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An Electronic Journal of the AERA SIG Research on Giftedness and Talent.

Volume 2 Number 1 Fall 2007

Contents Hello from the Editor,

Letter from the Editor

Dona Matthews
Dona Matthews ...........................1
I’ve been enjoying my correspondence with you as I’ve been assembling articles for
Identification and Intervention
for Rural, Low-income, Gifted this issue of the e-journal of the AERA ROGAT Special Interest Group. I love the
Students: A Follow-up Study vibrancy of this e-journal format, as it allows people to report on work in progress and
Shirley Aamidor ..........................2 discuss ideas in the field as they emerge.
Economic Arguments for Gifted
Education I’m a great proponent of the motivation, engagement, and learning possibilities in
Pamela R. Clinkenbeard.............6 thoughtfully informed controversy, and you’ll see that we’ve got a good bit of that in
Project HOPE this issue. We have a review by Joan Freeman of a book on a very controversial topic
Jillian C. Gates, Marcia Gentry, in our field, Indigo Children. And in a funny coincidental way, that piece ties into one
Rebecca L. Mann, of our other contributions—Joe Renzulli is the only other person in the field who I’ve
& Jean S. Peterson ……………..8
heard (at NAGC last year) publicly discuss this phenomenon, saying that it is one of
Pathways to the Top: the worst things to happen to our field in the past ten years, and Joe has written a
Scaffolding Success for Black piece for this issue on the Renzulli Learning System. It is my opinion that Renzulli
and Latino Students
Holly Hertberg-Davis .............. 10
Learning is one of the most exciting advances in the field of education in many years.
It enables children and educators to take practical guided advantage of the powerful
Assessing the Impact of a learning opportunity that is the Internet. The possibilities for supporting gifted
Proposed Rule Change
Michael S. Matthews ............... 12
development are extraordinary, and only just beginning to be realized.

A Technology-Based Resource This ties into the piece that Michael Matthews (no relative!) has written on the
Joseph S. Renzulli
changing legislation on gifted identification in Florida—Michael’s concern is that with
& Sally M. Reis ......................... 14
these changes, English Language Learners who need the kind of support that Renzulli
Book Review Learning provides will not be getting it. Similarly, Holly Hertberg Davis’s description
The Indigo Children: The New
Kids Have Arrived
of the research that she is doing with Carolyn Callahan focuses on making sure that
Reviewer: Joan Freeman ........ 15 all students get the support that they need for optimal academic development; she has
given us an early report on research in progress to consider ways to close the
AERA Research on Giftedness
and Talent SIG .............................. 16
achievement by race gap in high school, specifically in AP courses. This theme of
NAGC Conferemce Highlights addressing cultural/racial diversity in our field continues with Marcia Gentry’s
Matthew Makel ................................ 16 description of her research project at Purdue with Project HOPE, working to provide
Officers ........................................... 17 summer and Saturday learning opportunities for high-ability children who are
Working Committees................... 17
growing up in low-income families, as well as professional development for teachers
working with these students.

(continued on page 9)

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.
It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction.

AERA Special Interest Groups Web Site: http://www.aeragifted.org/

Identification and Intervention for Rural, Low-income, Gifted Students:
A Follow-up Study

Shirley Aamidor, Ph.D.

Indiana University Kokomo

To identify children who demonstrate talent potential, economically disadvantaged, gifted children (Spicker, 1993,
educators and researchers have begun to use multiple- 1996). Also, documenting the efficacy of appropriate
measure assessments rather than the narrower approach instruments or processes to identify students from under-
traditionally used to identify children for academically gifted represented groups who show academic potential has not
programs, usually IQ or standardized achievement test scores. been fruitful due to lack of follow-up on students. In some
One impetus for this change is the concern that many groups cases, promising practices and alternative identification
of children are under-identified and therefore under- procedures have been discontinued because students
represented in gifted programs. Included in the under- identified through their use were not successful in gifted
represented population are children from specific racial, programs, which were designed for traditionally identified
ethnic, and cultural groups, e.g., African Americans (Ford, gifted students. Studies which have considered new or unique
Grantham, & Harris, 1996; Frasier, 1987); Hispanic students methods of identification have found it difficult to follow up
(Bernal, 1979); American Indians (Tonemah, 1987); children on the appropriate type of program intervention required to
who exhibit language differences or limitations; children from serve rural, economically disadvantaged students or to study
low socioeconomic status families (qualifying for poverty- the long-term effects of alternative identification on students
level support or free or reduced cost lunch); and children who as they proceed through the school system.
live in certain geographic areas (e.g., rural or inner-city areas,
border communities, and reservations).
Beginning in 1990, Project SPRING (Special Populations Rural
The reality and limitations of many of the traditional
Information Network for the Gifted), one of sixteen projects
identification processes are, more often than not, at variance
funded under the Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Education
with contemporary research and policy on identification.
Act of 1988, investigated the unique talents of rural,
Whereas appropriate practices may call for a
economically disadvantaged, gifted students. The project,
multidimensional approach, identification data are too
implemented in three rural school districts in southern
frequently collected from a single standardized measure and
Indiana, accomplished the following goals:
teacher nominations. While important in the identification of
some gifted children, traditional identification measures such 1. Identified strengths and weaknesses which
as group standardized aptitude and/or achievement tests characterize rural, economically disadvantaged, gifted
ought not be the sole criterion in the identification process. children.
When used as the initial screening instrument to define a pool
2. Developed procedures for identifying rural,
of gifted and talented candidates, standardized measures may
disadvantaged, gifted children.
under-identify or eliminate gifted and talented minority
students, including students from rural and inner city 3. Developed and demonstrated curricula and
economically disadvantaged backgrounds. intervention practices appropriate for rural,
economically disadvantaged, gifted students.
Standardized assessments and teacher nominations are
efficient and can be effective in identifying some gifted A continuation of Project SPRING I in two school districts
children, but are not always appropriate for identifying high followed-up those SPRING students identified in the fourth
ability children whose behavioral characteristics do not please grade, who were entering junior high school. The modified
their teachers, who perform poorly on tests, or, whose science provided appropriate educational programming for
academic achievement has been constrained because of students. Project SPRING II (1993-1996) concluded as students
limited experiences or opportunities. Identifying economically completed their first year of high school.
disadvantaged gifted children in rural areas must be
considered within the context of rural communities, rural Projects SPRING I & II: Findings
schooling, and within the context of the two social classes, An external evaluation collected data on students’ academic
“those who have control, and those who are vulnerable to that performance when students completed 5th or 6th grade. While
control, the haves and have-nots” (Duncan, 1992). The SPRING students (that is, rural ,economically disadvantaged
National Education Longitudinal Study (NCES, 1988) students identified as gifted using comprehensive
reported that only 9 percent of students in gifted and talented identification measures) performed significantly lower both
education programs were in the bottom quartile of family before and after identification and intervention than
income, while 47 percent of program participants were from traditionally identified gifted students in the same school
the top quartile in family income. While research concerning system on standardized aptitude tests, achievement tests, and
alternative assessment is reported in the literature (Bernal, verbal creativity tests, they did not differ from them on
1979; Frasier, 1987; Maker, 1986; Tonemah, 1987), these are creative writing or the nonverbal creativity tests.
somewhat dated, with only a few studies that focus on rural,

Gifted Children Volume 2 Number 1 Fall 2007 Page 2

Additionally, SPRING students did not differ from Over two-thirds of subjects (71.6 percent) were female (Spring
traditionally identified gifted students on measures of self- 68%; GT 60%; NonGT 80%).
concept either before or after the SPRING intervention.
A second external evaluation carried out when SPRING
Piers-Harris Self-Concept Scale for Children
students were in the 8th or 9th grade showed standardized
achievement and intelligence scores for SPRING students The Piers-Harris Children’s Self-Concept Scale (Piers &
generally dropped relative to age or grade norms during Harris, 1969) is a published self-report questionnaire
SPRING II, falling closer to the national or state mean on the developed for students in grades 4 through 12. There are six
tests. Overall gains in self-concept were statistically significant cluster scales, each yielding a score; Behavior (16 items),
from the pretest at 4th grade to the posttest at the end of 8th Intellectual and School Status (17 items), Physical Appearance
grade. and Attributes (13 items), Anxiety (14 items), Popularity (12
items), Happiness and Satisfaction (10 items), plus a total
While the results of these external evaluations suggest
score. Only the total scores were used in the data analyses.
possible identification procedures to increase the
The Piers-Harris Children’s Self-Concept Scale was used
representation of economically disadvantaged rural students
again for this study because it had been utilized in SPRING I
in gifted programs, they also raise questions about the extent
when students were in 4th grade, thus providing for a pre-
to which comprehensive identification correctly identifies
and post- (11th grade) assessment of self-concept.
gifted and talented, economically disadvantaged, rural
students and the long-term effects of such identification. IDEAS (Interest Determination, Exploration and
Assessment System)
The IDEAS assessment (Johansson, 1996) is a short, self-scored
The goal of the current study is to identify factors which
interest inventory designed to be used as an introduction to
might influence the long-term effects of alternative
career exploration for students and adults. The IDEAS
identification and curriculum interventions with economically
inventory is used with junior high, middle school, and early
disadvantaged, rural, gifted students. More specifically, the
high school students in conjunction with career programs and
objectives of the study are: (1) to determine if, at the end of
guidance units in social studies courses.
high school, the academic achievements, self-concepts, and
aspirations of students alternatively identified as gifted Indiana Statewide Testing for Education Progress-Plus
(SPRING) differ from students identified by more traditional
The Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus
approaches (GT) and from students never identified as gifted
(ISTEP+) (Indiana Department of Education, 2000-2001) is
(Non- GT); (2) to identify factors which may influence
administered to all Indiana public school students in grades 3
individual differences in outcomes (achievement, self-concept,
through 10. In this study, scores from grade 3 served as a
and aspirations) for students identified by these different
control measure and grade10 as the dependent variable. Total
approaches. The findings of this study have the potential to
battery scores were used for the data analyses.
provide information of value to other efforts to provide
alternative identification and intervention approaches, as well Test of Cognitive Skills
as attempts to assess such programs.
The Test of Cognitive Skills (1985) is a group intelligence test
Methodology used to measure the abilities needed to acquire the desired
cognitive outcomes of formal education. The test has a mean
The researcher met with all students in the 10th and 11th
of 100 and a standard deviation of 16. The score indicates a
grades during their English classes at the two high schools in
student’s overall cognitive ability, or academic aptitude,
the SPRING participating districts, and explained that the
relative to students of similar chronological age without
purpose of the study was to gain information about the
regard to grade placement.
academic differences and differences in career ambitions of
students who reside in rural communities. High School Diploma
Data Collection Indiana awards three diplomas to those graduating high
school. The type of diploma depends upon the academic
Data collection with students at each school took place on the
program of each student.
same day. All students were able to complete the assessments
within the specified time. The researcher also collected Academic Honors Diploma. To receive an Academic
cumulative records information on students participating in Honors Diploma, one must have an overall B grade
the study. Data were recorded on grades, science and math point average and earn 47 credits (nine more than what
courses taken, class rank, diploma type received, as well as is needed for the regular diploma and seven credits
scores for the PSAT and the SAT. more than a Core 40 diploma) with a grade of C or
Pre-test data on self-concept, academic achievement test
scores, cognitive skills index, and anecdotal and descriptive Indiana Core 40. Core 40 is a single, flexible, high school
data were retrieved from Project SPRING I files. curriculum, which, except for elective courses, uses a
single set of agreed-upon competencies. These
competencies direct the content of both college prep and
There were 28 Project SPRING students, 25 traditionally tech prep courses.
identified gifted students (GT) and 53 regular students
General Diploma. Thirty-eight credits are necessary to
satisfy the general diploma requirement.

Gifted Children Volume 2 Number 1 Fall 2007 Page 3

Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test concept. SPRING students enrolled in School A had
significantly higher total self-concept scores than both GT and
The Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT) is
NonGT students, whereas, at School B, GT and SPRING
published by The College Board as a tenth or eleventh grade
students had significantly higher total self-concept scores than
practice instrument for students taking the Scholastic
NonGT students. No similar interactions existed on pretest
Assessment Test (SAT) in the eleventh and twelfth grades.
self-concept scores. When the six individual self-concept
Scholastic Assessment Test clusters were analyzed using a two-way ANOVA (school,
identification), significant interactions were found on four of
The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is designed to measure
the clusters. In all cases, GT students scored much higher in
verbal and quantitative reasoning skills. SAT scores primarily
School B than School A. SPRING students scored high in both
help forecast the college academic performance of individual
schools, NonGT students scored especially low in School B.
students. The composite SAT score (verbal + math) was used
for data analyses. Self-concept as predictor. When pretest self-concept was used to
predict high school academic achievement and ability
Math and Science Courses Completed
outcomes and career aspirations, no significant correlations
The number of math/science courses taken during high were found.
school is a substantive indicator of college plans/intention for
higher education, and professional goals for the future. These
measures were compared across the three groups to identify This study was a follow-up of students who were identified in
quantitative differences and confirm other data. the fourth grade as potentially gifted (Project SPRING) using
comprehensive assessments. While curriculum interventions
Research Questions
occurred in the elementary school, and continued in one
1. (a) Are the educational achievements of SPRING content area through the first year of high school, this early
students different from GT students and NonGT and intermediate intervention was not consistently
students as they complete high school? implemented. To effect a positive change in the academic
achievement and aspiration outcomes of rural, economically
(b) Do these differences occur when initial
disadvantaged, gifted children, the findings of this study
achievement differences are controlled?
would suggest that when alternative identification is
2. Are the academic and career aspirations (as indicated employed, the curriculum intervention must be sufficiently
by the number of math and science courses students challenging and consistently implemented to mediate
completed) of SPRING students different from GT between the expectations of school and the child’s early
students and NonGT students as they complete high experiences.
Rural students in general, but in particular rural, potentially
3. (a) Is the self-concept of SPRING students different gifted students from economically disadvantaged
from GT students and NonGT students at the 11th backgrounds, represent a unique population. On the one
grade? hand, they may have the same academic and professional
aspirations as their more advantaged peers; on the other
(b) Do these differences occur when controlled for hand, they lack the economic resources, social capital, and
initial differences in self-concept? parental support to realize their goals. The transitions from
(c) Are differences among groups influenced by elementary school to middle school and middle school to high
gender and school attended? school can be crucial times for these students as they
transition to a more academically rigorous program.
Summary of Findings
Factors which may promote higher achievement outcomes for
Achievement and ability. Results showed that traditional GT rural, gifted, low socioeconomic students include:
students surpassed SPRING students and NonGT students on
all academic and ability outcome measures. When controlling A. Providing parents and students with information on
for initial achievement, these differences were maintained at appropriate coursework to take to prepare for college, as
about the same level of significance in favor of the GT group well as actively counseling students and parents.
but accounted for a smaller proportion of variance. B. Monitoring a student’s academic progress and offering
Academic and career aspirations. SPRING and NonGT students additional tutoring where necessary.
were found to take fewer math and science courses than the C. Maintaining regular contact with parents regarding
GT students, even controlling for initial achievement. academic coursework and taking college entrance exams.
However, while a significantly higher percentage of GT than
SPRING students took college entrance exams and went on to D. Screening for students who qualify for state-sponsored
college, significant differences were not found between GT scholarship programs, and assisting them and their
and NonGT students on these measures. When career parents as they complete the necessary qualifying forms.
interests were assessed, the three groups did not differ on the
E. Developing and making available a simple checklist and
Investigative Theme. However, when gender was controlled,
deadline of what students ought to do and when, i.e.,
SPRING students scored significantly higher than GT
register for PSAT and SAT, take appropriate courses,
students did on the Realistic Theme.
apply for financial aid.
Self-concept outcomes. There was a significant interaction
between the two high schools and identification for self-

Gifted Children Volume 2 Number 1 Fall 2007 Page 4

F. Fostering and supporting local professional adults who are and community resources before embarking on determining
in a position to mentor the economically disadvantaged which techniques or strategies of identification are the most
gifted student. efficacious. Such studies would be useful by laying the
groundwork for future, more specific research. As shown in
Developing appropriate and varied identification procedures
this study, the complexity of changing identification strategies
which are sensitive to the expression of giftedness in rural
and curriculum interventions for non-traditional gifted
populations from the different racial, ethnic, or cultural
groups is more difficult, requiring further theoretical analyses
groups is essential. This requires knowing the norms, values,
and follow-up. ™


Bernal, E.M. (1979). The education of the culturally different gifted. In A.H. Passow (Ed.), The gifted and the talented (pp. 395-400). Chicago:
National Society for the Study of Education.

Duncan, C.M., & Sweet, S. (1992). Introduction: Poverty in rural America. In C. M. Duncan (Ed.), Rural poverty in America (pp. xix-xxvii).
New York: Auburn House.
Ford, D.Y., Grantham, T.C., & Harris, J.J. (1996). Gifted education across cultures. Multicultural gifted education: A wakeup call to the
profession. Roeper Review, 19(2), 72-78.
Frasier, M.M. (1987). The identification of gifted black students: Developing new perspectives. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 10, 155-

Indiana Department of Education. (2000-2001). Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress (ISTEP): Program Manual Indianapolis, IN:
Indiana Department of Education.
Johansson, C.B. (1996). Career assessment inventory - The enhanced version. Minneapolis, MN: National Computer Systems. Cited in C.B.
Johansson, (1996), IDEAS: Interest Determination, Exploration and Assessment System Manual. Minneapolis, MN: National Computer
Systems, Inc.
Johansson, C.B. (1996). IDEAS: Interest Determination, Exploration and Assessment System Manual. Minneapolis, MN: National Computer
Systems, Inc.
Maker, C.J. (Ed.). (1986). Critical issues in gifted education: Defensible programs for the gifted. Austin, TX: PRO-ED.
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS). Washington, DC: Author.
Piers, E.V. (1984). Piers-Harris Children’s Self-concept Scale: Revised manual. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.

Spicker, H.H., Breard, N., & Reyes, E.I. (1996). Final Report Project SPRING II Special Populations Rural Information Network for the Gifted.
(USDOE No. R206A20011). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.
Spicker, H.H. (1993). Final Report Project SPRING Special Populations Rural Information Network for the Gifted (USDOE No. R206A00169).
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.
Tonemah, S. (1987). Assessing American Indian gifted and talented students’ abilities. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 10(3), 181-194.


We are delighted to announce that Joan Freeman has been honored with
The Lifetime Achievement Award for 2007 from the British Psychological Society
This is an extraordinary honor in many ways, not least because Joan’s field of endeavor,
the promotion of gifts and talents, is not a priority for the society.
The award is to be presented formally at a gala dinner in Dublin in April 2008.

Gifted Children Volume 2 Number 1 Fall 2007 Page 5

Economic Arguments for Gifted Education

Pamela R. Clinkenbeard, Ph.D., Professor of Educational Foundations

at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

For the past several years I have been engaged in advocacy to be economically productive. Human capital may include
efforts on behalf of gifted students at the national, state, and both intellectual (knowledge and skills) and social (background
local level. As the co-chair of the advocacy committee of my and networks) capital. According to Becker (2002), over 70% of
state gifted association, I have spent much of my time the capital in the U.S. is human (the rest is physical or financial
speaking to groups outside of gifted education about gifted capital). The general economic argument for education is that
education. Most educators and researchers who are interested “The economic success of individuals, and also of whole
in gifted children have a personal investment in the field and economies, depends on how extensively and effectively people
its success. However, we must persuade policymakers who invest in themselves” (Becker, 2002, p. 3).
are not in the field that investment in gifted education is
How is this effectiveness measured? In research on the
important. Assuming that economic development is the
economic outcomes of education, there are individual benefits
primary education outcome of interest to governments at all
and group (societal) benefits (Hanushek, 2003). The most
levels, how can we make the argument that gifted education
typical individual outcome variable measured is income:
makes an economic difference, and what data can we employ
annual salary or lifetime earnings. Individuals who have more
to strengthen that argument?
years of education, or who have received higher quality
These questions guided my search for information as I education, make more money. Other individual variables
consulted the literature in gifted education, documents from such as greater perceived status and higher academic
national think tanks from a variety of political perspectives, performance are sometimes measured, but the discussion is
Web sites of international entities such as the World Bank and still often related to greater income. More important for
the European Union, and books on the economics of advocacy purposes are the variables pertaining to societal or
education. I questioned colleagues on this topic through aggregate benefits. These typically include higher income tax
various listservs, and I asked all the economists of my revenues and greater Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or other
acquaintance what kinds of outcome variables are generally measures of economic competitiveness such as productivity
measured in research on the economic effects of education. I per worker (Barro, 2002). Some studies also estimate the
was seeking both the rhetoric of persuasive economic savings in costs related to crime and incarceration (Lynch,
arguments for gifted and regular education, and some 2004). Among groups in education, early childhood
empirical research outcomes. researchers have taken a strong and sustained approach to
demonstrating the economic and social benefits of investing
The results of my search were presented in preliminary form
in young children (Lynch, 2004). Using some research
at the 2007 World Conference for Gifted and Talented
methods from economics, evaluations of well-known
Children at The University of Warwick (Clinkenbeard, 2007).
programs such as Head Start and the Perry Preschool Project
Initially I had intended to present comparisons between
have estimated the return on investment in early childhood
nations, but as my research progressed it became clear that
development programs, particularly for children of poverty.
the same general “human capital” arguments were being
Various programs and researchers have measured or
made in most of the countries and international organizations
estimated a wide variety of outcome variables related to
I investigated (at least in the English language sources I was
individual success and the economy: increases in adult
reading). Following are a brief discussion of these arguments
income, tax revenues, solvency of Social Security, and global
for investing in education in general, some of the typical
competitiveness; and decreases in costs related to special
individual and group variables measured in this research, and
education, crime, and welfare (Lynch, 2004). Similar research
suggestions for economic research that might be more directly
could be done, but generally has not been conducted, on
related to gifted education. It should be noted that my
behalf of gifted education.
searches so far have resulted in almost no existing data
specifically on the economic outcomes of gifted programs, Arguments for Gifted Education
though there are some compelling policy arguments for gifted
More recent research on the economics of education focuses
education. For empirical outcomes there is a good model to
not just on years of education, but also the quality of
follow in the research on investment in early childhood.
education (Hanushek, 2003). The emphasis on quality is often
“Human Capital” Research and Outcome Variables framed in a way that indirectly relates to gifted education: for
example, the recent “Tough Choices” report (National Center
As discussed in contemporary economic theory, “human
on Education and the Economy, 2006) uses international
capital” denotes “…differences among individuals that relate
comparisons to propose that the majority of U.S. students
directly to observable outcomes—earnings, health, and even
could and should be doing college-level work by age 16.
political participation” (Hanushek, 2003, p. ix). The World Bank
Research on the academic outcomes of higher quality
Web site (www.worldbank.org) refers to human capital
education, such as greater achievement in school and later job
repeatedly in the context of investing in people and their ability
performance, are generally interpreted as contributing to

Gifted Children Volume 2 Number 1 Fall 2007 Page 6

global competitiveness in a knowledge economy. “Brain estimate of his own based on the federal definition of
drain” arguments abound in local, state, and federal giftedness and the estimated number of gifted students in the
discussions of economic development. country. The Templeton report (Colangelo et al., 2004) notes
the economic benefits accruing to various forms of
Although there is little economic data on the impact of gifted
acceleration: parents save on college tuition through
education, there are compelling policy arguments for the
Advanced Placement courses, the tax base is increased with
economic importance of gifted programs and services.
more years of productive work per gifted student, and schools
Gallagher (2002) has long discussed the opportunity cost of
can save on education costs. In my World Conference
public policy that ignores gifted education. Renzulli (2002)
audience, attendees noted that in some countries the cost
discusses social capital, defined as an awareness and sense of
savings due to the acceleration of students is given back to
responsibility for the world, as an important proposed
gifted program budgets.
outcome of gifted education. (For a discussion of the
intellectual history and educational correlates of “social Conclusions
capital,” see Dika & Singh [2002]). More specifically economic
It seems that in order to persuade policymakers of the
in tone, McCann (2005) uses a “natural resource” argument in
desirability of gifted education programs and services, we as a
discussing the Australian government’s investigations into
field need to improve our communication regarding the
the need to revive gifted education programs. Her discussion
prospective and actual economic benefits of gifted education.
includes an equity argument, based on the need to
Whether polishing our rhetoric or collecting economic
incorporate the talents of all segments of society in modern
outcome data, in an era of declining support for public
economies. Moltzen (2003) situates a discussion of improved
education we need to make a clear and compelling case for
gifted education in New Zealand within economic changes to
gifted education to other education groups, to business
the country: specifically, to the transformation of a subsidized
leaders, and to governmental entities. Some arenas in which
agriculture-based economy to a more diversified economy
to make these arguments include forums related to school
based on innovation and newer specialized skills.
funding reform and school finance adequacy studies, business
The arguments that have been made for acceleration are and workforce development roundtables, and conferences
perhaps the most explicitly economic. In a discussion of related to “brain drain,” equity and diversity, and economic
“utilitarian” perspectives of giftedness, Tannenbaum (1983) competitiveness. I will be collecting sources and ideas over
cited Lorge’s estimate of the savings in “man years of the next year and would appreciate any comments or
productivity” per year of acceleration, and provided an suggestions regarding this line of inquiry. ™


Barro, R.J. (2002). Education as a determinant of economic growth. In E.P. Lazear (Ed.), Education in the twenty-first century. Stanford, CA:
Hoover Institution Press.
Becker, G.S. (2002). The age of human capital. In E.P. Lazear (Ed.), Education in the twenty-first century. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution
Clinkenbeard, P.R. (August 2007). Economic arguments for gifted education: A preliminary global comparison. Paper presented at the biennial
conference of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, Coventry, UK.
Colangelo, N., Assouline, S.G., & Gross, M.U.M. (2004). A nation deceived: How schools hold back America's brightest students (Vol. 1 & 2).
Iowa City, IA: The University of Iowa.
Dika, S.L., & Singh, K. (2002). Applications of social capital in educational literature: A critical synthesis. Review of Educational Research, 72,

Gallagher, J.J. (2002). Society’s role in educating gifted students: The role of public policy. Storrs, CT: The National Research Center on the Gifted
and Talented.
Hanushek, E.A. (2003). Understanding the economics of schools: An introduction. In E.A. Hanushek (Ed.), The economics of schooling and
school quality. Vol. 1: Labor markets, distribution and growth. Northampton, MA: Elgar.
Lynch, R.G. (2004). Exceptional returns: Economic, fiscal, and social benefits of investment in early childhood development. Washington, DC:
Economic Policy Institute.
McCann, M. (2005). Our greatest natural resource: Gifted education in Australia. Gifted Education International, 19, 90-106.
Moltzen, R. (2003). Gifted education in New Zealand. Gifted Education International, 18, 139-152.
National Center on Education and the Economy. (2006). Tough choices or tough times: The report of the new commission on the skills of the
American workforce. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Renzulli, J.S. (2002). Expanding the conception of giftedness to include co-cognitive traits and to promote social capital. Phi Delta Kappan,
84(1), 33-40 & 57-58.

Tannenbaum, A.J. (1983). Gifted children: Psychological and educational perspectives. New York: Macmillan.

Gifted Children Volume 2 Number 1 Fall 2007 Page 7

Project HOPE (Having Opportunities Promotes Excellence)
Funded by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation

Jillian C. Gates, Marcia Gentry, Rebecca L. Mann, & Jean S. Peterson

Purdue University

In August 2007, The Gifted Education Resource Institute The Grant

(GERI) at Purdue University received a three-year, $600,000
Professor Marcia Gentry will serve as Principal Investigator
grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. GERI will
(PI) for Project HOPE, overseeing the entire project, its
implement Project HOPE (Having Opportunities Promotes
continuation, the assessment, and the research. Professor
Excellence) in five area school districts in Indiana—two urban
Rebecca Mann will serve as co-PI for Project HOPE, focusing
and three rural—to provide students with Saturday and
on the professional development and student programming.
summer enrichment experiences. Funding will also be used to
Professor Jean Peterson directs the School Counseling
provide training to K-5 teachers and counselors on the
Program at Purdue University and serves as an associated
identification and counseling needs of lower-income, high-
faculty member of GERI. As co-PI she will coordinate the
achieving students, as well as parent workshops.
development-oriented counseling activities for Project HOPE,
Founded in 1978 to encourage high-ability youth to develop working with counselors, students, and families.
their talents to the fullest, the Gifted Education Resource
Institute (GERI) at Purdue University has a long and rich
Research Goals
history of providing successful student programs which
facilitate academic, career, social, and emotional development The following goals will guide Project HOPE:
of high-ability youth. Project HOPE seeks to expand
1. develop procedures for recognizing ability and talent
opportunities for culturally diverse and low-income high-
among low-income children;
potential students by increasing access to GERI enrichment
programs, providing these children with educational 2. make it possible for these identified students to
experiences similar to those in society who have more participate in Super Saturday and Super Summer
advantages. programs at Purdue University by offering Project
HOPE-supplied full-tuition scholarships and
Literature Review
3. develop follow-up services for high-potential
Students with exceptional academic potential who come from
poverty are frequently not identified, are under-identified, or
are misidentified for gifted and talented programs. When 4. evaluate effects on students who participate in the
identified, they often elect to drop out of programs (Bernal, programs and effects on the identification of gifted
2007; Ford, 2007; Olszewski-Kubilius, Lee, Ngoi, & Ngoi, children from low-income families in the targeted
2004; Worrell, 2007). African American, Latino/a, Native schools;
American, and children from poverty are 5 to 10 times less
likely than their White middle-class or affluent counterparts 5. develop on-going sources of funding to sustain
to be served in talent enrichment or gifted education program expansion at the conclusion of the project and
programs (Ford, 1998; Miller, 2004: U.S. Office of Civil Rights, to facilitate long-term follow-up and study of Project
2002). Rural students also face challenges in pursuit of a HOPE participants.
sound education: poverty rates are higher; residents have We will research the effects of Project HOPE participation on
lower levels of formal education; fewer youth aspire to student achievement in and attitudes toward their
college; smaller tax bases often leave rural schools home/school experiences. To do this we will gather extant
underfunded and with fewer developmental opportunities; quantitative base-line data on participating students and track
lack of infrastructure and resources results in less technology; repeated-measures achievement scores for these students for
and attracting high quality teachers is difficult (Bauch, 2001). the duration of the project. We will also use the My Class
In 2005, Indiana gained the dubious distinction of having the Activities (MCA) (Gentry & Gable, 2001) to determine if
greatest increase in poverty of any Midwestern state since program participation affects student attitudes toward school
2000 with a 63% increase (Joint Economic Committee, 2006). on variables that underlie student achievement. Specifically
Additionally, when compared to other U.S. states, Indiana for students in all five treatment schools we will collect grades
ranks 45th in the percentage of persons who have completed a and ISTEP+ (Indiana Department of Education, 2006) scores.
bachelor’s degree and 30th in the percentage of people who Additionally, four out of the five districts all test children at
have completed high school (U. S. Census Bureau, 2005). Like least twice a year (fall & spring) using the NWEA (2005). We
the rest of Indiana, areas within commuting distance of will use these scores to determine program impacts on
Purdue University have not only experienced an increase in academic achievement over time for the participating
poverty levels, but also an increase in diversity of school students. If qualified children exist who elect not to
populations. participate in the program, we will use these children and
their scores as a comparison group to help draw inferences

Gifted Children Volume 2 Number 1 Fall 2007 Page 8

concerning program effects. Finally, analyses will be school enrichment is required to affect student achievement
conducted to address the question of “How much out-of- and attitudes?” ™


Bauch, P.A. (2001). School-community partnerships in rural schools: Leadership, renewal and a sense of place. Peabody Journal of Education,
76(2), 204-221.

Bernal, E.M. (2007). The plight of the culturally diverse student from poverty. In J. VanTassel-Baska & T. Stambaugh (Eds.), Overlooked
gems: A national perspective on low-income promising learners (pp. 63-37). Washington, DC: National Association of Gifted Children.
Ford, D.Y. (1998). The under-representation of minority students in gifted education: Problems and promises in recruitment and retention.
The Journal of Special Education, 32(1), 4-14.

Ford, D.Y. (2007). Diamonds in the rough: Recognizing and meeting the needs of gifted children from low SES backgrounds. In J.
VanTassel-Baska & T. Stambaugh (Eds.), Overlooked gems: A national perspective on low-income promising learners (pp. 63-37).
Washington, DC: National Association of Gifted Children.

Gentry, M., & Gable, R.K. (2001). From the students' perspective My Class Activities: An instrument for use in research and evaluation.
Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 24, 322-343.

Indiana Department of Education. (2006). ISTEP+ program manual. Indianapolis: Indiana Department of Education.
Joint Economic Committee. (2006). Poverty rate unchanged from 2004, but up since 2000. Economic Policy Brief. Washington, DC.
Miller, L.S. (2004). Promoting sustained growth in the representation of African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans among top students in the
United States at all levels of the education system (RM04190). Storrs, CT: National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented.
Olszewski-Kubilius, P., Lee, S.Y., Ngoi, M., & Ngoi, D. (2004). Addressing the achievement gap between minority and non minority
children by increasing access to gifted programs. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 28(2), 127-158.
U.S. Office of Civil Rights. (2002). 2002 elementary and secondary civil rights compliance report. National and state projections. Washington, DC:
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights
United States Census Bureau. (2005). American Community Survey. Retrieved from
http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/GRTSelectServlet?ds_name=ACS_2005_EST_G00_ May 23, 2007.
Worrell, F.C. (2007). Identifying and including low-income learners in programs for the gifted and talented: Multiple complexities. In J.
VanTassel-Baska & T. Stambaugh (Eds.), Overlooked gems: A national perspective on low-income promising learners (pp. 63-37).
Washington, DC: National Association of Gifted Children.

Letter from the Editor, continued

And approaching the need for on-going supports from a different angle, Shirley Aamidor’s article gives us a
longitudinal follow-up to a study of gifted education in economically disadvantaged rural settings. Her findings
emphasize the importance of following up with supports for such students; it is not enough to identify them as gifted
and put them into programs for high-ability learners. Finally, we have a thoughtfully controversial piece by Pam
Clinkenbeard, raising the issue of economic viability, another topic that we in gifted education have avoided concerning
ourselves with historically, but that we are going to have to think about if the field is to survive.

Please tell me what you think about all this and more — what’s interesting, engaging, and controversial in your work
with high-ability learners, and what you’re learning or reading or thinking about investigating in your own research.

Finally, I want to say a huge thank you to our layout editor, Leigh Kupersmith. She is one of those people who makes a
collaborative effort an enormous pleasure — in all our interactions, I’ve found her thoughtful, funny, creative, positive,
and responsive, all in addition to her finely-honed expertise.

Looking forward to the ongoing dialogue with you all,

Dona Matthews, Ph.D.

Visiting Professor,
Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto

Gifted Children Volume 2 Number 1 Fall 2007 Page 9

Pathways to the Top: Scaffolding Success for Black and Latino Students
in — and Beyond — Academically Accelerated High School Environments

Holly Hertberg-Davis, Ph.D.

Carolyn Callahan, Ph.D.
University of Virginia

Introduction college? Beyond these support structures, what are common

factors in the case histories of high-achieving Black and Latino
In 2000, the National Task Force on Minority High
students that pave the pathways to academic success in AP
Achievement published Reaching the Top, a report highlighting
and college courses?
the under-representation of Black and Latino students in the
population of highest-achieving students at all levels of
schooling, including in accelerated Advanced Placement (AP) Methods
courses and in college, regardless of socioeconomic status. This
Sample and Data Collection: Stage 1. Three high schools with
report highlighted a chronic and long-standing problem
formal structures to support minority participation and
(Borland, 2004; Gandara, 2004; Miller, 2004). Because the
success in AP courses (e.g., weekly lunch groups, pre-AP
opportunity to experience college-level challenges while in
programs, study groups) have been identified (hereafter
high school confers many long-term benefits to students,
called “AP Support Schools”), along with three high schools
ensuring successful participation of all ethnic and racial
that are similar in student demographics, urbanicity, and
groups in AP courses is essential to achieving educational
school size to the AP Support Schools, but that do not provide
equity (see Hertberg-Davis, Callahan, & Kyburg, 2006).
formal AP support (hereafter called “No AP Support
Recent efforts by the College Board and the Federal
Government to rectify the problem (see, for example, U.S.
Department of Education, 2006) have resulted in a dramatic We are currently in the process of recruiting a sample of 30
increase in the participation of minority students in AP Black and Latino students who took AP courses, graduated
courses, but this increase has not been echoed in the from the six selected high schools, and who are currently in
percentage performing above the generally accepted passing their second year of college. Five graduates from each AP
score of “3” on AP exams (College Board, 2005) —a score Support School and each No AP Support School will be
which has been found to be correlated with later college selected for further case study. Student selection will be
performance (Dougherty, Mellor, & Jian, 2006; Geiser and purposeful to ensure equal representation in each group of
Santelices, 2004). While, in 2004, 65% of AP exams taken by gender, ethnicity, parent education level, and selectiveness of
White students received a score of 3 or higher, only 32% of AP college attended.
exams taken by Black students received a 3 or higher (College
Board, 2005). These findings suggest that AP courses may not All participants will complete a questionnaire containing
provide the same benefits to Black and Latino students as they short-answer and open-ended questions via SurveyMonkey,
provide to middle- and upper-middle class White students. an on-line survey tool, probing students’ experiences and
Some research indicates that providing Black and Latino performance in AP and college courses and feelings of
students with formal supports during high school (e.g., lunch preparedness for college. Survey questions were constructed
groups, study groups, and pre-AP courses) contributes to based on a review of the literature, and the survey has been
increased participation and success in AP courses (e.g., field-tested using a sample of 10 Latino and African American
Beitler, 2004; Guthrie & Guthrie, 2001). However, the long- former AP students who are now in their second year of
term impact of these support structures on students’ feelings college. Revisions have been made to the survey based upon
of preparedness for and performance within college courses the field test results. After the survey is administered,
has not been researched. Furthermore, no studies have multiple follow-up telephone interviews will be conducted to
focused on case histories of Black and Latino students who clarify questions and obtain complete, rich data.
have been high-achievers in AP and college courses to Sample and Data Collection: Stage 2. A sub-sample of students
identify common factors contributing to their high will be chosen from the larger sample of 30 to develop case
achievement. histories of high-achieving Black and Latino students.
Students from the larger sample with a history of high
The Study achievement in AP courses (score of 4 or 5 on at least one AP
exam) and college courses (G.P.A. of at least 3.0) will be
In an attempt to fill these gaps in the literature, a one-year selected for the sub-sample. Interviews with the sub-sample
study is underway at the University of Virginia through a of high-achieving students will be more in-depth and
grant from the University of Iowa’s Belin-Blank Center. The expansive to allow for development of case histories on each
study is exploring the following research questions: To what student. Interview data for both the larger sample and sub-
extent do formal support structures for minority students sample will be collected until data saturation is reached.
taking accelerated high school courses impact the success of
these students within AP courses and, subsequently, in

Gifted Children Volume 2 Number 1 Fall 2007 Page 10

Data Analysis. Qualitative survey and interview data will be common and unique factors contributing to these students’
analyzed using the Constant Comparative Method as successful participation in AP courses and subsequent college
described in Strauss & Corbin (1998) to determine whether — environments.
and to what extent—support structures impact Black and
Latino students’ experiences in AP courses and subsequent
feelings of preparedness for college. Data from each student
will first be analyzed separately to build rich, descriptive, The gap between Black and Latino students and their White
independent case studies and to probe the uniqueness of each peers at the highest levels of academic achievement is a
student’s experience. The case studies of graduates of AP serious and chronic problem. By delineating the specific
Support Schools will then be examined to determine common supports for and barriers to high-achievement for minority
patterns and themes. Case studies of graduates of No AP students in our most challenging high school courses and
Support Schools will be analyzed similarly. Finally, patterns beyond, we can begin to inform policy and practice as
across groups will be compared for common and unique schools, state departments, and the federal government
themes. Case histories of the sub-sample of high-achieving develop and fund AP programs for minority students. ™
students will be developed and compared to illuminate

Beitler, A. (2004, December). Making this team. Principal Leadership, 5(4), 16-21.

Borland, J.H. (2004). Issues and practices in the identification and education of gifted students from under-represented groups (RM04186). Storrs,
CT: The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, University of Connecticut.
College Board. (2005). National summary report 2004. Retrieved March 29, 2005, from
Dougherty, C., Mellor, L., & Jian, S. (2006). The relationship between Advanced Placement and college graduation. Austin, TX: National Center
for Educational Accountability.
Gandara, P.C. (2004). Latino achievement: Identifying models that foster success. (RM04194) Storrs, CT: National Research Center on the Gifted
and Talented, University of Connecticut.
Geiser, S., & Santelices, V. (2004). The role of Advanced Placement and Honors courses in college admissions. Berkeley: University of California,
Guthrie, L.F., & Guthrie, G.P. (2001). Longitudinal research on AVID, 1999-2000; 2000-2001. Burlingame, CA: Center for Research, Evaluation
and Training in Education.

Hertberg-Davis, H., Callahan, C.M., & Kyburg, R.M. (2006). Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs: A "fit" for gifted
learners? (RM06222). Storrs, CT: The National Research Center of the Gifted and Talented, University of Connecticut.
Miller, L.S. (2004). Promoting sustained growth in the representation of African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans among top students in the
United States at all levels of the education system. (RM04190) Storrs, CT: National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented,
University of Connecticut.
Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Thousand Oaks, CA:

U.S. Department of Education - Press Release (February 6, 2006). Fiscal year 2007 budget request advances NCLB implementation and pinpoints
competitiveness. Accessed on November 10, 2006, from http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2006/02/02062006.html






Gifted Children Volume 2 Number 1 Fall 2007 Page 11

Assessing the Impact of a Proposed Rule Change on the Identification of Gifted
English Language Learners

Michael S. Matthews, Ph.D.

Gifted Education Program, Department of Special Education
The University of South Florida

How would Florida’s proposed change to a unitary gifted rule standardized achievement test; this could be either a 4 or 5 on
affect gifted learners who are also classified as limited English the reading or math score of the FCAT, or a reading or math
proficient? Data collected as part of a study now in progress score at the 85th percentile or higher on any nationally-
at the University of South Florida in Tampa offers some normed test. This change represents a departure from current
sobering empirical input on the potential impact of this practice that likely will preclude the identification of
change on these traditionally underserved gifted learners. underachieving gifted learners. A five on the FCAT in either
Because Florida is the fourth largest U.S. state in terms of K-12 reading or math would be required for students whose IQ
population, changes implemented here may influence scores fell between 120 and 130, and no IQ score below 120
educational policies in other states. would qualify for gifted services.
Florida’s current system for identification of gifted learners There are some theoretical problems with using achievement
has two tracks. Under this current rule, which has been in test results to determine giftedness. We know that gifted
effect in its present form since 2002, mainstream students students from disadvantaged backgrounds are best
must meet an IQ requirement of 130 or higher. Alternative identified early-on, as waiting until higher grades risks
criteria are allowed for students who are classified as limited losing these learners as more-advantaged peers show greater
English proficient (LEP) or who are of low socioeconomic academic growth. Furthermore, the ceiling on standardized
status, as indicated by their eligibility for free or reduced- grade-level tests may not be high enough to identify gifted
price school lunch. Note that the LEP designation is being learners. This is particularly a problem on state-level tests,
changed to the less deficit-oriented term “English language some of which appear to be getting easier every year (see
learner”, which is preferred; since LEP has been the official Matthews, 2006). Furthermore, the standardized testing
term used in archival records, I use both terms in this article. mandated by NCLB begins at third grade, potentially
leaving out students in grades K-2. The proposed gifted rule
The current gifted rule allows Florida school districts to
addresses this by allowing “an above-average score on a
design a plan for increasing the number of LEP or low-SES
research-based reading assessment” (Florida Department of
students, known informally as ‘Plan B’ after its heading in the
State, 2006, ¶ 3.a.2). The proportion of English language
state rule. Districts choosing to develop Plan B criteria may set
learners who would meet this criterion is unclear, but high
their own IQ cutoff for these two groups of learners, and may
English reading ability would likely have kept a student
include additional elements such as creativity and leadership
from being designated LEP in the first place.
that are not given separate consideration in the criteria used
to identify mainstream gifted learners. Both plan options also For students who are learning the English language in school,
require a behavioral checklist of gifted indicators and perhaps a more serious problem lies in the heavy language
evidence of need for a special program, but in practice the IQ demands that standardized achievement tests present. Florida
cutoff is often the primary criterion in identification. The text law recognizes this by allowing the LEP committee to exempt
of both the current rule and the proposed revision are students whose LEP classification date falls within one year of
available online from the Florida Department of State (2006). the FCAT testing. We know that whether or not a person
speaks English has little bearing on their intelligence, and we
The state rule allows districts to develop Plan B procedures,
also know that LEP students who are tested are unlikely to
but such plans no longer were mandated when race and
achieve the high levels of FCAT performance that the
ethnicity were dropped from Plan B in the 2002 revision of the
proposed gifted rule would ask of them. A quick look at the
gifted rule. Currently, 43 of Florida’s 67 districts have
2007 FCAT results (see
developed Plan B documents. The remaining districts chose
not to develop a Plan B. At least two of the Plan B documents
confirms this suspicion; while 8 percent of third and fourth
currently in use do not require any minimum IQ score if other
graders statewide scored in the highest of the five FCAT
criteria are met, while the remainder require minimum IQ
proficiency levels in reading, just one percent of English
scores ranging from 110 to 118 (along with other evidence) to
language learners obtained scores in this category. In grades
qualify a low income or LEP learner for gifted services.
6-11, zero percent of English language learners statewide had
The proposed rule revision would identify learners for gifted scores in achievement level five, while between two and
programs using IQ scores on a sliding scale together with eleven percent of all students fell into this highest category in
scores from the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test reading achievement. This suggests that all English language
(FCAT), the state’s NCLB achievement test. Under the learners in grades 6 and higher could only be identified as
revision, students with IQ scores at or above 130 would also gifted if their IQ score was in the 130+ range, and only then if
be required to demonstrate high performance on a they made a 4 on the FCAT assessment.

Gifted Children Volume 2 Number 1 Fall 2007 Page 12

Not having access to FCAT scores at the student level, I was screening cutoff that was in use when these scores were
curious to examine the question from another perspective. collected. Since three quarters of those screened met the IQ
What would the impact of raising the IQ score to a minimum 115 criterion for gifted program entry used in this district’s
of 120 have on the population of English language learners Plan B, the screening score could probably be set a bit lower to
determined eligible for gifted services? Table 1 shows the increase the number of LEP students referred for gifted
distribution of IQ scores for a population of elementary LEP evaluation without substantially increasing the proportion
students (N = 432) who were referred for possible placement tested who do not meet the 115+ placement criterion.
in the gifted program. Each of these students had obtained a
The same evidence suggests that implementing a statewide
score of at least 120 on a screening test, most commonly the K-
requirement for a minimum IQ score of 120 for all learners
BIT II, before being referred for an individual evaluation by
would substantially reduce the number of English language
the school psychologist.
learners found eligible for gifted programs in Florida. More
than one third (34.8%) of the English language learners
currently eligible for gifted services would no longer be
Table 1. IQ score distribution for LEP students considered gifted under the new proposed rule. When one
referred for possible gifted program placement
considers that an FCAT score of 5 would be required for the
IQ Score Range N % 120 minimum score to apply, and that an extremely low
proportion of ELL students achieve a score in this range, it
≤104 28 6.5
becomes apparent that we would miss many more gifted
105-109 23 5.3 English language learners if the new criteria were adopted; a
110-114 25 5.8 loss of half or even three quarters of the current population of
115-119 124 28.7
these diverse gifted learners would be likely. More than 250
individuals in this one district alone might no longer qualify
120-124 82 19.0 for gifted services, representing a loss of dozens of home
125-129 58 13.4 languages and myriad diverse perspectives. The loss of these
130-134 57 13.2 students would not only harm their educational achievement;
it also would diminish the experiences of mainstream gifted
135+ 35 8.1
learners, who would no longer be exposed to the perspectives
Note: Population mean = 121.1 these English language learners bring as peers in their gifted
There are several interesting things here. First, a criticism We all would like to be able to think that important
sometimes expressed by teachers in Florida schools is that educational decisions are made only after careful empirical
students identified under Plan B criteria somehow ‘do not study of the complex implications of these issues. However,
really belong’ in the gifted program. As these data make clear, the reality often is different; politically motivated changes
one in four of the students now identified under Plan B would often trump those based on reasoned analysis. As researchers
also be eligible under the 130 IQ standard applied to in gifted education, we have a responsibility to publicize our
mainstream gifted learners. work to the larger audience of legislators, district personnel,
Second, the majority of these students’ scores fall in the range and state education agencies whose decisions affect
of 115-119. This is probably consistent with some regression to education, and through education, our larger society. ™
the mean, which might be expected given the IQ 120


Florida Department of State. (2006). Rule: 6A-6.03019: Special instructional programs for students who are gifted. Florida Administrative
Weekly and Florida Administrative Code [online edition]. Tallahassee, FL: Author. Retrieved October 24, 2007, from

Matthews, M.S. (2006). Benefits and drawbacks of state-level assessments for gifted students: NCLB and standardized testing. Duke Gifted
Letter, 7(1) [electronic version]. Retrieved October 24, 2007, from http://www.dukegiftedletter.com/articles/vol7no1_tt.html

Data collection for this study was supported by a New Researcher Grant awarded by the University of South Florida. Technical assistance
provided by school district staff is also gratefully acknowledged.

Gifted Children Volume 2 Number 1 Fall 2007 Page 13

A Technology Based Resource for Challenging Gifted and Talented Students

Joseph S. Renzulli
Sally M. Reis
The University of Connecticut

“Differentiation” is the contemporary buzzword in research studies, or creative projects that individuals or small
curriculum and instruction, but the reality is that most groups would like to pursue. Students and teachers can
teachers simply do not have the time necessary to do it well, evaluate the quality of students’ products using a rubric
especially when it comes to finding advanced-level resources called The Student Product Assessment Form. Students can
for gifted students. Remarkable advances in instructional rate each site visited, conduct a self-assessment of what they
communication technology (ICT) have now made is possible have gained from the site, and place resources in their own
to provide high levels of enrichment services to students who Total Talent Portfolio for future use. RLS also includes a
have access to a computer and the Internet. The Renzulli curriculum acceleration management system for high-
Learning System (RLS) is an Internet-based enrichment achieving students that is based on the many years of research
program that is built on a high-end learning theory that and widespread use of a curricular modification process
focuses on the development of creative productivity through called Curriculum Compacting. Students and teachers can
the application of knowledge rather than the mere acquisition use the RLS anytime and anywhere there is Internet access.
and storage of knowledge. The system, which is sponsored by
Teacher functions allow downloading of hundreds of
the University of Connecticut Research and Development
reproducible creativity and critical thinking activities as well
Corporation, is based on more than 30 years of research
as numerous off-line resources for lesson planning and
dealing with student strength assessment and advanced-level
curricular integration. Management functions allow teachers
learning guided by the Enrichment Triad Model (Renzulli,
to group students by interests and learning styles. The
management tools also allow teachers to place teacher-
The Renzulli Learning System goes beyond the popular selected resources in individual, whole class, or selected
“worksheets-on-line” or “courses-on-line” that, by and large, students’ portfolios for classroom or special project use.
have been early applications of ICT in most school situations. Teachers can oversee all students’ activity including where
These early applications have been based on the same and when students have been on-line using the RLS, projects
pedagogy that is regularly practiced in most traditional or assignments underway or completed, and areas where
teaching situations, thereby minimizing the role of the curriculum has been compacted. The system can be used at
Internet to a gigantic encyclopedia rather than a source of home and during summer, and parents can view their own
information for first-hand investigative and creative son or daughter’s work on the system. The principal or
endeavors. designated project manager can also examine all activity
taking place in a given building or program. This feature
The Renzulli Learning System is a comprehensive program
allows for accountability, system assessment, and guidance in
that begins by providing a computer-generated profile of each
staff development and program planning needs.
student’s academic strengths, interests, learning styles, and
preferred modes of expression. A search engine then matches Persons interested in examining the Renzulli Learning System
Internet resources to the student’s profile from fourteen can tour the Web site at www.renzullilearning.com and
carefully screened databases that are categorized by subject further descriptive information can be obtained at
area, grade level, state curricular standards, and degree of info@renzullilearning.com. The RLS is being widely used by
complexity. A management system called the Wizard Project school systems throughout the U.S. and in other countries. A
Maker guides students in the application of knowledge to home-school and individual use version will be available in
teacher- or student-selected assignments, independent 2008. ™

Renzulli, J. S. (1977). The Enrichment Triad Model: A guide for developing defensible programs for the gifted and talented. Mansfield Center, CT:
Creative Learning Press.

Gifted Children Volume 2 Number 1 Fall 2007 Page 14

Book Review

The Indigo Children: The New Kids Have Arrived

Lee Carroll and Jan Tober (Eds.)
Hay House Inc., California

Review by Joan Freeman

Middlesex University, London, UK

Ever heard of Indigo children? No? Well, they are super- Schools which can cope with Indigos are to be found all over
duper, over-the-top, gifted and talented children. They are an the world, where for example, “Students are honored, not the
evolution in childhood, largely restricted to the USA, which system.” The Montessori system is one such. I imagine that
started sometime around the recent millennium—and have Maria, that down-to-earth doctor, would be a stout opponent
never before been documented! It is easy to pour scorn on the of the idea that the little ones under her system would be
ideas expounded in this book edited by many Ph.D.’s and taught how to be super-duper gifteds. But in the end, what is
famous authors of bestselling books (hmm). The chapters are going on in her name is not actually the Montessori Method.
extremely short and do not tax the brain cells unduly. But
There are sad chapters by people on the hardships of growing
there is hardly a page which has not caused me at least one
up Indigo. It seems that other cruder folk just don’t give the
raised eyebrow.
Indigo child the understanding and love they crave. The book
Typical behaviour of an Indigo child is as follows: “My wife provides advice on how to distinguish Indigo from ADHD,
and I tell Nicholas aged two that we love him. Sometimes and how to sort out problems without Ritalin, which is now
he’ll tell us that he loves us back, but more often Nicholas will lavishly prescribed across the Western World. In America, it is
agree with us, ‘I love me too’.” Signed by a dad (p.107). estimated that between the ages of 5-19, 1 in 30 has a
Identification is also relatively simple if you are sensitive: you prescription for Ritalin. But then, so many report this drug as
can just look into their eyes and see what old souls they have. giving them peace and opening windows in their mental life
one would not wish to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Fortunately, the authors with their “very fine minds” provide
advice on how to help these “system buster” children. One of The book in no way convinced me that there is a brand new
the Ph.D.’s says, for example, “I’ve learned from my version of a child called an Indigo. I did wonder, though,
conversations with God and the angels to take excellent care about what makes the many authors tick. The examples given
of our bodies.” And much more (p.138). Not for vanity, she are typical of bright and lively children experimenting in
insists, but to make us more receptive to divine guidance. making sense of the world. Love is strongly promoted, but if
What would she have done without that angelic advice? We you believe that these children have “a divine origin and
also learn that directing children is OK for God but not for mission”, you may be inclined to stand back in awe. But then,
parents. They must never direct their progeny because the as another of the Ph.D.’s writes: “being alive is all about
children know from birth who they are and where they are gaining experience, there are no wrong choices since we
going. It is perfectly all right to guide them gently, but acquire wisdom no matter what we choose.” Candide, like
because the children are “smarter than you are” you will only Elvis, is alive. It seems to me, though, that bright healthy
be causing them much frustration and distorting their healthy children need more than love, freedom, and “honor.” They
development if you instruct them. This advice is quite need clear structure and help in their growing up to provide
specific. Never ever, for example, expect them to join the them with peace and happiness, and indeed success in life.
family business. Children need parenting. ™

Gifted Children Volume 2 Number 1 Fall 2007 Page 15

About the AERA RGT SIG

The Research on Giftedness and Talent (RGT) Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association
(AERA) deals with research studies that focus on how giftedness and talent are developed and nurtured. The SIG
encourages both international and national studies involving qualitative and or quantitative methods in a wide variety
of topics: Conceptions, Models, Identification, Programs and Practices, Counseling, Creativity, Thinking Skills,
Disabilities, Parenting, and Diversity.

Dues: $10 (1 yr.) / $20 (2 yrs.) / Free for Graduate Students

For more information, or to join the SIG: http://www.aeragifted.org/
For information on the AERA Annual meeting: http://www.aera.net/meeting

NAGC 2007

Matthew Makel, Indiana University

The 54th Annual Meeting of the National Association for Gifted Children was held November 7-11th in Minneapolis. Our
gracious host volunteers proudly donned yellow fleece vests serving the dual purposes of identifying them as people who
could help as well as protecting them from the snow flurries that greeted conference attendees on Friday morning. With
themes such as 10,000 Ideas in the Land of 10,000 Lakes! and Igniting Ideas & Innovations in Gifted, this year’s conference
featured 350 breakout sessions ranging from the Neuroscience of Creativity and a discussion of online teacher education to
the 2nd Annual Graduate Student Research Gala. Graduate students Jillian Gates of Purdue University and Jane Jarvis from
the University of Virginia shared the honor of overall best submission for the gala.
The opening session and Saturday keynote address, given by Dean Keith Simonton and Robert Sternberg, respectively,
packed the house and were extremely well received. Moreover, NAGC President Del Siegle jokingly announced that he
had figured out how to get everyone to stay at the conference through noon on Sunday: schedule Minnesota favorite son
Garrison Keillor as the closing speaker. Keillor, who was clearly a crowd favorite, told his audience that he initially thought
he was speaking to the National Association of Gifted Children and planned to give an address on humility. Although he
humbly claimed to know nothing about giftedness or gifted research, he urged his listeners not to overlook the importance
of praising student dedication and hard work. Clearly Mr. Keillor does know a thing or two about educating students.
Attendance on Sunday was not limited to those yearning to return to Lake Woebegone. A standing room only audience
attended a whirlwind session providing an update on all the research conducted in the last five years by the National
Research Center on the Gifted and Talented given by Joe Renzulli, Sally Reis, Jean Gubbins, and Carolyn Callahan.
In 2008, NAGC will be held in Tampa, Florida, from October 30th through November 2nd.


We are delighted to announce that Jane Piirto has been honored with the
Mensa Lifetime Achievement Award
for her work with gifted students and with teachers
and for her model that is recognized nationally and internationally.
A special issue of the Mensa Research Journal
will be devoted to seven of her scholarly articles in early 2008

Gifted Children Volume 2 Number 1 Fall 2007 Page 16

Research on Giftedness and Talent Research on Giftedness and Talent
Officers Working Committees

Chair Constitutional Review Committee

Michael Pyryt Tarek Grantham (grantham@uga.edu)
mpyryt@ucalgary.ca (June 2006 -June 2008) Tonya Moon (tonya@virginia.edu)
Mary Rizza (mrizza@bgnet.bgsu.edu)
Chair Elect
Karen Rogers
Membership Committee
k.rogers@unsw.edu.au (June 2006-June 2008)
Carol Tieso (clties@wm.edu)
Secretary Betsy McCoach (betsy.mccoach@uconn.edu)
Marcia Gentry Bonnie Cramond (bcramond@uga.edu)
mgentry@insightbb.com (Term ends June 2008) Susannah Richards (susannahr@commongroup.net)
William Bart (bartx001@umn.edu)
Treasurer Jean Gubbins (ejean.gubbins@uconn.edu)
Catherine Brighton
brighton@virginia.edu (Term ends June 2008) Program Planning Committee
Carol Tieso (clties@wm.edu)
Program Chair
Carol Tieso (June 2007-June 2008) Cheryll Adams (cadams@bsu.edu)
clties@wm.edu Dona Matthews (donamatthews@gmail.com)

Assistant Program Chair Awards Committee

Dona Matthews (becomes program chair 2008-09) Catherine Brighton (brighton@virginia.edu)
donamatthews@gmail.com Cheryll Adams (cadams@bsu.edu)
Frank Worrell (frankc@berkeley.edu)
Members-at-Large Michael Matthews (matthews@coedu.usf.edu)
Catherine Little (Term ends June 2008)
catherine.little@uconn.edu Business Meeting Committee
Michael Matthews (Term ends June 2008) Betsy McCoach (betsy.mccoach@uconn.edu)
matthews@coedu.usf.edu Marcia Gentry (mgentry@insightbb.com)
David Lohman (Term ends June 2009)
david-lohman@uiowa.edu Publication Committee
Jane Piirto (Term ends June 2009) Del Siegle (del.siegle@uconn.edu)
jpiirto@ashland.edu Jonathan Plucker (jplucker@indiana.edu)
Dona Matthews (donamatthews@gmail.com)
Student Representative
Bronwyn MacFarlane (June 2006-June 2008)

Newsletter Editor
Jill Adelson (Term ends June 2009)

D. Betsy McCoach
betsy.mccoach@uconn.edu (June 2007-June 2008)

Carolyn Callahan (June 2006-June 2008)

An Electronic Journal of the AERA SIG Research on Giftedness and Talent.

AERA Special Interest Groups Web Site: http://www.aeragifted.org/