The Underrepresentation of Minorities in Gifted Education

Published: 2021-09-16 03:00:08
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Abstract Society has consistently overlooked minorities in identification of gifted and talented education over the past few decades. The purpose of this research paper is to show these consistencies do, in fact, exist and try to give some explanation as to why they exist and how we can overcome the negative tendencies of Underrepresentation of minorities in the school programs that are meant to identify gifted students regardless of the socio-economic background and race.The Underrepresentation of Minorities in Gifted Education Introduction L. T. Anguiano stated that gifted and talented education student is defined as “any student who has the potential to perform at a higher intellectual capability than other students of the same age. These students may demonstrate high intelligence, artistic ability and/or creativity.
Specific selection procedures measure a student’s academic and intellectual abilities which will result in the possibility of placement into the gifted program” (Anguiano, 2003).Students who are identified as gifted and talented usually possess a talent for having higher-order thinking skills and become somewhat bored when waiting on their fellow classmates to catch up to their learning. Anguiano alludes to the fact that if these students are not properly identified, the will risk not achieving their “academic and social potential” (Anguiano, 2003). Significance of the Problem Gifted and Talented Education comes under the program of special education because it serves students with special needs.Each student nominated for the gifted program is given a specific test that the school uses and if the student should qualify, he/she will be placed in the program. Certain state mandates govern how each program will be implemented within a district and yearly state applications are submitted to keep the program in compliance with state standards. What are the causes of underrepresentation of minorities in gifted education?Researchers, as well as educators, have known for decades that African American students are not well represented in gifted programs; however, not much attention has been given to fact minorities include students other than African Americans.
The same educational opportunities should be afforded to all students regardless of race or socio-economic background. Underrepresentation of minorities in gifted education is a debated issue that is hard to understand today. This issue has been studied by the National Academy of Science.One of the many issues that were being studied by that panel was why were there so few minority students in programs for gifted students (Sarouphim, 2004)? There clearly were fewer minority students in programs for gifted when compared to the student body as a whole. The one exception was the Asian population. But what did that difference mean? Since IQ scores were the chief means of identification of the gifted it means that ethnic minority students scored lower on the measures of intelligence than did the typical white students as a group.At the same time, one should remember that some of the minority students scored at the highest levels of these tests (Gallagher, 2005).
In the Roeper Review (2005) Gallagher stated that since it is politically incorrect to think that such a disparity would represent such an idea as academic disproportion among races, a search was initiated to determine optional explanations. One of the searches found that IQ tests were assumed to be racially biased and there was a need to locate measurers that would make the results come out even. These measures were found to be non-existent.The measures showed the same differences among the races (Gallagher, 2005). Gallagher also added that another search found that programs for the gifted were viewed by some critics as being somewhat discriminatory. They felt that gifted classes stood in the way of true equality in education. That is one of the reasons, Gallagher says, that many political supporters of educational reforms or initiatives turn against the gifted and talented programs (Gallagher, 2002).
But one does not have to believe in some great political scheme to believe in these results, nor to the genetic differences among the races.Where does the truth lie? The truth seems to be that both measured intelligence and academic performance are a complex combination of cognitive inheritance plus opportunity and practice in the development of abstract language and thinking. (Gallagher, 2005) If a minority group in our society has very little opportunity, or low motivation to master the development of language in the early developmental years then who should be shocked that these minorities are later found to be unequal in academic achievement or IQ scores in comparison to majority groups? Summary of Supporting Research L. T.Anguiano’s research on underrepresentation of minority students in gifted education discusses what gifted education is and why minorities have been continuously underrepresented in GT programs. She also gave significant approaches to promote a high-quality education for all students regardless of ethnicity or socio-economic status. Anguiano said that minorities have been underrepresented in gifted education because of the lack of education opportunities available to minorities because of language barriers and socio-economic status (Anguiano, 2003).
L. M. Cohen’s research shows that many students come from various cultural groups.These students were shown as having certain skills that are likely to be disregarded by the majority of teachers because of their background and the opportunities afforded to them. Procedures for identifying GT students should be developed for language delayed students and the procedures were documented throughout the study shown in this article. It also explores the debate with the legitimacy of the testing instruments used to identify GT students (Cohen, 2000). M.
R. Coleman’s article on the identification of students who are gifted discussed the fact that very few areas in the education of children with ultural differences are as divisive as the identification of students who are gifted. She showed the pros and cons of labeling the students. This specific digest discusses the identification of students who are gifted, the difficult process of identification and practices, and procedures for helping GT administrators with identification (Coleman, 2003). James Gallagher discussed the role of race in gifted education in his article. He explained a study that was done by the National Academy of Science. One issue that was investigated and studied was why there were so few minority students in GT programs across the United States.
The results indicated a serious problem that should not be overlooked or refused but was being denied because of lack of knowledge on the part of the administrators and community on how to deal with these issues (Gallagher, 2005). He gave suggestions on how to deal with the lack of fair testing instruments and identification procedures. (Gallagher, 2005). Gallagher’s second study reviews the policies in place for gifted education. It included a description of the policy making in identification of GT students, placement into the program, and accountability for the program guidelines.The rules discussed are the rules that are handed down by the government by way of court decisions, administrative rule making, and professional standards (Gallagher, 2002) and the problems that concern discrimination in today’s society. It ends with new policies that the Gallagher felt were needed to make sure our gifted students are served equally (Gallagher, 2002).
In Promoting Sustained Growth in the Representation of African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans Among Top Students in the United States At All Levels of the Education System, L. S.Miller uses GPA, class rank and standardized test scores show a pattern of underrepresentation among minorities (Miller, 2004). This study showed that many students from minority groups had parents who did not complete high school. She recommended that several new research studies be created concerning the development of a program helping to improve the schools and help them better serve underrepresented areas. It was highly recommended that these studies be done within new non-profit organizations or universities so they would have the freedom and independence needed to their research (Miller, 2004).Addressing the Achievement Gap Between Minority and Nonminority Children by Increasing Access to Gifted Programs by Olszewski-Kubilius, Lee, Ngoi and Ngoi discussed a three year project EXCITE that is used in a university based gifted center that is designed to prepare gifted minority students for advanced classes in math and science (Olszewski-Kubilius, Lee, Ngoi & Ngoi, 2004).
It was found that 30% of the minority students qualified for advanced classes in grade six after two years in the program (Olszewski-Kubilius, Lee, Ngoi & Ngoi, 2004).The Journal for the Education of the Gifted had an article by M. Sanders describing a community-based study/project that centered on the use of creativity as a tool help with the social problems within the minority groups. Urban Odyssey is a camp for adolescent GT students designed to provide inner-city students with opportunities to use creativity to help them learn to deal with racism and other ethical issues (Sanders, 2004) Sarouphim wrote Discover in Middle School: Identifying Gifted Minority Students.The journal article discussed an investigative program using Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences and DISCOVER (Discovering Intellectual Strengths and Capabilities through Observation while allowing for Varied Ethnic Responses). DISCOVER is a performance-based assessment. The study did not show any significant differences in performance due to gender or ethnicity.
This program is being utilized to help identify more minorities as gifted since no one area of the giftedness applies to everyone (Sarouphim, 2004). The Teaching Commission discusses the current No Child Left Behind Act that President Bush endorses.Teaching At Risk: A Guide To Action gives information on the act and is informative about the current awareness of students being left behind in education due to their diverse backgrounds. The No Child Left Behind Act is mandated to make education attainable to all students not just the elite (The Teaching Commission, 2004). Proposed Solutions Proposed studies showed that both measured intelligence and academic performance are a complex combination of learning abilities. Student’s background, opportunity and motivation are major factors in academic achievement.Since many minority groups lack the opportunities that majority groups are offered, it only seems likely that they will perform at a less desirable level than those who are more fortunate in the same areas of education (Olszewski-Kubillius, Lee, Ngoi & Ngoi, 2004).
It was pointed out by Gallagher that four actions can help improve the intellectual development of the minority groups and they include identifying the talent early, organizing the instruction to fit the student’s individual needs, making available diverse adult role models from the community, and developing the skills needed by being willing to give 100% daily to be successful. Gallagher, 2002) Educators should be willing to help these students reach their full potential. No Child Left Behind is intended to guarantee a superior education to all students, especially those at risk for failure (The Teaching Commission, 2004). Over time, this program expects to reduce the gap between low and high performing groups by making schools and teachers more accountable for the education of students through test scores. Schools are being held responsible for this endeavor resulting in a multitude of state take-overs of schools that do not pass the cut-off score that the state dictates.The assessment tools used for gifted and talented identification have been under a microscope since its inception. Testing tools are not always adequate for identifying students from diverse backgrounds.
The norming of these tools may reflect a different population from that of the student’s. When these measurements are culturally biased, it puts the minority student at a disadvantage. The language barriers that are more prevalent today may cause a disadvantage for the tested student. Current measures are being strongly encouraged to provide testing and other pertinent information to be available in languages other than English.As the number of minority students continues to increase rapidly in the United States, diversity needs to be viewed in a positive sense. Parents also need to be connected to the school and community to avoid fears of alienation. Conclusion Bringing the issue of underrepresentation of minorities in gifted education to the forefront allows the community and schools to make positive changes that will be beneficial to all students.
Offering suitable gifted and talented programs for students from culturally diverse backgrounds is a challenge that school districts face.Because culturally diverse students represent a rising percentage of the total school population, meeting the educational needs of these students is crucial (Cohen, 2000). Every student should be allowed to rise above the negative connotations that have been dealt to them in the past. References Anguiano, L. T. (2003, Fall). Underrepresentation of minority students in gifted and talented education.
Retrieved September 23, 2006, from http://find. articles. com/p/articles/mi_ga3935/is_200310/ai_n9322277 Cohen, L. M. (2000, April 20).

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