This paper describes an Israeli national-level research examining the extent to which admissions of elementary school students to the gifted programmes based on standardised tests are gender-fair. In the research, the gifted students consisted of 275 boys, 128 girls, and additional 80 girls who were admitted to the gifted programme through affirmative action (AA). To assess these young students’ scientific thinking skills, also referred to as science practices, open-ended questions of case-based questionnaires were developed. The investigated scientific thinking skills were question posing, explanation, graphing, inquiry, and metacognition. Analysis of the students’ responses revealed that gifted girls who entered the programmes through AA performed at the same level as the other gifted students. We found significant differences between the three research groups in question posing and graphing skills. We suggest increasing gender-fairness by revising the standard national testing system to include case-based narratives followed by open-ended questions that assess gifted students’ scientific thinking skills. This may diminish the gender inequity expressed by the different number of girls and boys accepted to the gifted programmes. We show that open-ended tools for analysing students’ scientific thinking might better serve both research and practice by identifying gifted girls and boys equally well.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by Office of the Chief Scientist, Ministry of Education, Jerusalem, Israel [TRDF grant number # 200-5370].
© 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
- Gifted students
- graphing skill
- question posing
- thinking skills