NDSU Distance & Continuing Education (DCE)

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Course Descriptions

Challenging Gifted and All Students with the Cluster Grouping Model

EDUC 600

This invaluable course explains the strategy and methodology of the School-wide Cluster Grouping Model to educators, parents, and administrators. The SCGM identifies gifted students who receive differentiated curriculum and instruction by teachers who understand and can readily respond to their learning needs. SCGM implementation meets the special needs of gifted students without major budget implications and has the potential to raise achievement for students of all ability levels. In this course participants will learn the responsibility of the SCGM model and the training necessary to become at SCGM teacher, administrator, mentor or specialist.

The course features instructional demonstrations from primary, intermediate and middle school classrooms with effective activities in action such as the name card game, various uses of questioning and other differentiated instruction techniques.


After completing this course, educators will know:

  • The components, benefits, and achievement implications of the SCGM;
  • The emotional and behavioral impact of giftedness and advanced learning needs of gifted students in the regular classroom;
  • A variety of SCGM teaching methods and techniques;
  • Ways to use formative assessment, flexible groupings, and differentiated instruction for gifted learners;
  • Effective classroom management techniques to facilitate differentiation;
  • Areas of giftedness identification, the responsibilities of gifted cluster teachers, and the staffing needs to support cluster classrooms;
  • Different questioning strategies that encourage creative and high-level thinking;
  • How and why the schoolwide cluster grouping model, flexible groupings, curriculum differentiation, and ongoing assessment benefit all students;
  • How to collect data for, organize, implement, and support the SCGM;
  • Ways to manage, record, and document independent work;
  • The research and analysis of achievement for SCGM by grade, gender, ethnicity, and ELL status and its impact on non-gifted students and school scores;
  • Special populations in gifted education including ELL and twice-exceptional students and strategies to increase productivity.


Winebrenner, S., Brulles, D. (2008) The Cluster Grouping Handbook: How to Challenge Gifted Students and Improve Achievement for All. New York; Free Spirit Publishing (Included in course fee, allow 2-4 weeks for delivery)