Research Proposal: Gifted and Talented

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Research Question:

How has gifted and talented  (G&T) programming transformed from the implementation of the Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Education Act of 1988 to  present day? What are some of the benefits and critiques  of G&T programs in urban cities like NYC?


Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as an exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in top 10% or rarer) in one or more domains.  Domains include any structured area of activity with its own symbol system (e.g., mathematics, music, language) and/or set of sensorimotor skills (e.g., painting, dance, sports).” (

According to the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC),  Gifted and Talented programs have existed in some form since the early 19th century ( As explained in the definition above, gifted students are those who are considered to be exceptionally skilled in one or more academic or extracurricular  areas.  In 1988, the Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Act was passed to create the NAGC and to ensure that annual research on the state of G&T education is conducted and provide monetary grants. However, the nature and scope of G &T programs have changed immensely due to 1) there is no nationwide mandate for all public schools to have special G &T programming 2)budget cuts to spending on existing G & T programs and 3)new assessment practices for giftedness. With all of this in mind, it is important to look at how G & T programming has evolved from 1988 to present day. In 1988, G &T programs were at the forefront of education  reform due to the publication of the 1983 report A Nation At Risk ( However, this no longer seems to be the case in a lot of states.  What happens to the students who are gifted in schools that do not offer accelerated learning opportunities? Especially in this new movement of alternative, charter/magnet schools, how have these programs changed? I would like to know if gifted students in regular classes are negatively impacted by the decrease in programming.

Research has proven that some students  benefit greatly from G &T programming. However, the assessments of G & T programs also tend to be somewhat exclusive. With my second research question, I plan on looking at how students in urban areas are reached with this program. In the past 10 years, there have been studies that have shown that these programs are neither diverse nor inclusive for students of color. It is imperative that this issue is a point of focus for this project since it shows how some programs with good intentions still help to perpetuate social stratification.  I plan to look at a specific school district like NYC since  G&T programs are still apart of public elementary school education.

Research Process:

I searched for articles and scholarly journals by using the Education Full Text Database.  I used terms like “gifted programs” and “urban” “students of color”. Then, I used google scholar to find more books that provide G&T history and different practices.  I also used the National Association for Gifted Children website since it is a reputable site that provides a lot of context,external sources, and links to several studies that have been conducted. I also looked at the NYC DOE website to see what is in place for G &T assessments. Lastly, I will be working with Katy Hart (research librarian) to find more sources through older periodicals like the NY Times to find articles on Gifted and Talented programs that was highlighted in the news. This will show how G &T has been viewed in the past and present.



Clark, Barbara. Growing up Gifted. Columbus: Charles E. Merrill.1988.

Frasier, Mary ,Jaime Garcia, Harry Passow. A Review of Assessment Issues in Gifted Education and their Implications for Identifying Gifted Minority Students. The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. 1995.

Gootmen, Elissa and Gebelboff Robert. “Fewer Children Entering Gifted Programs”. The New York Times: 28 October 2009. Web. 4 April 2014. <>

Jost, Kenneth.”Educating Gifted Students”. The CQ Researcher. 7(12 ).1997. Web. 4 April 2014.

Luninski, David et. al “Top 1 in 10,000: A 10-year Follow-up of the Profoundly Gifted. Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 86(4) 718-729. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.86.4.718.2001. Web. 4 April 2014. <>


Mazie, Jenna. “Equality, Race and Gifted Education: An egalitarian critique of admission to New York City’s specialized high schools” Theory and Research in Education 7.1 .2009: 5-25. Web 4 April 2014.

National Association for Gifted Children.  “State of the nation in gifted education: A lack of commitment to talent development: An executive summary of the 2010-2011 State of the States Report]”. National Association for Gifted Children. 2011.National Association for Gifted Children. 2008. Web. 4 April 2014. <>

NYC Department of Education. Gifted and Talented Programs. 2014.Web. 4 April 2014.




One thought on “Research Proposal: Gifted and Talented”

  1. Good start on your Ed Reform research proposal. It’s a good research question, though as we’ve discussed, you acknowledge that it has multiple parts, and I wonder whether the most important parts currently appear in the top-most portion. You wrote:
    How has gifted and talented (G&T) programming transformed from the implementation of the Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Education Act of 1988 to present day? What are some of the benefits and critiques of G&T programs in urban cities like NYC?

    One way to reframe your RQ (perfectly normal process at this stage) might be to start with the 1988 legislation and ask, “Has the G&T movement declined, and if so, what factors have contributed to that?” This might allow you to tie in the many strands that interest you, such as:
    – new movement of alternative, charter/magnet schools,
    – critique of tracking, exclusivity

    Of course, if you find that G&T programs are increasing in number (check NCES and compare with your 1996 chart), then you need to turn that question upside down.

    You asked about a geographic focus, which makes good sense to narrow your scope, but there’s a challenge: if you begin with federal legislation in 1988, it’s possible that NYC G&T programs may be rising or falling with an entirely different funding stream.

    Furthermore, you can refine the last part of the RQ with a focus on NYC rising/falling in particular, but be sure to address both the how much and why portions of that.

    Overall, if you had to revise your RQ to include all of these parts, it sounds like you’re saying something like (as you wrote):
    Since the 1988 Act, how and why has the G&T movement declined across the nation, and what has happened in NYC in particular?

    For additional sources, consider an advanced search for national-level debates.

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