Magazine article District Administration

More Gifted Students Than You Thought?

Magazine article District Administration

More Gifted Students Than You Thought?

Article excerpt

A leading gifted-and-talented expert once believed the number of students who performed above grade level was between 5 and 15 percent. But a new study shows the number is much higher, says the expert, James Plucker, a National Association for Gifted Children board member.

The analysis, conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University (http://, revealed that between 25 and 45 percent of students in three states performed above grade level in English and math.

Florida, Wisconsin and California were chosen to be assessed because: Florida opted out of the Common Core State Standards; Wisconsin uses Common Core but does not use the adaptive features of the assessments; and California adopted the standards completely.

Results showed 45 percent of eighth-graders in Wisconsin scored above grade level in English. One-third of eighth-graders also scored at or above the grade 11 proficiency level in the subject.

The numbers generally increase as students age. Twenty-one percent of California third-graders tested a year above grade level in English compared to 37 percent of eighth-graders. In math, the number increased from 19 to 34 percent in the same grades.

The report has implications for the Every Student Succeeds Act, which goes into effect for the 2017-18 school year. "Getting good data in the hands of policymakers at state and district levels is critically important right now," Plucker says. "There is a six- to 12-month window when we can really help."

Most students perform either above or below grade level--rather than on it, Plucker adds. …

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