Public schools are seeking diversity in gifted education with new methods for identifying students eligible for gifted services.

Diversity in Gifted EducationIn Nashville, there is a likelihood that the number of black and Latino students eligible to enter gifted education programs will double. This is good news as research as confirmed that when students are identified as gifted in their early years, they are more likely to find success.

Historically, there has been a disparity in Nashville in the racial makeup of gifted programs, and The Office For Civil Rights has scrutinized the problem. According to Donna Ford, a Vanderbilt professor of education and human development, that scrutiny led to short and long term issues.

“If you don’t get the services and challenges you need, you tend not to do well in school,” Ford said.

The new gifted assessment measure is helping to decrease bias in the selection of students, according to Nashville coordinator of gifted services Schunn Turner.

“Our program firmly believes in the dominant philosophy that all students have gifts and talents,” Turner said. “It’s sometimes hard to capture gifts and talents for these programs, but it’s important we make every effort to do that.”

One of the results of a recent Vanderbilt study indicated that white teachers are less likely to identify black and Latino students than they are to identify white students for gifted programs.  It is hoped that new assessment procedures eliminates unintentional bias.

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