States with formal policies around gifted and talented programs tend to identify more English learners and students with disabilities for those programs, according to a new study from NWEA, a not-for-profit research and educational services organization serving K-12 students.
The study uses data from the 2017-2018 Civil Rights Data Collection, the Stanford Education Data Archive, and the researchers’ own coding of individual states’ policies toward gifted and talented education.
A number of key themes emerged:
- The study confirms that English learners and students with disabilities are identified at rates that are 1/8 to 1/6 of their representation in the overall student population.
- State mandates for schools to offer services, requirements for formal gifted education plans, and regular audits for compliance are correlated with much higher rates of gifted service availability and equity for English learners and students with disabilities.
- The top 5 percent of schools with the highest equity of English learners identified as gifted were relatively lower achieving and had higher enrollments of students from low-income families.
- The top 5 percent of schools with the highest equity of students with disabilities identified as gifted were similar in size, achievement, and SES to the overall sample, but were smaller than the average school in the sample and had smaller, if more equitable, gifted and talented enrollment.
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