Underrepresentation of Black, Brown, and Economically Disadvantaged students in Gifted and Talented Education

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Background: Minority—African American, Hispanic, and economically disadvantaged (Eco-Dis) students are oftentimes underrepresented in gifted and talented (GT) programs. The lack of universal GT program requirements are barriers for equity in gifted education. The Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) report that the underrepresentation of minority students in GT education is a historic and current problem. Purpose: The study investigated the underrepresentation of minority students in GT programming at elementary and intermediate school campuses in one school district. Further, the proportion of students that were recommended versus qualified for GT in universally screened grades Kindergarten and Fifth was investigated by ethnicity. Additionally, differences in the proportion of students from low-income homes were cross classified with students who qualify for GT at each individual campus. Method: The study used both descriptive and casual comparative research designs to identify the status of GT identification in the district, to source any potential gaps in GT identification rates based on student ethnicity, family income status, school attended, and feeder pattern. Publicly available CRDC, TEA, and District GT Data for the 2017-2018 school year were used in the analyses. Results: The analyses revealed an underrepresentation of African American and Hispanic students in elementary and intermediate schools’ GT programming. Further, the cross-classification analyses revealed that campuses with a high Eco-Dis population resulted in a low GT population. Also, minority students in Kindergarten and Fifth were underrepresented in GT programming despite the use of universal screeners. Conclusion: As the district continues to address disproportionate outcomes by ethnicity across various campus locations, a systemic change that relies on a more robust enrollment process with the inclusion of targeted teacher preparation and parent advocacy support is recommended.

Gifted and talented education, underrepresentation, giftedness, talent, gifted children, economically disadvantaged, minority students