Characteristics related to high levels of creative/productive behavior in secondary school students: A multi-case study

Date of Completion

January 1988


Education, Educational Psychology|Education, Philosophy of




This study investigated characteristics related to creative/productive behavior in adolescents. These were students who consistently engaged in first-hand research of self-selected topics. The topics were related to activities both within or outside of school. Selection of students for this study was based upon the quantity and quality of their projects. Therefore, giftedness was viewed as being manifested in performances. In contrast to a static perspective of the gifted individual, this conception of giftedness focuses upon the dynamic nature of gifted behavior.^ Creative/productive behavior was under investigation for two main purposes. First, to describe the phenomenon, showing that students can be producers of information as well as consumers. Second, to examine student behaviors, forming a more specific set of personal and environmental characteristics related to creative/productivity.^ The sample consisted of 18 students in grades 9 through 12 from 4 sites in the Northeast. All sites were located in typical high schools as opposed to special schools for the gifted. These schools conducted programs for the gifted, focusing upon the development of creative/productive behavior in students.^ A qualitative analysis was conducted utilizing triangulated methodology of data sources and methods. Focusing upon student perspectives, sources constituted the family, the school, and the individual. Methods included document analysis, questionnaires, and a student interview. Document analysis was employed to collect school-related data pertaining to the program for gifted education and to the student's academic record. Parents responded to questionnaires about family background and their perspectives of their child's creative/productive behavior. Each student responded to several assessments of personality, a questionnaire regarding their creative productivity and a series of interview questions. A microcomputer program was employed for sorting and retrieving coded text data.^ Characteristics relative to family background, educational experiences and individual characteristics were analyzed. Results revealed that these students do exhibit characteristics similar to those of creative/productive adults, that these students can be producers of information as well as consumers, and that their learning processes merit closer attention if their abilities are to be better understood by parents and educators. ^