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Abstract

Poor and ethnic minority students are underrepresented in programs for the talented and gifted. As the number of public school students from ethnically diverse and low income backgrounds steadily increases, schools need to revise assessment tools that cannot effectively evaluate the academic potential of these populations. The authors examine the definition of giftedness, outline the limitations of current testing methods, and explore the role played by teachers' perceptions of ethnic minority children. The authors explore as well the range of social pressures on gifted African American students which may lead them to adopt behaviors that camouflage their giftedness. Dillard and Brazil present a case study in which training improved a Caucasian teacher's responsiveness to the gifted traits in one African American student. Practical suggestions to improve access to gifted education programs include new criteria of giftedness, the use of multiple selection criteria, strategies for training teachers to recognize gifted minorities, and strategies for improving parents' observations of behavioral characteristics of gifted minority children.

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