Analysis of achievement trends of gifted students

Sharon Kay Webb Cato

Abstract

The close examination of the achievement trends of gifted students has been a neglected area for many years. The national focus on new accountability standards necessitates greater analysis of how gifted children are faring on national standardized tests. This study examined the achievement trends of gifted students from grades three through seven in the areas of reading, math, and language. The gifted population in this study was comprised of those identified and ruled eligible for gifted placement at any time during the 5 year span from grades 3 through 7. A comparative group of nongifted students was used to ensure that any significant variances in achievement were attributable to only the gifted population. Test scores from the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and the Stanford Achievement Test were collected and analyzed for 5 consecutive years. These scores were also analyzed for significant differences due to gender. Reading, math, and language scores from grades 3 through 7 revealed that gifted students do not experience any significant increase or decrease in scores, as compared to nongifted students. Mean achievement scores of gifted students were significantly higher than nongifted, as expected, but achievement trends for both groups through the years were similar in time and magnitude. The study also indicated no significant differences for either group in relation to gender in the areas of reading, math, and language.