Why so many Marginalized Students are left out of Gifted Education

A preliminary giftedness test given to all second-graders at a Broward County, Florida school has proved incredibly beneficial for the improving the academics of all students. The traditional system relied on nominations from teachers and parents, giving students who come from families with more resource an unfair advantage over their just as intelligent, but marginalized peers.

“The screening program led to a 180 percent increase in the gifted rate among all disadvantaged students, with a 130% increase for Hispanic students and an 80% increase for black students.”

These students were also more likely to have parents that spoke a primary language other than English. Under the new system, the new gifted students (who were predominantly black, latino, immigrant children and kids from lower income families) benefited academically. Because researchers noted poor and immigrant children tend to have lower test scores and grades on average, some may have been led to assume that few of them had the intellectual potential of more-privileged kids, but they excelled just as well as their peers already in the program.

In relation to the study, National Association for Gifted Children board chair George Betts said the standard educator and parent referrals are not enough to identify all gifted students. It’s time to change the way we approach gifted classes and make sure that students in those classes reflect the larger demographic of their schools’ as a whole to be sure students of all backgrounds have a chance for advancement.

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