NEPC Review: Ohio’s Lost Einsteins: The Inequitable Outcomes of Early High Achievers (Thomas B. Fordham Institute, September 2021)
A report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute examines the achievement growth of Ohio’s “early high achievers,” some of whom are identified as gifted and talented (GT). After tracking their academic performance from fourth grade to enrollment in college, the report finds that Black, Hispanic, and low-income, early high-achieving students tend to perform worse than White, non-disadvantaged peers in various educational outcomes. In addition, Black, Hispanic, and economically disadvantaged early high-achieving students are less likely to be identified as GT than their White, Asian/Pacific Islander, and non-disadvantaged peers. Finally, the report finds that GT identification improves the academic performance of early high achievers, especially for Black students and students in high-minority but low-poverty schools. Based on these findings, the report concludes that closing the “gifted identification gap” can help to close the “excellence gap.” However, given the data limitations and key assumptions in its research design, this study does not support the causal inference on the effectiveness of GT identification.