Ability Grouping of Gifted Students : Effects on Academic Self-Concept and Boredom

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2010
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Preckel, Franzis
Frenzel, Anne Christiane
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AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATION, , ed.. 2010 Annual Meeting Program : Understanding Complex Ecologies in a Changing World. 2010. ISSN 0163-9676
Zusammenfassung

In the current study, the effects of full-time ability grouping in special classrooms for the gifted on students academic self-concept and their experience of boredom in mathematics classes were investigated. On the one hand, ability grouping of gifted students has been shown to have beneficial effects on achievement and is frequently justified as providing appropriate challenge (e.g., Hattie, 2002). On the other hand, grouping gifted students has been critically discussed with respect to psychosocial costs, first of all with respect to its detrimental effects on academic self-concept. For example, Marsh, Hau, and Craven (2004) state that due to a contrast effect (the Big-Fish-Little-Pond Effect; BFLP effect) many gifted students suffer decreases in academic self-concept when grouped with other gifted students.
The effects of ability grouping on academic self-concept of gifted students have been investigated in several studies. Our study addresses a less researched aspect of this line of research by focusing on changes in academic self-concept over time (longitudinal approach). In addition, our study enhances research on the effects of ability grouping by taking into account the academic emotion of boredom in class. To our knowledge, boredom has not yet been studied in the context of ability grouping of gifted students. This is surprising because preventing boredom and providing gifted students with appropriate academic challenge are frequently mentioned to justify ability grouping of the gifted in special classrooms (e.g., Rogers, 2007). The sample comprised 186 ninth-grade students (mean age=14.75 years; 43% female) from eight Austrian high school classes. Four of these classes were part of a gifted track beginning from grade nine on (n = 93). Students were assessed repeatedly within the first term of grade nine, three times via self-report questionnaires and once by applying a standardized IQ-test. We investigated a) academic self-concept, b) frequency of boredom, c) reasons for boredom (boredom due to being over-challenged / boredom due to being under-challenged and d) intelligence (verbal, numerical, and figural reasoning as well as a composite IQ).
In line with our hypothesis, students in gifted classes reported a decrease in math academic self-concept which was most pronounced early in the academic year. Academic self-concept remained unchanged for students in regular classes. This result supports the assumption of the BFLP effect. Our research question on the frequency of boredom was more exploratory in nature. In our study, ability grouping had no consequences for the overall frequency of boredom reported by the gifted. However, in line with our hypothesis gifted students reported boredom due to being under-challenged more frequently, whereas non-gifted students reported boredom due to being over-challenged more frequently. In addition, these boredom attributions changed as a consequence of ability grouping. While we found no changes in boredom attributions for non-gifted students over time, boredom due to being under-challenged decreased for the gifted, whereas boredom due to being over-challenged increased. This result supports the assumption that gifted classes provide more appropriate levels of challenge for gifted students. The findings are discussed with regard to ability grouping and its psychosocial effects.

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370 Erziehung, Schul- und Bildungswesen
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Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, 30. Apr. 2010 - 4. Mai 2010, Denver
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ISO 690GÖTZ, Thomas, Franzis PRECKEL, Anne Christiane FRENZEL, 2010. Ability Grouping of Gifted Students : Effects on Academic Self-Concept and Boredom. Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Denver, 30. Apr. 2010 - 4. Mai 2010. In: AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATION, , ed.. 2010 Annual Meeting Program : Understanding Complex Ecologies in a Changing World. 2010. ISSN 0163-9676
BibTex
@inproceedings{Gotz2010Abili-36403,
  year={2010},
  title={Ability Grouping of Gifted Students : Effects on Academic Self-Concept and Boredom},
  issn={0163-9676},
  booktitle={2010 Annual Meeting Program : Understanding Complex Ecologies in a Changing World},
  editor={American Educational Research Association},
  author={Götz, Thomas and Preckel, Franzis and Frenzel, Anne Christiane}
}
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