Like Minded Peers

There is limited research in New Zealand and overseas that examines the experiences of gifted learners in like-minded groups, though, anecdotally, we know that a primary argument for specialist programmes is a purported benefit for gifted learners to engage in such like-minded groupings. There is very little research to substantiate these claims and the hope is that this study will provide us with a greater understanding of how these opportunities contribute to academic, emotional and social development of gifted and talented students. This study examines opportunities for like-minded grouping in the most commonly reported provisions used in New Zealand, the mainstream classroom and withdrawal programmes (Riley et al., 2004), and addresses a recent call for more research on grouping of gifted learners (Bate & Clark, 2013). Furthermore, it provides an opportunity to explore the perspectives of gifted learners, their teachers and parents regarding the importance of like-minded interactions.

The aims of the project are to:

  1. Determine how gifted and talented students, their teachers and parents explain and understand like-mindedness.
  2. Identify opportunities gifted and talented students have to engage with like-minded peers in their regular classrooms, schools, communities and one-day-a-week classes.
  3. Analyse the nature of interactions by gifted and talented students with like-minded peers across different like-minded groupings.
  4. Seek the perspectives of the students, their teachers and parents on the importance and impact of like-minded interaction in relation to their academic, emotional and social development.
  5. Determine the opportunities for and challenges to like-minded peer relationships

The research is led by Tracy Riley in collaboration with Janna Wardman, University of Auckland, Deborah Walker, New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education and two of her former postgraduate students, Vanessa White and Carola Sampson.

You can find out more about the project by reading some of the online articles:

For more information or to get involved, contact Tracy by email.

Project News

A national survey is open for all students enrolled in MindPlus, a programme of the New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education. The survey gives gifted kids a chance to share their perspectives and experiences of like-mindedness. For more information email Tracy Riley (