Identifying Gifted and Talented English Language Learners: A Case Study

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-1-2009


With the sharp rise in students who are English language learners (ELL), research on identifying and serving the needs of gifted and talented (GT) ELL students offers fertile ground for best practice guidelines. The current study describes GT/ELL identification practices based on an in-depth case study of one diverse school district in the Midwest. School personnel, parents, and students participated in separate semistructured group interviews about their experiences regarding GT/ELL identification. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and analyzed for thematic content. Additionally, district and state policy documents about GT and ELL identification practices were reviewed. Results highlight the theoretical and practical barriers to identifying GT ELLs effectively. These include possible population challenges, state support, current programming, assessment practices, parental involvement, and staff challenges. Implications for school personnel and recommendations for future research are discussed. (Contains 2 tables and 1 endnote.)