DISCOVERING THE HIDDEN GEMS: A STUDY OF THE UNDERREPRESENTATION OF BLACK AND LATINO/A STUDENTS IN GIFTED AND TALENTED EDUCATION
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The purpose of this qualitative case study examined the differences in the GT referral & identification process that may hinder Black and Latino/a student participation. More specifically, this study utilized the constant-comparative method to examine narratives from five individuals who are involved in the GT policy evaluation process in a district in Texas with over 40,000 students. The selected interview participants are important confidants because their decisions will directly influence policy changes for the district’s GT referral & identification process. Ultimately, implications for research, policy, and practice may positively impact district policy by creating a more inclusive GT program. The study results, affirm that there are many conceptions of the referral process that are barriers to Black and Latino/a student participation in GT programs. The findings reveal 7 conceptions that act as barriers; 1) Cultural bias of GT assessments, (2) Underserved students lacking basic skills, (3) Stereotypes and language as obstacles to identification (4) Broader GT definition, (5) Lack of training about GT students with cultural differences, (6) Challenging students to reach potential, (7) Recruiting underrepresented students. These findings are consistent with the article from Callahan (2010) which provided many ways to resolve underrepresentation. Educational leaders are responsible for ensuring that all students, including Black and Latino/a students have opportunities to reach their potential. Part of the responsibility is discovering the true potential that these hidden gems possess. This responsibility may district programs.