Saturday, February 27, 2016

Gifted and Talented magnet middle schools and programs: only discernible impact in science

Using data from a large southwestern school district, Bui, Craig, and Imberman investigated the effects of gifted and talented programming on middle school students’ achievement and behavior (attendance and discipline) through two avenues. Using a regression discontinuity design for the first set of analyses, the authors took advantage of a discontinuity in eligibility requirements at the cut-score; the second set of analyses used data from randomized lotteries of two oversubscribed Gifted and Talented (GT) magnet schools.

Findings from both sets of analyses revealed no discernible impact on student outcomes, with the exception in the area of science for the students attending the GT magnet schools.

This commentary highlights both the methodological and practical considerations of the study’s findings and the importance of policies and procedures being based on high-quality evidence sources.

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