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Gifted Education

February 18, 2022
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WRITTEN BY Dr. Alan Moss

Executive Summary 

Gifted education is offered by some districts and schools as a way to provide further enrichment to students with high academic or creative potential. The structure, delivery, and funding of gifted programs vary substantially, as do rates of school district implementation of gifted education programs. Senate Bill 806 and House Bill 2366 would require all school districts in Missouri with 3% or more of their students identified as gifted to establish a state-approved gifted program. Larger schools (>350 students) would be required to have teachers certified in gifted education if they provide gifted education services, while smaller schools would have a six-hour training requirement. Statewide in Missouri, 4.3% of students are identified as gifted, compared to 6.7% nationwide. 

Highlights 

  • Studies of individual gifted education programs have found that they can lead to increased academic outcomes. However, more general, broad-scale analyses of gifted programs have found mixed results.
  • Certain demographic groups are substantially under- or over-represented in gifted education programs based on race, socioeconomic status, and location.
    • Districts that do not have gifted education programs are largely located in rural areas of Missouri.
  • Universal screenings have been shown to be one way to narrow the gaps in access to gifted education.

Limitations 

  • Because of the substantial variation between gifted education programs, it is difficult to make generalized statements about the effectiveness of these programs. 
  • The lack of standardized student outcome measures could make it difficult to assess the effectiveness of gifted programs and make changes where needed.
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