Altering depth and complexity in the science curriculum for the gifted: Results of an experiment
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The Republic of Turkey has developed democratic support for equity in education for groups who have various learning needs (Levent, 2011, p. 89-91). In connection with Turkey's central policy of education, current educational applications have addressed these diverse needs to a certain extent. Sak (2011) drew our attention to the insufficiency of gifted education at the primary school level by reporting that "Except in the Science and Art Centers affiliated with the Ministry of National Education and the curricular practices of Anatolian and Istanbul Universities, there are few local services for gifted students in Turkey" (p. 214-215). Although partial and fragmented educational services for gifted students have been expanding in Turkey, gifted students are exposed to the same educational programs as the general student population as required by central education policies. In contrast with this policy, there is a widely accepted belief that gifted students should be educated differently from non-gifted students, based on the fact that the general curriculum is not challenging enough to serve their academic needs (Jonassen & Gabrowski, 1993, p. 310; Tokotro & Steels, 2004, p. 140-141; Tomlinson, Kaplan, Renzulli et al., 2001, p. 13). When Turkey's central education policy is taken into consideration, differentiating the general educational programs without changing their scope seems to be an appropriate way to increase the level of challenge. Differentiation, i.e., modifying the program to align it with the student's characteristics, has long been an accepted approach in gifted and talented education (Tomlinson & Jarvis, 2000, p. 600). In seeking what matters in terms of a satisfactory level of challenge, depth and complexity are referred to as two developmental characteristics for actualizing one's potential and acquiring an academic identity. Therefore, there is broad agreement in the Turkish educational community that studies are needed to identify the types of differentiation that can improve outcomes for gifted students. This study helps to fill that gap by reporting on an experiment that differentiated a 5 th -grade science curriculum in terms of depth and complexity. © 2015 HKIEd APFSLT.