation, and perception—for academic success, problem-solving, and career prospects, especially for academically talented students. Through collaboration with talent development strategies, including mentorship and differentiated instruction, this approach provides a dynamic, real-world-focused learning experience. Inclusive and designed to engage the educational community, it aims to prepare students for complex global challenges, highlighting the transformative power of tailored education in developing versatile societal contributors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Curriculum and Teaching Practice for Advanced Learners)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Contributions Of Music Education To The Development Of Technological-Musical Practices And Applications (Creation And/Or Adaptation) In A Stage-School Context

Abstract: Over the course of a two-year period, MILMESA (Interdisciplinary Method for Musical Literacy, Education and Artistic Awareness) was used to develop a battery of documents and preliminary and diagnostic listening guides for 256 students undergoing initial training in arts/artistic education, so that, through the methodological approach of action-research with a self-evaluative, cyclical, emancipatory and critical matrix, many other perspectives and artistic-musical experiences could be developed and converted into final public presentation projects based on the data collected each year. The area of work was confined to the inter-arts level, particularly in the specific area of music applied to the scenic context (theatrical and audiovisual). This resulted in a clear improvement in artistic practice and conceptual preparation in the conception and execution of 12 public presentation projects (performances, shows or scientific events of a pedagogical-didactic nature) within the conceptual framework of DEP (Proximal Expressive Didactics), which provides for a tutelary collaborative regime and dynamic, including festivals, congresses, symposia and interdisciplinary and thematic forums of regional, national and international importance.

Title: Exploring Curriculum and Teaching Strategies for Gifted Pupils in Primary Education: A Systematic Review

Abstract: The purpose of this article is to review recent literature on curriculum and instruction for gifted pupils in primary school. This systematic review was based on the Cochrane Rapid and Scoping Reviews Method Group (Garrity et al., 2020) methodology and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) protocol (Page et al., 2021). I conducted it to examine the extent, range, and nature of research activity on the topic of Curriculum and Teaching Strategies. I used a 15-point checklist of criteria for good thematic analysis (Braun & Victoria, 2006). Data sources were electronic databases covering the area of education. The two databases utilised in this study were the Web of Science and the SCOPUS database, allowing for a comprehensive overview of the available literature regarding education. The choice of these data stemmed from their prestige and worldwide recognition, as well as the amount of literature they contain about the field of social science and education issues, which is considerably large (Chadegani et al., 2013). Eligible studies were limited to scholarly, peer-reviewed articles reporting empirical research published in English between 2010 and 2023. In the database, an initial search was performed against article abstracts using the Boolean search term ((((TS=(child* OR pupils*)) AND TS=(primary school*)) AND TS=(Curriculum* OR instruction* OR Educational Methods* OR Educational Practices)) AND TS=(gifted* OR talented*). The 535 articles identified from those databases will be analysed after acceptance of the abstract. RQ: • What are the most effective curriculum design strategies for enhancing the learning outcomes of gifted pupils in primary education?" • How do contemporary teaching methodologies impact the academic and social-emotional development of gifted pupils in primary schools? • In what ways do curricular adaptations for gifted pupils in primary education influence their long-term academic achievement and career aspirations?

Title: Developing Mathematical Expertise, Innovation, and Engagement: Lessons from over Fifty Years of Research and Experience

Abstract: From the New Math of the 1950s-1970s to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics of the 2010s and beyond, mathematics educators and other stakeholders in the United States have sought to develop and define optimal mathematics curricula and teaching practices. It is critical for society in general as well as for the students themselves that we identify, create, support and develop the brightest and most creative problem posers and problem solvers to become the vanguard of scientific and technological innovations and ratiocination. Creative, logical and critical mathematical reasoning is an essential component in all these endeavors and must be developed in everyone from children to the highest level of policymakers. We want all students to enjoy, innovate, reason, question, communicate, collaborate, and make sense of mathematics, building a solid foundation and setting the course for the highest levels. Building on over fifty years of practice and research, this article includes lessons learned for stakeholders from policymakers, educators, and families to students themselves to ensure that high-performing mathematics students continue to progress, building enthusiasm, skills, and creativity as well as set a wide range of additional diverse students along that path.

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