Educators’ Perceptions of Barriers to the Identification of Gifted Children From Economically Disadvantaged and Limited English Proficient Backgrounds

Mary M. Frasier
Scott L. Hunsaker
Jongyeun Lee
Vernon S. Finley
Elaine Frank
Jaime H. García
Darlene Martin

This paper presents results from a 10-item survey designed to gain insights into the perceptions educators hold regarding the problems of identifying gifted children from economically disadvantaged and limited English proficient backgrounds. The survey was one component of a larger national field test study conducted to investigate the effectiveness of a staff development model and an assessment plan addressing identification and programming problems. There were 750 educators from 14 school sites who participated in the national field test study and responded to the survey. They identified two issues as major barriers to identification: (a) test bias, and (b) teachers’ inability to recognize indicators of potential in certain groups. Five other issues were identified as moderate barriers: (a) students’ use of nonstandard English and/or limited proficiency in the English language, (b) differences in language experiences, (c) parents not providing a stimulating home environment, (d) use of narrow screening/selection processes, and (e) teachers’ prejudicial attitudes. Three issues were identified as minor barriers: (a) beliefs that intellectual giftedness is not valued by certain groups, (b) teachers’ fears about program quality diminishing when minority and economically disadvantaged students participated, and (c) beliefs about the limited number of gifted children who come from economically disadvantaged and limited English proficient backgrounds. These perceptions of barriers identified from the perspectives of educators provided several important implications for designing staff development programs to address the problems of identifying gifted children from economically disadvantaged and limited English proficient backgrounds.

Reference:

Frasier, M. M., Hunsaker, S. L., Lee, J., Finley, V. S., Frank, E., García, J. H., & Martin, D. (1995). Educator’s perceptions of barriers to the identification of gifted children from economically disadvantaged and limited English proficient backgrounds (RM95216). Storrs: University of Connecticut, The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented.

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Educators’ Perceptions of Barriers to the Identification of Gifted Children From Economically Disadvantaged and Limited English Proficient Backgrounds
Mary M. Frasier
Scott L. Hunsaker
Jongyeun Lee
Vernon S. Finley
Elaine Frank
Jaime H. García
Darlene Martin

 

Conclusions

  1. Standardized test bias is seen as a barrier in identifying gifted children from economically disadvantaged and limited English proficient backgrounds.
  2. Identification is inhibited if teachers do not recognize indicators of potential giftedness in children from diverse populations.
  3. Students who use nonstandard English and have limited proficiency English may not be considered for programming options.
  4. Teachers sometimes perceive that children from economically disadvantaged and limited English proficient backgrounds lack a stimulating early home environment.
  5. Screening and selection processes used to identify children from economically disadvantaged and limited English proficient backgrounds are too narrow.