An Examination of Underrepresentation in Florida, Indiana, and Washington
Black, Latinx, and Native American students are underrepresented in gifted education programs across the United States. This underrepresentation is one way in which the excellence gap manifests in gifted education. In turn, the underlying causes for underrepresentation are debated by scholars. This dissertation examines the issue of underrepresentation through three case studies. In all case studies, a generalized linear mixed model is used as the framework to analyze publicly available data acquired from the associated state departments of education. The first case study examines underrepresentation in the state of Florida. In this study, the influence of socioeconomic status on rates of representation between the 2011-2016 academic years are examined. The results from this case study suggest that the representation of Black students from low SES homes for gifted services was 68% higher than the non-SES adjusted likelihood of identification. In contrast, the representation for Latinx and Native American students decreased by 44% and 49% respectively. The second case study examines underrepresentation in the state of Indiana. In this study, the influence of multiple criteria on rates of representation between the 2006-2016 academic years are examined. The results from this case study suggest that multiple criteria increased rates of representation in gifted programs by 10% to 20% in comparison to using only intelligence tests. Finally, the third case study examines underrepresentation in the state of Washington. In this study, the influence of early identification on rates of representation between the 2002–2012 academic years are examined. The results from this case study suggest that identification in early elementary years increased proportional representation by 10%. These three case studies contribute to the overall body of literature on underrepresentation. The overall message is that the issues of underrepresentation are nuanced. In particular, how socioeconomic status, multiple criteria, and early identification relate to Black, Latinx, and Native American students is not the same across all three groups. Regardless, the dissertation provides a clearer picture to the issue of underrepresentation in gifted education.
Gentry, Purdue University.
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