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Equity and Access to Gifted Education

gtchat 04122018 Equity

Minority students including African Americans and Hispanics; ELL (English Language Learners); as well as low SES (socio-economic status) students are often left out of gifted programs. Today, we also need to be aware of bias against LGBTQ students, children of military personnel, homeless, and most twice-exceptional students.

Barriers to gifted education include school district policies that fail to recognize and value cultural diversity. Presumptions about low-income and minority students are given too much credence by decision-makers. Twice/thrice-exceptional students may not be achieving at acceptable levels and thus barred from participation in gifted programs. Schools tend to focus on disabilities which may be masking abilities.

The identification process can affect equity. Identification of giftedness is too often based on outdated information or research that doesn’t take into account cultural diversity and the needs of ELL students. Parents and students need to be better informed by school districts about the benefits and opportunities afforded by participation in gifted programs.

There are laws already in place to change this situation. Gifted education has been successfully argued under civil rights legislation. Also, twice-exceptional students are often covered by special education regulations. The legality of participation in gifted education programs is often dependent on state laws and regulation. Parents and teachers should check with state or national gifted organizations for laws applying to their particular state or country.

Parents can make a difference in their school district. They are passionate about the education of their children. Parents of gifted children should learn the lessons provided by parents of special needs children who took their battles to the courts. Parenting a gifted child is hard work – parents should become knowledgeable about state regulations regarding gifted education and who their state congressional representatives are as well as their child’s school’s written gifted policies. Parents also need to learn the ‘chain of command’ in their school district. Start with the child’s teacher, then administrator; and if necessary, school board.

There are practical steps can educators and policy makers can take to increase equity in gifted programs. These include seeing possibilities rather than limitations, seeking solutions rather than dwelling on obstacles, emphasizing student’s strengths over weaknesses, and improving communications with parents. Policy makers and administrators need to provide cultural sensitivity training for all educators, high quality course offerings that are culturally sensitive and ELL compliant, and expand access to rigorous curriculum. Administrators should provide PD in gifted education which would aid in achieving accurate identification, increase out of school opportunities for most at-risk students and engage community support for expanded opportunities. A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at:


Gifted Cubed: Race & Culture

Gifted Cubed Printable Color Brochure

Want to Make Gifted Education More Equitable? First, Be Aware of the Political Winds That Drove (and Derailed) Innovative Policies in These States

Perspectives on Equity in Gifted Education (pdf)

Bright, Talented, & Black: A Guide for Families of African American Gifted Learners (Amazon)

The Rare District That Recognizes Gifted Latino Students

NY: White Plains Schools Focus on Increasing Diversity in Advanced Courses after Fed Investigation

Access and Equity through Career and Technical Education

Enhancing Professional Learning Strategies to Increase Students from Diverse Cultural Groups Participation in Gifted Programs

Report Shows Widespread Lack of Support for High-Ability, Low-Income Students in U.S.

County Aims to Break Down Racial Barriers to Gifted Classes

Equal Talents, Unequal Opportunities 2nd Addition (pdf)

Norwalk Schools Reveal Gifted Program Redesign

What to Do About a Generation of ‘Lost Einsteins’

A New Majority Low Income Students Now a Majority In the Nation’s Public Schools (pdf)

Universal Screening in Gifted and Talented Identification: Implementation and Overcoming Challenges

Universal Screening Increases the Representation of Low-Income and Minority Students in Gifted Education

What if low-income, gifted students had the same support and connections as their affluent classmates?

5 Ways to Help Bright Low-Income Students to Excel

Report from National Center for Research on Gifted Education (pdf – PP)

Students in Poverty Less Likely to be Identified as Gifted

Effective Practices for Identifying and Serving English Learners in Gifted Education (pdf)

Parental Expectations for Asian American Men Who Entered College Early: Influences on their Academic, Career, and Interpersonal Decision-Making (pdf)

Recruiting and Supporting Underrepresented Students in Gifted and Talented Programs (pdf)

Identifying Gifted and Talented English Language Learners (pdf)

Underrepresentation of Minorities in Gifted and Talented Programs: A Content Analysis of Five District Program Plans (pdf)

Underrepresentation of Culturally Different Students in Gifted Education: Reflections About Current Problems and Recommendations for the Future (pdf)

Equitable Access for Underrepresented Students in Gifted Education (pdf)

Minority Students Underrepresented in Gifted Programs

Can Universal Screening Increase the Representation of Low Income and Minority Students in Gifted Education? (pdf)

Underrepresentation of Black and Hispanic Students in Gifted Programs (YouTube 5:14)

Building Diversity in Gifted Programs (TEDxABQED 6:41)

To Be Young, Gifted and Black (Amazon) Excerpt (pdf)

Young, Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present (Amazon)

Income, Race Big Factors in Rates of ‘Gifted’ Students

Multicultural Gifted Education, 2nd ed. (Amazon)

Image courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.



The Gifted Identification Process with Guest, Dr. Joy Lawson Davis


gtchat 01262016 Identification


The gifted identification process has been a hot topic in gifted education for decades. Far too often it is mired in personal prejudices, politics, and misapplied theories about what constitutes a gifted student. Dr. Joy Lawson Davis, our guest expert, shed some much needed light on the topic during our chat and we thank her for taking the time to share her insights with us.

There are several issues associated with the fair assessment. The fairness of group vs individual testing is an important factor when considering assessing gifted students. There needs to be a procedure in place for identifying students in immediate need of services as well as potential for need. The identification process must involve the collaboration of multiple stakeholders – administrators, teachers, parents and the student. Dr. Gail Post, clinical psychologist, pointed out that “when schools form a gifted “program” with loose guidelines”; it can become an issue.

Best practices in the use of assessments include aligning assessment tools with state and local definitions of gifted as well as the school’s gifted program’s goals and objectives. School personnel need to be familiar with the test being used and know how to administer it. Joshua Lemere, 4th grade gifted education teacher in NC, explained, “[Best practices include] valid and reliable assessments; if using work samples, clearly defined rubric with independent “examiners”. If using a checklist and rating scale, then the auditor MUST BE trained in how to effectively use it without bias.” Dr. Stephen Covert, Principal at Pine View School for the Gifted in Sarasota, Florida, related, “it’s not just those who ‘play well at school’.” Susan E. Jackson of Celebrating High Potential  added, “Quantitative assessments should be re-normed for local population to be valid.”

“Too often creative,  aberrant gifted is ignored. It happens to diverse students too much!” ~ Dr. Joy Lawson Davis

The responsibilities of program administrators in the identification process are first being responsible for eliminating bias in the choice of assessments to be used to identify gifted students. Carolyn K of Hoagies’ Gifted suggested, “Program administrators should do in-service to refresh teacher training on specific measures, and keep an eye out for unusual gifted kids.” Finally, administrators should periodically review the identification process.

“Program Administrators should understand and re-design identification protocol as needed. They are responsible to ensure equity and fairness.” ~ Dr. Joy Lawson Davis

Next we considered how poor identification methods can adversely affect low-income, minority, and ELL students. Most often, they fail to account for cultural bias in tests. Dr. Davis told us, “Portfolios, performance based assessments, and observations are all excellent criteria and tools to use. Parent checklists appropriate for all cultures should also be used. A recent study from Vanderbilt demonstrated that Black students are less likely to be referred when teachers are white.  Also important that any checklist be culturally fair and up to date. Many districts use lists that are 20+ years old. Limited access to high end high school courses limits students ability to apply for and be accepted in competitive colleges.”

“Students suffer from low self esteem, isolation, underachievement when they don’t have access to high end classes.” ~ Dr. Joy Lawson Davis

What do parents need to know about their school’s identification process for gifted programs? Parents need to understand that there are no nation-wide or even state-wide standards for identification. They should be aware of the criteria their school uses and ask how their child was evaluated for selection into gifted program. Barry Gelston of Mr. Gelston’s One Room Schoolhouse, queried, ” Should I homeschool my child?”

Dr. Davis added, “Parents need to know WHO will administer the testing what the results of the tests ‘say’ about their child’s potential. They need to know about the district’s appeals process in case the child is not ‘eligible for services’. Parents need to know if outside/alternative testing is allowed and what the time-frame is.Parents should ask if they can attend the ‘decision’ meeting to serve as an advocate for their child.”

A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

Enjoy our blog, but haven’t joined in a chat on Twitter? We’d love to have you share your expertise with others. Who knows? You may be quoted in one of our posts and you will definitely be included in the transcript. Not sure where to start? Check out our post here to find out how! And remember that #gtchat now meets on Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P. See you there!



gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at  2 PM (14.00) NZDT/Noon (12.00) AEDT/1 AM (1.00) UK. to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found atStorify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at:


Why Gifted Children Can Slip through the Cracks

How Teachers Can Identify Gifted Students and Promote High Achievers

In One Elementary School, a Researcher Finds Sharply Divergent Views on its Gifted Program

Identifying and Nourishing Gifted Students 

Identifying Gifted Learners (Livebinder)

#gtchat Blog: Gifted Identification

Identification of Gifted Children

The Ongoing Dilemma of Effective Identification Practices in Gifted Education (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Gifted Identification Page

Ethical Considerations for Gifted Assessment & Identification of Diverse Students (pdf)

The Role of Assessments in the Identification of Gifted Students

Giftedness Defined: How to Identify a Gifted Child

Best Practices for Identifying Gifted Students (pdf)

Study: Washoe Gifted, Talented Selection Process Biased

Educational Views: Dr. Joy Lawson Davis (audio 2:37)

Gifted Children at with Carol Bainbridge

Bright, Talented, & Black: A Guide for Families of African American Gifted Learners by Dr. Joy Lawson Davis

Identification from the NAGC via Jerry Blumengarten

An Overview: Tests and Assessments from the NAGC via Cathleen Healy

These Kids were Geniuses — They were Just Too Poor for Anyone to Discover Them

Gifted by State from the NAGC

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Closing the Excellence Gap

Talent on the Sidelines

As Global #gtchat celebrated its 2nd year of support from the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented, we welcomed a formidable panel of guests to discuss “Closing the Excellence Gap”. For over a decade, U.S. education policy-makers have sought to close the achievement gap; virtually ignoring its brightest students believing they would make it on their own. Worse yet, low-income and minority students who should have been receiving support were not even invited into the room.

Let’s meet our guests for this chat! Dr. Joy Davis is Associate Professor at Virginia Union University,  author of Bright, Talented & Black: A Guide for Families of African American Gifted Learners and a return guest to #gtchat. Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman is co-founder of The Creativity Post, Blogger at Scientific American and author of Ungifted. Rebecca McMillan is Senior Editor of The Creativity Post  and founder of The Brain Café on Facebook. Rebecca is also an online instructor for Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. Dr. Jonathan Plucker is Professor at the University of Connecticut and Lead Author on “Talent on the Sidelines: Excellence Gaps and America’s Persistent Talent Underclass.” Dr. Donna Y. Ford was unable to be with us due to travel delays, but has agreed to be our guest for another chat in the near future. We look forward to chatting with her.

Joy-davis                                                                  Dr. Joy Lawson Davis

Scott Barry KaufmanDr. Scott Barry Kaufman

Rebecca McMillanRebecca McMillan

Jonathan PluckerDr. Jonathan Plucker

Our first question delved into the difference between the Achievement Gap and the Excellence Gap.

Dr. Davis: “It’s [EG] a gap that prevents equitable access to advanced education programs; creating a schism between haves and have-nots. The have-nots are as capable, but lack access and opportunities; thus achievement cannot be fairly measured.”

Dr. Kaufman: “The ‘excellence gap’ represents the growing gap between high performing disadvantaged youth and more affluent peers.”

Rebecca McMillan: “Whereas the achievement gap focuses on the percentage of culturally diverse and disadvantaged students that reach proficiency, the excellence gap focuses on the percentage of culturally diverse & low-income students who reach higher levels of achievement as measured by participation in GT programs, AP & Honors classes, and advanced scores on state and national assessments.”

Dr. Plucker: “Excellence Gaps are achievement gaps at the high end of the achievement range. Excellence Gaps are big & persistent. The term represents intersection between equity & excellence. The U.S. is one of the few countries that treat equity & excellence as mutually exclusive.”

What groups comprise ‘America’s Persistent Talent Underclass’?

Dr. Davis: “[Groups include] students of color, particularly African American & Latino students & the poor, those from single parent headed households.”

Dr. Kaufman: “Any student who is systematically blocked from resources that would allow him or her to flourish is vulnerable. The culture of the school can also have a tremendous impact on vulnerability to excellence gaps.

Rebecca McMillan: “I would include homeless, abused, and neglected students. Students with unstable or difficult home environments.”

Dr. Plucker: “Underprivileged minority students and poor students, primarily. Some evidence that racial Excellence Gaps are closing at VERY slow rates; but poverty Excellence Gaps appear to be growing”

How can inequities specifically related to racial differences in gifted & advanced learner programs be addressed?

Dr. Davis: “By recognizing the very real discriminatory factors that prevent equitable experiences in schools. Ensuring that teachers are trained and sensitive to the needs of diverse students and how culture and race impacts learning. [While] doing PD in Title I school, teacher said to me: ‘aint’ no gifted kids in this school!

Dr. Kaufman: “I advocate a holistic evaluation of possibility for all students that assesses ability, engagement, and personal goals.We must take all dreams seriously, no matter how big or small, and help students get there step by step.”

Rebecca McMillan: “Identification issues are paramount. We need multiple, wide-gauge methods. Creativity must be considered. In my view, what drives both the excellence and achievement gaps is an engagement gap.”

Dr. Plucker: “Use local norms. Inexcusable to have no services in majority minority or high poverty schs. Local norms help change perceptions.I still hear racist comments in schools, for ex., “We can’t let too many of ‘those kids’ into the program.” Need to confront! [This] goes for poor kids, too: We don’t talk nearly enough about anti-poor bias in U.S.”

A complete transcript of this chat may be found here.


Talent on the Sidelines: The Widening Gap in Excellence” at the Creativity Post by Scott Barry Kaufman 

Talent on the Sidelines: Excellence Gaps & America’s Persistent Talent Underclass” by Dr. JonathanPlucker (pdf)

Excellence Gap 2012 (website)

Dr. Jonathan Plucker Bio @UCONN

Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman Bio

The Brain Cafe on Facebook

Dr. Joy Lawson Davis’ Blog WeAreGifted2

Interview with Dr. JonathanPlucker on Talent on the Sidelines (podcast)

Improve Education While Increasing Child Poverty – An Impossible NC Strategy

Hispanics Struggle to Graduate: An Issue of School Choice?

Report: ‘Excellence Gap’ Growing Among American Students

Excellence Gap Among American Students

Long Read: Narrowing the Excellence Gap

Report Cites Growing ‘Excellence Gap’

Report: Race, Wealth Remain Factors in State Achievement Gap

Race Equity & Excellence in Education Network  

White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics (website)

Dr. Donna Ford Bio

“Excellence Gap” from GiftedPhoenix

Scientific American Blog Beautiful Minds by Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman

Scott Barry Kaufman’s Website

“Academic Survivability in High-Potential, Middle School Students” GCQ 1996 Plucker/McIntire

5 Questions for Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman about ‘The Creativity Post’ by Dr. JonathanLWai

Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined (book – Amazon) by @sbkaufman Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman

The Complexity of Greatness: Beyond Talent or Practice (book – Amazon) by Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman 

Few Black & Latino Students Were Admitted to NYC’s Specialized Schools This Year

Integrating Multicultural and Gifted Education: A Curricular Framework” (pdf) from Dr. Donna Y. Ford et al

Bright, Talented, & Black: A Guide for Families of African American Gifted Learners (Amazon – book) by Dr. Joy Lawson Davis

Welcome Dr. Donna Y. Ford to SENG’s Professional Advisory Committee

I, Too, Am Harvard

Cybraryman’s Culture Page

Cybraryman’s You Matter Page

From Evaluation to Inspiration: Scott Barry Kaufman at TEDx Manhattan Beach (video)

From Evaluation to Inspiration” at Scientific American Beautiful Minds Blog from Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman

Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program

Measuring Child Poverty: New League Tables of Child Poverty in the World’s Rich Countries from Unicef

Map the Meal Gap, Food Insecurity in Your County (U.S.)

The Need for Belonging in Math and Science” by Scott Barry Kaufman

Letter Grades Deserve an ‘F’” from Jessica Lahey

De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes: One Size Shoe Cover System” from Jo Freitag

The Future Project

Revealing New Truths About Our Nation’s Schools” (pdf) from the Office for Civil Rights

Status Quo at Elite New York Schools: Few Blacks and Hispanics

Con Cariño: Teacher Caring, Math Self-Efficacy, and Math Achievement Among Hispanic English Learners

Learning to Attend to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners Through Teacher Inquiry in Teacher Education

Chapel Hill – Carrboro City Schools Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate 2013 – 2014 Program

Intensive Small-Group Tutoring and Counseling Helps Struggling Students

Rebecca McMillan Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Online Spring 2014 Instructor

Rebecca McMillan Sui Generis at The Creativity Post

Rebecca McMillan Senior Editor at The Creativity Post

Ode to Positive Constructive Daydreaming” by Rebecca McMillan et al

Can Equity Be Achieved in Gifted Education?

Global #gtchat was excited to host not one, but two surprised guest experts at this chat! Dr. Joy L. Davis, educational consultant, scholar and author at Creating Positive Futures; and Dr. Donna Y. Ford, Professor of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University. A full transcript can be found here.

Joy-Lawson-Davis1Dr. Joy Lawson Davis

donna ford

Dr. Donna Y. Ford

During this chat we discussed barriers which exist to participation  in gifted programs for high-ability, low-income students; which groups of children are most widely excluded from gifted programs; and who is most poised to make a difference – parents, educators, policy makers.  Finally, best practices in achieving equity in gifted education and practical steps that could be taken by local educators to make a difference were proposed.

In 2012, the NAGC released “Unlocking Emergent Talent: Supporting High Achievement of Low-Income, High-Ability Students” which “challenges the nation to move beyond its near-singular focus of achieving minimum performance for all students, to identifying and developing the talent of all students who are capable of high achievement, including our promising low-income and culturally and linguistically diverse students who too often literally languish in our schools.” Information from this report was used in the research for this chat.


Title I + Gifted Education=Partnership for Equity from @davis_joy

Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged

Poverty’s Multiple Dimensions

Overlooked Gems A National Perspective on Low-Income Promising Learners (pdf)

#IAGC Diverse Populations: The Prism of Giftedness

In the News: U-46 Found to Discriminate in Gifted Program

New & Important Books to Help with Eradicating Inequities in Education” from @davis_joy

Donna Y Ford, PhD’ (website)

Bright, Talented & Black (Amazon) from @davis_joy

Multicultural Gifted Education” from @donnayford

Bright, Talented & Black (website)

We Are Gifted 2 (Dr. Joy’s Blog)

Mirror Books: Power of Positive Images (Dr. Joy’s Facebook Page)

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students in Gifted Education: Recruitment Issues (pdf) by Dr. Ford

Renowned Educators Share Strategies to Support At-Risk-Youth

From the Texas Education Agency: What is Equity in G/T Education?

Civil Rights Date Collection (U.S. government)

Critique of ‘Unlocking Emerging Talent’ from @GiftedPhoenix

Cybraryman’s Culture Page


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