Notable Studies in Gifted Education

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation recently published a study that examined what strides (if any) states are making in fostering the academic potential of their gifted, low-income students–and found most states severely lacking.


Authors of the study graded states using 18 indicator points to assess how low-income, high-potential students were performing in school.

In the wake of this study, PALNYC dug deep into some of the most recent research that has been conducted in the field of gifted education. Take a look at the list below for some stand out studies and articles that caught our eye and let us know if there is an article or study that you would recommend to PALNYC readers.

Featured Event

Hunter College Gifted Education Conference, 3 R’s for Gifted Education: Rigor, Relevance and Relationships

Educators, jimgresoin Hunter College on Saturday, June 13, 2015 for a one-day Gifted Education Conference that will offer insight into classroom strategies that work with K-12 learners, take away tools & resources, networking opportunities with educational professionals, break-out sessions and a Keynote address from Dr. Elissa Brown. This conference is designed for ALL teachers and administrators serving gifted students in NYC city-wide, district-wide, private, and general education settings.

Location & Details:

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Hunter College West Building

9:00am – 2:30pm

Registration: $75.

To register: (scroll down to Hunter Gifted Ed Conference)

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Equal Talents, Unequal Opportunities: A Report Card on State Support for Academically Talented Low- Income Students (2015), Jack Kent Cooke Foundation

“In the absence of comprehensive policy support for advanced learning, economic conditions appear to drive outcomes.”

In this study the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation analyzed student achievement for high-ability students in relation to income level on a state-by-state basis. The study limited their indicators to “nine distinct state-level policies and nine specific measures of student outcomes” and found, among other conclusions, that states with with the highest poverty rates like Alabama and Mississippi tended to have lower student outcomes in high-ability students from low-income families.

In Search of the Dream, The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) and the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented (NRC/GT)

A look at cultural diversity in high-ability learners that seeks to promote an “awareness of the need for planned, informed, proactive work on behalf of students from nonaffluent and/or non-Caucasian backgrounds.”

“Giftedness is about diversity, and the goals and practices of gifted education and multicultural education strive for the same outcomes, that is, differentiated curricular options that match unique learner characteristics.”

This comprehensive monograph not only outlines the challenges faced by culturally diverse high-potential youth, but highlights ways to change curriculum to suit these learners and showcases a number of effective programs that have had success in serving the needs of high ability learners from diverse backgrounds.Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 12.40.57 PM

Do High Flyers Maintain Their Altitude? Performance Trends of Top Students, (2011) Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Northwest Evaluation Association

A study that examines the likelihood for students identified as high-ability learners in elementary school and middle school to maintain their academic progress over a period of 6 years.

“What are the odds that a star third grader will still rank at the top of the pack by eighth grade? Or that a bright, budding sixth grader will remain a model student in high school? To find out, this analysis traced high-achieving students across multiple years to determine how many of them remained high-achieving over time; how many lost their high-achieving status; and how many gained that distinction. “

High Flyer Graph

The study found that most students–nearly 3 in 5–who were identified as “high-flyers” maintained their high academic achievement over a period of 6 years but a “substantial” number of study participants lost momentum and were no longer high achieving by the end of the study.

Preparing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators: Identifying and Developing our Nation’s Human Capital, (2010) National Science Foundation, National Science Board

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 2.08.03 PMThis article provides a historical backdrop for the development of and investment in STEM education in America as well as a look at how, moving forward, the US can best “identify and develop the next generation of STEM innovators.”

The study provides recommendations of federal, state and local policy changes that could aid in the advancement of US student’s STEM abilities. These recommendations include casting a wide net in outreach, fostering a supportive ecosystem  for all students and improve access to quality STEM programming.

“We cannot assume that our Nation’s most talented students will succeed on their own. Instead, we must offer coordinated, proactive, sustained formal and informal interventions to develop their abilities.”

A Nation Empowered, (2015) Belin-Blank Center, College of Education, University of Iowa

imgresA Nation Empowered takes a thorough look at giftedness in American youth. Nearly 11 years after A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students brought the conversation of giftedness and acceleration to parents and educators in layman’s terms, A Nation Empowered is creating a stir with new data on giftedness. This two-volume report highlights the ways in which acceleration benefits students–with case studies to prove it–and what schools, parents and policy makers could be doing differently to help support high-ability youth.

“The purpose of A Nation Empowered is to inform educators, parents, and policy makers of current research on acceleration, how that information has been applied to educational policy throughout the nation, and how educators can use the findings to make decisions for their brightest students.”

Order the PDF version of A Nation Empowered here.

For further reading on these topics and more check out the National Association for Gifted Children’s list of Key Reports in Gifted Education or refer to our Research Page.

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hAPPy Conections

GoodReader $4.99

Take notes. GoodReader is a PDF reader for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch to keep track of and annotate all of the research papers and articles you read.


Stay organized. Papers helps you collect and curate the research material that you’re passionate about. From citations to search, Papers will improve the way you find, organize, read, cite and share.

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