Editorial: Why students in poverty are less likely to be identified as gifted

Students attending a lecture. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

“Disentangling the Roles of Institutional and Individual Poverty in the Identification of Gifted Students,” a study done by UConn gifted education specialists explores the correlation between education and poverty concludes that it is important to extend opportunities for gifted students from all socioeconomic classes. It “demonstrate(s) a link between student poverty, institutional poverty, and the lower identification rate of gifted low-income students.” The study concluded that impoverished students are less likely to by identified as gifted, because their school districts provide them less academic opportunities. Within the education system is a one of discrimination and privilege based on socioeconomic standing.

The vivid contrast between the public education provided in affluent and impoverished neighborhoods has perpetuated a system of unequal academic privilege. Public schools in affluent areas “have easy access to guidance counselors, school psychologists, personal laptops, and up-to-date textbooks” as a result of high parent participation and funds. An infamous notion of ‘nature versus nurture’ has overtaken the American education system; the more academic resources to enhance education, the more overall student success in the long run. For example, many top tier universities such as Yale, Harvard, and Dartmouth offer legacy admissions, which leans acceptance preference toward applicants who are descendants of alumni of those universities. This system of applicant priority institutionalizes the perpetuating academic system of privilege. To overcome this cyclically discriminant system, it is necessary to ensure more equal opportunities in academics. According to “Disentangling the Roles of Institutional and Individual Poverty in the Identification of Gifted Students,” recognizing gifted and impoverished students, which is measure taken to enhance the education of disprivileged students, is “A resource allocation formula that ensures all high-potential students regardless of their school context can access gifted programming.”


Other measures to increase the likelihood of recognition of impoverished students as gifted, such as “ Utilization of school-based norms to guide identification decisions by school districts rather than district-based standards” and “adoption of state policies that would help equitably distribute resources, especially to low-income schools to ensure that schools and districts can comply with gifted-related mandates.”