This article-based thesis investigates how mathematically gifted students experience the Norwegian school system and how we can understand the definitions of gifted education through the philosophy of language. The overarching research question in this thesis is “How do mathematically gifted adolescents perceive and reflect on mathematics tutoring during their school years in Norway?”. A philosophical, a qualitative and a quantitative article collectively seek to answer the overarching aim of the thesis.
How we define giftedness have been a central debate in the field of giftedness over time. The philosophical article draws on ideas from the two empirical studies by discussing the conceptual range of the definitions used in the respective studies. Through the philosophical article I argue that giftedness is a vague concept that needs to be defined within its cultural context and that different definitions can have different conceptual ranges.
In the qualitative article I recruited 11 mathematically gifted students participating in an ability group at the university in Oslo. The students had also received acceleration opportunities in school. The aim of the study was to see if schools in Norway can provide an optimal learning environment for gifted students in mathematics.
The quantitative study draws its conclusions from a large dataset received from the Norwegian armed forces. It consists of intelligence scores, school grades and a survey assessing pedagogical and psychological questions.
Through mixed-methods the three studies collectively represent a methodological approach that ensure a deeper understanding of mathematical giftedness in Norway. The integration articles indicate some differences between how gifted adolescents experience the school system at a qualitative level and how they describe their teacher through the questionnaire.