Study: Black Teachers More Likely to Recommend Black Students for Gifted Programs

Greg Toppo, USA Today, May 10, 2016

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new study shows that African-American public school students, who are 54% less likely than their white peers to be identified as eligible for gifted-education services, get a clear boost if their teacher is African-American as well. The research finds that such a student is three times more likely to be placed in a gifted program than if he or she has a white teacher.

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The results suggest one reason for the difference: African-American teachers tend to offer a more positive view of African-American students’ abilities, self-control and other indicators of “giftedness.” They’re more likely to give these students “higher subjective assessments of their ability,” said researcher Sean Nicholson-Crotty. That’s key as gifted programs move away from simple standardized tests as gatekeepers, he said.

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In an interview, Nicholson-Crotty said the results actually point to a somewhat “thorny” policy proposition: matching students to teachers of their race. He wouldn’t recommend that. Instead, he said, schools should simply push to increase the overall number of African-American teachers on staff.

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