General Science Textbooks: Meeting the Cognitive Needs of Academically Talented Students



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Background: In public schools, textbooks are provided for students with less than the full consideration for the cognitive, behavioral, or psychological characteristics of students and this includes students who are academically talented. Research highlights the need to identify the use of suitable questions used in textbooks that challenge the cognitive capacities of talented students (Reid, 2011, Karnes & Bean, 2009). According to the Javits Gifted and Talented Education Act, (U. S. Department of Education, 1993) talented students require services and activities not ordinarily provided by their schools because of their extraordinary academic characteristics in contrast to on-level students. Purpose: This study used the Bloom’s taxonomy of action verbs to analyze the post-chapter questions used in general science textbooks adopted in Texas public middle grades to determine whether these questions action verbs to assess higher level thinking of talented students. Methods: A quantitative descriptive analysis was conducted for this study. This study investigated the relationship between two non-manipulated variables, namely Bloom’s taxonomy of action verbs and the capacity of general science textbooks for middle-level grades to respond to the cognitive comprehension needs of talented students. The study used a content analysis to collect quantitative data and to analyze the content of the post-chapter questions for each of the general science textbooks. The study enumerated and classified the number of action verbs found in the general science textbooks through the application of the AntConc software program. The action verbs from the taxonomy were measured against words used in the content of the post-chapter questions to determine the number of action verbs found in the post-chapter questions that could be used to assess the cognitive comprehension of talented students. Results: The study found that the assessed general science textbooks did not use a statistically significant number of action verbs from the Bloom’s Taxonomy in the post chapter questions for Grades 6, 7, and 8. Of the 266 Bloom’s taxonomy of action verbs were used for this study, 19 action verbs were found in the 6th grade post-assessment questions, 34 action verbs were found in the 7th grade post-assessment questions, and 33 action verbs were found in the 8th grade post-assessment questions. Conclusion: The findings support previous studies which have indicated that the higher levels of the Bloom’s taxonomy of action verbs are not usually addressed in the post-assessment questions of textbooks. The findings offer support for the usage of higher levels of action verbs in the assessment question items of textbooks used for academically talented students.



Talented students, Gifted students, Talented, Education, Bloom’s taxonomy, Textbooks, Content analysis, Middle schools