By Marvin Dupree.
According to a new study, black students have an increased likelihood of being identified as gifted provided that they attend schools with higher proportions of black teachers. The same dynamic seems to function for Latino students, when they attend a school with more Latino teachers.
The study’s research was presented recently at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in Chicago. The data of the study was conducted within more than 2,000 schools in the academic years of 2003-4 and 2011-12.
In the research it was determined that on average, at least 6 % of all students in a school are identified for gifted programs. According to the research, nearly 8% of Caucasian students are identified as gifted in comparison to only 3-4% of black and Latino children who are identified as gifted.
However, the study does not explain this correlation, but it does add to the mounting debate regarding the fact why black and Latin children are less likely to be called “gifted” than their white and Asian peers.
Speaking out about the outcome of the study, professor Jason A. Grissom, of Vanderbilt University, who led the study said: “The connection between teachers’ race and students likelihood of being gifted “should give us pause,”
The connection between teachers’ race and students’ likelihood of being called gifted “should give us pause.” He added, “That does speak to something that fundamentally does not feel right.”
Nonetheless, when there was a 10% increase in black teachers in the school environment, there proportion of black students who were identified as gifted increased by 3.2%.
The trend was also quite similar when the situation for Latino students and teachers. When identifying students as gifted, teachers have a crucial role in determining which students are deemed highly intelligent and should be tested for gifted programs.
Explaining the results further, Grimsson said, “observers seeking to explain the discrepancies in gifted representation are quick to raise questions about teacher’s biases or lack of cultural understanding. However, Grimsson pointed out that other factors could be in play, including the fact that students perform better academically when teachers are of the same race.
Grimsson said, “It could be that two different teachers are actually seeing different capacities in a kid because that kid is behaving differently”.