Meeting the Needs of Gifted and Talented Minority Language Students: Issues and Practices.
National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education Silver Spring, MD.
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This paper explores the controversy surrounding the underrepresentation of language minority students in gifted and talented programs and makes recommendations for more suitable assessment techniques and program models. Using standard IQ tests as a measure of giftedness with language minority children does not fairly accommodate their cultural and linguistic differences. A plethora of assessment techniques must be used to avoid cultural bias. Assessment of children in their native language is particularly useful. Programs for gifted and talented language minority students should allow them to: (1) pursue topics in depth at a pace commensurate with their abilities and intensity of interest; (2) explore subjects unconfined by curriculum parameters; (3) initiate activities and diverge from the structured format within an appropriate framework; (4) ask questions and find answers that lead to more questions; (5) experience emotional involvement with projects based on interests and use of higher levels of ability; (6) learn the skills, methodology, and discipline involved in intellectual pursuits and/or creative endeavors; (7) use their thinking and imaginative powers; and (8) use their intellectual and sensory capacities in creative endeavors. Some program types include enrichment programs, resource rooms, parental involvement programs, acceleration or honors programs, and mentor programs. It is recommended that the concept of giftedness be broadened, that further research on giftedness and language minority students be conducted, that more well-rounded assessment techniques be employed, that administrators help increase staff awareness of their potential for developing a gifted and talented program, that various program models be explored, and that awareness be increased of different ways giftedness may be manifested in different populations. Nineteen references are cited. (JWK)