The Impacts of Gifted and Talented Education

Oct 01, 2009 | by
  • Description

This paper estimates the impact of gifted and talented program participation on academic achievement and peer composition for a sample of 8th grade students. Gifted education provides children that have been identified as having high ability in some intellectual respect with a supplemental curriculum to their traditional school course work. Participation in gifted programs is not random, so OLS estimates are biased by the presence of unobserved heterogeneity which is correlated with participation status as well as outcomes. To obtain causal estimates, I use an instrumental variables approach where the instrument is a self-constructed measure of how well each child fulfills the criteria his/her school uses to admit students into the gifted program, relative to the child's peers. The IV estimates indicate that, in the short run, participation is associated with a significant increase in math standardized test score performance. In the long run, participation is found to increase the probability a child takes Advanced Placement classes. There is no evidence that participation influences the composition of a child's peer group.