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Perceptions of Students and Parents of Full-time Opportunity Classes for Gifted Students in a Western Australian Primary School

Roth, Renette (2017) Perceptions of Students and Parents of Full-time Opportunity Classes for Gifted Students in a Western Australian Primary School. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Provision for students who are gifted is an unresolved issue in education. To meet the needs of its own academically gifted students, one primary school in Western Australia customised the Opportunity Class model used by New South Wales Primary Schools. This study focused on participants’ experiences of the school’s full-time academic Opportunity Classes. Twenty-four parents and eleven students who had firsthand experience of the program were interviewed about their experiences. Data were collected through focus groups and individual semi-structured interviews with questions designed to address ability class issues most commonly raised in the literature. In particular, participants were asked to share their personal perceptions of the program and to recollect other gifted provisions these mildly, and moderately gifted students had experienced. They were asked to consider how each met student’s academic and social-emotional needs with the focus being on the full-time ability-grouping model. Results show that despite being an academically based program, the social-emotional effects of the program were deemed by participants to be just as important. The implications were that it was possible for a range of academically gifted students to thrive in full-time ability classes and for the effects of the big-fish-little- pond effect, labelling and force choice dilemma to be reduced or eliminated in a program with the appropriate cultural and emotional support.

Publication Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
Supervisor: MacCallum, Judy and Lee-Hammond, Libby
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/37790
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