Education Talk Radio interview about identifying EL students for gifted programs

Exploratory Study on the Identification of English Learners for Gifted and Talented Programs

2018 Publication of the National Center for Research on Gifted Education

E. Jean Gubbins, Del Siegle, Rachea Hamilton, Pamela Peters, Ashley Y. Carpenter, Patricia O’Rourke, Jeb Puryear, D. Betsy McCoach, Daniel Long, Emma Bloomfield, Karen Cross, Rachel U. Mun, Christina Amspaugh, Susan Dulong Langley, Anne Roberts, and Wililam Estepar-Garcia


NCRGE researchers visited 16 elementary and middle schools across the three states, selected because they were exemplary in their identification of gifted ELs. The NCRGE team conducted group and individual interviews with a total of 225 administrators; district gifted coordinators; gifted specialists; classroom teachers; parents/guardians/caretakers; and school psychologists or counselors, yielding a total of 84 transcripts. Group and individual interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed.  The research findings led to the following recommendations for review and reflection for stakeholders involved in designing and implementing gifted and talented programs.

  • Adopt a policy of universal screening of all students in one or more grade levels for the identification process.
  • Create alternative pathways to identification, allowing schools to use a variety of different assessment instruments (including native language ability and achievement assessments and reliable and valid nonverbal ability assessments) and to apply flexible criteria to ensure that students’ talents and abilities are recognized.
  • Establish a web of communication to ensure that all stakeholders (administrators, district gifted coordinators, classroom teachers, gifted specialists, psychologists, multilingual teachers, and parents/guardians/caretakers) are aware of the identification system in its entirety and are empowered to interact with one another in all components (i.e., screening, nomination, identification, and placement).
  • View professional development as a lever for change, providing information to gifted specialists, classroom teachers, psychologists, and parents/guardians/caretakers on identifying giftedness in multiple ways and creating a school climate with the goal of identifying students’ strengths rather than weaknesses.

15 Tips for Improving Identification of Gifted EL Students

Disentangling the Roles of Institutional and Individual Poverty in the Identification of Gifted Students
Gifted Child Quarterly
January 2018, Vol. 62, No. 1, Pages 6-24

Rashea Hamilton, D. Betsy McCoach, M. Shane Tutwiler, Del Siegle, E. Jean Gubbins, Carolyn M. Callahan, Annalissa V. Brodersen, Rachel U. Mun


Although the relationships between family income and student identification for gifted programming are well documented, less is known about how school and district wealth are related to student identification. To examine the effects of institutional and individual poverty on student identification, we conducted a series of three-level regression models. Students of poverty are generally less likely to be identified for gifted services, even after controlling for prior math and reading achievement. Furthermore, school poverty predicts the percentage of gifted students identified in a school. Within districts, even after controlling for reading and math scores, the poorer schools in a district have lower identification rates. Whereas students of poverty are generally less likely to be identified for gifted services, poor students in poor schools are even less likely to be identified as gifted.

Effective Practices for Identifying and Serving English Learners in Gifted Education: A Systematic Review of the Literature

2016 Publication of the National Center for Research on Gifted Education

Rachel U. Mun, Susan Dulong Langley, Sharon Ware, E. Jean Gubbins, Del Siegle, Carolyn M. Callahan, D. Betsy McCoach, and Rashea Hamilton


While the number of English Learners (ELs) continues to grow rapidly in the United States, corresponding proportions of ELs are not found in gifted and talented education programs across the nation. The underrepresentation of ELs in gifted programs is both a societal and a research problem. This report presents the results of a systematic review of the literature related to the most effective practices used to identify and serve ELs for gifted education services. We examined and categorized a final selection of 45 theoretical and empirical articles under four major themes: nomination, screening/assessment, services, and identification models. Implications and areas of future research are discussed.

Barriers to Underserved Students’ Participation in Gifted Programs and Possible Solutions
Journal for the Education of the Gifted
June 2016, Vol. 39, No.  2, Pages 103131

Del Siegle, E. Jean Gubbins, Patricia O’Rourke, Susan Dulong Langley, Rachel U. Mun, Sarah R. Luria, Catherine A. Little, D. Betsy McCoach, and Tawnya Knupp
University of Connecticut, Storrs,

Carolyn M. Callahan
University of Virginia, Charlottesville

Jonathan A. Plucker
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD


Gifted students’ learning gains result from complex, advanced, and meaningful content provided by a knowledgeable teacher through high-quality curriculum and instruction at an appropriate pace with scaffolding and feedback. These elements exert influence that increases with dosage and within structures that facilitate student engagement in rigorous experiences, including interactions with one another. Talent development is a two-part process. First, educators and parents must provide opportunities for talent to surface, and then they must recognize the talent and provide educational opportunities that engage the emerging talent and move it to exceptional levels. Unfortunately, a variety of barriers exist that limit underserved students’ participation in this process. We discuss these barriers within a proposed model of talent development.

 NCRGE Theory of Change