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Unformatted text preview: 103 The Journal of Secondary Gifted Education JSGE D espite the vital role of the referral as the gate- keeper process through which students become eligible for official evaluation for entry into gifted programs, it remains poorly understood. An examination of the gifted education literature reveals a paucity of research in this area. This is especially troubling and indeed surpris- ing given the fields well-documented struggle to identify and serve students from minority or low socioeconomic status (SES) families (e.g., Ford, 1998; Frasier, Garcia, & Passow, 1995). A relatively large amount of work has examined possible methods of fairly assessing students who are traditionally underrepresented in programs for the gifted, including assessment schemes based on dynamic assessment (Kirschenbaum, 2004), nonverbal ability tests (Naglieri & Ford, 2003), Gardners (1983) theory of mul- tiple intelligences (Sarouphim, 1999), compensatory poli- cies such as lowering IQ cutoff requirements for students from underrepresented groups (Hunsaker, 1994), and per- formance-based assessments (VanTassel-Baska, Johnson, & Avery, 2002). These procedures may hold great promise for identifying and serving students from these groups. However, most school districts require that a student be referred or nominated before being formally assessed for gifted program placement. Students that do not receive a referral will be unable to enter the program no matter which formal assessment procedure is used. The referral process is an obvious potential source of unfairness in the entrance process. It is essential that reliable information be made available so that current practices can be evaluated and perhaps modified. For the remainder of this article, the terms referral and nomination will be used interchangeably to describe the process of designating a student as potentially gifted. Once a student has received a nomination or referral, he or she is legally required to undergo official testing for gifted pro- gram placement, assuming that the students parents con- sent. The testing process will be referred to as evaluation or screening throughout the remainder of the paper. A Descriptive Analysis of Referral Sources for Gifted Identification Screening by Race and Socioeconomic Status Matthew T. McBee The University of Georgia A dataset containing demographic information, gifted nomination status, and gifted identification status for all elementary school students in the state of Georgia ( N = 705,074) was examined. The results indicated that automatic and teacher refer- rals were much more valuable than other referral sources. Asian and White students were much more likely to be nominated than Black or Hispanic students. Students receiving free or reduced-price lunches were much less likely to be nominated than students paying for their own lunches. The results suggest that inequalities in nomination, rather than assessment, may be the primary source of the underrepresentation of minority and low-SES students in gifted programs.primary source of the underrepresentation of minority and low-SES students in gifted programs....
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- Spring '09