Can students with learning and attention difficulties in school actually be talented scientists in disguise? This article presents a model that was highly successful in identifying and developing scientific talent in these special students. The factors that contributed to the success of the model were the following: The emphasis was on helping students become creative producers. The model also featured a strong mentoring component that included role-modeling and problem solving within specific scientific domains and provided students with authentic, discovery-based, experiential, advanced level subject matter of the domain. Finally, the alternate means of assessing student achievement focused on a student’s performance and the product he or she created, rather than on test scores. Students demonstrated their ability to be competitive, collaborative, and to apply problem-solving skills. These performances resulted in the students’ shifting their identity from loser to winner.
Cooper, Carolyn R.; Baum, Susan M.; and Neu, Terry W., "Developing Scientific Talent in Students With Special Needs: An Alternative Model for Identification, Curriculum, and Assessment" (2004). Education Faculty Publications. Paper 81.