Blog Archives

Bridging the Excellence Gap with Guest, Dr. Jonathan Plucker

gtchat 03152016 Excellence Gap


This week, we welcomed Dr. Jonathan Plucker to #gtchat to discuss the Excellence Gap and what could be done to impede its growth. Although the focus of the chat was on the U.S., it was noted that recent data shows that this phenomenon is unfortunately occurring in other countries as well.

The Excellence Gap refers to differences in advanced achievement between groups of students; usually focusing on gaps in underperforming groups based on race, ethnicity and socio-economic status. Individuals in all demographic groups have the potential to achieve at advanced levels, but identification is key. Competency must be addressed at every level of achievement; not just the minimum level.

According to Dr. Plucker, “Many different factors have caused the existence and persistence of large excellence gaps including poverty, discrimination, poor access to quality education, psycho-social barriers, among others.”  Excellence gaps can occur due to inadequate funding and resources in schools serving low income and disadvantaged minority communities; inadequate training for teachers working with underperforming subgroups of students; and because of attitudes about high achievement potential of low-income and minority students.

Dr. Plucker pointed out, “It is important to close the Achievement Gap for two reasons: to improve the lives of gifted poor and minority students and to provide our economy and culture with the talent it needs.” According to the NAGC, “Reducing and eliminating excellence gaps is an issue of equity, social justice, economic advancement, and national security. Increasing the number of students realizing their full potential puts the nation back on the path to global leadership. A 5 percent reduction in the 4th gr math excellence gap would increase performance at advanced levels by 80,000 students.”

How do we address and overcome the challenges presented by excellence gaps? Dr. Plucker told us, “Scott Peters and I just finished book on this. Our “Big 6” strategies include: 1) realistic opportunities, 2) universal testing and local norms, 3) ability grouping, 4) better educator preparation and support, 5) improved K-12 accountability systems with adaptive testing, and 6) psycho-social interventions with college students.”

“Relentlessly respect the gifted student’s right to learn something new every day!”   ~ Jeanne Bernish

We then turned out attention to what effect the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) might have on closing the Excellence Gap. “We’re not sure yet, as the regulations have yet to be developed; but it COULD mean more adaptive testing and better data reporting. ESSA throws it back to the states, but we need to keep the pressure on at the state level. It cracks the door, but we have to open it,” said Dr. Plucker.

Where do we go from here? What steps should be taken to ensure the momentum continues to close the Excellence Gap? “Keep Excellence Gap data in front of policymakers. Get needs of advanced students into teacher and administrator prep. Get excellence into your state accountability system,” Dr. Plucker told us. Advocates must be vigilant that local LEAs adhere to new rules in ESSA and continue to raise awareness of inequities in educational opportunities for all students.  Jeanne Bernish, Founder of Heather Hill Media, made the excellent point that we should “relentlessly respect the gifted student’s right to learn something new every day!”

“Data are depressing, but we should be energized. We firmly grasp the problem and policymakers are coming around. Full speed ahead!”                                                              ~ Dr. Jonathan Plucker

A transcript a may be found at Storify.

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 (13.00) NZDT/Noon (11.00) AEDT/Midnight UK (Subject to change due to Daylight Savings Time). 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:


NAGC Position Statement: Addressing Excellence Gaps in K-12 Education (pdf)

Progress Lags in High School, Especially for Advanced Achievers

‘Excellence Gap’ Robs Talented Students of Their Potential

Equal Talents, Unequal Opportunities: Report Card of State Support for Academically Talented Low-Income Students (pdf)

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and CLASS Coalition Host 2nd “Closing the Excellence Gap” Summit

Top 10 Moments of 2016 “Closing the Excellence Gap” Summit

Finding Teachers Who Can Stimulate High Achievers (pdf)

Center for Evaluation & Education Policy – Excellence Gap 2012

Connecticut Association for the Gifted – Excellence Gap

UK:  Why Isn’t Pupil Premium Closing Excellence Gaps?

Why Minorities Can’t Be Left Out of Gifted and Talented Programs

How Family Background Influences Student Achievement

Advocating for High-Achievers

Excellence Gaps: Role of Translational Research Implementing Large Scale Educational Change (Video)

Dr. @JonathanPlucker ‘s Website

“Talent on the Sidelines: The Widening Gap in Excellence”

“Talent on the Sidelines: Excellence Gaps & America’s Persistent Talent Underclass”  (pdf)

Interview with Jonathan Plucker on Talent on the Sidelines (podcast)

Tackling Inequality in Gifted-and-Talented Programs

Questions and Answers about the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) (pdf)

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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


Fostering Parent Awareness and Creating Community

Fostering Parent Awareness was a spirited chat with parents and educators sharing their experiences with raising parent awareness in their respective schools. This chat ranks as the 2nd most in tweets and participants since March 2012 when TAGT became the primary force behind #gtchat. Activity prior to and after the chat were at near all-time highs as well. A full transcript may be found here.

We at #gtchat sincerely appreciate the opportunity to provide an outlet for the gifted community to network and discuss relevant topics each week. Several milestones in terms of statistics were achieved this week including over 1,000 followers on Twitter for @gtchatmod, over 200 ‘Likes’ on our new Facebook page and nearly 3,000 pageviews here on our blog! Our original mandate to ‘build bridges’ within the gifted community is being realized each and every day!

During the 24 hours including this week’s chat, over 100 participants posted tweets from 25 states in the U.S. and from 12 countries. It is exciting to see the ‘global’ reach of our chat. This week, we will be announcing the addition of a second chat during the week that will be at a more convenient time for those in the UK, EU and Pacific Rim. Follow @gtchatmod on Twitter for all the latest news. If you have wanted to join chat, but were hesitant on how to participate; visit our page on the TAGT website to learn more.

Links from chat:

Appropriate Expectations for the Gifted Child (DeVries)

Considerations and Strategies for Parenting the Gifted Child

Parent Perceptions of Preadolescent Giftedness and Self Concept

Gifted Child In the Family: Early Detection of Giftedness (.pdf)

Gifted Education: More than Just an IQ Score Advice for Parents

The Moral Sensitivity of Gifted Children and the Evolution of Society (SENG)

Exceptionally Gifted Children: Different Minds (SENG)

Tips for Parents: Self-concept and Self-esteem Regarding Gifted Learners (from @DavidsonGifted )

Tips for Parents: The Real World of Gifted Teens (from @DavidsonGifted )

Resource Guide for Parents and Educators of Gifted Learners (.pdf)

Goodness of Fit: The Challenge of Parenting Gifted Children

“Pushy Parents”…Bad Rap or Necessary Role?

Parents’ Conceptions of Giftedness from @HoagiesGifted

The Effects of Participating in Gifted Programs Extend Beyond Academics from @DukeTIP

Time Spent Outside the Classroom @DukeTIP

Cybraryman’s GT Page   

Not More. Different from Venspired    

CSI: Challenging Scientific Investigations (blog)

Cybraryan’s Parenting Gifted Students

Livebinder: Apps for HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills)

Living the Life Fantastic Gifted News and Resources

Using Social Media to Advocate for the Gifted

Jo Freitag’s Gifted Resources

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

Equity in Gifted/Talented (GT) Education

Laughing at Chaos (blog) 

Top 5 TED Talks for Parents of Gifted Kids  from IEA Gifted 

Giftedness and the Kaleidoscope of Colours … One Parent Looks Back from Innreach’s Blog

What Schools Need: Vigor Instead of Rigor

Dr. Joy Lawson Davis and “Diversity in Gifted Education”


Global #gtchat welcomed Dr. Joy Lawson Davis as we discussed “Diversity in Gifted Education”. Dr. Davis is the  author of Bright, Talented and Black: A Guide for Families of African American Gifted Learners; the Director of the Center for Gifted Education at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette; and Chair of the National Association of Gifted Children’s Diversity & Equity Committee. The complete transcript of this chat can be found here.

The opening question was, “What would you like us to know about the lack of diversity in U.S. gifted education programs?” Her reply, “Inequity affects certain groups more than others: Black, Hispanic, Native American, in particular. Gifted classrooms in some areas are the most segregated in America! The huge challenge before us ALL is to ensure that Gifted Education & Equity co-exist peacefully. Radical changes in attitudes about racially diverse students and those who come from low SES (socio-economic status) backgrounds can make a difference. Performance-based assessments, use of ‘talent spotting’, and universal screening are just a few of strategies.”

Next, we asked Dr. Joy ~ “What modifications should be made to assessments/identification process to be more culturally sensitive?” She replied ~ “Using culturally unbiased testing; some verbal tests that were not normed on a diverse population will not give the best results. Assessing students in their native language, training more diverse personnel in gifted education can help. If teachers are culturally insensitive; then they will overlook, misdiagnose, and simply ignore giftedness in diverse children.”

In closing, Dr. Davis reminded us that “We can do this!! Working together we can ERADICATE under-representation of culturally diverse students in gifted education worldwide!” We at #gtchat believe this is a timely and important topic that must be kept on the front burner! Special thanks to Dr. Davis for joining us!


Dr. Joy Lawson Davis website 

Bright, Talented and Black (Amazon) 

Senginar w/ Dr. Joy Davis ‘Addressing Unique Challenges of Culturally Diverse Gifted Learners’ Feb 12th

An Introduction to the Topic of Cultural Diversity and Giftedness 

We Are Gifted2 (Dr. Joy’s Blog)

Identifying and Nurturing the Gifted Poor 

Identifying and Serving Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Gifted Students

Eradicating Under-achievement and Under-representation of Diverse Learners ~ one Community at a Time

Excellence versus Equity: Political Forces in the Education of Gifted Students (Duke TIP) 

Interview of Dr. Davis on Ingeniosus

SENG Conference to Highlight Diversity in Gifted Education

Education of Special Populations of Gifted Students (.pdf  355 pgs)

Diverse Gifted Populations Committee (IAGC) 

Fostering Diversity in Gifted Education 

Understanding Culture 

Joy Lawson Davis @ Great Potential Press 

Joy Lawson Davis Bio on Amazon

Cybraryman’s Multicultural Celebration Page

Cybraryman’s Culture Page 

NZ: Gifted and Talented Online ~ For Parents and Whānau

%d bloggers like this: