ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF GIFTED AND TALENTED STEM STUDENTS THROUGH HOLISTIC THINKING IN AN HONORS PROGRAM
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Curriculum and Instruction
The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which the Honors Program at a midwestern University addresses the needs of gifted and talented STEM students and developed their holistic thinking. Pink’s ideas about the holistic thinking were used to frame this study. Blending STEM gifted students’ needs and Pink’s senses were discussed in the literature review.This study utilized a mixed method approach to gain a better understanding of students’ perceptions about addressing their needs in Honors Program. An explanatory sequential design was employed for this study in which qualitative data were used to expand the understanding of the quantitative data. The latter was collected by a survey which was mailed to 274 STEM students who enrolled in Honors Program during the Spring 2019. Eighty three responded for a 30.29% response rate. Interviews were conducted with 9 students who response to the quantitative portion of the study. ANOVA Repeated Measures, descriptive statistics, and factor analysis and correlation were used to analyze the quantitative data. Themes and patterns were identified in the qualitative data.The findings of the current study showed no difference between the mean of the three categories: academically challenging needs, creative-productive needs, and social-emotional needs. The data reflected that at times and with some regularity students’ needs were met. Additionally, relationships among the three categories were discerned. Qualitative data uncovered numerous meaningful perspectives to examine students’ understanding of the survey categories. Even though participants indicated that they were indeed interested in being in the Honors Program, some conflicts were found in their opinions; thus the interview results confirmed and supported the survey results to examine students’ perceptions about how their academically challenging needs, creative-productive needs, and social-emotional needs were addressed by the Honors Program.The findings of this study provide implication as well as recommendations for future research related to honors education.
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