Through Project LIFT, we seek to enhance professional preparation and practice related to developing advanced academic potential in the primary grades, particularly in students from underserved populations. The project focuses on teacher perceptions of high potential and use of instructional practices that may encourage and develop students’ advanced potential. The project encourages increased teacher involvement in the process of eliciting, recognizing, and responding to high potential in the primary grades, as well as supporting the ongoing development of critical and creative thinking skills in all students.
The project will pursue these goals through (a) engaging teachers in summer professional development involving the development/enhancement of clusters of content-based lessons that support discourse and critical and creative thinking; (b) classroom observations and ongoing conversations around the implementation of lesson clusters; (c) collection of district-administered student achievement data in reading and mathematics as well as brief project-developed assessments. In each participating school, Project LIFT will invite participation from interested teachers in grades 1-3. All research activities will be conducted under approvals from the University of Connecticut Institutional Review Board and any district-specified requirements. Participating teachers will receive stipends for training/participation.
Expected benefits of the project include professional learning opportunities for teachers, access to project-provided resources, and student engagement in additional learning opportunities that promote discourse and critical and creative thinking. We also expect that the project will contribute to school efforts to increase identification and participation of students from typically underserved populations in advanced learning programs.
Students with high academic potential are more likely to demonstrate high-potential behaviors while engaged in instruction that encourages such response. Project LIFT engages teachers in close examination of instruction linked to particular standards, with an eye to observing and developing high-potential behaviors.
Goal 1: To enhance teacher understanding of the types of behaviors that may be indicative of high potential in the primary grades, particularly in underserved populations.
Goal 2: To promote teacher capacity to support advanced-level learning through engagement with materials that promote student discourse, higher-level thinking, and demonstration and development of high-potential behaviors.
Goal 3: To support student achievement in core content areas through instructional approaches that emphasize discourse, higher-level thinking, and other key evidence-based practices.
Goal 4: To disseminate project resources for professional development and replication.