Degree Name

Education Specialist (EdS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

David E. Bartz



The purpose of this field study was to research the entity of gifted education from an historical viewpoint, to review gifted education as it is today, and most importantly, to review evaluation procedures and studies connected with gifted education. A formal evaluation had never been done in the history of the Independent Study Program at Altamont Community Unit #10. The result of the evaluation procedure was to determine how to modify, revise, and re-evaluate the program in order to more effectively meet the needs of the gifted students in the school district.


After the historical review of gifted education and research on current gifted programs was completed, many types of evaluation procedures were studied. It was decided that the evaluation design was to be formal, formative, a naturalistic inquiry, and use a qualitative questionnaire for instrumentation.

Questionnaire evaluation designs were created by the researcher, and administered to the Independent Study Program parents, students, and teachers, school board members, and administrators of Altamont Community Unit #10. This was deemed to be the most effective way to meet the purpose of the study.

Surveyed in this study were 92 students, 50 teachers, 79 parents, 3 administrators, and 7 school board members. The overall return rate was 85.2%. Data analysis of the survey questions, tables, results, conclusions, and recommendations for each group participating are presented in Chapter IV.


The study found that there were several areas of agreement and disagreement among the four groups completing the survey. Most of the four groups felt that: the Independent Study Program (ISP) was a good program, liked the organization of the program, and the ISP program was more challenging than the regular classroom.

Three of the evaluating groups -- parents, teachers and school board/administrators -- agreed that teachers working in the program can be communicated with comfortably. Parents and teachers indicated that the ISP program helped students learn new things. The school board and administrators gave a positive rating on several other items, as did the parents, teachers, and the students. The comments concerned good teachers in the program, good student attitudes, and over-all program effectiveness.

Several areas of needed improvement were clearly indicated by negative responses. The results indicated that: more areas of study needed to be offered to the students, and more time needed to be allotted to the ISP program. Several surveyed questioned the availability of good and interesting materials. Many indicated that the materials the program had were good but that more were needed. Teachers also indicated that they needed more information relayed to them about the program.

The field study evaluation revealed opinions on key factors of the effectiveness of the Independent Study Program. Opinions of the groups surveyed should serve as guidelines to plan future goals and objectives, to strengthen the program, to make it more effective, and to continue its success.