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
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...