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In this essay, Jason A. Grissom, Christopher Redding, and Joshua F. Bleiberg investigate the receipt of gifted services based on the socioeconomic status (SES) of elementary school students and their families. Using nationally representative longitudinal data, they show that gaps in the receipt of gifted services between the highest and lowest SES students are profound, and these gaps remain substantial even after taking into account students' achievement levels and other background factors and using school fxed effects to explain school sorting. The authors discuss several potential approaches schools and districts can use to ameliorate the apparent disadvantages students from low-SES families experience in processes surrounding receipt of gifted services.
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.
... While there is a federal definition of giftedness outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that focuses on students demonstrating "evidence of high achievement capability" in a variety of domains, there is no universal definition of what it means to be "gifted" (Parr & Stevens, 2019). This means that giftedness is often defined at the state and division level (Callahan et al., 2017), which also means that there is often considerable variability in how it is determined (Grissom et al., 2019). Often, giftedness is assessed through students scoring in the 95th percentile or above on standardized measures of achievement (Crabtree et al., 2019). ...
... Identification for gifted programs is often based on standardized test performance, which have often been shown to be culturally biased (Grissom et al., 2017). Furthermore, if a school does not provide universal testing for its students for the purposes of gifted identification, testing may be more likely to occur privately by higher SES parents who are willing to request it, even repeatedly, through child psychologists (Grissom et al., 2019). • Tracking. ...
... Educators often serve as gatekeeping mechanisms for gifted programs by recommending students to participate (Callahan et al., 2017). While identification may also be based on more seemingly objective measures like standardized testing, requesting subjective recommendations from educators may contribute to the potential for bias in who gets identified (Grissom et al., 2019). • School resource differences. ...
MERC is developing a literature brief on gifted services in elementary school as a part of our Equitable Access and Support for Advanced Coursework Study. The brief will be published in the fall of 2020. In the meantime, here are some highlights from the research that help answer the question, “who receives gifted services in elementary school?”
Writing Team: David Naff, PhD (MERC/VCU SOE), Amy Jefferson (VCU SOE), Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, PhD (VCU SOE), Michael Schad, PhD (VCU Alt Lab), Zoey Lu (VCU SOE), Kathryn Haines (Chesterfield), Morgan Saxby (Chesterfield)
... Many taken-for-granted school practices operate as what we call status-reinforcing processes. These include tracking, ability grouping, gifted programming, and standardized testing (Barlow and Dunbar 2010;Gamoran and Mare 1989;Grissom, Redding, and Bleiberg 2019;Grodsky, Warren, and Felts 2008;Horn 2018;Joensen and Nielsen 2009;Knoester and Au 2017;Kohn 2000;Lewis and Diamond 2015;Oakes 1982;Rist 1970;Rose and Betts 2004;Sacks 1997;Staiger 2004;Tyson 2011). ...
... In the U.S., despite known limitations of standardized tests (Becker 1972), mathematics performance is seen as a core indicator of students' aptitude (Stevenson and Stigler 1994;Uttal 1997). U.S. schools thus use students' math grades and test scores to determine ability-group, gifted program, and track placements from a very early age (Gamoran and Mare 1989;Grissom et al. 2019;Lewis and Diamond 2015;Oakes 2005;Oakes et al. 1990;Tyson 2011). Ability grouping and tracking influence students' math confidence and anxiety (Boaler 2002;Horn 2008) and their course-taking trajectories (Battey and Leyva 2016;Long, Conger, and Iatarola 2012;Muller et al. 2010;Planty, Provasnik, and Daniel 2007). ...
... Taken-for-granted practices in education serve as status-reinforcing processes when they amplify and then justify the inequitable treatment of students from different status groups. Tracking, ability grouping, gifted programming and standardized testing are key examples of such practices (Grissom et al. 2019;Grodsky et al. 2008;Horn 2018;Joensen and Nielsen 2009;Knoester and Au 2017;Kohn 2000;Lewis and Diamond 2015;Oakes 1982;Rist 1970;Rose and Betts 2004;Sacks 1997;Tyson 2011). In this paper, we reveal that homework practices can also operate as status-reinforcing processes. ...
Practices like ability grouping, tracking, and standardized testing operate as status-reinforcing processes-amplifying then naturalizing unequal student outcomes. Using a longitudinal, ethnographic study following students from elementary to middle school, we examine whether math homework can operate similarly. Because of inequalities in families' resources for supporting homework, higher-SES students' homework was more consistently complete and correct than lower-SES students' homework. Teachers acknowledged these unequal homework production contexts. Yet, official policies treated homework as an individual endeavor, leading teachers to interpret and respond to homework in status-reinforcing ways. Students with consistently correct and complete homework were seen as responsible, capable, and motivated and rewarded with praise and opportunities. Other students were seen as irresponsible, incapable, and unmotivated; they were punished and docked points. These practices were status-enhancing for higher-SES students and status-degrading for lower-SES students. We discuss implications for homework policies, parent involvement, and interpretations of inequalities in school. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
... Carman and Taylor (2010) controlled for SES using eligibility for federal meal subsidy as a proxy to examine identification rates for gifted services for students identified using the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT; Naglieri & Ford, 2003). On a national scale, Grissom et al. (2019) examined the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K): 1998 and found that students from high SES households had significant advantages in being identified for gifted services compared with their peers from low SES households within the same school. Using nationally representative data sets to examine access to gifted education can be misleading, though, as state policies regarding gifted education vary greatly across the United States (Peters et al., 2019). ...
Proportional identification of students for gifted services in Florida school districts is an important goal. A multi-level model was used to analyze school district data from the Florida Department of Education from the 2011–2016 academic years. Results from the study indicate that the likelihood of identification of students varied by their socioeconomic status. Students who were Black were 59% more likely to be identified for gifted services if they participated in federal meal subsidy programs. However, the likelihood of identification for students who are Latinx or Native American decreased by 47% and 38%, respectively, when compared with peers who did not participate in federal meal subsidy programs.
... In a follow-up analysis, Grissom et al. (2019) investigated the effects of socioeconomic status (SES) and the intersection of SES and other studentand school-level factors on probability of identification. The effect of higher SES was profound but also unequal in its benefits. ...
... The highest income group produces 47% of those identified as gifted, and the lowest income group produces 9% of the students identified as being gifted and talented (Hodgkinson, 2006). Grissom et al. (2019) used a nationally representative data set to show that SES differences persisted even controlling for academic achievement among those in the same schools. Multiple ideas have been provided for why poverty has a strong impact on gifted and talented student identification including (a) limited access to resources to build foundational skills, (b) victim-blaming or identifying a culture of poverty in which poor students and families are seen as at fault for their poverty and lack of achievement, (c) overrepresentation of poor children in special education caused by higher rates of disability and poorer health care, and (d) the social and cultural context of the child and school (Burney & Beilke, 2008). ...
We analyzed data from a large-scale ( N = 39,213), longitudinal study of urban students to assess child factors (gender, ethnicity, English language learner status, school readiness skills, type of pre-K attended, early elementary school academic performance) prospectively associated with eventual gifted identification in elementary school. Overall, 14.2% of students were identified as gifted in K-5th grade, with the majority identified by second grade. Multivariate logistic regression analyses revealed that White and Latino students were more likely to be identified as gifted than Black students, even controlling for poverty and early academic performance. English language learners, boys, and those who attended public school pre-K programs were more likely to be identified controlling for other factors. School readiness assessments were also useful for predicting giftedness.
This article tests hypotheses by examining variations in the percentage of elementary and middle schools offering gifted and talented programs as well as gifted student participation and representation between 2012 and 2016. Using the Office of Civil Rights and the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) Common Core data, we find that between 2012 and 2016, the percentage of schools with gifted programs declined slightly. Crucially, gifted participation is increasing faster in low-poverty schools than in high-poverty schools. Furthermore, suburban schools became more likely to have gifted programs than urban, rural, or town schools. However, gifted participation by urbanicity decreased across all four locales. Using only 2016 data, we show that students who are Black and Hispanic continue to be statistically underrepresented. We conclude with a brief discussion and policy implications.
This is the second of three articles on “Sources of Authority in Education”. All use the work of Amy Gutmann as a heuristic device to describe and explain the prevalence of market-based models of Education Reform in the United States as part of what Pasi Sahlberg terms the Global Education Reform Movement (GERM). This movement is based on neoliberal tenets and encourages the enterance of private business and the adoption of business practices and challenges long standing notions of democratic education. The first article is “Negating Amy Gutmann: Deliberative Democracy, Education and Business Influence” (to be published in Democracy and Education) and the third is “The Odd Malaise of Democratic Education and the Inordinate Influence of Business” (to be published in Policy Futures in Education). My intent is to include them, along with a fourth article, “Profit, Innovation and the Cult of the Entrepreneur: Civics and Economic Citizenship,” as chapters of a proposed volume, Democratic Education and Markets: Segmentation, Privatization and Sources of Authority in Education Reform.
Educational psychology is replete with verbal or qualitative definitions through which students can be considered members of categories, such as learning disabled, autistic, or gifted. These conceptions carry quantitative implications regarding the incidence rates of the phenomena they describe. To be scientifically useful, such definitions should have sufficient specificity and internal consistency. We analyzed four influential definitions of giftedness and assessed their internal consistency by computing the giftedness rate implied by each. Results reveal that the proportion of individuals who meet the standard of giftedness under some definitions is unrealistically high (e.g., >75% in some conditions). The implication of this work is that the rigor and internal self-consistency of educational concepts requires improvement. The field must carefully consider the quantitative implications of its concepts, statements, and definitions. An Open Science Framework project page containing R code, a technical appendix, and all figures and tables from this paper is available at https://osf.io/6e7g9/.
Using a two-phase content analysis approach, this study examined how education scholars have discussed the intersection of giftedness, race, and poverty in gifted academic journals from 2000 to 2015. Specifically, the authors explored the following questions: (a) What are the characteristics of studies published that explore the intersection of giftedness, poverty, and students of color? (b) How do scholars discuss and theorize about how to recruit and retain gifted students of color who come from families living in poverty? (c) In what ways do scholars discuss the intersection of race and poverty for gifted students of color? Findings indicated that while studies were focused on students of color, there was limited discussion about the impact of race and poverty on the recruitment and retention of gifted students of color who come from families living in poverty. Implications and future research are discussed.
Gaps in educational achievement between high- and low-income children are growing. Administrative data sets maintained by states and districts lack information about income but do indicate whether a student is eligible for subsidized school meals. We leverage the longitudinal structure of these data sets to develop a new measure of economic disadvantage. Half of eighth graders in Michigan are eligible for a subsidized meal, but just 14% have been eligible for subsidized meals in every grade since kindergarten. These children score 0.94 standard deviations below those who are never eligible for meal subsidies and 0.23 below those who are occasionally eligible. There is a negative, linear relationship between grades spent in economic disadvantage and eighth-grade test scores. This is not an exposure effect; the relationship is almost identical in third-grade, before children have been exposed to varying years of economic disadvantage. Survey data show that the number of years that a child will spend eligible for subsidized lunch is negatively correlated with her or his current household income. Years eligible for subsidized meals can therefore be used as a reasonable proxy for income. Our proposed measure can be used to estimate heterogeneous effects in program evaluations, to improve value-added calculations, and to better target resources.
Students of color are significantly underrepresented in gifted programs relative to their White peers. Drawing on political science research suggesting that public organizations more equitably distribute policy outputs when service providers share characteristics with their client populations, we investigate whether representation of students of color in gifted programs is higher in schools with racially/ethnically diverse teachers and principals. In a nationally representative sample of elementary schools created by merging two waves of data from the Civil Rights Data Collection and the Schools and Staffing Survey, we find that schools with larger numbers of Black teachers or a Black principal have greater representation of Black students in gifted programs. We find a similar relationship for Hispanic teachers and representation of Hispanic students. Further evidence suggests that a critical mass of teachers of color is necessary for teacher race/ ethnicity to be associated with higher representation of students of color in gifted programs.
Academic achievement gaps between high- and low-income students born in the 1990s were much larger than between cohorts born two decades earlier. Racial/ethnic achievement gaps declined during the same period. To determine whether these two trends have continued in more recent cohorts, we examine trends in several dimensions of school readiness, including academic achievement, self-control, externalizing behavior, and a measure of students’ approaches to learning, for cohorts born from the early 1990s to the 2000–2010 midperiod. We use data from nationally representative samples of kindergarteners (ages 5–6) in 1998 ( n = 20,220), 2006 ( n = 6,600), and 2010 ( n = 16,980) to estimate trends in racial/ethnic and income school readiness gaps. We find that readiness gaps narrowed modestly from 1998 to 2010, particularly between high- and low-income students and between White and Hispanic students.
This study compares the early life experiences of kindergarteners in 1998 and 2010 using two nationally representative data sets. We find that (a) young children in the later period are exposed to more books and reading in the home, (b) they have more access to educational games on computers, and (c) they engage with their parents more, inside and outside the home. Although these increases occurred among low- and high-income children, in many cases the biggest changes were seen among the lowest-income children. Our results indicate narrowing but still large early childhood parental investment gaps. In addition, socioeconomic gaps in preschool participation grew over this period, despite substantial investments in public preschool. Implications for early socioeconomic achievement gaps are discussed.
Students of color are underrepresented in gifted programs relative to White students, but the reasons for this underrepresentation are poorly understood. We investigate the predictors of gifted assignment using nationally representative, longitudinal data on elementary students. We document that even among students with high standardized test scores, Black students are less likely to be assigned to gifted services in both math and reading, a pattern that persists when controlling for other background factors, such as health and socioeconomic status, and characteristics of classrooms and schools. We then investigate the role of teacher discretion, leveraging research from political science suggesting that clients of government services from traditionally underrepresented groups benefit from diversity in the providers of those services, including teachers. Even after conditioning on test scores and other factors, Black students indeed are referred to gifted programs, particularly in reading, at significantly lower rates when taught by non-Black teachers, a concerning result given the relatively low incidence of assignment to own-race teachers among Black students.
An issue of much concern, and under much scrutiny and debate, is the persistent and extensive under-representation of African American students in gifted education. A number of efforts have been proposed and implemented to improve their recruitment and retention, but to little or no avail. Progress has been slow or non-existent in many cases. In this article, we propose that several theories and conceptual frameworks can guide educators and decision makers in gaining a better understanding of under-representation. In understanding the barriers to recruitment and retention through the lens of theories and frameworks, we can develop solutions that work. Nine theories and frameworks are presented
In this article, we attempt to distinguish between the properties of moderator and mediator variables at a number of levels. First, we seek to make theorists and researchers aware of the importance of not using the terms moderator and mediator interchangeably by carefully elaborating, both conceptually and strategically, the many ways in which moderators and mediators differ. We then go beyond this largely pedagogical function and delineate the conceptual and strategic implications of making use of such distinctions with regard to a wide range of phenomena, including control and stress, attitudes, and personality traits. We also provide a specific compendium of analytic procedures appropriate for making the most effective use of the moderator and mediator distinction, both separately and in terms of a broader causal system that includes both moderators and mediators. (46 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
The authors hypothesize that gifted individuals are subject to microaggressions based on their unique characteristics. These microaggressions are perpetuated when gifted individuals are also Black, Hispanic, or low income. Research from the field of gifted education is combined with the counseling and psychology literature to explore the common assumptions that may lead to microaggressions. Multicultural considerations for counseling are discussed through the context of giftedness. Recommendations for counseling culturally different and low-income gifted students are presented.
The concept of cultural capital has been increasingly used in American sociology to study the impact of cultural reproduction on social reproduction. However, much confusion surrounds this concept. In this essay, we disentangle Bourdieu and Passeron's original work on cultural capital, specifying the theoretical roles cultural capital plays in their model, and the various types of high status signals they are concerned with. We expand on their work by proposing a new definition of cultural capital which focuses on cultural and social exclusion. We note a number of theoretical ambiguities and gaps in the original model, as well as specific methodological problems. In the second section, we shift our attention to the American literature on cultural capital. We discuss its assumptions and compare it with the original work. We also propose a research agenda which focuses on social and cultural selection and decouples cultural capital from the French context in which it was originally conceived to take into consideration the distinctive features of American culture. This agenda consists in 1) assessing the relevance of the concept of legitimate culture in the U.S.; 2) documenting the distinctive American repertoire of high status cultural signals; and 3) analyzing how cultural capital is turned into profits in America.
This study focused on the analysis of a large-scale data set ( N = 326,352) collected by the Georgia Department of Education using multilevel path analysis to model the probability that a student would be identified for participation in a gifted program. The model examined individual- and school-level factors that influence the probability that an individual would be identified. The probability of being identified as gifted depended strongly on student race and socioeconomic status and varied strongly across schools.
Putting the Research to Use
This study provides a comprehensive examination of racial and socioeconomic disparities in gifted program participation in one state mandating gifted education and an identification scheme designed to increase participation among traditionally underrepresented groups of students. In spite of these policies, identification rates still varied widely across race and socioeconomic status. The study found that race still exerted strong effects on the probability of identification even after socioeconomic status was controlled. Furthermore, the study found that schools varied widely in the gifted identification rate even when some student characteristics were controlled. This study suggests that much work remains to be done in terms of ensuring that all students, regardless of background, have access to advanced educational programs.
Focusing on parental networks—a central dimension of social capital—this article uses ethnographic data to examine social-class differences in the relations between families and schools. We detail the characteristics of networks across different classes and then explore the ways that networks come into play when parents are confronted by problematic school situations. The middle-class parents in our study tended to react collectively, in contrast to working-class and poor parents. The middle-class parents were also uniquely able to draw on contacts with professionals to mobilize the information, expertise, or authority needed to contest the judgments of school officials. We did not find substantial race differences. We affirm the importance of a resource-centered conception of social capital that grants the issue of inequality a predominant place.
Concerns over recruiting and retaining minority students in gifted education programs have persisted for several decades, and, although many educators, policymakers, and researchers have deliberated about the underrepresentation of minority students in gifted education, few articles, reports, or studies exist on this topic. This article seeks to fill this void, describing factors that inhibit the recruitment and retention of minority students in gifted education programs. These factors include screening and identification issues (e.g., definitions and instrumentation); educational issues (e.g., quality of students' education); and personnel issues (e.g., lack of teacher training in gifted and urban education, low teacher referral). Also discussed are retention issues, namely, factors that may affect the decision of minority students to remain in gifted education programs. Finally, recommendations for recruiting and retaining minority students are offered.
Nondiscriminatory assessment practices have been proposed as a model of assessment for individuals of diverse cultures who are suspected as having a disability. This paper presents the use of nondiscrimina-tory assessment practices in evaluating students of diverse cultures who may be identified as gifted. Principles and guidelines for nondiscriminatory ways of assessing students of diverse cultures who may be gifted are presented. Implications for putting nondiscriminatory assessment procedures into practice are provided.
The Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT) is said to be a culturally neutral measure of ability that assesses both majority and minority students equally. Although research has examined the effects of ethnicity and gender on NNAT performance, little published research has examined the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and NNAT performance. Correlations and multiple regression were used to examine the relationships between ethnicity, SES, and NNAT performance in a large kindergarten sample. The results suggest a significant relationship between ethnicity, SES, and NNAT performance. Even after adjusting for ethnic differences, children from low-SES families were half as likely as other children to be identified.Putting the Research to UseDoes the NNAT really identify students with low-SES backgrounds at the same rate as students from average to high SES backgrounds? Although many believe using a nonverbal test levels the field for all students, the research we present does not support this belief. In this sample, students from average to high SES families were twice as likely to be identified than those from low-SES families. Since nonverbal tests are one of the most used methods of screening for G/T in our schools, if districts wish to continue to use the NNAT, it should not be as a solo measure of ability, but rather as part of a multiple measure process. In addition, districts using the NNAT should calculate the differential of any particular test administration on the basis of gender, ethnicity, SES or other variables to determine if any adjustments need to be made to ensure that elusive level playing field.
Research on race, social class, and parent involvement in education often implies that parents’ educational orientations result directly from their social class or racial group backgrounds. In this article, the authors study the involvement of working-class and middle-class African American parents. They argue that these parents’ educational orientations are informed by the educational environments they navigate, their resources for negotiating these environments, and their prior social class and race-based educational experiences. Middle-class African American parents studied were more likely to select their children’s schools, assess them favorably, and adopt supportive orientations toward them. In contrast, working-class African American parents studied were assigned to schools, tended to assess them less favorably, and adopted more reform-based orientations toward them. The article extends prior work by studying social class and parent involvement within the African American community and by highlighting the interaction between parents’ perceptions of school context and their educational orientations.
This article explores the social processes and outcomes associated with a school-linked, community-based program that successfully engages Latino parents and children in a low-income school community. Framed by an ethnographic, embedded case study design, the authors collected data from 32 Latino parents. The findings detail parents’ experiences when first entering the neighborhood and how these experiences shape their engagement with other parents in the program and neighborhood community. We conclude that efforts engaging low-income parents as communities of practice hold special promise for reducing barriers to children’s learning, especially when school leaders, community-based organizations, and social researchers leverage their resources and capital in ways that support parents’ efforts, insights, and aspirations.
This study examined the level and impact offive types ofparent involvement on elementary school children's academic achievement by race/ethnicity, poverty, andparent educational attainment. The sample comprised 415 third through fifth graders who completed the Elementary School Success Profile. Hypotheses from Bourdieu's theory of cultural capital were assessed with t tests, chi-square statistics, and hierarchical regressions. Consistent with the theory, parents with different demographic characteristics exhibited different types of involvement, and the types of involvement exhibited by parents from dominant groups had the strongest association with achievement. However, contrary to theoretical expectations, members of dominant and nondomi- nant groups benefited similarly from certain types of involvement and dif- ferently from others. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
The nonverbal battery of the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) is one of the two most common nonverbal measures used in gifted identification, yet the relationships between demographic variables and CogAT7 performance has not yet been fully examined. Additionally, the effect of using the CogAT7 nonverbal battery on the identification of diverse demographic groups based on various norming, cutoff, and modifier plans has only just begun to be explored. In this study, we analyzed the CogAT7 nonverbal battery scores of kindergartners from a very large urban school district with a high minority, low socioeconomic status, and high English language learner population to determine the relationships between demographic variables and CogAT performance. The results suggest relationships between CogAT scores and multiple demographic variables, similar to other nonverbal instruments. We also examined the effects of various norming practices, including school-level and group-specific norming, on identification using the CogAT7 nonverbal battery.
The number of economically vulnerable students in the United States is large and growing. In this article, we examine income-based excellence gaps and describe recent controversies in the definition and measurement of poverty, with an eye toward their application to gifted education and meeting the needs of talented, economically vulnerable students. Regardless of how poverty is conceptualized, evidence suggests that U.S. childhood poverty rates are indeed high, both in absolute terms and relative to other countries, and that income-related achievement disparities are similarly large. Recommendations are included for interventions to close persistent poverty excellence gaps, including frontloading, broadened understanding of opportunity, universal screening using local norms, improved educator preparation and support, state K-12 accountability systems that reward schools for closing excellence gaps, widespread use of ability grouping, and selective use of psychosocial interventions at the college level.
Although the relationships between family income and student identification for gifted programming are well documented, less is known about how school and district wealth are related to student identification. To examine the effects of institutional and individual poverty on student identification, we conducted a series of three-level regression models. Students of poverty are generally less likely to be identified for gifted services, even after controlling for prior math and reading achievement. Furthermore, school poverty predicts the percentage of gifted students identified in a school. Within districts, even after controlling for reading and math scores, the poorer schools in a district have lower identification rates. Whereas students of poverty are generally less likely to be identified for gifted services, poor students in poor schools are even less likely to be identified as gifted.
Low-income and minority students are substantially underrepresented in gifted education programs. The disparities persist despite efforts by many states and school districts to broaden participation through changes in their eligibility criteria. One explanation for the persistent gap is that standard processes for identifying gifted students, which are based largely on the referrals of parents and teachers, tend to miss qualified students from underrepresented groups. We study this hypothesis using the experiences of a large urban school district following the introduction of a universal screening program for second graders. Without any changes in the standards for gifted eligibility, the screening program led to large increases in the fractions of economically disadvantaged and minority students placed in gifted programs. Comparisons of the newly identified gifted students with those who would have been placed in the absence of screening show that Blacks and Hispanics, free/reduced price lunch participants, English language learners, and girls were all systematically "underreferred" in the traditional parent/teacher referral system. Our findings suggest that parents and teachers often fail to recognize the potential of poor and minority students and those with limited English proficiency.
Scholars have suggested that the benefits of representative bureaucracy arise from bureaucrats acting in the interests of
clients who share their characteristics, increased diversity encouraging even nonminority bureaucrats work to further the
interests of minority clients, and/or the actions of clients that are more responsive to bureaucrats that share their characteristics. Despite decades of research, the literature has
been unable to empirically disentangle these mechanisms, primarily because the vast majority of studies examine only organization-level
data, and, at the aggregate level, they all produce identical findings. In contrast, this study makes use of data that allows
us to observe the behavior of individual clients and bureaucrats, as well as the aggregate characteristics of the organizations
in which they interact. Specifically, we make use of student-level data to predict differences in the probability that an
elementary student is referred to gifted services by race. Our results suggest that black students are more likely to be referred
to gifted services when taught by a black teacher but that increased presence of black teachers in the school other than the classroom teacher has little effect. We find some evidence that the classroom teacher effect is partially driven by teachers’
more positive views of own-race students. Our results do not suggest, however, that the positive impact of teacher-student
race congruence on gifted assignment can be explained by differences in student test score performance or increased parental
interaction with the teacher.
For the past several decades, the construct of parent involvement (PI) has framed much of the literature on school–family–community partnerships. In this study, the authors used a qualitative form of meta-analysis called thematic synthesis to explore a programmatic alternative to conventional PI known as collective parent engagement (CPE). The CPE approach examined in this study was implemented in three low-income, urban school communities. The primary goal was to help low-income parents develop programs and services that could support the strengths, needs, and challenges of children and families at school and in the community. The findings indicated that, when implemented as an isolated or “stand-alone” service strategy, CPE generally does not influence school outcomes. But when tied to a broader system of reform efforts, CPE can help transform the social-institutional landscape of low-income, urban school communities.
Class does make a difference in the lives and futures of American children. Drawing on in-depth observations of black and white middle-class, working-class, and poor families, Unequal Childhoods explores this fact, offering a picture of childhood today. Here are the frenetic families managing their children's hectic schedules of "leisure" activities; and here are families with plenty of time but little economic security. Lareau shows how middle-class parents, whether black or white, engage in a process of "concerted cultivation" designed to draw out children's talents and skills, while working-class and poor families rely on "the accomplishment of natural growth," in which a child's development unfolds spontaneously—as long as basic comfort, food, and shelter are provided. Each of these approaches to childrearing brings its own benefits and its own drawbacks. In identifying and analyzing differences between the two, Lareau demonstrates the power, and limits, of social class in shaping the lives of America's children. The first edition of Unequal Childhoods was an instant classic, portraying in riveting detail the unexpected ways in which social class influences parenting in white and African American families. A decade later, Annette Lareau has revisited the same families and interviewed the original subjects to examine the impact of social class in the transition to adulthood.
Many gifted education experts have found that Black, Hispanic, and Native American students are less likely to be identified for gifted programs than Asian American and White students. A study was conducted to ascertain the degree of underrepresentation of these groups in gifted programs in Utah. Using state-collected data from 14,781 students in six representative school districts in Utah, it was found through multiple logistic regression analysis that there was no statistically significant difference in the likelihoods that Black, Hispanic, or Native American students and White students would be identified as gifted; Asian American and Pacific Islander students were more likely to be identified as gifted than White students. After controlling for academic achievement and SES, it was found that all diverse demographic groups of students were more likely to be identified as gifted than White students, although the differences did not reach statistical significance for multiracial or Native American students. Further research into the nature and causes of disproportionate representation in gifted programs is suggested.
Policymakers must assess the status of information on which they base their decisions. This article presents a meta-analysis of studies of the effects of special, homogeneous classes versus regular, heterogeneous classes on achievement and nonachievement outcomes of gifted students. The principal findings indicated that the gifted students in special classes achieved more than their gifted counterparts in regular classes. There were no differences in measures of self-concept, but the gifted students in regular classes had more positive attitudes toward peers. The magnitude of the effects were questionable, however, because of the methodological weakness of matching procedures employed to define the students in special and regular classes. The effect sizes were influenced largely by the number of variables used to match the gifted students in the two classroom frameworks. Larger effect sizes were associated with studies that used few variables to match the students in the special and regular classes.
Although family life has an important impact on children's chances in life, the mechanisms through which parents transmit advantages are imperfectly understood. An ethnographic data set of white and black children around 10 years old shows the effects of social class on interactions at home. Middle-class parents engage in concerted cultivation by attempting to foster children's talents through organized leisure activities and extensive reasoning. Working-class and poor parents engage in the accomplishment of natural growth, providing the conditions under which children can grow, but leaving leisure activities to children themselves. These parents also use commands rather than reasoning. Middle-class children, both white and black, gain an emerging sense of entitlement from their family life. Race had much less impact than social class. Also, differences in a cultural logic of raising children gave parents and their children differential resources to draw on in their interactions with professionals from dominant classes and other adults outside home. Middle-class children gained individually insignificant but cumulatively important advantages. Working-class and poor children did not display the same sense of entitlement or advantages. Some areas of family life appeared immune from the effects of social class, however.
Work on bureaucratic representation suggests that minority citizens benefit when the programs that serve them are administered by bureaucrats with similar characteristics. This literature has not sufficiently dealt with the long-standing concern that minority benefits may come at the expense of citizens from other groups, which some critics argue makes representative bureaucracy irreconcilable with democratic values. This article suggests distributional equity as a potential moderator of bureaucratic representation and as a potential source of reconciliation. It tests for the effects of representation under different distributional conditions in a policy area in which outcomes approach a zero-sum game. Analyses of a nationally representative sample of public organizations find a relationship between bureaucratic representation and citizen outcomes only in those instances where program benefits are being inequitably distributed to the relevant group. The article concludes with a discussion of the significance of these findings for the democratic legitimacy of representative bureaucracy.
In this article I seek to answer the question, ''When are racial disparities in education the result of racial discrimination?'' To answer it I synthesize the social science research on racially correlated disparities in education. My review draws from the sociology, anthropology, political science, psychology, history, and education literatures. I organize explanations into six categories: biological determinism, social structure, school organization and opportunities to learn, family background, culture, and the state. I arrive at three answers. The first is a definition: Racial discrimination in education arises from actions of institutions or individual state actors, their attitudes and ideologies, or processes that systematically treat students from different racial/ethnic groups disparately or inequitably. The second answer is that while distinguishing racial discrimination from disparities may be an interesting intellectual, legal, and statistical challenge, the conclusion probably is less meaningful than social scientists and policy makers might hope. The third answer follows from the first two. I propose the following reformulation of the original question: ''When are racial disparities in education not due to discrimination?'' I argue that the reformulated question is more likely to bring solutions to the race gap than the original one. Even if we conclude that discrimination does not cause racial disparities in education, we should not conclude that schools have no role in addressing them. If public schools do not address educational disparities, then who or what institution will?
A dataset containing demographic information, gifted nomination status, and gifted identification status for all elementary school students in the state of Georgia (N = 705,074) was examined. The results indicated that automatic and teacher referrals were much more valuable than other referral sources. Asian and White students were much more likely to be nominated than Black or Hispanic students. Students receiving free or reduced-price lunches were much less likely to be nominated than students paying for their own lunches. The results suggest that inequalities in nomination, rather than assessment, may be the primary source of the underrepresentation of minority and low-SES students in gifted programs.
This article discusses five reconsiderations (lessons) the research on the education of the gifted and talented suggests. Although several of the considerations derive from traditional practice in the field, some reconsideration is warranted because of more currently researched differences in how the gifted learner intellectually functions. It is argued that thinking of the gifted learner as idiosyncratic, not necessarily one of many classified as “the gifted,” requires a reconceptualization of how to appropriately and fully serve this unique learner. The research synthesized here covers the period from 1861 to present and represents the entire body of published research studies and representative literature (theory, program descriptions, and persuasive essays). Implications for service development and implementation are also discussed.
This project was a 2-year investigation of elementary school children placed in programs for high-ability learners. The primary purpose of the study was to investigate academic and affective changes in students during their first 2 years in a gifted program. Students were assessed during the fall of one year and the spring of the next year. Subjects were from 14 different school districts in 10 states and included African American and Caucasian/ non-Hispanic students. The study compared students enrolled in gifted programs (special school, separate class, pull-out, within-class), high-achieving students from districts in which no program was available at the designated grade levels, and nongifted students in regular classrooms. This project focused on academic and affective student outcomes through multiple administrations of an achievement test, a self-perception survey, and a motivation inventory. In addition to comparing programs in general, an important dimension of the project was to examine characteristics of students from traditionally underserved populations. This was accomplished by including the variables of racial/ ethnic status and the social status of participants. Results revealed that there were differences in cognitive and affective outcomes across program types. Therefore, it is strongly advised that educators conduct ongoing evaluations of their programs to be better able to monitor and address all students' needs.
Fifty college students were interviewed about their prior experiences in gifted programs and their perspectives on the impact of these experiences on their lives. Interview questions probed the types of experiences they remembered, including the types of instruction they had, their relations with peers, and their views about how their experiences in gifted programs affected other parts of their lives. Data were analyzed qualitatively with additional topics and themes emerging. In this paper, the author shares their voices and discusses the implications of their reports.
This article presents results from a meta-analysis of findings on the effects of accelerated instruction on elementary and secondary school students. The data for the meta-analysis came from 26 controlled studies. The analysis showed that examination performance of accelerates surpassed by nearly one grade level the performance of nonaccelerates of equivalent age and intelligence. Examination scores of accelerates were equivalent to those of same-grade but older, talented nonaccelerates. Nonintellective outcomes were investigated relatively infrequently in the 26 studies and were not consistent from study to study.
This paper discusses the rationale for developing performance assessment tasks to augment the identification of more economically disadvantaged and minority students for gifted programs in one state; provides a blue-print for the development protocol, including preteaching, rubrics, and exemplars; and shows major findings for use of the protocol with intended students. The performance assessment tasks were developed and revised based on try-out, pilot, and field test data collected across multiple districts with more than 4,000 students at primary and intermediate grades. Appropriate technical adequacy data were used for decision making on task and rubric revisions. Criterion levels of performance within domains were developed to ensure inclusion of populations of interest without compromising the integrity of the task protocols. The performance assessment tasks of Project STAR resulted in finding an additional group of students who were 12% African American and 14(Y) low-income children dunng the field test of the instrument. These students represent those who would not have qualified for gifted programs using traditional measures. In that sense, the assessment approach yields a “value-added” component to the state identification system. Thus, Project STAR provides an effective and innovative approach to finding more low-SES and minority gifted students for programs.
This paper summarizes a qualitative study of family-school relationships in white working-class and middle-class communities. The results indicate that schools have standardized views of the proper role of parents in schooling. Moreover, social class provides parents with unequal resources to comply with teachers' requests for parental participation. Characteristics of family life (e.g., social networks) also intervene and mediate family-school relationships. The social and cultural elements of family life that facilitate compliance with teachers' requests can be viewed as a form of cultural capital. The study suggests that the concept of cultural capital can be used fruitfully to understand social class differences in children's school experiences.
Words) Students with exceptional academic potential who come from low-income families are frequently not identified for and consequently are underrepresented in gifted and talented programs. Because of this, new means of identifying such children must be developed. This paper presents the findings of exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses conducted on the HOPE Scale, a 13-item teacher-rating instrument designed to identify academic and social components of giftedness in elementary-aged students. Participants included 349 teachers who completed HOPE Scales on 5995 ethnically and economically diverse students from three rural and two metropolitan school districts in the Midwest. MCFA was also used to evaluate measurement invariance between income groups. Findings suggest a two-factor model represents good fit for the data while remaining loyal to the latent constructs of academic and social giftedness. Invariance test results suggested equivalence of model form, factor loading, and factor variances across income groups.
This study tracks the profile data of identification for gifted students in South Carolina, where a new performance-based dimension of identification has been employed, during a 3-year period. Targeted to identify more low-income and minority students, the identification protocol demonstrates efficacy in doing so. The study also tracks comparative data, showing the verbal and nonverbal profiles of students identified using this protocol in comparison to students more traditionally identified. Results suggest that students identified using performance tasks were more likely to be identified through the nonverbal assessment component of the tasks. Performance data are tracked across 2 years, showing that performance task-identified students, in general, perform at levels below traditionally identified students. In their area of strength, however, they tend to approach the mean for the traditionally identified gifted students on that portion of the high-stakes state test.
This monograph describes Project START (Support To Affirm Rising Talent), a three-year collaborative research effort to develop and apply gifted identification procedures based on Howard Gardner's (1983) theory of multiple intelligences. Specifically, the study attempted to: (1) develop identification procedures; (2) identify high-potential primary age students from culturally diverse and/or low economic backgrounds using the multiple intelligences model; (3) investigate the reliability and validity of the identification procedures; and (4) test the efficacy of specific interventions on student achievement and attitudes about school and self. Identified students were assigned to one of three conditions: an experimental condition involving modification of classroom activities and a family outreach program; an experimental condition involving modification of classroom activities, a family outreach program, and a mentorship; and a control group. Findings of the qualitative and quantitative study are grouped into the following categories: psychometric properties of the assessment tools; achievement, attitude, and self-concept; teacher changes during the project; outcomes for students and their families; elements of the program found to be most effective; and other qualitative findings. Two appendices include a project lesson development flow chart and classroom observation protocols. (Contains approximately 225 references.) (DB)
The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K), selected a nationally representative sample of approximately 22,000 kindergartners in the fall of 1998 and is following these children through the end of the fifth grade. Baseline data about these children, their families, and their kindergarten programs were collected by means of telephone interviews with the children's parents or guardians and from self-administered questionnaires completed by the kindergarten teachers. Data were also gathered during an individual assessment with each child. This report documents the design, development, and psychometric characteristics of the assessment instruments used in the ECLS-K. The focus is on the psychometric results of the assessment instruments for four time points: Fall- and Spring-kindergarten and Fall- and Spring-first grade. The assessment instrument examined three domains: the cognitive (direct and indirect), socioemotional, and psychomotor. In addition, the report discusses issues involved in analyzing longitudinal measures of cognitive skills, including the use of total scores and of proficiency probabilities to measure longitudinal change. Initial results revealed sex differences in prereading skills at kindergarten entry and the areas of gain. Public school children had the lowest reading skills at kindergarten entry, followed by Catholic school children, with private non-Catholic school children having the highest reading skills. There were differences in the areas of gain in children attending different types of schools. The report's five appendices include a summary of national mathematics and science curriculum standards, reading assessment content classifications used for test item development, ECLS item parameters and item fit by rounds, and score statistics for indirect and psychomotor measures for selected subgroups. (Contains 60 references.) (KB)
Documents the activities, resources, and relationships available to three gifted urban elementary public school children living in poverty and describes their adjustment at home and at school over a three-year period. Despite their mothers' active involvement in their education, the children experienced limited academic opportunities. (CR)