Gifted children in Irish primary schools : motivated or bored ?

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Boland, Jackie
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BA in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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The aim of the current study was to explore the effects that ability and gender has on children's attitudes towards school. The specific variables of interest were boredom, lack of challenge and motivation. A between-participants design with two independent variables and six dependent variables was carried out with participation of 31 gifted children and 51 average range ability children. The independent variables were ability and gender. The dependent variables were motivation (as revealed by MALS score). There were also a number of other variables from the Feldhusen & Kroll (1991) scale relating to boredom and challenge. The study was conducted in the form of a questionnaire. A two way ANOVA non-repeated measures revealed a significant difference between gifted and average range ability on the MALS test (F = 14.841; df = 1 78; < 0.01) and a significant difference between gender on the Feldhusen and Kroll (1991) scale (F = 8.880; df = 1 78; p < 0.05). Through further analysis a Chi-square test of frequencies indicated a significant difference between gifted and average range ability children's preferred subject choice, however, no significant difference was revealed between girls and boys preferred subject. Results partially supported the literature, indicating that there was no differentiation between the groups in levels of boredom, and that gifted children found school more repetitive as suggested by Feldhusen and Kroll, (1991), however, it also found that these children have maintained their positive attitudes towards school.