gifted and talented education for minority students. The writer explores the screening process for gifted and talented programs and the various problems that screening process causes when it comes to locating and educating minority students. The writer also explores the societal mindsets and the urban areas that play a part in the overlooking of minority gifted students. The bulk of the exploration is done with a literature review on previous studies, research and decisions regarding the screening and education of minority gifted students. There were ten sources used to complete this paper.
Each day across the nation millions of students sit in classrooms and are educated. The classrooms contain a large number of students and the lessons are designed and geared to reach the largest students in each setting. This means that for the most part the lessons are aimed at the average intellect and average abilities student. Within the context of these students there are a few students in each group who are above average in ability and in intellect. These students are often recognized because of their advanced thought process, their advanced abilities and their thinking outside of the box. Students who meet a pre-set criteria in certain areas are labeled as gifted or gifted and talented. Gifted and talented screening varies across the nation but in many cases it includes standardized testing to decide who meets the criteria and who does not. The students who are screened are sometimes chosen by teachers or administrators. Other times they are located because parents have requested a screening. In recent history there has been some focus on whether or not the screening techniques pass over qualified gifted minority students. Through the use of research and studies it appears that the screening process used for the gifted and talented education criteria in American schools negatively affects minority student populations.
Students who are gifted are often ahead of their classmates in ability and achievement. Many times they know the answers before the questions are done being asked. They finish their work quickly, or they become bored and do not complete it at all, yet they perform well on the test about the subject matter. Across the nation many school districts provide G.A.T.E. (Gifted and Talented Education) programs. The programs have a designed and necessary criteria for the students to meet before they are allowed to enter the program. In most cases the criteria includes standardized tests, and IQ tests and achievements in their academic classes. The GATE program has many political connotations as well because it is considered by many to be a coupe to get in. Parents often pressure the school to give their children access to the program. Parents sometimes view the program as a bragging rights club if their children are asked to enter. The children who are in the program are often challenged in ways that the regular classes could not do because of the number of average ability students in the classes. The students in GATE are provided with higher level thinking skills projects as well as advanced academic work in the areas that they are strong in. In addition the programs often offer field trips and other activities that are designed to promote the higher level thinking that gifted students are known for. For a child who is gifted and bored in the regular classroom the GATE program can be the difference between eventually dropping out of school, and excelling in the top percentage of the class.
Currently there is no set standard for the gifted programs that various states screen for and implement. Different states place the need for gifted education at different levels of importance (Bower, 1995).
Florida spends $58 million a year on gifted education;
Oklahoma spends about $57 million;
Texas $50 million.
Missouri spends a little more than $16 million,
Illinois spends about $19.7 million (Bower, 1995).."
It is important to access and locate the gifted children of the nation because of the potential for dropping out. According to research the percentage of high school drop outs that are gifted is 40% (Bower, 1995).. The number of gifted children who are of minority populations and drop out may be higher according to research. Minority students are often passed over for gifted programs because the screening process is geared to locate and identify white gifted students.
The tests that are normally used to screen for gifted children often present a biased, uneven and skewed view of gifted populations (Shah, 1999). Minority children are often passed over for the program because they do not perform at the correct standards on the standardized tests. One district recently began throwing out the standardized achievement test requirements and instead began giving the Charlotte/Discover test. With this test in place a full 16% of the district's kindergarten and second grade population proved to be gifted. More importantly a much larger base of those deemed gifted came from minority populations. The new ratios were a close representation of the general student population demographic (Shah, 1999).
There are many things that qualify students for a gifted program including teacher recommendations, standardized testing and IQ tests. Recent history has focused on the fairness and equality of the measurements being used on minority students. Students who use English as their second language, as well as students who culturally have not been exposed to the same experiences as white children have will answer questions on standardized and IQ tests differently than their white classmates will (Shah, 1999). The cultural and family style differences create a barrier to the identification of minority gifted students according to some experts who are calling for different screening measures to be developed for minority student populations in America's public school system.
In the one district that used the Charlotte/Discovery test the conclusion was drawn that the former screening methods being employed were in fact passing over gifted minority students, not because of their ability, but because of the language and cultural differences that prevented them from performing at their optimum level on the entrance screenings to the gifted programs.
The district that used a different method than the standardized tests found that providing students with alternate ways to display their abilities changed the outcome significantly.
The new test evaluated kids in the same skill areas as the old one: linguistic, logical/mathematical and spatial intelligence. St. Paul hired 65 people to serve as observers, and the Charlotte / Discover creator flew in from Arizona to train them. They visited classrooms to watch students follow teacher instructions. The kids told stories. They used tangrams, puzzle exercises that require the student to make different forms using different shapes. Interpreters were on hand to help kids who speak primarily Hmong, Spanish and other languages. All the while, the observers recorded their findings. "What they're looking for is something that goes beyond the norm," Willard said (Shah, 1999).."
3,398 second-graders were assessed, as of Dec. 18, 1998
American 1%(Shah, 1999). "
The concerns about how recruiting and screening students for the gifted program has spread to a nationwide problem. The school systems want to locate their gifted students and provide them with a challenging and adequate educational opportunities.
One of the most persistent, troubling, and controversial issues in education is the disproportionate representation of minority students in special education, including gifted education. The concerns over recruiting and retaining minority students in gifted education programs have persisted for several decades (Ford, 1998). One of the earliest articles to address the under identification of minority students (specifically, African-American students) as gifted was written by Jenkins (1936). Since that time, other authors have focused on the under representation of African-American, Hispanic-American, and American Indian students in gifted education, primarily addressing assessment issues (Ford, 1998)."
This study is conducted through the use of a literature review to answer the question as to whether screening methods for the gifted and talented programs in public schools are unfairly weighted in favor of non-minority students.
Throughout the years there have been several studies conducted about gifted education and minority students. The conclusion in the majority of those studies has been that minority students are underrepresented in gifted and talented education programs across the nation. This literature review will ascertain whether or not the under representation is caused by the screening methods being used for the purpose of locating gifted students. While there have been studies conducted on this topic there have not been many and answering the question based on the studies that have been conducted might assist in future decision making for minority gifted students.
One recent study was designed to assess the recruiting and the retaining of minority students in gifted education programs throughout the country. The study was commissioned because of the concern that the minority students were being passed over by the standard methods of recruitment and retention of gifted students (Ford, 1998).
One of the most persistent, troubling, and controversial issues in education is…