Universal screening increases the representation of low-income and minority students in gifted education

David Card, Laura Giuliano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13678-13683
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume113
Issue number48
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 29 2016

Keywords

  • Gifted identification
  • Underrepresentation
  • Universal screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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