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summary of the instructional technique

Select one of the following topics. Provide a summary of the instructional technique. Additional resources may be found using ProQuest or in the Educational Impact videos using the search feature and entering the topic you are interested in learning more about. Provide a link to the reference or the information from Educational Impact to locate this source. Discuss how this technique is important in differentiated instruction.

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Direct Quote: "The purpose of curriculum compacting as an instructional strategy is to provide high ability students with enrichment opportunities over and above the regular school curriculum. Compacting involves modifying the instruction by eliminating already-mastered curriculum (Troxclair, 2000; Winebrenner. 2003)."

Essentially, compacting is used to help students who are achieving above and beyond at a quicker pace than other students are achieving adequately. The teacher then will "compact" and modify instruction so that those students are NOT simply practicing the same skill over and over again.

Again, here is a very direct, sequential statement about what compacting is and what it requires:

"Renzulli and Reis (1998) describe compacting as a three-step process. The first step is to define the objectives or outcomes of the instructional unit. Teachers may use curriculum guides, scope and sequence charts, and teachers' manuals to determine what material is repeated in order to eliminate or modify the content. The second step is to identify the students who may benefit from this strategy, those who have already mastered the objectives determined in step one. Pretesting the entire class prior to the introduction of a new unit or skill is a common method in the compacting process. Teachers may use a matrix to analyze students' test results to determine who can benefit from compacting. Teachers may also examine previous test scores or a previous teacher's assessment of a student's work. If all of the content has not been mastered, teachers may assess only the specific objectives in the unit that the student has not yet mastered. The third step in the compacting process, replacement enrichment or acceleration activities, is decided by the teacher and the student. Enrichment or acceleration activities should be provided for students once the curriculum is compacted. Enrichment experiences might include independent investigations, mini-courses or alternative reading assignments. Acceleration activities might include pursuing material in the next unit of the curriculum, studying the textbook from the next grade level or completing other advanced assignments."

Essentially, when planning a unit, lay out the objectives. Teach the material, and determine which students master it, sort-of-get-it, and don't get it. The students who do not get it need differentiation by breaking down the material more. The students who sort-of-get-it need more practice and reinforcement. The students who master it need opportunities for replacement enrichment or acceleration activities. For example, if a 1st grader gets simple addition, there is no need to keep having that kid do 1+3. Depending on the state standards, the teacher could accelerate the material by integrating algebra (1 + X = 4) or using larger addition statements (such as 2-digit addition), depending on the state's objective.

I've included a citation below, and pasted the article BELOW the citation in case you cannot access it.

Reference for Statements:


Stamps, L. (2004). The Effectiveness of Curriculum Compacting in First Grade Classrooms. Roeper Review, 27(1), 31. Retrieved from ERIC database.


The Effectiveness of Curriculum Compacting in First Grade Classrooms

1. Problems With Current Curriculum
2. Curricular Modifications
3. Curriculum Compacting
4. Subjects
5. Teacher Instruments
6. Student Instrument
7. Parent Instrument
8. Procedure
9. Quantitative and Qualitative Research Questions
10. Table 1 Enrichment Activities Provided by the Resource Room Teacher
11. Table 2 Subject Areas Selected for Curriculum Compacting in Order of Frequency
12. Table 3 Strategies for Enrichment Activities Used by Treatment Teachers
13. Table 4 Means and Standard Deviations of CPQ, CAPSm, and POQ

Section: On Teaching Gifted Students

This article provides new information about how compacting can be effective with first grade high ability students in a rural Alabama school district. Curriculum compacting was designed to eliminate already-mastered content and to provide students with enrichment activities in the time saved. The study, which replicated some aspects of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented curriculum compacting study, includes qualitative and quantitative data from teachers, students and parents concerning the positive attitudes of the first grade treatment group. There was a significant difference between the treatment and control group teachers' responses regarding their use of compacting, with treatment teachers reporting greater use of compacting practices. There was also a significant difference between treatment and control parents' responses regarding their attitudes of curriculum compacting and replacement enrichment activities, with treatment parents reporting more positive attitudes. Results indicate that treatment group students' responses were slightly higher than control group students' responses regarding student preference toward school subjects.

Efforts are made continually to improve our educational system and provide excellence in educational curriculum. Yet, many average and above average students -- sometimes up to 90% -- demonstrate mastery of subject area on assessments of reading before instruction is provided (Taylor & Frye, 1988). Researchers have found that in spite of this knowledge, little differentiation of the curriculum is attempted (Taylor & Frye; Reis & Renzulli, 1992). This lack of differentiation may cause high ability students to exhibit frustration and boredom with the drill and practice of content they have already mastered. Teachers may also feel frustrated because the duty of modifying curriculum for a range of individual student needs, abilities, and interests seems an insurmountable task (Reis & Renzulli).

Despite the challenges of teaching high ability students in the regular classroom, there are strategies that teachers can use to effectively educate these exceptionally bright students. One such strategy is curriculum compacting, a technique used to modify the regular curriculum to meet the needs of gifted students in the regular classroom (Reis, Westberg, et al., 1993). Gifted and talented students, as well as all learners who exhibit strengths or high levels of interests, can benefit from the use of curriculum compacting (Westberg, 1995).

Students who have already mastered the regular curriculum need to be offered more challenging content to improve their educational experiences in the regular classroom (Reis & Renzulli, 1992). Notwithstanding the availability of a variety of curriculum modification techniques, including curriculum compacting, teachers tail to use researched strategies to better meet individual students' needs (Reis, Westberg, Kulikowich, & Purcell, 1998). The result is often underachievement and negative attitudes toward school (Feldhusen, 1989). Research suggests, however, that gifted students who demonstrate strengths and interests in specific areas can benefit and attain a higher degree of educational excellence from curriculum compacting (Reis et al., 1993).
Purpose and Design of the Study

Most schools seem to recognize and attempt to remedy the individual curricular needs of students requiring additional instruction. In fact, much time and money is spent planning and implementing remedial experiences in our schools, yet high achieving students very often have little or no assistance with curricular modifications in the classroom (Renzulli & Reis, 1998). Teachers claim lack of time, lack of enrichment materials, lack of administrative support, and lack of training regarding gifted students as some of the reasons for not compacting students' assignments. Still other teachers believe that gifted students, should be required to complete all assignments the other students complete, even though gifted students may have already mastered the work (Reis & Westberg, 1994). Reis states that "curriculum modification or compacting is the exception rather than the rule for gifted students. This lack of curriculum modification may be the single largest reason for underachievement in this population." (Kirschenbaum, 1995, p. 24). The use of curriculum compacting in the regular classroom for high ability students seems paramount in meeting their educational needs and, according to Reis, should not be an option (Kirschenbaum).

Due to the scarce data on curriculum compacting in early elementary education, it was the purpose of this study to add to the literature concerning the effectiveness of this strategy in first grade classrooms. Specifically, the researcher found no published studies regarding compacting with first grade students. The main rationale for the first grade curriculum compacting project was to eliminate already mastered curriculum and offer enrichment or acceleration activities to high ability first grade students in the regular classroom. This study examined the effectiveness of curriculum compacting in first grade classrooms in elementary schools in a rural Alabama school district. The researcher sought to answer many questions regarding teachers' use of compacting, students' attitudes of content area preferences and the observations and attitudes of parents whose children's work was compacted. The study attempted to address the following hypotheses:

Hypothesis 1. Treatment group teachers who implement curriculum compacting and enrichment replacement activities will demonstrate more positive changes by using more curriculum modifications and enrichment activities than control group teachers.

Hypothesis 2. Treatment group students who receive the curriculum compacting and enrichment intervention will demonstrate more positive attitudes toward school subjects than control group students. Hypothesis 3. Parents of treatment group students will demonstrate more positive attitudes than parents of control group students regarding their child's classroom enrichment and curriculum activities.
Review of Related Literature

A review of the literature revealed that there have been few articles written in the past several years concerning the effects of curriculum compacting and none were found concerning first grade students. The related research highlights three main topics: problems with current curriculum, curricular modifications and, specifically, curriculum compacting.
Problems With Current Curriculum

Problems with current curriculum seem to point to the decreasing difficulty of textbooks used in schools since the 1940s (Chall & Conard, 1991; Reis & Renzulli, 1992; Troxclair, 2000). This "dumbing down" of textbooks was reported in the early 1980s by the former secretary of education Terrel Bell (Reis & Renzulli, 1992). Specifically, texts have decreased two grade levels over the past two decades (Kirst, 1982). The newer the text, the easier the text maturity and difficulty level (Chall & Conard, 1991). It has been suggested that the decrease in difficulty is due to external pressures with little consequence given to educational excellence (Altbach, Kelly, Petrie & Weis, 1991). Textbook adoption committees adhere to texts geared toward the least-able students regardless of high ability students' needs (Bernstein, 1985). However, the ideal text for effective learning would be slightly above the students' functioning level (Chall & Conard).

The repetition of textbook material is also a problem for gifted students in the regular classroom. High ability students spend more time drilling and practicing content and skills they have mastered than they spend learning challenging content. Repetition is overly prevalent in our schools, which may lead many high ability students to become bored and, ultimately, underachievers in the classroom (Reis & Purcell, 1993; Renzulli & Reis, 1985). Covering material more than once can be academically deadly for high ability students who "got the point the first time or knew it even before that" (Kennedy, 1995, p. 233). Gifted students, like all students, deserve opportunities to excel and achieve to their fullest potential. Yet, high ability students are faced daily with the saturation of the same material they may have studied for the past several years. This frustration of repetition causes many problems for students and parents (Goree, 1996).

Over the past 30 years, research has demonstrated that most teachers have relied extensively on textbooks for instruction. This overreliance on texts poses a potential problem for students learning new content. Teachers' overuse of texts is detrimental to gifted students, especially since there appears to be a problem in matching the difficulty level of textbooks and the needs of high ability students (Renzulli & Reis, 1998). McCutcheon (1980) discovered that teachers utilized texts for 85% -- 95% of instruction in the important subject areas of math and reading. In essence, the curriculum consists of little modification from the textbook. Harms and Yager (1981) proclaim that over 90% of teachers utilize only the science textbook in 90% of their science lessons. Thus, the science curriculum becomes the textbook. Former Secretary of Education, Terrell Bell, stated that as much as 95% of instruction in American schools is based on textbooks. He criticized this equation of textbooks and the curriculum (Reis, Westberg, et al., 1993).

Teachers may also play a role in the problem of matching the curriculum to high ability students. They often think there will be too much paperwork to individualize the gifted student's assignments. In today's society of state mandatory testing, pressure to cover the curriculum decreases teachers' tendency to eliminate previously mastered work for gifted students. Many teachers feel that it is not fair for them to exclude high ability students from the rest of the class merely because they already know the information (Kirschenbaum, 1995). By these practices, teachers are adding to the curriculum problem. In a national study of over 7,000 third-and fourth-grade classrooms, it was reported that high ability students spend the majority of their time in regular classrooms, yet, most classroom teachers made very few modifications in curriculum for these students (Archambault, Westberg, Brown, Hallmark, Zhang, & Emmons, 1993). The survey also reported that more than 60% of teachers have never had any type of inservice or training to meet the curricular needs of gifted students. Gifted students may not be challenged enough in the classroom to demonstrate their full potential because they seem to get by with little effort (Winebrenner & Berger, 1994). Learning less seems to be the trend for gifted students rather than learning and exploring challenging content (Reis & Renzulli, 1992). America's brightest students have become accustomed to the practice of "getting by." They realize early in their school career that doing their best and completing assignments quickly rewards them with more of the same rather than new and challenging activities.

Schools often face problems in meeting the additional needs of students who perform ahead of their age-mates (Winner & Karolyi, 1998). All too often, the most capable students are left to fend for themselves or asked to teach students who need extra assistance. These capable students are lacking the challenging education they so desperately need in the classroom and thus waste valuable time that could be spent in productive, motivating activities. Because of the deficit of educational value to high ability students, schools become places in which they exert minimum effort and grow to dislike (Kennedy, 1995).
Curricular Modifications

There are, however, solutions to the dismal plight of these high ability learners. Curriculum can be modified to better meet the needs of high ability students through strategies that differentiate the curriculum: higher level questioning skills, curriculum compacting, independent study, tiered assignments, flexible grouping and the use of advanced content (Reis et al, 1998). Tannenbaum ...

Solution Summary

A summary of the instructional technique is offered.