Document Type


Publication Date


Series Title

Arkansas Education Report

Series Number

Volume 19 Issue 7


gifted and talented, minority students, sustainable development, community needs


In the past decades, the gifted and talented (G/T) community has wrestled with an important question about improving equity: How can we best use research to increase student diversity in G/T education? There are many suggestions for answering this question but using local norms, where students are selected based on comparisons with others from a similar school context using traditional measures, has attracted much attention. In some districts, using local norms and universal screening has greatly improved student diversity, whereas, in other districts, the findings have been unclear. Thus it seems useful to study local contexts. In this study, we leveraged Arkansas’ administrative data to answer a similar question: “Would using district/school assessment norms improve student diversity in G/T identification in Arkansas?” We found no consistent evidence that using district/school norms would improve racial and programmatic diversity (i.e., special education students, English language learners, and students from low-come and minority backgrounds). We still urge school districts, however, to consider employing local norms in identifying G/T students as it would limit human errors in identification and increase the alignment between students’ academic aptitude and G/T services, especially for students of racial and demographic groups that the current system has identified successfully.