Gifted Girls: Gender Bias in Gifted Referrals

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The goal of this mixed-methods study was to explore the effect of gender on teachers' willingness to refer students to a gifted and talented program. Teachers (N = 28) were provided with one of two profiles (i.e., female or male) describing a gifted student. Results indicated that teachers' decisions for referral to gifted programs were significantly influenced by the student's gender; teachers were much less willing to refer a female student than an identically described male student to gifted programs. Further, qualitative analysis revealed that teachers' descriptions of students and reasons for their referral decisions differed considerably based on the student's gender. Responses illustrated gender bias in teachers' perceptions, expectations, and beliefs about the profiled students. Implications for practice are discussed.