Are Two Heads Better Than One? Co-teaching to Meet the Needs of Advanced Students in Mixed Ability Elementary Math Classes — Kenneth J. Wright
Monday, May 20, 2024, 1:45 – 3:15 pm, Lawrence D. McHugh Hall, Room MCHU 201
In this interpretive qualitative study across multiple cases, the researcher examined a promising model where gifted education specialists pushed in and co-taught with classroom teachers in mixed-ability classrooms. By triangulating data from observations, teacher logs/surveys, and interviews, the researcher explored how gifted specialists and classroom teachers worked together to differentiate for advanced students. Research was performed under the auspices of the federally funded Project BUMP UP (Building Up Mathematics Proficiency Utilizing Push-in). The sample consisted of four gifted specialists from four schools who were each paired with a fourth and fifth-grade classroom teacher forming eight co-teaching partnerships. Teachers participated in professional learning and then collaborated, planned, and co-taught math lessons during the 2023–2024 school year. The researcher used thematic analysis to generate themes across cases and explored the following four research questions: How do classroom teachers and gifted specialists collaborate to differentiate for students who are advanced in math? Which co-teaching strategies are being used for fourth and fifth-grade students who are advanced in math? How do classroom teachers and gifted specialists determine which co-teaching strategies to use? What benefits and barriers do classroom teachers and gifted specialists perceive for each teaching strategy?