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Promises, Pitfalls, and Tradeoffs in Identifying Gifted Learners: Evidence from a Curricular Experiment

Disparities in gifted representation across demographic subgroups represents a large and persistent challenge in U.S. public schools. In this paper, we measure the impacts of a school-wide curricular intervention designed to address such disparities. We implemented Nurturing for a Bright Tomorrow (NBT) as a cluster randomized trial across elementary schools with the low gifted identification rates in one of the nation’s largest school systems. NBT did not boost formal gifted identification or math achievement in the early elementary grades. It did increase reading achievement in select cohorts and broadly improved performance on a gifted identification measure that assesses nonverbal abilities distinct from those captured by more commonly used screeners. These impacts were driven by Hispanic and female students. Results suggest that policymakers consider a more diverse battery of qualifying exams to narrow disparity gaps in gifted representation and carefully weigh tradeoffs between universal interventions like NBT and more targeted approaches.

Keywords
gifted education, gifted identification, randomized controlled trial, curriculum
Education level
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
10.26300/a3pd-6y72

EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Harris, Angel H., Darryl V. Hill, and Matthew A. Lenard. (). Promises, Pitfalls, and Tradeoffs in Identifying Gifted Learners: Evidence from a Curricular Experiment. (EdWorkingPaper: 22-603). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: https://doi.org/10.26300/a3pd-6y72

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