Completed Research

Project Clarion

The Center for Gifted Education received a five-year research grant from the U.S. Department of Education for Project Clarion. The five-year grant was part of the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act, which was reauthorized as part of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Project Clarion seeks to enhance science concept development among PK–3 students. Clarion employed a pre-post quasi-experimental randomized design. This research study examined the influence of the William & Mary developed inquiry-based science curriculum units on young children's understanding of macro-concepts (e.g., change, systems), science concepts, and scientific investigation and reasoning processes. The study was conducted in three Virginia school districts involving students from 53 experimental and 53 comparison classrooms. Some results of the study are now available and are continuing to be published. Please see our Publications page for the references.

The Clarion curriculum has also been used in two Javits grants, Project STEM Starters at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Project GEMS at the University of Western Kentucky. The Clarion curriculum is now used worldwide.  Eight units are now available. Please see our Curriculum page for a description about the units. The units are available for sale from Prufrock Press at Prufrock.com, and the Center is continuing to develop new Clarion units. If you are interested in this development process, please contact the [[cfge, Center]].

Project Athena

Project Athena is an efficacy study examining the effect of William & Mary English/Language Arts curriculum units designed for high-ability learners in increasing the reading and critical-thinking skills of Title I elementary school students. Project Athena was funded under the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act. Project Athena involved 2771 Grades 3–5 students in 38 experimental and 37 comparison classrooms from seven school districts across three states. The study is in its fifth year of investigation using case studies to explore the relationship between innovation and overall school reform success.

Employing a pre-post quasi-experimental longitudinal design, the three-year intervention results of Project Athena suggest that curriculum-based assessment growth is evident both the short and long term. The W&M differentiated curriculum can be successfully used with a broad range of learners. The study also concurred with the research literature that critical thinking is developmental and requires multiple years of intervention to produce important change. Teacher professional development requires multiple years to produce important behavioral effects on instruction.

Project STAR Follow-up Research Study

Following the development of Project STAR performance tasks protocol in 1996 and the first follow-up study with Project STAR performance task-identified students in 2002, The Center for Gifted Education at William & Mary has recently completed a two-year research study with Project STAR identified students. The purpose of this recent study is to analyze Project STAR student identification and performance patterns longitudinally and to study prototypical characteristics of gifted learners of five research prototypes (i.e., low-income African American students, low-income minority students, low-income White students, high-nonverbal, low-verbal students, and twice-exceptional students) through in-depth interviews. See a summary of the study results in Project STAR Research Brief.

Project Synergy

Project Synergy is a collaborative research effort conducted by researchers from the Center for Gifted Education at William & Mary, the Singapore National Institute of Education, and the Singapore Ministry of Education Gifted Branch officers. This cross-cultural research study examined secondary gifted-class-teaching practices and beliefs in two cultures: Singapore and the United States. The purpose of this study is to examine the extent to which important features of teaching expertise are carried out in gifted classrooms, to investigate teaching and learning patterns, and to probe similarities and differences of teaching practices and beliefs in the two cultures through both observation and in-depth interviews. See a summary of the study results in Project Synergy Research Brief.

Project Phoenix: A Social Studies Curriculum Model for Challenging Economically Disadvantaged Learners

The purpose of Project Phoenix was to design, pilot, and field-test exemplary social studies curriculum for economically disadvantaged high-ability learners in grades 2, 4, and 7 in collaboration with Norfolk Public Schools. Funded for three years (1998–2001) by the United States Department of Education (USDOE), the project also emphasized staff development, parent-community involvement, and research and dissemination. An article on project research is in preparation.

Five-State Analysis of Gifted Education Policy

Gifted education policies provide the regulatory framework that governs local programs. Without a federal mandate, state policies tend to be less comprehensive and are ceded to the local agency for interpretation. This study compared five states designated as strong in gifted education based on funding levels and state support. The purpose of the study was to conduct an interpretative and comparative analysis of policies that impact gifted education within the context of state- and national-reform agendas and to determine the nature, extent, and relative successes of policies governing programs for the gifted. While findings reveal that policy development is uneven, is disconnected from other educational policies, and lacks consonance with current NAGC standards, the creation of state guideline manuals reflect best-practice initiatives.