Best Practices for Identifying Gifted Students from Underrepresented Populations

An article last week in the Palm Beach Post, “Why Gifted Kindergarten in 70 Percent White,” criticized the environment surrounding gifted and talented programs in Florida, arguing that districts with diverse populations have a history of gifted programs that exclude students of racial, ethnic, and linguistic minorities. As school districts become more aware of minority underrepresentation, many of our school district partners ask us to identify how they can improve diversity in these programs. Here are some best practices for improving the diversity of gifted and talented programs.

Employ Universal Screening

Studies show that the typical nominating process for gifted and talented programs often overlooks racially diverse and low-income students. Schools can avoid this pitfall by implementing a universal screening process, where all students are tested for giftedness using a cognitive ability test. In one study, implementing universal screening led to a 180% increase in the gifted rate among all disadvantaged students.

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