A quantitative study of the Alabama gifted matrix identification process: Implications for underserved populations

Date of Completion

January 2006


Education, Educational Psychology|Education, Special




The underidentification of culturally diverse gifted and talented students is considered a problem by many scholars and educators in the field of gifted education. Some researchers have explored a number of approaches to identifying greater numbers of these students, including non-verbal intelligence testing and alternative assessments focusing on behavioral or performance evaluations of students. Some of this research has highlighted the importance of examining the effects of other demographic variables such as SES on the efficacy of these assessments in identifying culturally diverse students. In the state of Alabama, the issue of underidentification of culturally diverse gifted students came to the attention of the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), resulting in the development of a consent decree by the Alabama Department of Education and the OCR. This decree requires all districts to use a multiple-criteria identification matrix to identify more culturally diverse students. In this research, the Alabama gifted matrix database is used to explore whether the use of a matrix identification system has increased the number of culturally diverse students identified as gifted and talented when other demographic variables such as gender and socio-economic status (SES) are also considered. The findings suggest that the combination of race and gender plays a role in which indicators of aptitude, behavior, and performance are used with students, and that SES as a district-level variable is relevant in the identification of culturally diverse students in proportion to their representation in the population.^