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Is Gifted Education a Bright Idea? Assessing the Impact of Gifted and Talented Programs on Achievement

Author

Listed:
  • Sa A. Bui
  • Steven G. Craig
  • Scott A. Imberman

Abstract

In this paper we determine how the receipt of gifted and talented (GT) services affects student outcomes. We identify the causal relationship by exploiting a discontinuity in eligibility requirements and find that for students on the margin there is no discernable impact on achievement even though peers improve substantially. We then use randomized lotteries to examine the impact of attending a GT magnet program relative to GT programs in other schools and find that, despite being exposed to higher quality teachers and peers that are one standard deviation higher achieving, only science achievement improves. We argue that these results are consistent with an invidious comparison model of peer effects offsetting other benefits. Evidence of large reductions in course grades and rank relative to peers in both regression discontinuity and lottery models are consistent with this explanation.

Suggested Citation

  • Sa A. Bui & Steven G. Craig & Scott A. Imberman, 2011. "Is Gifted Education a Bright Idea? Assessing the Impact of Gifted and Talented Programs on Achievement," NBER Working Papers 17089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17089 Note: CH ED LS PE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Epple, Dennis & Newlon, Elizabeth & Romano, Richard, 2002. "Ability tracking, school competition, and the distribution of educational benefits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 1-48, January.
    2. Joshua D. Angrist & Kevin Lang, 2004. "Does School Integration Generate Peer Effects? Evidence from Boston's Metco Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1613-1634, December.
    3. Laura M. Argys & Daniel I. Rees & Dominic J. Brewer, 1996. "Detracking America's schools: Equity at zero cost?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(4), pages 623-645.
    4. Alan Barreca & Melanie Guldi & Jason M. Lindo & Glen R. Waddell, 2010. "Running and Jumping Variables in RD Designs," Working Papers 1001, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Education for gifted students: all for nothing?
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-06-27 20:52:00

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    1. repec:eee:eecrev:v:95:y:2017:i:c:p:168-194 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Joshua Angrist & Parag Pathak, 2014. "The Elite Illusion: Achievement Effects at Boston and New York Exam Schools," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(1), pages 137-196, January.
    3. Kalena E. Cortes & Joshua S. Goodman & Takako Nomi, 2015. "Intensive Math Instruction and Educational Attainment: Long-Run Impacts of Double-Dose Algebra," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(1), pages 108-158.
    4. Antecol, Heather & Eren, Ozkan & Ozbeklik, Serkan, 2013. "Peer Effects in Disadvantaged Primary Schools: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 7694, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Adrienne M. Lucas & Isaac M. Mbiti, 2014. "Effects of School Quality on Student Achievement: Discontinuity Evidence from Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 234-263, July.
    6. Estrada, Ricardo & Gignoux, Jérémie, 2017. "Benefits to elite schools and the expected returns to education: Evidence from Mexico City," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 168-194.
    7. Sarah R. Cohodes & Joshua S. Goodman, 2014. "Merit Aid, College Quality, and College Completion: Massachusetts' Adams Scholarship as an In-Kind Subsidy," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 251-285, October.
    8. Glenn Ellison & Ashley Swanson, 2012. "Heterogeneity in High Math Achievement Across Schools: Evidence from the American Mathematics Competitions," NBER Working Papers 18277, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Vardardottir, Arna, 2013. "Peer effects and academic achievement: a regression discontinuity approach," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 108-121.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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