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Bias in referrals for gifted programs.

Siegle (2001) reported biases that exist when teachers rate student behaviors ("Overcoming Bias in Gifted and Talented Referrals," Gifted Education Communicator, Summer 2001, 32[2], 22-25]. He identified six areas that need to be addressed to ensure a fair, equitable assessment. First, gender bias influences nominations to gifted and talented programs. This bias is less likely to exist when the students' behavior does not match expected stereotypes. For example, a female who excels in math, a male who is a voracious reader, or a disorganized, introverted boy are more likely to be nominated. Teachers are also more likely to nominate students who are masculine or androgynous. Second, unexpected interests (i.e., peregrine falcons) are more likely to result in a child being nominated than common interests (i.e., dinosaurs). Third, teachers tend to focus on students' weaknesses more than their strengths, not nominating some students who are referred for remedial assistance. Fourth, teachers are afraid of placing a child in a gifted program because of harming them; so, if a child exhibits a weakness, he or she is less likely to be nominated. Fifth, students with talents in academic areas are more likely to be nominated than students who are creative or who have leadership skills. Sixth, teachers are unaware that students from different cultures may exhibit talents in different ways. Finally, teachers may not provide the opportunity for students to demonstrate their talent in the classroom. Siegle suggests that the first step in solving a problem is to identify it. He encourages coordinators of gifted programs to provide more staff development to teachers on identification bias.

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Publication:Gifted Child Today
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2001
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