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Do programs for gifted students really boost achievement?



In light of all the back-and-forth over bright students and whether "achievement gap mania" is bringing them down, this study is worth a look. Highlighted in the latest Education Next, it finds that programs for gifted students in a large, unnamed school district didn't do squat academically - except in science.

A year and a half after they entered the program, students who scored just above the eligibility cutoff to get in didn't perform any better than students who scored just under the cutoff and didn't get in, the study found. Also, students who met eligibility requirements and won a lottery to get into the programs didn't do any better (again, except in science) than students who lost the lottery.

"It is difficult to know what accounts for these puzzling results," the study's authors write. "Our best guess ... is that being placed with higher-achieving peers is not all that it is cracked up to be."

The study made us wonder: How are things going with the middle school gifted programs in Pinellas? Are gifted students thriving there? Are parents happy?

[Last modified: Thursday, October 20, 2011 8:38am]


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