A Critical Call to Action: Research in Equity and Diversity

Equity and diversity in gifted education are currently in the limelight as states are restructuring or even eliminating gifted education services altogether. Claims that services are inequitable and facilitate racial and ethnic segregation in education are the crux of the issue. Misdiagnosis and underidentification of children and youth with gifts and talents, in general, occurs for many reasons and is especially prevalent in those potentially gifted learners from RCELD populations or with multiple exceptionalities. Dreilienger (2019) reported that “in addition to the 3.3 million U.S. public school children identified as gifted, there are as many as 3.6 million gifted children being overlooked in school” (para 1).

The Data

A critical need for research regarding strategies to support equitable identification and services exists. In a recent content analysis of the literature relevant to gifted learners with multiple exceptionalities, Hughes-Lynch and Troxclair (2019) found very limited research-based data. In addition, an early 2020 literature search using the Lamar University Cardinal database search engine resulted in the following information:

  • Results from inserting the term “equity in gifted education” into the database search engine indicated only 180 entries from the years 1985-2019 (three decades worth of literature).
  • Results from inserting the term “diversity in gifted education” into the database search engine indicated 105 entries from the years 1992-2018.
  • The two bullets above represent the lack of data on this topic.


The lack of research-based findings relative to RCLED and students with multiple exceptionalities (2e) must be addressed. The following recommendations may help stakeholders address those inequities:

  • Contribute to publications and conferences for various content areas and role groups about equitable access, identification, and services for gifted RCELD and 2e students.
  • Partner with local school districts to assist in disaggregating achievement data participation in advanced coursework.
  • Partner with local school districts, universities, and educational support organizations to study the effectiveness of program changes made to better identify and serve gifted RCELD students and students with multiple exceptionalities.

Resources to Learn More

  • Council for Exceptional Children, The Association for the Gifted (http://cectag.com/)
  • Journal for the Education of the Gifted (http://cectag.com/resources/journal-for-the-education-of-the-gifted/)
  • National Center for Research on Gifted Education (https://ncrge.uconn.edu/)
  • Research on Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Develop Special Interest Group, a part of the American Educational Research Association (https://www.aera.net/SIG091/Research-on-Giftedness-Creativity-and-Talent-Development)
Click here for a downloadable document


Dreilinger, D (2019, November 26). Up to 3.6 million students should be labeled gifted, but aren’t. The Hechinger Report. https://hechingerreport.org/up-to-3-6-million-students-should-be-labeled-gifted-but-arent/

Hughes-Lynch, C., & Troxclair, D. (2019). Who else is talking about 2e children?: A content analysis of twice-exceptional articles. Department of Education and Teacher Preparation, College of Coastal Georgia, & Teacher Education Department, Lamar University.

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