Head teachers’ conception of gifted students in mathematics in Swedish
upper secondary school
The article presents a study of how Swedish upper secondary head teachers, working within mathematically intensive study programs, conceptualize giftedness in mathematics. The study is based on a survey of 34 randomly selected head teachers, in a population of about 400, who have answered questions about how they characterize and detect gifted mathematics students. The results show that teachers characterize such students as creative, strong in logical ability and keen in their motivation for mathematics. The teachers detect such students by the students’ own initiative for engaging in mathematics, their inclination to orally reason about mathematics and their successfulness on tests. The ﬁndings, which are in accordance with results from internationally published studies, are of importance to the current discussion on special provision for gifted students in Sweden.
Linda Mattsson is PhD student at the Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology. Her research focus lies within the ﬁeld of gifted education in upper
secondary school and on-going studies concern issues of nurturing gifted students in mathematics.