What Should Be on the Tombstone of Gifted Education? Part 3: Classroom Activities for Gifted Student

In Part 2 of the series, the distribution of gifted programs in school districts was analyzed in terms of the allocation of this resource within a school district. In the vast majority of school districts, gifted students are segregated in dedicated facilities in which they have to apply for entry. While this method has advantages for both children and adults in the c=school setting, the major disadvantage is that students who are truly gifted or highly motivated are filtered out by a variety of statistical factors such as test scores, grades, and age. Not only are statistical factors used but having a dedicated facility opens up the possibility of filtering based on human factors such as race, culture, and gender issues. The best option is to have gifted programs in each school so that many more students who are capable will have the access they need to gifted resources.

One of the worsening factors of modern gifted education is the level and quality of classroom activities available for these students. The modern classroom is not geared toward gifted students but rather to the middle student who is perched on the edge of passing the state test. The second priority in the classroom is the lowest student who contributes to the failing rate of state tests. It is assumed that gifted students will pass state exams so they are at the bottom of the school’s priorities. For those teachers that are allowed to design their own materials, this forces them into a teaching mode that focuses on the middle and low-level students and to virtually ignore gifted or highly motivated students. Since most school districts force teachers to use their materials, the district itself sets the stage for ignoring the needs of the gifted student.

In terms of the individual classroom assignment, gifted students require a higher quality set of goals and objectives to meet. Most assignments are geared toward a lower quality set of objectives which hinge of meeting goals based on lower-level thinking skills. The majority of students are operating at the knowledge, comprehension, and application levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. This forces the assignment created by the teacher or district to be based on simple modes of vocabulary mastery and simple application to prescribed situations. Once this is done, the students and teachers move on to the next assignment. The gifted child, who is in need of further learning at higher levels, is left with an experience that only marginally stimulates their higher potential.

The assignments that are provided to gifted children are not properly designed for their educational needs. They are designed for students who are working at much lower levels on a daily basis. Gifted students require assignment and activities that stimulate their natural abilities to a much higher level of thinking. This is not to say that lower level assignments do not have value to the gifted student, but if the teacher stops at this point, then the gifted child to left with unfulfilled potential.

Coming up: Part 4- The Use of Extracurricular Activities as a Method of Fulfilling Potential.

USC Pharmacy School Application Requirements and Tips From an Accepted Student

I will begin with the statistics of the accepted students into the University of Southern California Doctor of Pharmacy program for 2009. 460 students were offered interviews from a pool of over 2000 applicants. 240 students are accepted (11 students from out-of-state schools), and the expected class size for 2009 is 190. One must note that USC offers their undergraduates the opportunity of guaranteed admission as long as they complete their requirements in the TAP program (these students take up a large chunk of seats available for other applicants).

Obtaining a Bachelor’s degree is now a requirement for admission at USC. The minimum GPA requirement is a 3.0 (the average GPA of accepted students is a 3.60). Since USC does not require taking the PCAT, other admission criteria is weighed more heavily (GPA, interview performance, extracurricular activities, personal statements, etc.).

For the application process, it is very important for you to note that the University of Southern California sends out interview invitations on a rolling basis, so it is important that you turn in your PharmCAS application and supplemental application as soon as possible. The deadlines for both are early November, but I highly recommend that you turn both in no latter than early August (I turned in my applications by mid-July, just 1.5 months after the application was made available).

At your interview, you will be asked questions by a current pharmacy school student as well as a faculty member. Think of it more of a conversation where you also ask questions back to both of them. When you first arrive at the interview session, you will be greeted by several current pharmacy students, who do a great job of calming you down prior to your interview. Take this opportunity to ask questions and warm up your oral communication skills. Do not worry to much about the “essay” portion as it is just a test of how well you take notes off of a random article that you read. BE SURE to follow all directions provided to you as it is also a test on how well you pay attention to details.

Here are the pre-requisites for USC’s pharmacy program:

Calculus (for science majors)

Statistics (non-business)

Physics w/lab (science/life science majors- thermodynamics & Electromagnetism recommended)

General Biology w/lab (excludes human anatomy & physiology, botany, and microbiology)

Mammalian Physiology w/lab (human preferred-excludes plant, cell and marine physiology)

Microbiology w/lab (fundamentals of microbiology for science majors)

Molecular or Cell Biology(for science majors-one upper division course)

General Chemistry w/lab (for science majors-include inorganic & qualitative analysis)

Organic Chemistry w/lab (for science majors)

Biochemistry (for science majors one upper division course)

Human Behavior (General Psychology or Introductory Sociology)

Microeconomics

For Internationals (holders of foreign US bachelor’s equivalent):

English (expository writing)

Interpersonal Communications or Public Speaking

For specific course equivalencies from your college, please check the forms available from USC’s website.

The Pharm.D. program at USC is a 4 year program. USC is a private school, and our estimated tuition and cost of living for 2009 is approximately $60,000.

The University of Southern California provides students the opportunity to pursue dual degrees in addition to their Doctor of Pharmacy Degree. These include the following:

Pharm.D./Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.)

Pharm.D./Juris Doctor(J.D.)

Pharm.D./Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Pharm.D./Master of Science in Regulatory Science (M.S. Regulatory Science)

Pharm.D./ Master of Science in Gerontology (M.S.G.)

Pharm.D./Graduate Certificate in Gerontology (Gerontology Certificate)

Pharm.D./Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)