January 14, 2014

Questioning Programs for Gifted Students

So let’s say your academic performance in middle school is just barely good enough to get you accepted into the gifted and talented program. It should be great news. You will be in class with the best and brightest of your school! This atmosphere will stimulate and challenge you to do your very best!

But that is not what a new study found. The Atlantic recently reported on the study, which was published in American Economic Journal: Economic Policy. The Atlantic article and the study report evidence that students who just made it over the threshold to be accepted into gifted and talented programs did not do better than students who were just shy of being accepted.

Three academics analyzed the test scores of 14,000 fifth graders in a U.S. urban school district, according to the magazine. “The goal was to compare how students of roughly the same abilities do when they are in gifted classes with how they do in regular classes. If the gifted and talented programs are effective, then the marginal students should end up with higher test scores then the marginal students in regular classes,” notes The Atlantic. “If they are not effective, then both sets of students will have around the same scores.”

For this particular sample, the students had about the same scores after a year and a half. One researcher is quoted as saying there was essentially no difference between the two groups. The researchers indicate they will continue to follow these students to attempt to analyze the longer term impact of gifted programs.