A cross -cultural comparison of gifted children's theories of intelligence, goal orientation, and responses to challenge

Wen-Chuan Hsueh, Purdue University


The purpose of this cross-cultural study was to examine gifted children's theories of intelligence, goal orientations, responses to challenge, and the relationships among them. Children's implicit beliefs about their ability (static vs. Malleable) had been found to lead to different goal orientations (performance vs. Learning goals) and affect achievement behavior patterns (maladaptive vs. Adaptive). However, relationships among implicit theories, goals, and behaviors in the gifted population were inconsistent. In this study, gifted children's theories of intelligence, goal orientations, and challenge preferences in reading and math were assessed through a self-report questionnaire and their responses to challenge were assessed with a puzzle challenge experiment. A total of 233 children (4$\rm\sp{th}$ through 6$\rm\sp{th}$ grade students in gifted programs), 116 American and 117 Taiwanese, completed the Theories of Intelligence, Goal Orientations, and Challenge Preferences in Reading and Math Questionnaire (TIGO) in the first phase of the study. Children were then grouped according to their theories of intelligence and 93 children, 50 American and 43 Taiwanese, were randomly selected to participate in the puzzle challenge experiment. Findings suggested that gifted children (1) held strong beliefs in the malleability of their ability, (2) were highly confident about their ability to learn, (3) had strong learning goals, (4) wanted good grades and teacher approval, (5) had mixed responses to performance goal items, (6) preferred harder tasks in reading and math, (7) showed persistent task engagement in the face of difficulty, and (8) did not show group differences in their preferences for challenging puzzles. Cultural differences were found in children's theories of intelligence, performance goal items, and preferences to challenging math activities and hard math problems. Gender differences were not found in children's theories of intelligence but boys and girls varied in their responses to some performance goal items and in their preferences for challenging math activities, hard math problems and hard puzzles. American males and females exhibited more gender differences than the Taiwanese group. American girls had the strongest belief in an entity view of their ability (i.e., ability is static and given), the lowest perceived competence, and the most challenge avoidance behavior. ^




Major Professors: John F. Feldhusen, Purdue University, Sidney M. Moon, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Education, Bilingual and Multicultural|Education, Elementary|Education, Educational Psychology|Education, Special

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