The Fordham Institute recently released a thought-provoking research report by The National Working Group on Advanced Education called “Building a Wider and More Diverse Pipeline of Advanced Learners.” The group was formed in the spring of 2022 with the goal of thinking through how to improve “gifted and talented” programs while simultaneously furthering equity for all students. Here’s a recap of the key findings and recommendations in the report.
Understanding the Research
The report highlights the urgent need to identify and nurture students who are ready for advanced learning options. Specifically, those students who come from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented groups. It’s well known that many commonly used assessment methods are skewed to favor certain groups, which affects the makeup of those identified as “advanced learners.” Groups such as Black, Brown, and Latinx students are vastly underrepresented, which, in turn, perpetuates inequities and limits opportunities.
To address the challenges identified in this research, the report presents a set of recommendations aimed at building a wider and more diverse “pipeline” of advanced learners. The goal of the recommendations is to:
- Build a continuum of culturally responsive advanced learning services customized to individual students rather than a binary “you’re in, or you’re out” mindset.
- Embrace inclusion, remove barriers, and reject the scarcity mindset.
- Cultivate school-wide support for advanced learning opportunities for all students.
The National Working Group on Advanced Education’s recommendations include:
- Implement Universal Screening
- Schools and districts can adopt universal screening practices to identify potential advanced learners among all student populations, ensuring equitable access to advanced learning opportunities.
- Improve Teacher Preparation
- Teacher preparation programs should incorporate training on recognizing and supporting advanced learners, including strategies for culturally responsive instruction and differentiated learning.
- Provide Professional Development
- Ongoing professional development opportunities can be offered to educators to enhance their ability to identify and support advanced learners.
4. Foster Collaboration and Partnerships
- Schools, districts, and communities should collaborate to share best practices, resources, and expertise in supporting advanced learners from diverse backgrounds.
To delve deeper into the findings and recommendations presented in the report, you can read the full research article here.