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$2 Million grant to fund Gifted Education students

November 3, 2019

A $2.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education was awarded to the Purdue College of Education to investigate closing excellence and opportunity gaps for students from underserved populations in gifted education.

Nielsen Pereira, assistant professor in gifted, creative and talented studies, will spearhead this research project. Pereira will be joined by co-principal investigators Ronald Martella, professor of special education; Hua Hua Chang, Charles R. Hicks professor of educational psychology and research methodology; as well as Marcia Gentry, professor in gifted, creative and talented studies; Ophélie Desmet, Ph.D. candidate; and Jean Sunde Peterson, professor emerita. This project, spanning over the next five years, will focus on students from ethnically diverse and low-income backgrounds, and will seek to provide talent development opportunities for gifted students in STEM areas.

“The extended Achievement Motivation Enhancement model supports students from populations that have been traditionally underserved in gifted programs, by identifying their STEM learning potential and providing them with both the domain-specific skills and the socio-emotional skills needed to promote their talent development fully,” says Pereira.

The project will focus on a multi-tier model called the extended Achievement Motivation Enhancement (AME+) model, which provides students with both domain-specific and socio-emotional skills needed to fully develop their talent and skills within STEM areas.

  • Tier I of the model will be open to all students in the partner schools and involve training teachers in relationship-focused teaching practices, positive behavior support (PBS), effective instruction, and universal screening of aptitude and learning potential in STEM domains.
  • Tier II, which should involve a minimum of 40 students per school each semester and 1,000 students over four years, will focus on achievement motivation and STEM enrichment clusters, with an emphasis on computer science and engineering.
  • Lastly, Tier III includes personalized talent trajectories for each student, including achievement coaching and mentoring by industry professionals, with whom students will engage in real-world projects. Of the students participating in Tier II, a minimum of 20 students per school each semester will be selected to continue to Tier III support and enrichment for a total of 600 students over four years.

Over these next five years, Pereira and his team hope to implement the AME+ model in rural and high-poverty schools, improve teacher knowledge and skills regarding socio-emotional needs of their students, and increase student achievement and engagement in areas of STEM at the partner schools.

Filed Under: Faculty, News