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Written Reflections Anthy Baracos

Citation: Richert, Susana E. (1987). Rampant Problems and Promising


Practices in the Identification of Disadvantaged Gifted Students. Gifted Child
Quarterly, 31(4), 149-154.
Annotation: The purposes of this article are to define problems in the
identification of disadvantaged gifted students and to describe promising
practices that identify students with gifted potential among various groups of
disadvantaged students.
Reflection: This article focused on the many problems that plague the
under representation and misidentification of disadvantaged minority groups
(both culturally and linguistically diverse) in Gifted Education. Identifying
disadvantaged gifted children is a critical issue for the field of education for
the gifted, raising equality issues with respect to restrictiveness of admission
to programs and making programs for gifted students vulnerable to the
charges of elitism that endangered earlier waves of gifted programs in the
United States. (Richert,1987) It is important to be aware of the resources
available to you to properly serve and identify these students. Multiple
programs or assessment need to be used to paint a clearer understanding of
the uniqueness of each child. Eliminating bias so that the program is more
equitable.
Although this was written in 1987, I found it interesting how many of the
same issues with identification are still a problem today. I think as a teacher
it is important be sensitive to this population because often times they may
not be given the same opportunities or experiences as their peers. If we
make our classrooms culturally sensitive and increase the level of our
teaching and the expectations we not only put on our students, but also put
on ourselves, we can foster a learning environment that can foster the gifted
potential of students in the classroom.
The article mentions that training of teachers in gifted education is a highly
effective practice, but is also not always financially feasible. In taking this
TAG endorsement, I know that I can and will effectively implement the
strategies needed to help these students possibly build their gifted
potential. I also see a huge benefit in teacher training to learn not only how
to effectively identify characteristics (CISS), but also to take each TAG
strategy into their classroom so that ALL students can challenge their
potential. It is only when the regular classroom, to which gifted potential
(i.e. higher level cognitive and affective potential) is evoked that we will be
able to identify all students, whatever the configuration of background,
characteristics, and exceptional potential. A critical goal for every school.
(Richert, 1987)

Citation: Gunderson, C., Maesch, C., & Rees, J. (1987). The Gifted/Learning
Disabled Student. Gifted Child Quarterly, 31(4), 158-160.
Annotation: This article discusses the identification of learning disabled
and gifted students as well as the characteristics of a group which often gets
little attention. The ways that this group of students are presently missed by
educational systems as well as ways to help insure identification of the
group.
I found this article incredibly interesting as I could relate with the twice
exceptional student that was only identified as gifted. This child is bright
beyond anything Ive ever seen in a student of his age. However, he is also
ADHD and can often get extremely frustrated when perfection is not
achieved and possibly gets an answer wrong. The utter confusion and
disappointment that washes over him in these rare cases is heartbreaking to
watch and also difficult to deal with because of how extreme the reactions
can become.
On the other hand, it was nice to read that often learning disabled students
have average or above intellectual potential despite their disability. It is
unfortunate that they are often over looked because of the amount of work
Special Education teachers are having to do with remediation or the teaching
of strategies to help the student with their disability. The LD teacher views
specific strengths in terms of how he/she might use the strategies to set off
the learning disability, overlooking the need to service high cognitive levels.
(Gunderman, 1987).
I think the hardest part for me in identifying the student with the learning
disability is that it can be over shadowed by success in other areas so it is
not always easy to recognize. Also, if they are being pulled out for most of
the day, time with that child is limited and characteristics may not always be
revealed. This year I did not have any students in Special Ed, but Im
thinking back to past years where I may have overlooked a child.
The worst part of overlooking the LD/Gifted group is that unfortunately in
both groups they distinguish themselves by exhibiting inappropriate
behaviors. These students may question the teacher often or request topic
expansion. (Gunderman, 1987). If these opportunities are not given and
students are not challenged they can easily give up, lose motivation, become
self-critical, and sometimes will eventually drop out of school and be socially
isolated. That is the worst case scenario. So it is critically important to
increase the conversation amongst teachers so that they can recognize what
twice exceptional is: gifted and learning disabled; and that they can in fact
occur in the same child.

Citation: Naglieri, J., & Ford, D. (2003). Addressing Underrepresentation of


Gifted Minority Children Using the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT).
Gifted Child Quarterly, 47(2), 155-160.
Annotation: This article examines a study done on the effectiveness of the
Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT) in identifying gifted Black and Hispanic
students in comparison to White students.
This article discussed the major differences in performance of White, Black,
and Hispanic students on both verbal and non-verbal tests. It specifically
discussed how Ravens Progressive Matrices were criticized because of the
fact that there were higher mean score differences between White students
and minority students. Criticism included: lack of well-constructed norm
groups, number of items, and also a need for better documentation. This led
to another study using the NNAT on a similar group of students years later.
The study was to see if it would yield similar results. Or, could students that
yielded scores between 120-140 cross race or ethnic lines?
I was curious to see how the results would be using the NNAT. This test
yielded much closer scores for students in all groups and narrowed the gap
between the mean scores. If the NNAT were used as one of the criteria in a
system of identification of gifted students, similar percentages of White,
Black, and Hispanic children would be selected using the cut-offs of 125 or
130. These results further upon Naglieri and Ronnings (2006) suggestion
that a non-verbal measure can be a more appropriate measure of general
ability that contains both verbal and non-verbal content. (Naglieri & Ford,
2008)
Moving ahead with the information in this article and also what were are
learning in this class, I want to be more proactive of being more aware of the
non-verbal elements of my teaching so that I can better assist this
population. I especially want to be more proactive about taking results of
high non-verbal/low verbal students and seeing how I can serve them better
to help them reach a higher verbal achieving level. Of course differentiated
instruction to address the students individual needs is a must, however, this
group is unique and requires a little more digging on teaching strategies. I
do believe that for these minority groups it may take longer than we wish,
but Id like to see that gap shrink as much as possible.
Non-verbal tests such as the NNAT show promise for increasing opportunities
for diverse students to participate more adequately in gifted programs. I
hope that we continue to see increasing identification and participation of
these minority groups in gifted education.

Citation: Baker, E., & Schacter, J. (1996). Expert Benchmarks for Student
Academic Performance: The Case for Gifted Children. Gifted Child Quarterly,
40(2), 61-65.
Annotation: This is an article that discusses the use of expert performance
as a basis for inferring scoring criteria for performance assessments. It
discusses the characteristics of experts leading to the consideration of how
appropriate it is using an adult experts performance to measure the
performance of a child.
Current models for assessing complex student performance involve training
raters to score performance against a set of standards and criteria by
experts in the content domain. (Baker & Schacter, 1996) Though I believe
that the people that are involved in scoring and rating student performance
tasks should be experts, I didnt necessarily agree that experts in certain
content domains were qualified to decide on the scoring criteria for children.
The article discussed four methods of how performance assessment scoring
criteria should be developed. The first was that an expert in a certain field
would decide on the task and criteria, and that if the student scored well,
they would be considered an expert. Like experts, gifted students have
large domain-dependent knowledge structures which enable them to
automate several tasks, and complete problems with high levels of speed
and precision. (Baker & Schacter, 1996) This actually made me laugh out
loud considering how sloppy and slow many gifted students can be. I
instinctively thought of how that thought has evolved in the last almost
twenty years.
In the second method, teachers that had an expertise in a certain content
area would decide on the performance task and also the scoring criteria.
Both of these seem absolutely ridiculous considering how subjective these
point of views can be depending on the individual and area of so called
expertise. It also seemed to only involve the opinions/expertise of few
without the input of individuals that may have a better grasp on what these
performance assessments should look like, and also what criteria may not be
being thought of that should be taken into consideration.
The third model would use a performance task chosen by a teacher that had
already been completed by a student on each particular grade level.
Teachers would decide on scoring criteria for that piece and would use it to
compare the performance of future students that would take the same
performance assessment. I do like that a student sample is being considered
in this method, but again, the way that the scoring criteria is being
developed doesnt seem as though it is including a group of education
experts to decide what would deem as appropriate criteria for each grade
level, or even if the piece decided upon should be used as a model piece for

comparison. The fourth model is similar to the third only that instead of
using the grade level of the student that is doing the performance task, they
assess the student on performance tasks from students 1-2 grades above
their level.
In reading this last article, I thought all four of these methods were a bit
ridiculous even for 1996. It did not seem that anyone with formal student
assessment training had been involved with any of the decisions regarding
the choosing of the performance assessment nor what the scoring criteria
should be based on. It also left me with the question of how performance
tasks are chosen today, and how the scoring criteria for those tasks were or
how they are determined.