THE EFFECTS OF "TALENTS UNLIMITED" ON PLANNING AND PRODUCTIVE THINKING OF FIFTH GRADE STUDENTS IN FREDERICK, MARYLAND
The effects of partial implementation of Talents Unlimited, a creative thinking program, on Productive Thinking and Planning skills of fifth grade students were studied. Fifth grade students (N = 105) comprised the target population from an accessible population of 1800 in Frederick, Maryland. Their five experimental teachers were matched with control teachers. The control group was comprised of 112 students. This study featured a quasi-experimental pretest-posttest design due to a nonrandomized selection process. Stimulus materials included a three-day inservice for experimental teachers, administration of criterion-referenced pre-and post-tests, and presenting original lessons in talent skills weekly for four months. Response measures were the Criterion-Referenced Tests developed in the Mobile, Alabama Talents Unlimited Projects (1971-1973). Differences of experimental pre- and post-test mean scores showed no group change in Productive Thinking but growth in Planning-Steps and Planning-Problems. Analysis of change ratios showed experimental group boys growing in Productive Thinking and girls in Planning-Steps. Experimental and control group posttest scores were compared in analysis of covariance (p < .05) with IQ and pretest scores as covariates to correct initial group inequalities. no significant difference occurred in Productive Thinking, but the experimental group scored significantly higher than the control (p < .0001) for Planning-Problems. Experimental students were then ranked by three talents--Academic, Productive Thinking, and Planning--by achievement and talent posttest scores to determine percentage above the median, and test the Talents Unlimited theory. The theory proposes that 75 percent of a group of students will score above average in at least one talent area when tested by three different criteria. Of the experimental students, 79 percent scored above average in one skill. It was concluded that the Talents Unlimited treatment worked for developing Planning skills among fifth grade students, and Talents Unlimited theory was valid for this study. Both flexibility and fluency components of productive thinking and problem-solving activities should be stressed in future talent programs. Further research is recommended for validating and revising Criterion-Referenced Tests, for investigating sex-based performance in talent areas, and for studying effects of full talent treatment on academic achievement.