Analysis of Differences between Previous and Current Teacher Preparation Standards
The major differences between the previous standards and the revised standards center in the following areas:
While the older set of standards was developed to reflect the best indicators for practice at the time, the field has evolved more fully since the initial adoption of the original NCATE standards in gifted education. The revised set of standards has a fully developed set of research, literature, and practice-based studies that support each of the indicators and provide the field an appropriate base on which to develop teacher leaders for the future.
The older set of standards was developed primarily through the efforts one of the national organizations and adhered very closely to special education language and even spirit in the instructional and assessment standards areas. Consequently, the standards were criticized by many university educators as not being truly reflective of the thinking in the field of gifted education. The joint task force approach employed in the development of the new standards over three years speaks strongly to the cohesion within the field on the content emphases of the standards being well-aligned with desired practice.
The new standards have been very conscious of ensuring that all types of diversity--cultural, linguistic, intellectual, sexual orientation, and disabilities--are referenced in the indicators and integrated into each of the standards so that issues of cultural stereotyping, tolerance for differentness, and celebration of multiculturalism, for example, can be found to be important parts of the new standards.
The new standards have added depth and breadth to the indicators related to both instructional planning and strategies with more tailored emphases, essential to building strong programs of study for teachers in this area. The emphasis in assessment on both identification and learning has enhanced and sharpened the focus for measurement tools to be taught and used in programs.
The new standards are grounded in the most recent research on learning strategies that emphasize higher level thinking, use of concept mapping, an emphasis on metacognition, and problem solving as central to the preparation of teachers to work with our best learners. These emphases were not included to the same degree in the previous standards.
The new standards reflect an awareness of the connections among gifted, special, and general education in respect to linkages to content expertise in instructional strategies, consonant with the educational reform agenda and to the use of technology. Moreover, the central role of diversity and collaboration echoes the major themes of both general and special education. Study of trends and issues in the field of gifted education by necessity traverses this broader landscape.
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