An annotated fulltext bibliography of publications on the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY), a longitudinal study of high-IQ youth.
- Bibliography sources
- et al 1974
- et al 1974
- Gifted Child Quarterly 1976
- et al 1976
- et al 1977
- Time 1977
- et al 1979
- et al 1980
- Academic Precocity, 1983a
- et al 1983a
- et al 1983b
- et al 1984
- et al 1984
- et al 1986
- University of North Texas, Julian C. Stanley archival materials (1986–1989)
- et al 1990
- et al 1990
- et al 1991
- et al 1991
- et al 1993
- et al 1993
- et al 1994
- et al 1995
- et al 1995
- et al 1996
- et al 1996
- Johns Hopkins Magazine 1997
- et al 1997
- et al 1998
- et al 1998
- et al 1999
- et al 1999
- Rotigel & Lupkowski-1999
- et al 2000
- et al 2000
- et al 2001a
- et al 2001b
- et al 2001
- et al 2001
- et al 2002
- Bleske-et al 2004
- High Ability Studies 2005
- et al 2005
- et al 2006
- et al 2006
- et al 2007
- et al 2007
- et al 2009
- et al 2009
- et al 2009b
- See Also
SMPY (Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth) is a long-running longitudinal survey of extremely mathematically-talented or intelligent youth, which has been following high-IQ cohorts since the 1970s. It has provided the largest and most concrete findings about the correlates and predictive power of screening extremely intelligent children, and revolutionized gifted & talented educational practices.
Because it has been running for over 40 years, SMPY-related publications are difficult to find; many early papers were published only in long-out-of-print books and are not available in any other way. Others are digitized and more accessible, but one must already know they exist. Between these barriers, SMPY information is less widely available & used than it should be given its importance.
To fix this, I have been gradually going through all SMPY citations and making fulltext copies available online with occasional commentary.
The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY; homepage) is a longitudinal “talent search” study founded by Julian Stanley of high IQ students, and specifically mathematically-talented students, who achieve a high score on the SAT-M subtest in middle school (targeting 1-in-10,000 levels), starting in the Maryland area and since expanding to much of the USA. SMPY studies the precocious youth, and also sponsors advanced classes & acceleration of education, often involving SMPY’s home institute, Johns Hopkins University.
Advantages of SMPY over other studies such as the Terman study are that it is:
an unusually large & comprehensively-measured cohort
participants are unusually gifted due to a high ceiling (the SAT-M test, which very few high school students are capable of reaching the ceiling even after high school math courses & studying for the test)
long-term followups can be done linking life outcomes to early results and interests
It has been running since 1971, and has made many important findings, including:
extremely high levels of achievement among participants, validating predictive power of IQ tests
disproof of the “threshold hypothesis” claiming that IQ past a relatively low threshold like 130 ceases to predict anything
systematic sex differences in variance of mathematical ability, leading to excess of males, as well as sex differences in vocational interests & life-work balance, leading to different occupational outcomes & levels of success despite similar ability
- impact of “tilt” toward math/verbal ability in subsequent field & career
demonstration of the scalability of the “talent search” model & high-ceiling standardized testing
demonstration that acceleration of gifted youth is a useful strategy which has positive effects while not damaging them psychologically (conventional wisdom in gifted & talented education was that acceleration would retard emotional & social growth and backfire, and that such youth should be forced into chronological-age classes)
While some recent SMPY papers have made a splash, most SMPY-relevant publications are obscure, scattered, published in books decades ago, and there is no single bibliography providing descriptions of & easy access to SMPY publications; perhaps due to the difficulty of accessing the primary research papers, there have been a collectively large number of review/opinion papers over the past half-century, further muddying the water. Below I have attempted to provide, in chronological order, fulltext of publications dealing with SMPY, with abstracts where available & brief summaries where not, and providing additional context like cases of multiple publications/versions of a paper.
archives of the Intellectually Talented Youth Bulletin (ITYB; SMPY’s 10-months-annually newsletter)
- archives of the “Precollege Newsletter”; only one issue is available, from the University of North Texas digital archives
annual reports to the Spencer Foundation: SMPY (all), SVGY (1, 5-?)
“Radical Acceleration of Highly Gifted Children: An annotated bibliography of international research on highly gifted young people who graduate from high school three or more years early”, Gross & van 2003
It is argued that aptitude and achievement tests designed for much older students are invaluable for finding extremely high ability at younger ages, particularly in mathematical and verbal reasoning. Results of the first two years of the Study of Mathematically and Scientifically Precocious Youth (SMSPY)3 are examined to show that considerable educational acceleration is not only feasible but also desirable for those young people who are eager to move ahead. Skipping school grades, taking college courses part-time, studying in special courses, and entering college early are proposed. These are simple to carry out. inexpensive, and supplemental to regular school practices. The SMSPY staff does not advocate the usual in-grade, non-accelerative “enrichment” procedures often recommended for intellectually gifted children. The approach in this paper is via cases and references to numerous SMSPY studies. It is meant to be an heuristic overview of the main assumptions and findings.
Reported are second year data from an on-going project concerned with identification and facilitation of verbal talent in early adolescence. Parent and teacher nominations of junior high students and verbal scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT-V) are described as primary assessment tools. Overall the enrichment sample is described as bright, socially perceptive, and potentially creative with the boys characterized as introverted, theoretically oriented, and socially reserved and the girls extraverted, action-oriented, and socially outgoing. Mathematically and verbally gifted youngsters are compared. Examined are features of a summer enrichment program including a creative writing course (requiring outside reading, writing assignments, and a seminar-workshop in the poetry, fiction, and drama genres), a social science course (in first-year college level anthropology), and evaluation procedures (including tests of improvement in convergent and divergent thinking) Such project activities as the following are described: dissemination of information, personal, educational, and college course counseling sessions, a student newsletter, a six-month followup survey of students’ educational situations, and a study of the relationship between precocity in formal operations and intelligence. Project accomplishments are summarized and future goals outlined.
[The 2nd/3rd/4th annual reports of SVGY to the Spencer Foundation are available on ERIC, but I can’t find the 1st, and subsequent reports are not mentioned online—1979 implies SVGY was active up until ~1980 in the form of “The Johns Hopkins Program for Verbally Gifted Youth” (“PVGY”), so there should be reports for 1976/1977/1978/1979/1980, but on the other hand, 1979 also states that “PVGY” was only “begun in the fall of 1978”. The existence of annual reports for SVGY suggests the existence of annual reports for SMPY as well, since it was likewise initially funded by the Spencer Foundation, but I have not seen them. ERIC has an entry for the 7th report but no fulltext, although the catalogues of the National Library of Australia & University of Malaya Library indicate they have microfiche copies sourced from ERIC, so ERIC apparently at one time did have a publicly-distributed copy of that.]
Mathematical Talent: Discovery, description, and development, ed 1974 (ISBN 0-8018-1585-1): anthology.
- “Intellectual Precocity”, Julian C. Stanley
- “The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth”, Daniel P. Keating
- “Facilitating Educational Development of Mathematically Precocious Youth”, Lynn H. Fox
- “Sex Differences in Mathematical and Scientific Precocity”, Helen S. Astin
- “Commentary on the Precocity Project”, Anne Anastasi
- “A Mathematics Program for Fostering Precocious Achievement”, Lynn H. Fox
- “Personality Characteristics of Mathematically Precocious Boys”, Daniel S. Weiss, Richard J. Haier, & Daniel P. Keating
- “Values and Career Interests.of Mathematically and Scientifically Precocious Youth”, Lynn H. Fox & Susanne A. Denham
- “Behavior of Mathematically Precocious Boys in a College Classroom”, Daniel P. Keating, Stanley J. Wiegand, & Lynn H. Fox
- “Epilogue”, The Editors
Reported are findings froth the third year of a project concerned with identification and facilitation of humanistic precocity in early adolescence. The project focused on students who showed a precocious concern with and ability to reason about social, moral, and political problems. Described are attempts to define humanistic precocity, and procedures used to select the 120 Talent Search winners for 1975. Content covered in social science and creative writing summer enrichment courses is outlined, and results of evaluation of both the courses and participant selection procedures are provided. Discussed are student counseling and information dissemination facets of the project. It is reported that humanistic precocity was found in quantitatively as well as verbally gifted students. Results of the project are said to include the development of a successful curriculum for training humanistic precocity. Appendixes consist of research studies on the following topics: the personalogical [sic] significance of differential quantitative and verbal talent; the development of political reasoning in verbally talented children; humanistic precocity and general intelligence; and evaluation of a program for the enrichment of humanistic talent.
[review of testing, SAT scores, school liking inventory, personality inventory, vocational interest, birth order effect (slight firstborn advantage), parental background, initial examination of tilt & SAT-M vs SAT-V]
A followup study involving 2,021 students identified as academically gifted by the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) was conducted to determine the effectiveness of college courses for facilitating the education of intellectually talented junior and senior high school students. Advantages of a college course over acceleration, student requirements for participation in the college course program, and college enrollment procedures were considered when advising a student eligible for college courses. Of the 1,510 students returning the College Information Questionnaire, 83 students had taken college courses. Among findings were that students’ grade-point average (GPA) for the college courses taken was 3.57 (on a four-point scale) and that SMPY students rarely encountered social difficulties in the college classroom.
A special issue of Gifted Child Quarterly (volume 20 issue 3, September 1976) focused on SMPY:
“Youths who reason extremely well mathematically: SMPY’s accelerative approach”, 1976a: editorial introduction
Fast-paced country-wide mathematics classes meeting outside of regular hours were established to meet the needs of highly talented mathematical reasoners. The results from the original two programs demonstrated that four and one-half years of precalculus mathematics could be taught in approximately 120 hours. These classes show the importance of homogeneous grouping. Class success was based on identification of qualified students through appropriately difficult mathematics tests, voluntary participation by students, and carefully done homework assignments. The programs’ success resulted in different school systems adopting the model. This paper concerns the various classes and the implications of fast-paced mathematics.
Mathematically precocious junior high school students have been encouraged by SMPY to take college courses. To be eligible, the student should score at least 550 on the mathematical part of the College Board’s Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT-M) as a seventh or eighth grader. A score of at least 400 on SAT-Verbal is also desirable. Courses should be taken for graded credit, preferably in the summer, and in the area of the individual’s high ability. Many colleges and universities have proved willing or even eager to admit talented young students. The credits earned can be held in escrow for college later. In the last five years, 131 SMPY youths have taken 277 college courses and earned an over all GPA of 3.59, where 4:A and 3:B. Girls take fewer courses than boys and have a sightly lower GPA. Community colleges are a great deal easier for these students than either colleges of universities. These youths experience little social or emotional difficulty in the college classroom. A comparison group of considerably older high school students who took evening college courses did not do as well as the SMPY group (GPA 3.02 versus 3.59). This was probably due to the greater selectivity by SMPY on both ability and motivation to work in a college class.
“Rationale Of SMPY During Its First Seven Years Of Promoting Educational Acceleration”, 1976b: brief summary
Much more needs to be done for the nation’s talented students in mathematics and science than is now happening in the schools, asserts this writer, who describes in this article the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) at The Johns Hopkins University and what has been accomplished for the young participants.
“Sex Differences: Implications for Program Planning for the Academically Gifted”, 1976a: brief summary
“Individualizing Science Curricula for the Gifted”, 1976 (abstract from ERIC version):
Reported are methods of accelerating and individualizing science and mathematics curricula for extremely gifted junior high school students as developed by the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) and the Intellectually Gifted Child Study Group. Given are examples of acceleration such as allowing the student to take more advanced courses in the standard sequence, taking advanced placement courses, taking special out of class college level courses, or receiving tutoring through the Oxford-Cambridge Tutorial Preceptory System of SMPY. A question is raised regarding the amount of laboratory work that is necessary for highly gifted science students. Sources of further information are provided.
Presented is the fourth annual report of a project concerned with humanistic talent (defined as the ability to reason incisively and well with complex social, moral, and political problems) in gifted adolescent students. Activities of the past year in the areas of counseling services, graduate training, and research activities are reviewed. Explained is the decision to cut back on counseling services due to inefficient use of staff time and the small number of persons being served. Described in the section an graduate training are the theses of two students in educational administration, both studies being related to the prediction of academic performance. Research activities are summarized and future activities including data analyses and writing, information dissemination, a writing seminar for gifted adolescents, research on the definition of noncognitive determinants of humanistic reasoning, analysis of indices of future productiveness of gifted children, and a book length report of the entire project are outlined. Appended are a bibliography of 17 publications of the study from 1972 to 1976, a summary of the papers, and individual summaries of four papers on the subjects of quantitative giftedness in early adolescence, verbal giftedness and humanistic talent, educating humanistic talent, and the development of legal reasoning in verbally gifted children, respectively. An article by Joseph Adelson titled “Discussion of Papers on Humanistic Talent” is included.
Reported are results of a study comparing incidence and characteristics of male and female mathematically gifted junior high students, and suggested are ways to encourage female participation in science and mathematics. It is explained that the Study for Mathematically Precocious Youth identified significantly more males than females with outstanding mathematical reasoning ability and also noted differing attitudes (such as greater social values and less inclination to seek out mathematical experiences) on the part of highly gifted girls. An accelerated class for girls only is reported to have been moderately effective in promoting mathematical achievement among girls. It is concluded that the observed sex differences may be biologically based or due to such environmental variables as less parental encouragement for mathematically gifted girls.
Investigated with 26 gifted seventh-grade girls was the influence of an experimental summer mathematics acceleration program on later mathematics course-taking behavior. Classes were designed to provide social stimulation through such methods as using a woman teacher and assistants for role models, informal structure, organization for small group and individualized instruction, stressing cooperative activities, and emphasizing ways in which mathematics could be used to solve social problems. Among conclusions after a 3-year follow-up were that the course-taking behavior of gifted girls can be modified by early intervention, and that career interest appears to be more difficult to influence.
In almost every issue of ITYB there appears an article by a junior- or senior-high-school or college student. Two of them are reproduced below. Daniel W. Smith was an eighth grader. Kathleen Marie Montour, a Mohawk Indian from Canada was a 19-year-old senior at Johns Hopkins. She received her B.S. degree, with major in psychology, on 1976-05-21 at age 20 1⁄4. Currently, Ms. Montour is a graduate student in human development at Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts.
In September of 1945 Merrill Kenneth Wolf of Cleveland, Ohio, became quite possibly the youngest American ever to receive the baccalaureate when he took his B.A. in music from Yale College at the age fourteen (since his birthdate was 1931-08-28, he had just turned fourteen). Because Yale was on a special accelerated schedule during World War II, Wolf completed his degree requirements in less than the usual number of academic years.
Intellectual Talent: Research and Development, ed 1976 (ISBN 0-8018-1743-9): anthology recording the early results of the talent search and the immediate success of accelerating gifted students into Johns Hopkins college, the overall health of the participants, and SMPY’s unsuccessful struggle to get rid of the male overrepresentation at their extreme of math scores.
Identification and Measurement of Intellectual Talent
- “Use of Tests to Discover Talent”, Julian C. Stanley
- “Discovering Quantitative Precocity”, Daniel P. Keating
- “Identification and Program Planning: Models and Methods”, Lynn H. Fox
- “Identifying Mathematical Talent on a Statewide Basis”, William C. George & Cecilia H. Solano
- “A Piagetian Approach to Intellectual Precocity”, Daniel P. Keating
Programs for Facilitation of Intellectual Talent
- “Curriculum Experimentation for the Mathematically Talented”, William C. George & Susanne A. Denham
- “Special Fast-Mathematics Classes Taught by College Professors to Fourth- through Twelfth-graders”, Julian C. Stanley
- “Verbally Gifted Youth: Selection and Description”, Peter V. McGinn
- “Sex Differences in Mathematical Precocity: Bridging the Gap”, Lynn H. Fox
- “Educators’ Stereotypes of Mathematically Gifted Boys”, Richard J. Haier & Cecilia H. Solano
The Psychology of Intellectual Talent
- “A Summary Profile of the Nonintellectual Correlates of Mathematical Precocity in Boys and Girls”, Richard J. Haier & Susanne A. Denham
- “Career-related Interests of Adolescent Boys and Girls”, Lynn H. Fox, Sara R. Pasternak, and Nancy L. Peiser
- “Creative Potential of Mathematically Precocious Boys”, Daniel P. Keating
- “The Values of Gifted Youth”, Lynn H. Fox
- “Random vs. Nonrandom Study of Values Profiles”, Joan A. W. Linsenmeier
Critique and Discussion
- “A Historical Step beyond Terman”, Ellis Batten Page
- “SMPY in Social Perspective”, Carl E. Bereiter
- “General Discussion” [Page, Bereiter et al]
This research is concerned with the stereotypes of gifted children held by average ability students and by teachers. The results of this study show that gifted boys are viewed positively by their age-mates, whereas gifted girls are quite disliked. Attitudes were elicited from educators familiar with gifted students, and from educators with no personal contact with such students. The findings show a negative stereotype of gifted boys among educators that dissipates on contact, while there is a positive stereotype of gifted-girls that disappears after working with them. College courses on the gifted child were used as an intervention technique to change attitudes toward the gifted. Teacher attitudes toward gifted boys improved considerably, whereas attitudes toward gifted girls improved only sightly, suggesting that general information about gifted girls does not have the same effect as personal contact.
[See also 1976.]
Speech presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in Washington, D.C., on 1976-09-03.
The three phases (finding seventh and eighth grade mathematically talented students, studying them, and helping then educationally) of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) are detailed, and examples of the superiority of educational acceleration over educational enrichment are pointed out. Results of standardized intelligence tests are seen to be less helpful than scores on the mathematics part of the College Entrance Examination Board’s Scholastic Aptitude Test in identifying gifted students for SMPY. Four types of enrichment (busy work, irrelevant academic, cultural, and relevant academic) are described and contrasted with academic acceleration. Presented is the case of a 11 1⁄2-year-old boy who was helped educationally by entering college_before completing high school. Stressed is the need for flexibility that makes a variety of educationally accelerative possibilities (such as grade skipping and college courses for credit) available for the student.
(Reprinted from Intellectually Talented Youth Bulletin 3:10, July 1977, by special permission)
[tips for parents of SMPYers: large time investments may be necessary for gifted children; plan ahead and try to get along with the local school system and negotiate acceleration; touch-typing is useful for SMPYers to learn]
Brief discussions of general vs. special ability and of mathematical reasoning ability form the introduction of this paper on the education of mathematically gifted students. The second section of the paper describes the annual mathematics talent searches conducted by the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY). The third section covers SMPY’s special educational provisions for the mathematically talented, including the basic components of the program, importance of fast pace, and other aspects of the offerings (skipping grades, part-time college study, credit by examination, early college entrance, college graduation in less than four years, and bypassing the bachelor’s degree). Two illustrations of how selected students progressed through the program comprise the fourth section of this paper, while the final section summarizes SMPY’s position concerning the education of mathematically precocious youth.
“Books Tell The SMPY Story”, 1977b: short description of the previously published SMPY anthologies, Mathematical Talent/Intellectual Talent/The Gifted and the Creative.
The Gifted and the Creative: a Fifty-Year Perspective, ed et al 1977 (ISBN 080181975X): anthology ( 1979 book review):
The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SM PY) began officially at The Johns Hopkins University in September 1971 under a five-year grant from the Spencer Foundation. Its staff, headed by Professor (of psychology) Julian C. Stanley, seeks highly effective ways to facilitate the education of youths who reason extremely well mathematically. To do so, it is of course necessary first to identify such youths and understand them well. During SMPY’s initial five years, much service was rendered to the mathematically talented in the State of Maryland, especially seventh and eighth graders in the Greater Baltimore area. This enabled the SMPY staff to develop and refine principles, techniques, and practices with which to improve the education of intellectually talented students there and elsewhere. SMPY’s underlying rationale is not fully obvious from the two books that report its substantive achievements. Thus it seems desirable to state that rationale clearly so that its assumptions can be examined by all persons who consider using SMPY’s practices. This chapter is the initial attempt to set forth explicitly the point of view guiding SMPY’s activities.
Studies of gifted children have typically ignored sex differences, yet in the past gifted women have achieved far less than men. This paper reviews the research on sex differences in intellectual abilities, achievement, values, and interests that have relevance to educational planning for gifted children. Early admission to kindergarten or first grade, and early college entrance both appear to be valuable for gifted boys and girls. Grade skipping, subject-matter acceleration, and advanced placement programs in mathematics and the sciences in the junior high school years, however, are more effective for gifted boys than for gifted girls. Homogeneously grouped accelerated programs in mathematics can promote achievement of gifted girls as well as gifted boys in some classroom environments but not in others. Part of the differential academic success of the sexes in subjects like mathematics is a result of the sex-role stereotyping activities in early childhood and adolescence. The reduction of sex-role stereotyping should increase both male and female creativity and achievement in many areas. Early identification of children and counseling of parents is needed. Career education and early planned intervention are particularly crucial for gifted girls. Teachers need to help gifted students, especially girls, become better intellectual risk takers.
“General Discussion Immediately After the Terman Memorial Symposium”, edited by J. W. Getzels
Educational programs and intellectual prodigies, ed et al 1978 (a “supplement” to The Gifted and the Creative):
“Background Remarks”, William C. George (pg3)
Programs for Facilitating Intellectual talent
2. “A Statewide Program in the Discovery and Guidance of Gifted Students”, Marshall P. Sanborn (pg7) 3. “Educating Gifted Children in California”, Elizabeth I. Kearney & Jane S. Brockie (pg18) 4. “Providing Individual Enrichment with an Independent Project Format”, Larry Finch & Cecilia H. Solano (pg29) 5. “The Governor’s School of North Carolina: A Summer Program for Gifted and/or Talented High School Students”, James L. Bray (pg34) 6. “The Saturday Workshop of the Gifted Child Society of New Jersey”, Albert J. Pra Sisto (pg38)
The Highly Precocious: How Well Did They Succeed?
7. “Introductory Comments”, Julian C. Stanley (pg48) 8. “Chatterton and Galois: Geniuses of Precocity Who Died Young”, Kathleen Montour (pg49) 9. “Success vs. Tragedy: Wiener and Sidis”, Kathleen Montour (pg52) 10. “Phillipa Duke Schuyler”, Kathleen Montour (pg54) 11. “Two Men Who as Boys Were Celebrated Quiz-Program Contestants”, Kathleen Montour (pg55) 12. “Merrill Kenneth Wolf: A Bachelor’s Degree at 14”, Kathleen Montour (pg57) 13. “A Few Other References from SMPY on Prodigies”
“Smorgasbord for an IQ of 150”, Time, 0040781X, 6/6/1977, Vol. 109, Issue 23:
Paul Dietz, a slender youth in wire-rimmed glasses, loves war games of all kinds—from World War II platoon fights to dungeons and dragons. Says he: “I like to look at the mistakes commanders made in the past, as an intellectual exercise.” Colin Camerer has a more direct interest in combat, since he lists as his main concerns “business and power.” He adds: “Someone’s going to be making decisions, and frankly I want to be there.” Eugene Stark, by contrast, has a more modest policy: “I try to appear as normal as possible. If you go around broadcasting that you’re a weirdo, then people look at you like you’re a weirdo.”
Testing Feat. The reason why some people might look on the three students as a little odd is that they graduated last week from Johns Hopkins University at the age of 17. All have IQs of more than 150. And all three—along with five other precocious seniors—were found at the early age of 12 or 13 to be mathematical wizards, capable of feats such as scoring well on algebra tests without ever having taken the subject.
Their graduation is a milestone in a unique program at Johns Hopkins, the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth. It was begun in 1971 by Psychology Professor Julian Stanley, 58, who remembered his boredom in Georgia public schools and decided “to save these kids from the same experience.” Stanley, a statistician, sought out 12-to 13-year-old children in the Baltimore area who had already shown promise in math. He asked them to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test normally given to college-bound high school students. The result: a group of seven boys scored well over 700 (out of a possible 800), a feat matched by only 5% of 18-year-old males. Besides Dietz, Camerer and Stark, the test also identified two other youngsters who are graduating from Johns Hopkins this year—Michael Kotschenreuther, 18, and Robert Addison, 19—as mathematically gifted. Stanley also helped other youthful math wizards, whom his testing turned up, get into other colleges. Among them: Eric Jablow, 15, who this year became the youngest boy ever to graduate from New York’s Brooklyn College.
As Stanley’s program has become increasingly well known, hundreds of seventh-graders have been pouring in from a wider and wider area to take his tests and sample what Stanley calls a “smorgasbord of educationally accelerated opportunities.” Some, who live near by, are ferried by their parents to special two-hour Saturday tutorial classes at Johns Hopkins. Tutored by other prodigies just a few years older than they, these gifted students now race through advanced algebra and geometry. Others leapfrog over grades, and some will attend a special summer session at Johns Hopkins.
“We don’t have any particular program,” says Stanley, whose recruits now total about 500. “If you’re gifted and motivated, we’ll help you do anything that fits you.” The purpose of this speedup, says Stanley, is “so that mathematically talented youths can devote their most productive years to research.” He adds: “Lots of people in this world worry mostly about those who have low ability. Somebody has to worry about the gifted.”
Stable Introverts. One of Stanley’s main disappointments is that for still disputed reasons, few girls test well on math (TIME, March 14). Those who do qualify for the special tutorials tend to drop out, and their feeling for the boys in the program is “almost one of revulsion,” he says, because the girls view their male counterparts as socially immature. So far, he maintains, the boys seem to have few emotional problems. “Scientists are stable introverts,” says Stanley. “They are not highly impulsive and tend to act rationally.” Furthermore, he adds, it has been “demonstrated empirically” that mathematically gifted boys become interested in girls much later in life. “This has been a great asset in the early-entrance program because it gives them more time to study,” he says approvingly.
Stanley’s five Johns Hopkins protégés seem almost too dedicated to their calling. Spare-time reading tends toward math and science books, with a little science fiction thrown in for leavening. Favorite hobbies include, not surprisingly, chess and bridge. Stark and Camerer, however, seem drawn to nonscientific pastimes—Stark to softball and ragtime music on the trombone. Camerer to journalism. He has been writing stories about fashions and fishing for the Beachcomber, a free weekly published in Ocean City, Md.
For the future, most of the Johns Hopkins prodigies envision high-powered research careers following Ph.D. studies at—variously—the University of Chicago, Cornell, M.I.T. and Princeton. Three—Dietz, Stark and Kotschenreuther—have received National Science Foundation fellowships, prestigious grants awarded each year for advanced research. And Stanley is willing to bet on them all—using probability theory, of course—for “original contributions.”
This article reports follow-up information on six very young college graduates. The myth of “early ripe, early rot” is clearly refuted by the outstanding success of each of these six young accelerants. [Colin Camerer, Eric Robert Jablow, Michael Thomas Kotschenreuther, Paul Frederick Dietz, Eugene William Stark, Mark Tollef Jacobson]
This paper was inspired by the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY). Two main questions center on the possible careers for such gifted youth, although the same questions may be asked of any gifted youth. The first question is whether or not they will become competent but unexceptionally creative adults, as many gifted children do; or, “world-class”, eminent adults, as very few gifted children do. The other question raised is whether or not we now know enough about the early family backgrounds of gifted youth and eminent adults to predict possible careers.
Reprinted from ITYB by special permission.
Initial results from the 1976 Talent Search provided evidence for considerable precocity in mathematical and verbal reasoning ability among the mathematically apt seventh-grade-age boys and girls who participated in the first screening of that competition (George & Cohn, 1977). This initial screening procedure consisted of both the mathematics section (SAT-M) and the verbal section (SAT-V) of the Scholastic Aptitude Test. A second screening procedure was employed to distinguish from among the 873 contestants those youths who might best profit from immediate intervention by SMPY to facilitate accelerative opportunities in their education…Nearly 33% of the original 873 contestants were selected into what became known as the “retest group”, thereby representing the top 1% of same age youths in the nation with respect to mathematical aptitude. 97%, that is all but 6 boys and 2 girls, of the 286 students invited to return to The Johns Hopkins University campus for an entire day of further high-level testing decided to take advantage of this opportunity to explore more fully descriptive evaluation of their cognitive abilities, attitudes, and interests. The ratio of boys to girls increased from approximately 1.39:1 in the original pool of contestants to 2.09:1 in retest group.
…On difficult tests of specific cognitive abilities, tests developed originally for use with older youngsters, seventh-grade-age contestants who scored in the upper third in the 1976 Talent Search demonstrated considerable precocity. In fact, many of them showed substantial or even high levels of competence in Algebra I even before having taken a course in it…
Reprinted by special permission from The Intellectually Talented Youth Bulletin 3:10, July 1977.
…New measurement techniques such as the Bem Sex Role Inventory (1974) offer an opportunity to examine individual differences in both personality development and sex role as they are related to intellectual functioning, thus emphasizing the similarities between the sexes a reversal of past emphasis on the polarities.
A study has been undertaken by the author to investigate the relationship between personality and intellectual development. The study will utilize two main samples of adolescents. The first sample consists of 278 male and female contestants who participated in the December 1976 Mathematics Talent Search conducted by The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) at The Johns Hopkins University and were invited back for further testing. For comparison purposes, as well as increased generalizability, a second sample of approximately 200 “average” ability boys and girls have been randomly selected from two junior high schools in the area
…in college samples it has been found that approximately 60% of the group will have a stereotypic sex role identification. Thus, 40% of the group has a balanced personality style, characterized by an equal development of both the expressive and instrumental domains. In the Math Talent Search group, approximately 45% had either a stereotypic masculine or stereotypic feminine sex role identity, and 55% had a balanced development. It was interesting to note, however, that a higher percentage of girls had a balanced personality style. Within the boys 50% had a stereotypic sex role identity and 50% had a balance. Within the girls approximately 32% had a stereotypic sex role identity (and about one-half of these had a stereotypic masculine identification, or cross-sex identity), and 68% had a balanced development. This is consistent with. the hypothesis that some cross-sex identification or the development 01 instrumental traits is related to math reasoning ability in girls. …
This article represents an updated version of Dr. Stanley’s invited address to the Second World Conference on Gifted and Talented Children held at the University of San Francisco, August 2, 1977.
…Many intellectually brilliant youths eager to proceed faster educationally have been prevented from doing so by their parents, educators, or psychologists. The United States is a serious offender in this respect, but I know from personal observation that the situation is even worse in a number of other countries. This brings to mind the horrible Greek legend about Procrustes, who forced his guests to lie on a very long or a very short bed and fitted them to it by stretching them if the bed was too long or by cutting off part of their legs if the bed was too short. The age-in-grade lockstep is a Procrustean solution endorsed by all but a few. …
[“Based on an informal talk at a meeting of alumni of The Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C., on 1977-09-20”] For six years at Johns Hopkins my Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (abbreviated as SMPY) has been seeking throughout the State of Maryland and elsewhere students in junior high school who reason extremely well mathematically. Tonight I shall talk briefly with you about several of the most remarkable of these young men and women to illustrate the educational achievements of which they are easily capable but which are usually denied them.
The First Formal Follow-Up: The sixth year for the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) was an even more active, productive, and successful twelve-month period than were the previous five. By June, 1977 virtually all of the 450 contestants from SMPY’s March, 1972 mathematics and science talent searches had been graduated from high school or had become full-time college students without completing high school. … [questionnaire results: science/math contest participation, college graduates & honors, media profiles, SMPY counseling work & recruiting mentors, plans for the fourth talent search, a chemistry vs physics enrichment experiment, more on media coverage of SMPY]
[Description of SMPY initially screening for scientific aptitude; refocus on math-only; striking absence of any interest in chemistry and little in physics in SMPYers; the 1978 physics-chemistry summer camp; importance of taking vocational interests/preferences into account in screening]
Responsible approaches to the education of our nation’s verbally gifted youth have long been needed to provide challenges comparable to those already offered to mathematically gifted youth…The Johns Hopkins Program for Verbally Gifted Youth (PVGY), begun in the fall of 1978, was established in part to rectify this difficult state of affairs. First-year results are encouraging, and not only suggest possible strategies for the education of verbally gifted youth that could be duplicated across the country, but also point to the need for a radical revitalization of the humanities in America, beginning at the secondary level, if not earlier.
Formation of the program: Three Hopkins Departments participated in the formation of PVGY—The Writing Seminars, Classics and German. Since it was initially decided that the primary pedagogical aim would be to offer verbally gifted youngsters of the junior high school level an opportunity to perfect their writing skills in a university framework, courses were selected which directly supported this orientation—Writing Skills, Latin and Greek in Current Use (Mythology in the second semester), and beginning German. Each course is equivalent to a course available to regular Johns Hopkins students, and the PVGY’s students’ performance is measured by college criteria….These tests [SAT-V/Test of Standard Written English (TSWE)] are taken during a student’s seventh-grade year; a score of 430 or better on the SAT-V and 35 or better on TSWE are the minimum acceptable criteria.
…Goals of PVGY: The Hopkins Program for Verbally Gifted Youth does not attempt to teach creativity. While imagination and individualized thought are indeed encouraged, PVGY’s five main goals are practical. The program seeks to provide the individual student with a verbal environment stimulating enough to elicit innate verbal abilities; to give the verbally talented student a sound foundation in the mechanics of the English language; to nurture the development of all varieties of verbal talent; to give the verbally gifted child the opportunity to become familiar with a linguistic tradition through the treatment of etymology, mythology, foreign languages, and literatures; and to allow a qualified young student access to college-level coursework. These goals are not restricted merely to an audience of future writers and poets, but also appeal to any youth wishing to develop precision and accuracy in communicative skills for his or her personal and professional life.
To measure concretely the academic success or failure of the initial year of the Johns Hopkins Program for Verbally Gifted Youth (PVGY), students were given College Board Testing, when available, at the end of the second semester. The 20 students in the 2 sections of Writing Skills were given the College Level Examination (CLEP) General Examination in English Composition (multiple choice) and an essay question designed by the instructors. The essays were subjectively scored by the instructors and were measured against the level expected of a Johns Hopkins sophomore student completing the Contemporary American Letters course—the Writing Seminar’s basic writing/reading course required of all majors before they can continue to upper level coursework. Measured against a scale of 1–10 (10 the maximum), with 5 being a “competent” score, 12 of the 20 students scored above 5 (ranging from 6 to 8), 3 of the students scored below 5 (lowest 4 and 2 at 4.5), and 4 students scored 5. In the CLEP examination, scores ranged from a high of 647 to a low of 448. Of the 20 students, 6 scored between 448 and 500 (50th percentile of college sophomores taking test), 7 scored between 500 and 600 (86th percentile of college sophomores), and 7 scored between 601 and 647 (93rd percentile of college sophomores).
…The initial year of PVGY was essentially an experimentation stage in which the validity of the idea of such a program was tested. The experiment yielded positive results in a variety of ways. It revealed, first, that there is a pronounced need for greater attention to verbally gifted youth in America. PVGY has also taught us some of the things we must know to train teachers for this special kind of instruction.
…Conclusion: In the fall of 1979, PVGY began its second year. While beginning courses in German, Writing Skills and Latin and Greek in Current Use were again offered, students chose advanced levels of German and Writing Skills, as well as a new addition on Latin language. It is evident that PVGY has struck a responsive chord in the American educational scene. Thus far critical reaction around the country as well as internationally, has been overwhelmingly positive. There is obviously a willingness on behalf of many educators to commit themselves to rebuilding America’s foundation in verbal skills. It is our hope that the Hopkins’ Program for Verbally Gifted Youth will contribute a concrete model for this renewed effort, thereby not only aiding verbally talented students, but also providing standards for all students, for whom accurate communicative skills are essential.
[The PVGY appears to have been closed sometime in the early 1980s, and possibly rolled into the CTY programs, as CTY reportedly has writing classes with Latin & ancient Greek courses offered.]
The effects of shortening gifted students’ overall time for completing elementary, secondary, and collegiate education are addressed. A study of the performance of such accelerated students in Johns Hopkins University’s program indicates that most of the early entrants have done well without encountering serious emotional and social difficulties.
“The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth”, 1979: standard summary & advertisement for SMPY in Gifted Child Quarterly.
This study investigated the effectiveness of several intervention programs, in terms Of increasing girls’ participation in mathematics. The programs included two classes developed at Johns Hopkins University (an all-girls’ accelerated mathematics class and a girls’ career awareness class) , and four school system-based programs based on the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth. The populations are considered to be well-above average with respect to mathematical ability. Analysis included investigation of the impact of programs on plans to take such courses as pre-calculus, calculus, chemistry, physics, and computer science, in high school. Impact of the programs upon variables related to acceleration in mathematics was also assessed along with the rate of population attrition within the programs. The achievement of students in the school system-based accelerated classes was evaluated for possible sex differences. Questionnaire responses ard the Fennema-Sherman Mathematics Attitude Scale were used to measure attitudes and interests. Comparisons were made between responses on some attitude measures and related factors such as acceleration, career goals, and life style plans. The major finding is that special programs for the mathematically gifted do have an impact on the course-taking behaviors and plans and aspirations of girls.
Using the empirically based evidence that has resulted from the previous five Talent Searches of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth, the article develops the rationale and success behind the talent-search concept as a useful strategy for identifying the intellectually gifted. Its practicality as a model is further demonstrated through the systematic curricular programming that has resulted at school-district levels after students have been identified as talented in a specific aptitude area. The identification issue is discussed as it pertains to efficiency and effectiveness related to cost, predictive validity, and feasibility.
Educating the Gifted: Acceleration and Enrichment, ed et al 1979 (ISBN 0801822602): anthology.
- “Acceleration and enrichment: Drawing the base lines for further study”, 1979
- “Educational enrichment versus acceleration: A review of the literature”, 1979 [this may be a later version of ‘Daurio, S. P. “Educational enrichment versus acceleration. Report from the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY).” (1977).’]
- “Educational Acceleration of Intellectually Talented Youths: Prolonged Discussion by a Varied Group of Professionals”; Sanford J. Cohn, William C. George, and Julian C. Stanley, editors
Gifted Children, 1979, includes a short description of SMPY (pg52–54), and a long profile of a female SMPYer, “Lisa Skarp” (pg21–24), describing her early childhood, joining SMPY, and successful educational acceleration.
A recent study illustrates the interrelatedness of personality variables and intellectual ability for both boys and girls.
..Since adolescence is a time when sex roles are especially salient, groups of seventh and eighth grade males and females from two separate populations were chosen for study. One group were semifinalists (188 males, 90 females) who participated in the December 1976 Mathematical Talent Search conducted by The Study for the Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) at The Johns Hopkins University.
…In the present study, all participants received: 1. the Bern Sex-Role Inventory (BSRI) (Bern, 1974), allowing the independent measurement of “masculinity” and “femininity” in terms of behavioral traits (eg. compassionate, yielding, aggressive, self- sufficient); and 2. the Femininity Scale (Fe) from the California Psychological Inventory (Gough, 1952), a measure of what is assumed to be a unidimensional, bipolar trait ranging from extreme masculinity at one end to extreme femininity at the opposite end. In addition, the SMPY or gifted group was given the Allport-Vernon-Lindzey Study of Values, a test for which consistent sex differences are reported.
…Some evidence for a relationship between math scores and masculine variables for girls, and verbal scores with feminine variables for boys, was found in the public school comparison group. In this group, the BSRI femininity score was positively related to verbal scores for boys, and the BSRI masculinity score was positively related to math scores for girls. In addition, the “maturity” factor on the BSRI, which contained nine of the original masculinity items, had a strong positive correlation with math scores for public school girls. This factor also had a strong positive correlation with verbal scores for the girls. In other words, the very positive, but also “instrumental”, characteristics on this factor were strongly related to intellectual variables overall for these girls. …
“The Future of Education”, 1979 (letter to Science)
In an effort to explore some of the possible early-experiential and family variables involved in the achievement of eminence we have developed a model of cognitive and personality development and have undertaken a longitudinal study of two distinct groups of exceptionally gifted boys and their families. In this report, early similarities and differences between two groups of exceptionally gifted boys and their families will be explored. Methodology: This is a longitudinal study of two samples of healthy, exceptionally gifted boys and their families. One group consisted of 26 of the highest scorers in the 1976 Math Talent Search conducted by Julian Stanley (1974, 1977); the second group of 26 boys living in southern California were selected only on the basis of IQ’s of 150 or higher.
…Factors included for study were parents’ and grand-parents’ educational attainment, parents’ and subjects’ birth-order, subjects’ and parents’ creative potential, and subjects’ cognitive giftedness.
- Both samples were well-educated and had attained significantly more formal education than the national norms.
- The birth-orders of the two samples are what one would expect from the literature of gifted children and they are not significantly different from one another.
- A surprisingly remarkable similarity exists between the two samples of cognitively gifted boys, although they were selected a year apart, a continent apart, and on the basis of distinctly different test performances. We expected them to perform better on the figural and the math/science subtests of the Wallach-Kogan and BIC measures, respectively, and the high-IQ sample to perform significantly better on the verbal and the art/writing subtests. Instead, the differences between the samples are slight and not statistically significant. At minimum, these results suggest that the two samples are each made of highly talented, cognitively gifted boys in the ares of art/writing and math/science as measured by standard instruments. Second, these results further indicate the versatility that accompanies exceptional giftedness…Table 1 shows that the parents of both groups of exceptionally gifted boys are themselves exceptionally creative. Parents of both groups outperformed Duke University subjects. Furthermore, the parents definitely showed more creative potential than their children. It is the parents of the high-IQ boys who have the highest creativity scores of all.
…We believe the results of the present study and those of Milgram et al. show that cognitive giftedness and creative giftedness are very much related to one another and may be manifestations of the same complex, multi-faceted abilities. Therefore, it should not surprise us that there is a large degree of family cognitive and creative similarity.
In February of 1977 the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) at The Johns Hopkins University used for the first time in its talent searches two tests from the American College Test (ACT) battery: the Mathematics Usage (ACT-M) and Natural Sciences Readings (ACT-NS) tests. In addition, three tests from the Differential Aptitude Test (DAT) battery and an Algebra I achievement test were administered to the top-scoring 278 contestants from the 1976–77 Mathematics Talent Search conducted by SMPY.
…A number of points seem apparent from the above discussions. The first is that the Mathematics Usage and Natural Sciences Readings Tests of the ACT battery have adequate ceiling and floor for this group of mathematically talented students who are four or five years younger than the usual ACT examinees. The Mathematics Usage test of the ACT correlates well with both the SAT-M and a test of Algebra I achievement. A factor analysis grouped these three tests on a mathematics factor for both boys and girls in the SMPY Talent Search group. The Natural Sciences Readings test correlates highly with the SAT-V, and is grouped with the SAT-V in a verbal reasoning factor for both sexes. The ACT-NS also correlates with the mathematics measures, suggesting that it may have a computational or mathematical reasoning component as well as its mainly verbal component.
SMPY will continue to use SAT-M as the initial screening instrument for mathematics talent searches among seventh-graders in the Middle Atlantic Region who are already known to score in the top 3% on national norms for the mathematics section of an achievement-test battery, such as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. This will be done chiefly because the subject matter demands of SAT-M are less than those of ACT-M. ACT-M can be quite useful, however, for further study of the high scorers on SAT-M (eg. those earning at or above 500, slightly above the average for college-bound male 12th-graders). ACT-NS is a good basic screening test of science aptitude for this able group. It may be followed by a more subject-matter-oriented test such as Level 1 of Educational Testing Service’s Sequential Tests of Educational Progress (STEP) in science. Further comparative study of SAT and ACT tests is planned.
A substantial sex difference in mathematical reasoning ability (score on the mathematics test of the Scholastic Aptitude Test) in favor of boys was found in a study of 9927 intellectually gifted junior high school students. Our data contradict the hypothesis that differential course-taking accounts for observed sex differences in mathematical ability, but support the hypothesis that these differences are somewhat increased by environmental influences.
In this paper family profiles compiled from analysis of the questionnaires completed by the SMPY December of 1976 Talent Search participants will be described. This talent search, geographically more diverse than the three previous searches, covered the mid-Atlantic region, including Maryland and surrounding areas in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. [sibling distribution; parental education & assortative mating; parent-child education/SAT correlation; paternal occupation] …The highly able group of 873 participants in the 1976 Talent Search, most of whom were seventh-graders, came from families in which, on the average, the parents were living and well educated. The fathers’ occupational status tended to be high. The families were relatively large (ie. averaging more than three children, rather than the current national mean of 1.7). There were no strong correlations between family size or sibling position and ability of the students. Parents’ educational level and paternal occupational status were related to measured aptitude; these relationships were stronger for boys. Fathers’ educational level correlated more highly with their children’s ability than did mothers’ educational level. Finally, SAT-M scores for both sexes related more closely to parents’ educational level and fathers’ occupational status than did SAT-V scores.
Women and the Mathematical Mystique, ed et al 1980 (ISBN 0801823617): anthology.
In 1972 the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) began its search to identify highly able mathematical reasoners. With some variations in the target population and the selection procedures, the talent searches have continued to the present. This chapter reviews the results of the 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1978, and 1979 talent searches, with particular emphasis on sex differences. Follow-up data available on the 1972, 1973, and 1974 participants are analyzed, particularly as they relate to sex-role identity and willingness to accelerate. Attempts to foster precocious achievement in mathematics by means of special, accelerated classes for mixed-sex and same-sex groups are described.
An intervention program designed to increase gifted girls’ participation in mathematics was conducted at The Johns Hopkins University in the summer of 1973. The program consisted of a course in algebra I for twenty-six seventh-grade girls and included special attention to the social needs of the girls, female role models, some career awareness training, and an emphasis on the social applications of mathematics. Control groups of boys and girls who did not participate in the program were selected for purposes of comparison in assessing the program. In 1977, when the students had completed the eleventh grade, there were significant differences in mathematical acceleration between the control boys and the control girls and between the experimental girls and the control girls, but not between the experimental girls and the control boys. Differential values, career interests, and encouragement are explored as possible contributing factors to sex differences in course-taking behavior.
During the academic year 1978–79 the Department of German of the Johns Hopkins University offered a course in Beginning German as part of the Hopkins Program for Verbally Gifted Youth (PVGY). PVGY was initiated at Hopkins in the fall of 1978 by the Writing Seminars and the Departments of German and Classics. An announcement of the German course appeared in the fall 1979 issue of Unterrichtspraxis [Teaching German]. After a year’s experience we are now able to report in greater detail on our program.
…Because all of our youngsters were highly motivated, and also because they felt comfortable with one another in spite of their different levels of ability, we were able to spark a competitive spirit in class without affecting morale. One effective teaching device was the use of team-type learning situations….From their response to the “Erlkönig” and other works of German literature we concluded that verbally gifted youngsters might well be able to acquire at the eighth grade level, or perhaps even earlier, some of the more practical skills necessary for literary analysis, and hence be spared the necessity of acquiring these at a later time in their development when they might devote themselves more appropriately to the more complex problems posed by literary texts.
…Both the first and second year PVGY German classes are progressing very well. One of our satisfactions has been the sense of accomplishing at least a few of the objectives proposed for the profession by the MLA/ACLS Task Forces. Chief among these is that of offering youngsters the chance to study a foreign language at an optimal age. It is also satisfying to realize that in offering a college-level course to eighth graders we are encouraging closer cooperation between secondary schools and colleges and universities. Our program has been successful because it is a cooperative effort. Its success has convinced us that, by pooling resources, schools and colleges can perform more effectively than either of them can independently, the vitally important task of developing the human talent which the nation now needs perhaps more urgently than at any other time in history.
A supplementary calculus course was conducted to give highly able students the opportunity to learn the equivalent of two semesters of college calculus while still in high school. Two different student populations were sampled; the average age of the members of Class I was 14.9 years, whereas for members of Class II it was 16.7 years. Class I members had more previous exposure to fast-paced mathematics instruction than had members of Class II. Both classes took the College Board’s AP Calculus Examination, Level BC, at the end of the course. The results of the AP examination indicated that most students learned college-level calculus well. Considerations for the establishment of similar programs are discussed.
“On Educating the gifted”, 1980a:
This article explores current thinking on ways to improve the education of intellectually talented youths. The term “intellectually talented” seems, for several reasons, preferable to the more commonly used expression “gifted.” In this article, I consider just those specific developed abilities that make some students especially educable within the broad context of schools…
[use of standardized testing; benefits of acceleration and enrichment like SMPY’s accelerated summer math classes]
For nine years personnel of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) at Johns Hopkins have found thousands of youths, chiefly seventh-graders, who reason extremely well mathematically. SMPY strives in various ways to help these students proceed considerably faster and better in mathematics and related subjects than is usually permitted or encouraged. Its work is offered as an example of important problems that, in the judgment of the author, educational psychologists should attack vigorously. SMPY’s four-D model is described, which emphasizes educational acceleration of youths who are highly able and eager to move ahead quickly.
In Minnesota, a recent program demonstrated that some needs of certain mathematically talented pupils could be accommodated with modest provisions. The outcomes of that program have implications for mathematics educators elsewhere.
…The MTYMP offered three special fast-paced mathematics classes, two in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area and one in Duluth. These classes were modeled on similar accelerated classes offered by the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) conducted at Johns Hopkins University (See Stanley, Keating and Fox, 1974; Keating, 1976). The SMPY is the most extensive recent program for mathematically talented youth, and the MTYMP is the first replication of the SMPY classes.
Various criteria for identifying the academically gifted, such as scores on general intelligence and creativity tests, teacher recommendations, and scores on standardized achievement tests, have been used. The author points out their limitations and recommends an identification process developed by J. C. Stanley (1976) that equates precocity with academic talent by focusing on children with exceptionally high performance on advanced tests of specific subject matter. Programs that begin with this process and then supplement it with further diagnostic testing, clinical methods, and evaluation of students’ products are discussed. It is noted that use of these procedures with disadvantaged populations has identified more academically gifted students than other procedures had found.
“The predictive value of the SAT for brilliant seventh-and eighth-graders”, 1981, The International schools journal (ISSN: 0264-7281), 1981, p.39:
At the January 1978 administration of the Scholastic Aptitude Test there were, for the first time, more than a few 12- and 13-year-olds. They were among the 2,000 gifted students in that age group, who, through the efforts of Julian Stanley, directory of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) at the Johns Hopkins University, may be able to accelerate in school at a rate that allows them to achieve at their own pace, and study at the undergraduate and graduate levels when they are ready. SMPY’s talent searches, of which the primary evaluative tool is the SAT-mathematical score, have broadened beyond the Baltimore area since 1971 to include students from many other States. Maths teachers abroad will welcome this simple procedure for identifying gifted young mathematicians.
…During the summers of 1978 and 1979, mathematics classes sponsored by SMPY were held primarily for seventh-grade-age (12 or 13 years old) students. The objective of both summer programs was that each participant learn well and at a high level of understanding as much precalculus mathematics as was feasible during the eight-week program. The students who were selected to participate were exceptionally able in mathematics relative to national age-grade norms. The 1978 group was the abler, as discussed later in this paper, in terms of their scores on the mathematics section of the SAT, and achievement during the summer program.
Benbow, C.P. (1981) “Development of superior mathematical ability during adolescence”, thesis, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD:
1972 and 1974 the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) identified over 2000 7th and 8th grade students who scored as well as a national sample of 11th and 12th grade females on the College Board’s SAT-Mathematics or SAT-Verbal tests. The academic and social development of these intellectually talented students over the following 5 years was longitudinally investigated. Over 91% (1996 out of the 2188 SMPY students) participated.
Five years later the SMPY students reaffirmed their initial academic superiority by scoring on the average 200 points (SAT-M) or 170 points (SAT-V) better than college-bound 12th grade students. Their mean scores on the College Board Achievement Tests for all such tests were 100 points above the average for college-bound seniors. The highest scores were not necessarily in mathematics. On not one test did the SMPY group score lower than the average of college-bound seniors.
The mean number of semesters of mathematics taken by SMPY students was two more than college-bound seniors. SMPY students were ten times more likely to take calculus in high school than high school students in general. Their achievement in high school science courses was almost as outstanding and compared favorably to that of college-bound seniors.
Mathematics and science were their favorite courses in high school. Mathematics was most preferred but biology, chemistry, and physics were also well liked. SMPY students frequently participated in science fairs and mathematics contests. Within this homogeneous group, however, SAT-M scores could not predict the degree of interest for mathematics or science.
Many SMPY students accelerated their education. These accelerants believed they had benefited in their educational, social, and emotional development, and they achieved similarly in high school to their non-accelerated counterparts who went to college, but in less time.
SMPY students engaged in a wide variety of out-of-school activities. Reading, social, and performing arts activities were the most popular. Most SMPY students received one or more awards or honors. A high percentage of these awards were academic. From the talent search SAT scores the number of academic awards won could not be predicted. Overall, SMPY students did not exhibit a narrow range of interests and participated in a wide range of activities.
1980 over 90& of the students were attending college, typically at academically and socially prestigious universities, and said they were enjoying it. At least half of the SMPY students intended to major in the mathematical sciences, science, or engineering. Furthermore, since at least 96% of the group wanted to receive at least a bachelor’s degree, their educational aspirations were high. A doctoral degree was their most frequently named goal. Talent search SAT scores related to their high school achievements.
Sex differences favoring males were found in participation in mathematics and science, performance on the SAT-M, and the taking of and performance on mathematics and science achievement tests. SMPY females received better grades in their mathematics courses, while SMPY boys became slightly more accelerated. Few significant sex differences were found in attitudes toward mathematics and science. A relationship between the sex difference on SAT-M and sex differences in mathematics and science achievement was established. The influence of SMPY upon these students was perceived as beneficial. Most felt SMPY had helped educationally, while not detracting from their social and emotional development.
…An important aspect of any longitudinal research program is to describe the subjects initially because that provides baseline data. For the SMPY program, this characterization can also be of great utility when evaluating the long-term effectiveness of its development role, in studying sex differences in mathematical ability (Benbow & Stanley, 1980b, 1981) and mathematics and science achievement (Benbow, 1981; Benbow & Stanley, in press, a, b; Fox, 1977), and when identifying possible determinants of later behavior in the group. In the present work we try to meet this need by describing and contrasting by sex the educational experiences and attitudes of the participants in an SMPY talent search…
[SAT-M scores split by sex, grade, school type; school/math/biology/chemistry/physics-liking attitudes; use of G&T or other special educational opportunities]
1972 and 1974 the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) identified over 2,000 7th and 8th graders who scored as well as a national sample of 11th and 12th grade females on the College Board’s Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) Mathematics or Verbal tests. A substantial sex difference in mathematical reasoning ability was found (Benbow & Stanley, 1980b, 1981). The consequences and development of this sex difference over the following 5 years were investigated longitudinally. Over 91% (1,996 out of 2,188 SMPY students) participated. This study established that the sex difference persisted over several years and was related to subsequent sex differences in mathematics achievement. The sex difference in mathematics did not reflect differential mathematics course taking. The abilities of males developed more rapidly than those of females. Sex differences favoring males were found in participation in mathematics, performance on the SAT-M, and taking of and performance on mathematics achievement and Advanced Placement Program examinations. SMPY females received better grades in their mathematics courses than SMPY males did. Few significant sex differences were found in attitudes toward mathematics.
[Parental memoir of raising a gifted girl: advanced one grade in elementary school, this proved insufficient, leading to boredom, behavioral problems, and carelessness; a transfer to a private school worsened matters; discovered in SMPY’s testing at 12, she took a SMPY summer course where she blossomed, leading her parents to battle for early enrollment in high school, taking senior & college courses on the side and grown into a happy teenager.]
[Revised version of a speech given by Dr. Robert N. Sawyer at the Tenth Annual Hyman J. Blumberg Symposium On Research in Early Childhood Education at The Johns Hopkins University, Nov. 14–16, 1980.]
In November of 1979 the senior author travelled to The Johns Hopkins University to observe the activities of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youths (SMPY) and the Office of Talent Identification and Development (OTID)…The decision was made that Duke should move ahead as swiftly as possible to identify verbally and mathematically talented youths in a thirteen-state area. The goals of the Duke program were set forth as follows:
- identification of gifted youths;
- development of the intellectual potential of the students identified;
- assistance in the placement of these youths in institutions of higher education with programs consistent with the students’ interests and capabilities; and
- research pertaining to the identification of the gifted, nature of giftedness, and curriculum for the gifted.
…The target area represents 25% of the United States and approximately 28% of the 12-year-olds in the United States…More than 380 participants obtained combined SAT(M+V) scores greater than 1000. The highest scoring youngster received a combined SAT (M+V) score of 1400.
One hundred and fifty-one very high-scoring 12- and 13-year old students from 25 states completed an intensive, fast-paced course in either Mathematics, Expository Writing, American History, or German. One hundred and eighteen students completed the fast-paced precalculus mathematics program…All but one completed at least one precalculus math course such as Algebra I in three weeks; some completed as many as four. The math program was set up in accordance with the Diagnostic Testing followed by Prescriptive Instruction (DT PI) model excellently outlined in 1980…We at TIP look forward to expanded efforts in the development and research areas, as well as the development of a counseling package for our students and their families.
…Policy Recommendations: On the basis of SMPY’s 13 years of work with talented students and their longitudinal follow-up, we offer the following educational policy recommendations: 1. Students who are capable of achieving at a high level and are good prospects for educational facilitation should be identified early nationwide. … 2. Students should be allowed to take mathematics courses appropriate to their ability and achievement levels, regardless of their age. … 3. Intellectually talented students should be able to substitute courses such as college algebra and calculus, taken as a part-time college student, for high school courses that are either unavailable or too elementary. … 4. Taking Advanced Placement Program (AP) examinations by highly able students should be encouraged in all possible ways. … 5. Some academically talented students should enter college as full-time students while still younger than the typical age, with or without having earned a high school diploma. … 6. The age restrictions on all the National Science Foundation (NSF) summer institutes should be lowered. … 7. NSF should require that at least half of the NSF summer institutes be highly accelerative. … 8. Students who complete both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in eight semesters or less should be eligible for NSF fellowships. … 9. Government agencies and private foundations should consider allocating more financial support for the descriptive and long-term follow-up aspects of longitudinal studies such as characterize SMPY’s learning how its high-scoring talent search participants turn out in the year 2000. … 10. Research should be conducted to discover why females tend to have less well developed mathematical reasoning ability than males and to discover possible remedies. … 11. Teaching gifted children how to use study time effectively should be a priority. … 12. Research should be pursued on the causes of the great hostility toward precocious intellectual achievement that is endemic in this country and on ways to counteract it. …
With these 12 policy recommendations, some of which have several parts, we conclude the presentation of certain educational implications that have grown out of SMPY’s decade of work with many thousands of boys and girls who, identified when most of them were 12-year-old seventh-graders, reasoned extremely well mathematically. Students such as these form the major basis for our country’s scientific and technological future. We can and must help them use their abilities far better than is permitted at present. Otherwise, the United States is likely to fall far behind the Soviet Union and several other countries in scientific research and technological development…
Academic Precocity: Aspects of its Development, ed Benbow & et al 1983 (ISBN 0801829909): anthology.
“Introduction”, Julian C. Stanley
“Adolescence of the Mathematically Precocious: A Five-Year Longitudinal Study”, Camilla Persson Benbow
SMPY’s first set of longitudinal findings are strong indicators that SMPY’s identification measure is effective in selecting students in the seventh grade who achieve at a superior level in high school, especially in mathematics and science. Questionnaire data obtained from 1,996 students who as seventh- or eighth-graders had scored better on the SAT than a random sample of eleventh- and twelfth-grade females were analyzed. Relative to the comparison groups SMPY students were superior in both ability and achievement, expressed stronger interest in mathematics and sciences, were accelerated more frequently, and were more highly motivated educationally, as indicated by their desire for advanced degrees from difficult schools. Sex differences were found in participation in mathematics and science, performance on the SAT-M, and the taking of and performance on mathematics and science achievement tests. The majority of the students felt that SMPY had helped them educationally while not detracting from their social and emotional development. The SAT-M score of an intellectually talented seventh- or eighth-grader has much predictive validity.
The creative performance of mathematically apt adolescents was investigated. In order to provide a framework for the identification and evaluation of the predictors of creative behavior reported by SMPY students, two empirical studies based on SMPY data were reviewed briefly. A summary of the statistical results of the first three talent searches and of the follow-up showed that SAT-M score is negatively related to participation in science fairs for girls and positively related to participation in mathematics contests for boys. Major attention was given to the problems encountered in analyzing these studies. The ambiguity and inconclusiveness of the results were attributed to substantive limitations associated with the conceptualization of creativity, the operationalization of the construct, and the nature of the learning environment. Methodological difficulties occurring in relation to the unreliability of the measures, the restricted ability range, and the violation of assumptions central to the statistical procedures used were identified. In conclusion, several recommendations for future investigations were offered.
“Mathematics Taught at a Fast Pace: A Longitudinal Evaluation of SMPY’s First Class”, Camilla Persson Benbow, Susan Perkins, and Julian C. Stanley:
Fast-paced classes have been advocated in SMPY’s proposals for curricular flexibility. To evaluate the long-term effects of such a class, the responses to two questionnaires completed nine years later by both the participants and the nonparticipants of SMPY’s first two mathematics classes were analyzed. The participants scored significantly higher in high school on the SAT-M, expressed greater interest in mathematics and science, and accelerated their education much more than the nonparticipants. Gaps in knowledge of mathematics by the participants were not found. All groups attended selective colleges, but the students who completed the fast-paced class chose the most academically difficult. It is concluded that when highly able youths are presented the opportunity, many of them will accumulate educational advantage.
“Fast-Paced Mathematics Classes for a Rural County”, John F. Lunny:
A fast-paced mathematics program adapted from the SMPY model was developed to meet the needs of mathematically talented students in a rural county. After meeting screening requirements, eighth-grade students are selected on the basis of PSAT scores. Combining enrichment and acceleration, the program offers weekly two hour evening classes in mathematics to students who take related classes during the day. The entire precalculus sequence as well as computer science can be completed at the end of three years in this program. Calculus can then be pursued for college credit, free of charge, at the local community college. The use of pre- and post-tests with appropriate review sessions enables the students’ progress to be monitored closely. Approximately 25% of each year’s initial program enrollment completes the three-year program, through computer science. Thus SMPY’s model works fairly effectively even when the number of students is small.
“Helping Youths Score Well on AP Examinations in Physics, Chemistry, and Calculus”, Karen Mezynski, Julian C. Stanley, and Richard F. McCoart
Special supplementary courses in physics, chemistry, and calculus were developed to prepare mathematically apt high-school students for the AP examinations in those areas. The courses, texts, and instructional approaches are described. Overall, SMPY students who remained in the classes throughout the year scored as high as or higher than the average highly able student taking the examination; most scored well enough to qualify for college credit. The students for whom the AP-level classes proved most beneficial were young, oriented toward careers in science or mathematics, academically motivated, and highly able mathematically. Several specific recommendations for improving future courses of this type are offered.
“An Accelerated Mathematics Program for Girls: A Longitudinal Evaluation”, Lynn H. Fox, Camilla Persson Benbow, and Susan Perkins
Moderately gifted seventh-grade girls were invited to attend a fast-paced summer class in algebra I that provided for the special needs of girls. In addition to emphasizing algebra, the program catered to the social needs of girls, provided interaction with female role models who had careers in the mathematical sciences, and encouraged the girls to study a number of years of mathematics. Two control groups, one of boys and one of girls, similar in ability and parental variables, were chosen. Seven years after the class, its long-term effects were investigated by analyzing the group’s responses to two questionnaires. Girls who completed the program successfully (ie. were placed in algebra II the following fall) were more accelerated and took more mathematics courses in high school and college. Those were, however, the only major differences between the girls who constituted the experimental group and the two control groups. No such effects were found for the girls who attended the class but were not successful in it. There were no major differences in educational experiences, educational aspirations, or career goals. Girls perceived the lack of role models as the greatest barrier women face when contemplating a career in mathematics or science. Boys, however, felt that for women the difficulty of combining career and family responsibilities was the greatest barrier. It is concluded that in order for girls to receive the long-term benefits of an early intervention program, they must complete the program successfully and also be mathematically abler than most of these girls were.
Common arguments for and against accelerated pacing are presented. The conclusion is reached that educational programs must be adapted to fit the needs of the intellectually talented student. SMPY at The Johns Hopkins University and the Child Development Research Group at the University of Washington, both of which espouse curricular flexibility and emphasize radical acceleration, are described and exemplified by individual case studies. The description of the Washington program stresses the Radical Acceleration Group of the Early Entrance Program (EEP). This aspect of the program involves early entrance to the University of Washington for those students 14 years old and under, not yet in the tenth grade, who score better than college freshmen on the Washington Pre-College Test. Providing a structured support system, the program aids in the transition from junior-high to college-level work. Although some problems have been encountered, overall the students have made satisfactory academic and social progress in college.
“The Effects of Acceleration on the Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Students”, Lynn Daggett Pollins:
From the two perspectives of a literature review and a longitudinal comparison of accelerants and nonaccelerants, an examination of the potential effects of acceleration on the social and emotional development of gifted students revealed no identifiable negative effects. The literature review discusses several major studies with respect to issues central to the problem: the differential effects of varying methods of acceleration, the definition of the “social and emotional development” construct, and’ the identification of appropriate reference groups. The longitudinal comparison presents the results of a study of twenty-one male radical accelerants and twenty-one nonaccelerants matched on age and ability at the time of the talent search. A comparison on several variables revealed that the two groups were very similar at age 13. Five years later, however, differences favoring the accelerants were found in educational aspirations and in the perceived use of educational opportunities, amount of help they reported having received from SMPY, and their evaluation of SMPY’s influence on their social and emotional development.
“Statewide Replication in Illinois of the Johns Hopkins Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth”, Joyce Van Tassel-Baska:
After the successful pilot testing of a program modeled after the SMPY approach, Illinois began in 1978 a statewide mathematics search using as a Selection criterion for educational facilitation a score of 420 or better on the School and College Ability Test-Mathematics. Special fast-paced mathematics classes were established in areas where there were enough high scorers. Although these classes varied in number of students and amount of material covered, a large percentage of their participants completed the program successfully. Because of this success a verbal program was begun in 1979. Following brief descriptions of the verbal and mathematics classes, several problems and concerns encountered in the functioning of the classes are presented. The author concludes with the positive implications of such a program.
“Eclecticism: A Comprehensive Approach to Education of the Gifted”, John F. Feldhusen:
The argument is advanced that an eclectic, or integrative, approach, utilizing all possible resources, is most appropriate for meeting the needs of gifted students. Characteristics of the integrative approach and descriptions of classes utilizing it are provided. The Program for Academic and Creative Enrichment (PACE) and the Individual Educational Program for the Gifted (IEPG), both based on the author’s three-stage model for educating the gifted, are presented. The author concludes that since “gifted, creative, talented, and high-ability students have diverse needs, they should have individual counseling and guidance.”
“An Eight-Year Evaluation of SMPY: What Was Learned?”, Camilla Persson Benbow and Julian C. Stanley
Almost 40,000 selected seventh-grade students from the Middle Atlantic region of the United States took the College Board Scholastic Aptitude Test as part of the Johns Hopkins regional talent search in 1980, 1981, and 1982. A separate nationwide talent search was conducted in which any student under age 13 who was willing to take the test was eligible. The results obtained by both procedures establish that by age 13 a large sex difference in mathematical reasoning ability exists and that it is especially pronounced at the high end of the distribution: among students who scored greater than or equal to 700, boys outnumbered girls 13 to 1. Some hypothesized explanations of such differences were not supported by the data.
For many intellectually talented students, high school is period of marking time. The courses are not challenging enough and the pace of instruction is slow. As a consequence, some lose interest in education and/or develop poor study skills. For those who are eager and well motivated to further their educational development there are several ways to circumvent this situation. Derived while working for more than a dozen years with the thousands of gifted students in regional talent searches conducted by The Johns Hopkins University, the mechanisms basically involve the concept of entering college early and/or with advanced standing.
We shall outline various options the staffs of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) and the Center for the Advancement of Academically Talented Youth (CTY) (the latter now conducts the talent searches and the associated educational programs) present to those students who express a desire for more rapid educational growth. Extensive experience has shown how successful SMPY’s approach has been for many students in a variety of settings (Benbow & Stanley, 1983; 1982 a, b; 1983 a, b). The main attraction of these alternatives is that they are extremely flexible. Each student can choose and adapt them in ways best suited to their individual ability, needs, and interests.
- The alternative least unsettling for many students is to take as many stimulating high school courses as possible, yet enough others to ensure high school graduation. At the same time, he or she takes one or two college courses a semester from a local institution on released time from school, at night or during summers. …
- In lieu of the above option, or in addition to it, the bright student may also try to receive college credit for high school course-work through examination. …
- Take correspondence courses at the high school or college level from a major university, such as Wisconsin or California. …
- The mechanism of choice for many gifted students is subject-matter acceleration. …
- Condense grades 9–12 into three years, thereby graduating from high school a year early. …
- Attend an early entrance college or program in lieu of high school. …
- Enter college at the end of the tenth or eleventh grade without the high school diploma. …
[2 short case studies]
“Opening Doors for the Gifted”, 1983d; abstract/summary from Gross & van 2003:
Objective: To make a case for providing a flexible curriculum for gifted students.
Design: A review of research literature regarding the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY).
Setting: Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY), Johns Hopkins University.
Assessment of Variables: Research articles were reviewed for evidence regarding identification and characteristics of gifted students, educational options for the gifted, and acceleration.
Main Results: The authors begin by outlining a case for a flexible curriculum based on developmental psychology. They ascribe to the beliefs that learning is a sequential and developmental process; there are large differences in learning status among individuals; effective teaching involves assessing students’ status in the learning process and posing problems that slightly exceed their level of mastery. These principles are seen to have important implications for teachers of gifted students. It is particularly important to address issues concerning access to an appropriately challenging curriculum. It is argued that it is impossible for highly gifted children to access such a curriculum in the regular classroom.
Before a curriculum can be adapted to better suit gifted children, issues of identification and characterisation should be addressed. Gifted students need to be identified in a systematic manner. Research shows that teacher recommendation is ineffective for identification. SMPY has developed the Talent Search method for identification of students with outstanding mathematical ability. Students in 7th and 8th grades take the College Board Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), mathematics and verbal sections. This is a test designed for students in 11th and 12th grades. Younger students who do well on this test have already developed aptitudes in line with students who are up to five years older.
Students identified by SMPY as possessing precocious mathematical ability are invited to take further testing in an effort to identify characteristics needing to be addressed by education programs. These students have been found to be advanced not only in mathematics but also in specific ability areas and in their knowledge of science. They are generally more inter-personally effective and socially mature than their non-gifted peers. They tend to prefer investigative careers. These students tend to come from larger than average families with well-educated parents. SAT scores have been found to relate positively to parents’ educational level and fathers’ occupational status, but not to the number of siblings in the family or sibling position.
Once students have been identified and their characteristics noted, an appropriate educational program can be devised. SMPY has found that the best method for doing this is to offer students a large choice of accelerative options from which they can choose. These include grade-skipping, graduating early from high school, entering courses a year or more early, completing two or more years of a subject in one year, being tutored, taking college courses on a part-time basis while still enrolled at school, and earning college credit through examination courses.
The staff at SMPY work with schools to implement the chosen options. There is no attempt to change programming at schools, as this would take too long. If a school is willing to be flexible each student can be catered for within the pre-existing structures. It is suggested that most schools tend not to be flexible enough in their approach to the teaching of exceptionally gifted students. The best scenario would be a school that is flexible about placement, allowing a student of any age to progress to higher grades as their ability develops. The authors illustrate this process by presenting a case of a student for whom options led to radical acceleration and early entry to university.
Researchers at SMPY have found that options allowing for educational acceleration are best for addressing the needs of highly gifted children. The authors quote a number of studies that show no detrimental effect of acceleration on a student’s social and emotional development.
Conclusion: Academically advanced students need to be identified in a systematic manner. The Talent Search process developed by SMPY illustrates how identification might take place. Characteristics of each gifted child need to be documented and this requires further assessment. Once this process has been carried out, a plan can be formulated, based on pre-existing school frameworks, to meet the needs of highly gifted children. Schools need to allow for curriculum flexibility rather than changing standard learning programs. Options that allow for radical educational acceleration work best for exceptionally gifted students.
Commentary: This article documents the process of talent identification and development as undertaken at SMPY. Insight is gained into the theory guiding this process, along with research findings that have informed program change. As such, this article is valuable for the guidance it can offer others who are involved in coordinating education for gifted students.
Students representing the top 0.03% of their age group in intellectual ability, who were identified by the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (Benbow & Stanley, 1980), were tested along with their parents using a battery of specifically designed cognitive tests. These highly intelligent children had less intelligent, but yet quite bright parents. Vernon’s (1961) model of intelligence best fits our results. His following two factors explained most of the variance in the performance of the students and parents: verbal-educational and practical-spatial-mechanical. Moreover, there was potential evidence for a general factor. Among the children, who were mostly past puberty, age related to development of verbal abilities, but not spatial or mechanical abilities. Sex differences favoring the males were found on the spatial ability and mechanical comprehension tests.
The top 1% of the extremely bright students identified by the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (Benbow & Stanley, 1980b) were tested along with their parents, using a battery of specifically designed cognitive tests. These students represented the top 0.03% of their age group in intellectual ability. The results showed that the parents were extremely able and resembled one another significantly more than parents in the general population. In addition, the intellectually precocious children resembled their parents to a lesser extent than children of average ability resemble their parents. These results suggest that considerable assortative mating has occurred among the parents of these extremely gifted youth, but that extreme giftedness cannot be predicted reliably solely as a result of the mating of bright parents.
In a recent paper here, Benbow, Zonderman, and Stanley (1983) report that the coefficient of regression of offspring IQ on parental IQ is much lower among the gifted than in the population at large. Thus, Benbow, Stanley, Kirk, and Zonderman conclude in a second paper, the gifted resemble their parents less than do people in general. In this paper, I show that this result is an artifact of the particular estimator of the regression coefficient employed by Benbow, Zonderman, and Stanley. The least-squares estimator, which they employ, is severely biased downward, if the sample on the dependent variable is restricted to the upper tail of the distribution, and this is precisely the nature of Benbow et al.’s sample. That is to say, in a bivariate normal distribution with constant regression coefficient, samples restricted to values of the dependent variable (here, child’s IQ) above a certain value will always produce a lower regression coefficient than unrestricted samples drawn from the entire but same distribution. I introduce an unbiased estimator that can be calculated from the sample statistics reported in the Benbow, Zonderman, and Stanley article and find that the coefficient of regression of gifted child’s IQ on parental IQ is, in fact, higher than the regression coefficients reported in the literature for unrestricted samples. That is, Benbow et al.’s data suggest that the gifted in fact resemble their parents more than do persons in general.
In a recent paper in this journal, Benbow, 1983 conclude that intellectually precocious children resemble their parents to a lesser extent than do children of lesser ability. In reply, Vining (1985) asserts that Benbow, Zonderman and Stanley’s results are artifacts of selection and their statistical methodology, and that a more appropriate statistical methodology yields quite the opposite conclusion. The present paper has two purposes: (1) to show that Vining’s criticism is misdirected, stemming from a misunderstanding of how Benbow, Zonderman and Stanley selected their Subjects, and (2) to point out some problems in the model, indices of familiality and design used by Benbow, Zonderman and Stanley which need to be addressed before future comparative studies of familiality are attempted.
…because of my work since 1971 with youths who reason extremely well mathematically I face no dearth of evaluation problems. In his longitudinal, one-cohort gifted-child research that began in 1921, the late Lewis M. Terman of Stanford University had plenty of trouble convincing armies of doubting Thomases that his high-IQ subjects were as successful and free of emotional problems as they seemed to be. His was meant to be purely a study of the intelligent human animal in its native habitat, without intervention on their behalf.’ Our Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY), which began 50 years later, was intended from the start to exert powerful academically accelerative forces on intellectually talented young students to help them pursue their educations far faster and better than is usually permitted in the regular classroom. Of course, the word “better” plunged us into the area of value judgments right away.
“New Projects: Seeking Youths Who Reason Extremely Well Mathematically”, 1983: advertisement for SMPY talent search.
Placement according to the individual’s level of competence is a principle widely accepted in many domains, such as music or athletics. With regard to academic endeavors, however, there exist strong prejudices against educational acceleration even though a solid research base supports the practice (eg. Stanley, 1974; Solano and George, 1976; Eisenberg and George, 1979; George, Cohn, and Stanley, 1979; Mercurio, 1980; Benbow and Stanley, In press). Showing that educational acceleration does usually result in highly effective individuals could perhaps ease fears about the use of acceleration and open college doors to young and able students. Studying the later success of young graduates from college would provide important data.
…Results: …It is clear from Table I that the early graduates experienced success at Hopkins. Of the 31 for whom honors records were available, 20 (65 per cent) graduated with honors, 11 with membership in Phi Beta Kappa, and 4 with NSF graduate scholarships (most of the 31 were not technically eligible for this award). One young lady became a Rhodes scholar and one young man a Churchill scholar. Inspection of Table I will also show that the early graduates earned membership in various other honor societies and won other fellowships. Clearly, success at the undergraduate level by these early graduates was quite remarkable.
But how successful are these “radical accelerants” likely to become, professionally and personally? Clues to this can be gleaned from the known records of the 12 oldest of the 32 persons listed in Table I. For example, Haskins, fourth in the table, Ph.D. degree at age 19, had a distinguished career as both a medieval historian and the dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard. No. 6, Sternberg, became a professor of mathematics at Harvard by age 30. He is the author of a widely known book on celestial mechanics and also a noted Torah scholar. Eagle is a prominent biologist, widely known for developing the Eagle medium. Dryden was an eminent physicist. Kurrelmeyer had a long career as a professor of physics. Schaffer, who completed his M.D. degree at age 21, was well known in pediatrics. Fax, Wasserman (M.D. at age 22, and still practicing at 83), Raffel, Thomsen, Zafren, and Birx (Ph.D. degree at age 23) have all done well. There are no hints of “early ripe, early rot.” It is apparent that these early graduates have led or are still leading highly effective adult lives.
…In this paper we show that students who have used various combinations of entering college early and forging ahead fast in the curriculum have led or are leading highly effective lives. Parents and educators should have less fear when attempting to accelerate a child. College administrators would be well advised to open their doors to young, but extremely able, students. Colleges and universities that provide appropriate support systems for intellectually highly talented, well-motivated students eager to study full-time, often before earning a high-school diploma, are likely to mine a rich vein of talent in the years ahead.
The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) began in 1971 with the purpose of devising ways of identifying and facilitating the education of such students. The solutions and their longitudinal evaluation are described. Use of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) was shown to be an effective way of identifying students in the 7th grade who would achieve academically at a superior level in high school. Moreover, acceleration was deemed an effective alternative for educating gifted children. Curricular flexibility rather than special programs for the gifted has proved the most effective way to facilitate the education of precocious students. For the mathematically precocious, SMPY devised fast-paced mathematics classes. These were shown to have long-term effects. SMPY has also discovered large sex differences in mathematical reasoning ability and in mathematics and science achievements in high school.
“Challenging Gifted Students”, 1983, School Administrator, v40 n1 p9 (1983-01-12): TODO
Starting on the cover, this article describes programs developed by Julian Stanley’s Study for Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) at Johns Hopkins University (Maryland) for the early identification and accelerated training of mathematically and verbally gifted students. Also discussed are SMPY spinoff programs and the shortage of math and science teachers.
The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) has gathered extensive data showing that large sex differences in mathematical reasoning ability which favor males, exist before age 13. In this paper we evaluate some of the major “environmental” hypotheses that have been proposed to account for this difference. We will conclude that these “environmental” hypotheses need to be reformulated in order to account for the findings with our population of intellectually talented youths. While it is possible to adapt these exclusively environmental hypotheses to fit our data, we propose to take an alternative approach, which involves both environmental and biological causes for the observed sex difference. …We now wish to propose that a combination of exogenous and endogenous factors also determines the sex difference in mathematical reasoning ability. In support of this hypothesis we present some new findings on possible biological correlates of extremely high mathematical and verbal abilities.
[review of greater male variance, imbalance in SAT-M scores at increasing thresholds; discussion of how math courses cannot cause the sex difference, socialization pressures hypothesis is contradicted by similar favorable attitudes in SMPY participants and lack of math anxiety, minimal difference in family backgrounds, stability of the SAT-M imbalance; possibilities: sex-linked genes, lateralization, hormones; physiological correlates in SMPY include doubled rates of left-handedness/ambidexterity with elevated rate in relatives, allergies, nearsighted/glasses, but no blood-group correlates. Benbow & Benbow propose a model in which higher fetal testosterone levels retard left-hemisphere growth, leading to less lateralization and more dependency on right-brain-connected visuospatial cognition, and ultimately more mathematical ability.]
[See also “Spatial Ability and Testosterone”, 1984.]
“Gender and the science major: a study of mathematically precocious youth”, 1984; in Advances in Motivation and Achievement: Women in Science, ed 1984 (ISBN 0892322888): TODO
“Colin Camerer: The early years of a radical educational accelerant”, et al 1984 (see also Time 1977); summary/commentary from Gross & van 2003:
Objective: To present an instance of radical educational acceleration.
Design: Case study.
Setting: Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY).
Participant: Colin Farrell Camerer
Assessment of Variables: The participant and his mother, Mary Farrell Camerer were interviewed and student records at SMPY were accessed to reveal details about Colin Farrell Camerer. Information was presented on his early life, college and graduate years, and his views on acceleration.
Main Results: Colin was an unusually quiet child but otherwise had a normal childhood. His parents were unaware of any signs of precocity until the age of 5, when he was found to be reading TIME magazine. His parents do not know when he began to read and Colin cannot remember ever learning to read. Colin began school at the usual age. His kindergarten teacher thought him very intelligent and arranged for him to be assessed by the school psychologist. He was found to be unusually bright and the school allowed him to work ahead of his age peers. He was completing fourth and fifth grade work in second grade.
After the second grade, Colin moved with his family to Baltimore. His school referred him to Mr Raymond Trimmer, the educational director of the Maryland Academy of Sciences, in the hope that he could help Colin to access curriculum appropriate for his age and ability. Mr Trimmer, in turn, introduced Colin and his parents to Dr Julian Stanley, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University with a special interest in gifted children. Dr Stanley assessed Colin’s capabilities using achievement tests designed for older students as well as tests of ability. At the age of 11 years Colin was found to have a Stanford-Binet IQ of 160. At age 13 he scored 750 out of a possible 800 on the Scholastic Aptitude 95Test-Mathematics (SAT-M) and 610 out of 800 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test-Verbal (SAT-V) (corresponding to the 99th and 93rd percentiles, respectively, for college-bound 12th-grade males).
Colin proceeded to accelerate his education, under the guidance of Dr Julian Stanley. He moved from sixth grade in elementary school to the eighth grade in junior high. He finished studies in pre-calculus in 120 hours at Saturday morning ‘speeded-math’ class. He also took an introductory computer course at Johns Hopkins University. Colin then skipped the last year of junior high and the first year of senior high. He took Advanced Placement (AP) calculus at school, worked through AP physics on his own, and attended Towson University at night. His AP scores were 5 out of 5 for Calculus AB and 4 out of 5 for Physics B. Confident that he could handle the advanced coursework, Colin applied for admission to Johns Hopkins University.
Colin entered university at age 14 with 34 credits and sophomore standing. He graduated at the age of 17 years and 1 month and went on to attend the University of Chicago for its outstanding Ph.D. program. Colin received his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago at age 19 and completed his Ph.D. in Behavioural Decision Theory two years later. While completing his Ph.D., and at the age of 21, Colin accepted a position as an assistant professor of business policy in the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. During this time he had several articles published in academic journals. At the time this article was written (1984) Colin was involved in numerous research projects and was teaching Master’s-level research seminars.
Colin holds positive views of his experiences of educational acceleration. He believes that, without acceleration his life would be vastly different and he would probably be employed in a low-level management position. He has found social adjustment somewhat difficult all his life. He believes this is due to his natural loner/introvert tendencies and does not blame the acceleration process. Colin feels that the options to radically accelerate which were made available to him should be available to many more children, although he concludes that acceleration is not suitable for all students. He suggests that it is particularly important for students to be emotionally stable before acceleration is considered. He contributes the success of his acceleration to the support offered him by Dr Julian Stanley and others at SMPY, as well as encouragement from his parents.
Conclusion: A case is presented of a highly successful, radically accelerated protégé. Colin’s case is a strong argument in favour of educational acceleration. The authors name another three males who share similar success stories and make the point that Colin’s acceleration program is not an isolated instance. They suggest the need to follow up and report on other individuals who have radically accelerated their education.
Commentary: This detailed study of a single case of radical educational acceleration tracks one possible path for acceleration whilst revealing that there are many acceleration options available. It allows for a realisation of the huge scope of accelerative options, and blend of options from which students might be able to choose to accelerate their education. This case reveals factors that were obviously crucial for successful radical acceleration. These factors include the personal characteristics of the student, including a desire to accelerate and succeed. Also important is the support of crucial others, in this case educationalists knowledgeable about acceleration options and parents who provide steady encouragement.
The book by Ben Reynolds contains specific lesson plans, student assignments, and criteria and suggestions for evaluation of student work. The book contains the complete content of the first writing courses for verbally talented youth designed by the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University in the early 1980’s. This course was designed originally for 7th grade students who scored 430 or above on the verbal section of the SAT.
Writing Instruction for Verbally Talented Youth is different. Authors Reynolds, Kopelke, and Durden assume that highly verbal youngsters already have ideas and some experience in expressing them in writing. What they offer goes beyond this elementary level to the real work of writing, critique, and revision. The book describes the method and exercises used in an introductory writing course at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for the Advancement of Academically Talented Youth (CTY). While the method and exercises were developed for use with verbally talented youth, for whom they are especially appropriate, they are also applicable to average-ability youth. A central feature of the method is the workshop in which students critique and edit each other’s work.
…Writing Instruction for Verbally Talented Youth has 13 chapters, divided into sections Exceptional Children Frank H. Wood Department Editor entitled “Preparing to Write”, “Writing”, and “Rewriting”. Each chapter is a lesson with clearly stated objectives, notes for the teacher, exercises, examples where appropriate, concluding comments and/or post-assignments, and references. As the authors state, the lessons need not be used in the order presented; rather, they will be most effective when used in response to writing questions and problems arising in the workshop sessions.
…Writing Instruction for Verbally Talented Youth is not a primer. It assumes that the teacher has some sophistication in literary analysis and in the writing process. The value of the book is in its approach to the teaching of writing, and the exercises and materials that will enable the knowledgeable teacher to guide students through the writing, critique, and revision processes. It should be a welcome source of ideas and direction for the secondary-level English teacher or the faculty sponsor of a school literary publication. It would also be a good addition to an instructional methods course for English majors who will teach writing at the secondary (including junior high) or college level …
From the Preface:
…The programs developed by CTY are distinctive. In the precalculus course, students complete high school mathematics at a pace commensurate with their abilities. The verbal and science coursework can also be accelerative; students may obtain college credit through the College Board’s Advanced Placement Program examinations. However, most verbal and science coursework is not meant to accelerate a student’s progress through the school grades, but instead to establish the intellectual foundation for future advanced work in these disciplines. The classes are intensive and, for the most part, comparable to college freshman-level work.
CTY selects teachers from the Johns Hopkins community, from the Maryland Academy of Sciences, and from among the leading advanced-placement high school teachers throughout the United States. They are distinguished by their intellectual ability, their mastery of a subject area, and their enthusiasm for teaching. Many of the staff are former proteges of the programs and thus serve as outstanding role models for their students. For example, a majority of the math teachers completed undergraduate studies at an early age, and some earned graduate degrees much earlier than usual. A few have been honored as Rhodes Scholars at Oxford University, England, and as Churchill Scholars at Cambridge University, England.
Commuter classes are offered on weekends during the academic year and weekdays during the summer at Johns Hopkins sites in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., at satellite centers in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, and at five sites in New Jersey. A special feature of CTY is the 3-to-6 week summer residential programs located on two college campuses in Pennsylvania, at Dickinson College in Carlisle and at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, where gifted students may both pursue a rigorous academic course and interact socially. A comment from the parent of a former student of the program represents the impact of CTY’s efforts:
The program was important [to my child’s] education. … I wanted to express our gratitude in other than trite words, but old standbys like “meaningful” kept coming to mind. The experience was meaningful; in addition to putting our child a little farther down the road by the acceleration of his studies, the program also gave him a chance to mix with his peers, those intellectually his equal and/or superiors. In all, the experience was an eye-opener for all three of us (mother, father, and child). Our child had a chance, also, to put his intellectual abilities in a better perspective. He has made some choices about what he wants in the future, in what his goals are, and in what he wants to do with his life.
Such a strong impact results from two points in the educational philosophy of PVGY. The first is the conviction that at an early age verbal reasoning ability can be guided beneficially by a disciplined and systematic exposure to the basic tools of written communication. “Basic” here does not mean simple and unequivocal, but rather that which is fundamental to language conceived as a powerful communicative tool. The second point is that writing is not an insular subject, but rather a complex of related disciplines combining to inform the student of a language’s traditions, limitations, and possibilities. Thus, in addition to its Writing Skills program, PVGY offers courses in German, Chinese, Ancient Greek, Latin, etymologies, and American history.
The pedagogical objective of the Writing Skills program, as of all PVGY courses, is to provide verbally gifted youth academic challenges comparable to those already offered youths with other types of talent. Writing Skills does not attempt to teach creativity as an objective. While imagination and individual thought are encouraged, the program’s goals are practical. Form is given to the creative impulse; that form is an effective and imaginative writing style. With particular delight, we present in this book a description of lessons from the Writing Skills I course. We hope it assists everyone who is concerned about the writing skills of our nation’s youth, and we remind you of an old (and sometimes forgotten) maxim: A lesson is only as good as its teacher. The techniques described here work effectively when highly talented and motivated students are joined with teachers who believe in gifted children and who are extremely knowledgeable about what they teach….
[IQ testing for selection, false positives & negatives; use of DAT & SAT; pitfalls of testing: younger testing means more intervention opportunity but lower reliability, composite IQ scores mask subject-specific strengths/weaknesses and preferences, risk of hitting ceilings, and of shoehorning into courses]
“In Brief: The exceptionally talented”, 1984b: [1pg summary & advertisement for SMPY]
The Center for the Advancement of Academically Talented Youth demonstrates the contribution that colleges can make to the education of students who are ready for a level and pacing of instruction not readily available in the schools. Its success also reflects the burgeoning demand for such instruction.
This is a discussion of the first 14 years (1971–1985) of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) at The Johns Hopkins University and the spread of its influence across the country. Many youths who reasoned exceptionally well mathematically were identified, studied further, and aided.
Since its inception in 1971, the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) has expanded from a local program serving 19 mostly seventh graders to a national program with an enrollment of 1600. This article discusses trends experienced during the thirteen-year period and their implications for the program’s future.
A followup study of Johns Hopkins University students who began college two or more years ahead of their age group examined their academic progress, ages at graduation, majors, course loads, grades, program length, and the progress of a special group of students identified through a study of mathematically precocious youth.
“More About ‘Young Entrants to College: How Did They Fare?’”, Stanley & 1986:
This study reports on a group of 25 educationally accelerated entrants to Johns Hopkins University. It supports the ability of students who enter a highly selective college two to five years early to make good grades, win honors, and graduate promptly.
One practical model for providing sound programming for most intellectually talented students can simply be accomplished by schools’ allowing curricular flexibility. For over a dozen years, the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) at Johns Hopkins has utilized already available educational programs to meet the needs of its talented students through educational acceleration. SMPY students are offered a “smorgasbord” of special educational Opportunities from which to choose whatever combination, including nothing, best suits the individual.
Some of the options are entering a course a year or more early, skipping grades, graduating early from high school, completing two or more years of a subject in one year, taking college courses on a part-time basis while still in secondary school, taking summer courses, and credit through examination. Clearly, SMPY utilizes already available educational programs to meet the special needs of talented students. Because this approach is extremely flexible, teachers or administrators can choose and adapt the various options in ways to fit their schools’ unique circumstances and their students’ individual abilities, needs, and interests.
Moreover, this method avoids the common criticism of elitism and costs little for a school system to adopt. Actually, the various accelerative and enriching options devised by SMPY may save the school system money, Yet this rather simple adjustment, i.e., advancing a gifted child in each school subject to the level of his/her intellectual peers, is rarely made because of bias against acceleration. It is important to note, however, that no research study to date has found properly effected educational acceleration detrimental, but rather the contrary.
Mathematically talented youth, whether male or female, tend to have favorable attitudes toward science and to participate in the sciences at a level much higher than average. There were no overall sex differences in course-taking or course-grades in the sciences. Indications of sex differences favoring males, however, were found in participation in high school physics, the taking of and performance on high school and college level science achievement tests, and intention to major in the more quantitatively oriented fields of physics and engineering. No substantial sex differences in attitudes toward the sciences, except possibly physics, were detected. Overall attitude toward science did relate somewhat to participation in science. Moreover, sex differences in mathematical reasoning ability may explain some of the sex difference in science participation and achievement. These results may bear on why women are underrepresented in the sciences
Perceptions of self-esteem, locus of control, popularity, depression (or unhappiness), and discipline problems as indices of social and emotional adjustment were investigated in highly verbally or mathematically talented adolescents. Compared to a group of students who are much less gifted, the highly gifted students perceive themselves as less popular, but no differences were found in self-esteem, depression, or the incidence of discipline problems. The gifted students reported greater internal locus of control. Comparisons between the highly mathematically talented students and the highly verbally talented students suggested that the students in the latter group perceive themselves as less popular. Within both the gifted and comparison groups, there were also slight indications that higher verbal ability may be related to some social and emotional problems.
Stanley, J.C, Huang, J., & Zu, X. (1986). “SAT-M scores of highly selected students in Shanghai tested when less than 13 years old”. College Board Review, 140, 10–13 & 28–29, Summer 1986:
The initial effort in applying the SAT-M to young Chinese students revealed that many of them reason extraordinarily well mathematically before age 13 and before having covered the bulk of the high-school mathematics curriculum. The conclusion seems to be that they must have keen analytical ability.
UNT digital archives include 11 entries pertaining to Julian C. Stanley, ranging from article reprints to his CV to testimony to letters regarding setting up talent searches in Texas:
“Memo from Rogers W. Redding to James R. Miller, on September 14, 1987, sending a curriculum vitae of Dr. Julian C. Stanley” prior to Stanley visiting the university
“Letter from James R. Miller to Carl L. Yeckel, October 8, 1987”
Letter from James R. Miller to Carl L. Yeckel, of the Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation, on October 8, 1987, mentioning the recent visit of Julian C. Stanley to the university, and thanking Yeckel for his consideration of their proposal. Stanley’s letter of thanks to Alfred Hurley is included.
Testimony given by Julian C. Stanley to the House Appropriations Committee in Annapolis, Maryland, on February 13, 1988, in which he gives advice to an evolving residential high school in Maryland.
Issue of the Precollege Newsletter from the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youths at Johns Hopkins University. It discusses girls in gifted programs, the University of Chicago, Rice University, Stanford University, how to pay for college tuition, and other subjects related to college programs for gifted children.
Letter from Julian Stanley to Rogers Redding, on June 6, 1989, suggesting that the minimum number of credits needed for graduation be set at 48, to ease pressure from the students.
Letter from Julian Stanley to Manus Donahue, on June 13, 1989, welcoming him to the administrative team of the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, and offering a few suggestions on expanding opportunities for the students.
Letter from Julian Stanley to Richard Simms, on July 28, 1989, informing him that he will be willing to teach a class on the nature and needs of the gifted at UNT for two months.
Letter from Julian Stanley to James Miller, on August 15, 1989, discussing his upcoming stay in Texas, the arrival of Ann Lupkowski, and the possibility of having a Gifted Students Institute on campus.
“Possible biological correlates of precocious mathematical reasoning ability”, Benbow 1987a (see 1984 for more details)
Extreme mathematical reasoning ability, a critical component of mathematical talent, has possibly six biological correlates. These are left-handedness, allergies, myopia, and gender (ie. being male) and possibly hormones and bi-hemispheric representation of cognitive functions. Extremely high verbal reasoning ability shares these same biological correlates, except gender. These results may bear on the biology of extreme intellectual abilities.
[extends 1984 with new correlates: SMPYers are more likely to be conceived in months with >12 hours daylight; first-borns (birth order effect); and are better at reaction time tasks drawing on the right hemisphere]
Accelerative strategies offer gifted students the opportunity to participate in educational programs suited to their particular needs and interests. Yet, fear of possible negative effects of acceleration prevents many educators from advocating these options. The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) has evaluated the long-term effects of a variety of accelerative options for a group of highly gifted students. Academic achievements, extracurricular activities, goals and aspirations, and social and emotional adjustment were considered, and no discernible negative effects of various accelerative strategies were found.
[brief description of SMPY & of the 4 SMPYers on the 1986 US International Mathematical Olympiad team, of 6 members total]
How can states promote the preparation of more highly qualified students in mathematics? One way, says Mr. Stanley, would be to establish residential high schools for the best and the brightest.
Reviews and meta-analyses of research on a given topic may exclude’ a sizable percentage of reports because they do not lend themselves to the type of summarizing procedures used. If the excluded articles contain relevant information, this may bias the conclusions of the analysis. It seems likely that, when computing statistics from their data, researchers will need to consider this aspect. A simple illustration of how that can sometimes be done readily is presented. A robust correlation coefficient easily computable from published data is shown to indicate a sizable relationship that is contrary to the main conclusion of a meta-analysis.
[The developer of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth Program (SMPY) recounts his impressions during a tour of education programs in the People’s Republic of China, addressing the apparent love of learning, emphasis on mathematical achievement, scholarly activities of university faculty, and testing issues.]
…If China can preserve its devotion to education of the talented and avoid another debacle such as the Cultural Revolution, by the year 2025 or earlier it may have challenged us industrially far beyond what Japan has already done… My associates-by-mail and I had already found 21 twelve-year-olds in Shanghai who scored 700 or more on SAT-M. They came from only 279 highly selected youths who took the test, translated into Chinese (Stanley, Huang, & Zu, 1986). We talked with 19 of them and their mathematics teachers for 2 hours. They were virtually indistinguishable from Chinese-Americans in appearance and demeanor, but somewhat less advanced in their knowledge of mathematics than many members of SMPY’s 700–800M group are (Moore & Stanley, 1986). They attend highly selective middle or high schools, but, as in many US schools, have a tight curricular lockstep…
“Summary of Points Made in the Symposium”, 1987e; ERIC abstract:
This paper is an overview of some points made at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association in April of 1987. Gender effects were computed on 82 nationally standardized tests designed to determine precocity among youth. The effect sizes ranged from a magnitude of 0.50 (favoring females) for spelling in grade 12 on the Differential Aptitude Tests (DATs) to 0.89 (favoring males) for mechanical reasoning on the DATs in grade 12. The largest effect size on any of the other 80 tests was 0.76 (favoring males) for the advanced examination in political science of the Graduate Record Examinations. The results of this research indicate that there was a strong tendency for tests taken mainly by males to yield the largest effect sizes favoring males and for tests taken mainly by females to yield small effect sizes, some of which favored females. All of the tests examined, except the DATs, are used primarily for selection or awarding of advanced standing in college. Although research indicates that girls and young women tend to be better students than do boys and young men, female students tend to be outperformed by male students on most standardized tests. Study results also indicate that women seem more oriented toward social, aesthetic, and religious subject matter, while men seem more interested in science, practicality, conspicuous consumption, power, and control. The Allport-Vernon-Lindzey inventory of evaluative attitudes might help researchers understand females’ preferences and subject-matter orientations. (TJH)
[Unknown where a copy might be findable for this.]
“Sex differences in mathematical reasoning ability in intellectually talented preadolescents: Their nature, effects, and possible causes”, 1988 (special issue—article + commentaries/replies):
Several hundred thousand intellectually talented 12- to 13-year-olds have been tested nationwide over the past 16 years with the mathematics and verbal sections of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Although no sex differences in verbal ability have been found, there have been consistent sex differences favoring males in mathematical reasoning ability, as measured by the mathematics section of the SAT (SAT-M). These differences are most pronounced at the highest levels of mathematical reasoning, they are stable over time, and they are observed in other countries as well. The sex difference in mathematical reasoning ability can predict subsequent sex differences in achievement in mathematics and science and is therefore of practical importance. To date a primarily environmental explanation for the difference in ability has not received support from the numerous studies conducted over many years by the staff of Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) and others. We have studied some of the classical environmental hypotheses: attitudes toward mathematics, perceived usefulness of mathematics, confidence, expectations/encouragement from parents and others, sex-typing, and differential course-taking. In addition, several physiological correlates of extremely high mathematical reasoning ability have been identified (left-handedness, allergies, myopia, and perhaps bilateral representation of cognitive functions and prenatal hormonal exposure). It is therefore proposed that the sex difference in SAT-M scores among intellectually talented students, which may be related to greater male variability, results from both environmental and biological factors.
“A theory explaining sex differences in high mathematical ability has been around for some time”, 1993 (reply to 1988 not included in the commentary issue):
…Yet, even though a conceptual interpretation of the varied sex differences in SAT-M is key to the entire target article, there is no acknowledgment of this work in the article, commentary, or response. The putative theoretical mechanism is an X-linked gene, in two alleles; only the recessive in frequency q is assumed to be facilitative of superior performance. Under a simple genetical model it follows easily that the proportion of facilitated males and females is, respectively, q and q2. The elementary but important fact that drives the theoretical machinery is that q > q2 for all 0 < q < 1.
The idea that a genetical X-linked model might provide an explanation for certain sex differences is an old one, and has sometimes been relegated to the scientific scrap heap (eg. 1980). Vandenberg’s (1988) comments suggest that that is where he puts the hypothesis. But this judgment is precipitous and a poorly reasoned one, because there had not been a properly developed theory. …
Statistics concerning background characteristics of a remarkable group of 292 youths who reason extremely well mathematically are presented. Identified initially at age 12 or less, they reside all over the United States and in two foreign countries. The sex ratio is 12 boys per 1 girl. The group tends to be quite able verbally, but much more so mathematically. Most of their parents are well educated. Some of these young students are vastly more accelerated in school grade placement than are the majority of the group. Other relevant characteristics are also discussed.
The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY), established at Johns Hopkins in 1971, has set up “SMPY at Tianjin, People’s Republic of China”. A port, Tianjin is the third most populous city in China. SMPY at Tianjin is the second non-Hopkins base for SMPY.
…Heading the Tianjin SMPY is Professor Feng Cheng De of the Teachers Advanced Study College, Hong Qiao District, Tianjin 300123. Professor Feng and his wife, Yung Hua, are two of the leading mathematics educators in China. A major part of the work of the Tianjin SMPY will be preparing male and female students from about age 12 to compete for the 6 places on China’s team in each year’s International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). In only its 3rd year of competition China tied for 2nd place among the 49 nations in the 1988 IMO, far ahead of the United States. One of the only 4 women who won a medal (silver) that year in the IMO was Professor Feng’s student. In China there are already almost 200 members of SMPY’s “700–800 on SAT-M Before Age 13 Group”…That is why they thrive on part-time educational facilitation outside their regular class-room routine. In China this facilitation is provided by Spare Time Schools.
…Because of SMPY at Tianjin and other factors, the United States can expect from China a steady stream of graduate students in mathematics and related subjects, such as computer science, electrical engineering, and physics. They will be some of the intellectually ablest persons in the world, enriching our doctoral programs during a time when many of the brightest Americans prefer medicine, law, business, or politics to the long, austere trek for the Ph.D.degree and the usually lower incomes thereafter. …
[No SMPY publications discuss what happened to the Tianjin SMPY; I asked Camilla Benbow about it at ISIR 2019, and she said there was nothing much to the story, it was simply a 1 year visit by Stanley and wasn’t serious, with no real followup. The Duke TIP was temporarily canceled in 1989 due to the Tiananmen Square incident, according to et al 2005 .]
In 1977 Dr. Stanley addressed the Second World Conference on Gifted and Talented Children at the University of San Francisco. His topic, educational non-acceleration, was of interest to our readers and was developed into an article for C/C/T (the former title of The Gifted Child Today) in 1978. [“Educational Non-acceleration: An International Tragedy”, 1978] This article reviews events subsequent to Dr. Stanley’s speech.
[creation of CTY; expansion to Virginia/Maine/Alaska/Arizona/California/Hawaii/Oregon/Washington/China; Arizona founding of Project for the Study of Academic Precocity (PSAP); SMPY newsletters; cost primary barrier to expansion of summer programs]
[2 anecdotes of Chinese grad students; IMO results; 188 SMPY high-scorers in China; recent Tianjin SMPY founding]
“Most Fare Better”, 1989c, brief commentary/response to “On Being a Misfit”, Jeanette D. 1989: case study discussing the battles with the school district for her son “Eric”; Stanley says horror stories like hers are exceptional and more representative of SMPY participants is the experience of Terence Tao.
Educational experiences of a cohort of 1,247 mathematically talented youths (initially identified in 7th/8th grade by the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth) were analyzed after high school and after college to identify factors correlated with high and low academic achievement in math and science in college by students with extremely high ability. Almost all students had achieved highly by conventional standards (eg. 85% had received bachelor’s degrees). Using a quantitative definition of academic achievement in college, we found that 22% were high academic achievers and 8% were low academic achievers in math and science. Variables predictive of high academic achievement (in order of strength) were pre-college curricula or experiences in math and sciences, family characteristics and educational support variables, attitudes toward math and science, and differences in aptitude.
Performance on tests of specific abilities commonly associated with intelligence was contrasted between 13-year-olds identified as extremely precocious (top 1 in 10,000) in either verbal or mathematical reasoning ability. Such students differ cognitively. Verbally precocious students scored higher on verbal and general knowledge types of tests, and mathematically precocious students scored higher on tests of nonverbal reasoning, spatial ability, and memory. Results from the factor analysis of test scores (excluding memory test scores) yielded three factors: spatial/speed, verbal, and nonverbal. Mathematically talented students had higher scores on the nonverbal and speed factors; verbally talented students had higher scores on the verbal factor. Thus, at least two distinct forms of giftedness seem to exist (ie. verbal and nonverbal). Their evolution, moreover, appeared to follow different developmental paths, consistent with Gagné (1985).
The performance of mathematically talented 12- and 13-year-olds on various cognitive tasks was compared with that of average-ability youth, verbally talented youth, and college students. In Experiment 1, the hypothesis that mathematical talent includes enhanced problem-translation skills was supported: The mathematically talented students were better than other groups at writing equations expressing complex relationships. Although the mathematically talented group outperformed their average-ability peers, they were no better than the verbally talented group or the college students in rewriting and recalling the propositions in an algebra story problem. In Experiment 2, the hypothesis that mathematical talent includes enhanced ability to represent and manipulate information in short-term memory was strongly supported: the mathematically talented youth outperformed the other youth and, in most cases, performed as well as or better than the college students.
Exceptionally gifted students may be at risk for problems in social and emotional development. To discover if peer relations are affected by type and/or amount of giftedness, extremely mathematically or verbally talented 13 year-olds (top 1 in 10,000) were compared to modestly gifted students (top 1 in 20) of similar age on measures of popularity and peer acceptance, participation in group activities, and personality traits. The verbally or mathematically talented students were also contrasted on the same measures. Virtually no differences in group activities or personality traits were found. In their ratings of peer perceptions, the modestly gifted group exceeded the extremely gifted, especially the verbally gifted, in being considered athletic and popular, and in social standing. The modestly gifted also rated themselves as more extroverted, socially adept, and uninhibited. Perceptions of peer ratings of importance and acceptance were higher for the mathematically than the verbally gifted. Thus, extremely precocious adolescents, especially the verbally precocious, may be at greater risk for developing problems in peer relations than modestly gifted youth.
This article addresses several questions raised by contemporary research on mathematical giftedness. Most issues are confronted empirically, based on a stratified random sample of 95,650 tenth-grade students and a highly select subsample of mathematically gifted individuals (boys n = 497, girls n = 508) drawn from this larger pool. Psychological profiles of the mathematically gifted were compared (by gender) to those of their normative cohorts. Typical gender differentiating attributes (eg. interest patterns) were less stereotyped in gifted boys and girls; and students’ homes covered a broad socioeconomic spectrum. Mathematically gifted students were found to be intellectually superior across a wide range of cognitive abilities; however, evidence for somewhat more mathematical specificity in the gifted than in the general population was also detected. The hypothesis that spatial visualization interacts synergistically with mathematical ability in the prediction of sophisticated levels of advanced mathematics was tested with negative results. “Classic” male/female differences were observed on measures of mathematical ability with the former generating larger means and variances. We suggest that gender differences reflected by these two statistics may have distinct antecedents. The social implications for not attending to group differences in ability-dispersion are discussed in the context of ability assessment in general and meta-analytic reviews in particular. Longitudinal data (13 years) revealed that 8% of gifted males and 19% of gifted females in the follow-up samples did not obtain college degrees. For the era of the 60s this difference is not surprising, but the proportion of both sexes who did not make full use of their abilities is shocking. Many of our results correspond to other longitudinal findings, such as Terman’s classic studies as well as ongoing contemporary investigations on mathematical giftedness.
…As a first step in developing a specialized plan for students with advanced abilities in mathematics, parents and teachers often request an intelligence test as part of an evaluation. Although an I.Q. score can be a useful initial indicator of general academic talent, it does not provide information specific enough for evaluating or planning an educational program based upon a student’s strengths. One option for obtaining specific information and meeting the learning needs of a youngster such as David is the diagnostic/prescriptive approach described in this article. Julian C. Stanley, founder and director of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) at Johns Hopkins University, developed a diagnostic/prescriptive model for the teaching of mathematics to students with extraordinary mathematical aptitude (Stanley, 1978,1979). Since its founding in 1971, SMPY has actively assisted mathematically talented junior high and high school students by identifying them as well as devising and providing novel educational opportunities for them in mathematics and related subjects (Stanley & Benbow, 1986).
The purposes of this study were to ascertain the proportion of academically talented students aged 12 to 16 who pursued appropriate school placement and/or credits for coursework completed at special summer academic programs, and to determine how their schools responded to their requests. In November 1986, 1215 students who attended science and mathematics classes sponsored by the Johns Hopkins University during the summer of 1986 were sent questionnaires regarding their subsequent status at their regular schools pertaining to credit and placement issues. Advanced placement was given more often than credit, although in most cases both were awarded, particularly for high school level coursework.
The study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) identified over 2,000 12–14 year-olds who scored as well as a random sample of high school females on the Scholastic Aptitude Test. SMPY encouraged these students to accelerate their education; over 50% did. Their social development at age 18 and at age 23 was then assessed. We investigated the effects of amount and type of educational acceleration (grade skipping and subject matter) on psychosocial indices (self-esteem, locus of control, self-acceptance/identity, and social interaction). No gender differences were significant. Accelerants as well as nonaccelerants reported high self-esteem and internal locus of control. Acceleration did not affect social interactions or self-acceptance/identity and it also did not relate to social and emotional difficulties.
Leta S. Hollingworth (1886–1939) pioneered in above age-and grade-level testing of boys and girls in the New York City area whose IQs were extremely high. Her deep insights about measuring general and special abilities led to numerous current academic activities on behalf of intellectually highly talented young persons, especially including above-level curricula for them.
[For more on Leta Hollingworth, see 1990.]
…This article focuses on how accelerative and enrichment options complement each other to provide appropriate challenges for talented students. The following eight important points are presented for parents, teachers, and mathematically talented students to consider in planning an educational program:
- Allow extremely talented elementary students time to develop the mathematical maturity needed to study algebra. …
- Extremely few elementary students will have the necessary cognitive structures already well enough developed to do more abstract mathematics …
- For the mathematically brilliant youth, acceleration may provide the best educational option. …
- The mathematically brilliant youth should be kept on a steady diet of highly satisfying mathematics at his or her appropriate level of mental functioning. This does not necessarily mean racing through the standard sequence in truncated periods of time. …
- The talented elementary student who moves ahead extremely fast in the mathematical sequence is likely to be catapulted beyond the offerings of the school system long before he or she graduates from high school. …
- Teachers, mentors, clubs, and competitions can enrich an accelerated mathematics curriculum for talented youths. …
- Summer programs offer varied opportunities for able students to forge ahead in mathematics. …
- There are more-advanced “pure” mathematics institutes for students aged about 14–18. …
Walberg (1984) identified nine correlates of the educational achievement displayed by students in the United States and in a dozen other countries and called them “productivity factors”. Using data from the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth’s longitudinal survey of its students 10 years after identification, we tested five of the productivity factors for their ability to predict educational achievement and educational and career aspirations of mathematically talented students. We also examined the validity of the prevailing belief that gifted children achieve highly regardless of the educational experiences provided. Thirteen-year-old students (1,247) in the top 1% to 2% nationwide in ability were followed until age 23. Students’ achievements and aspirations were uniformly high at that time. Nonetheless, the five productivity factors could significantly predict their educational achievements and aspirations. The predictors were, in order of usefulness, quality of instruction, home environment, motivation, ability, attitudes, and quantity of instruction. Generally, the productivity factors appeared to operate similarly for males and females, but had stronger impacts on female aspirations. The results indicate that, even among gifted students, environmental interventions may enhance educational achievement, especially that of females.
A usually unrecognized aspect of the “school reform” movement during the past two decades has been the huge increase in extracurricular academic efforts on behalf of intellectually exceptionally able boys and girls. Whereas in 1971 few students less than 14 years old took the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), by 1990 more than 100,000 did. Those who score well are offered special, supplemental educational opportunities. The movement began at Johns Hopkins University in 1971 with the creation of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) and spread within a dozen years to other private universities, i.e., Duke, Northwestern, and the University of Denver. Also, many public universities have begun such talent searching and educational facilitating. This article traces the origin and development of the network of independent centers and projects based on the SMPY model.
The professional literature on entering college underage is reviewed briefly. Several spectacularly young college graduates are mentioned. Two high-schools-within-college institutions are discussed. Then several critical points about the article are made. A few suggestions for conducting a longer-term, more definitive follow-up of educationally accelerated girls are given. Finally, the value of social adjustment, as usually defined, for the great occupational success of intellectually extremely able persons is questioned.
“Tribute to Halbert B. Robinson (1925–1981)”, 1991c: obituary
At the Fifteenth Anniversary Commemoration and Renaming of the Center for the Study of Capable Youth to be the Halbert Robinson Center for the Study of Capable Youth, University of Washington, Seattle, October 3, 1990
[discusses Stanley’s personal history with Robinson, SMPY’s origin, and Robinson’s Child Development Research Group & Radical Acceleration Group of the Early Entrance Program at the University of Washington]
Gifted students identified by the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth who underwent academic acceleration in their education were longitudinally compared across several domains with a group of equally gifted students who were never accelerated. Groups were matched for gender and ability and were studied for 10 yrs. At age 23 yrs, few significant differences were found between the groups for the individual academic and psychosocial variables studied. Both the accelerates and the nonaccelerates reported impressive academic achievements, as well as high personal satisfaction with school and self. When academic variables are considered as a group, the performance of accelerates is slightly higher than that of nonaccelerates. In both accelerated and unaccelerated groups, male students pursued mathematics/science more vigorously than did female students, but there was no differential response to acceleration on the basis of gender. Findings do not support the common concern that gifted students may be harmed by accelerative experiences.
Students who participated in a fast-paced mathematics course for highly mathematically talented students were surveyed 10 years later, at approximately age 23. Areas considered were (a) undergraduate experience, (b) graduate experience, (c) attitudes toward mathematics and science, and (d) self-esteem. Participants attended more prestigious undergraduate colleges than did nonparticipants. Participants were more likely to attend graduate school than were nonparticipants; this finding stemmed from differences among females. Self-esteem ratings, although high for both groups, were found to be higher for students who qualified for the class but did not participate. Attitudes toward math and science were equivalent between the two groups. Overall, participation in the fast-paced mathematics classes of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) was associated with stronger undergraduate education for all students and with more advanced education among females. The fast-paced classes caused gifted students no harm.
“Gender differences among talented adolescents: Research studies by SMPY and CTY at the Johns Hopkins University”, et al 1992, in Competence and responsibility: The Third European Conference of the European Council for High Ability, ed 1992/4:
In the third paper, Linda Brody, Linda Barnett, and Carol Mills take a closer look at ability differences of talented male and female students. After reviewing data from several years taken from Talent Search participants at the Johns Hopkins University, amongst others, and gathered from different sources, they conclude that there are sex differences of quantitative ability and mathematical achievement which have remained rather stable through the last years. These differences are more pronounced at the upper levels of ability and can therefore affect admission to selective institutes of higher education. Brody et al. describe in detail sex differences in mathematics of the participants of the CTY summer programs. First, more male than female applicants pass the criteria of being admitted to mathematics courses. Second, of the participants admitted, more male than female students actually choose mathematics or science courses. Third, male students demonstrate higher achievement than females in mathematics and physics classes. The authors, as well as the other authors of this part of book, point to significant sex differences of motivation and self-concept which may be more or less responsible even for the development of sex differences of ability.
The predictive validity of the Scholastic Aptitude Test-Mathematics subtest (SAT-M) was investigated for 1,996 mathematically gifted (top 1%) 7th and 8th graders. Various academic achievement criteria were assessed over a 10-year span. Individual differences in SAT-M scores obtained in junior high school predicted accomplishments in high school and college. Among students in the top 1% of ability, those with SAT-M scores in the top quarter, in comparison with those in the bottom quarter, achieved at much higher levels through high school, college, and graduate school. Of the 37 variables studied, 34 showed significant differences favoring the high SAT-M group, which were substantial. Some gender differences emerged; these tended to be smaller than the ability group differences; they were not observed in the relationship between mathematical ability and academic achievement. The predictive validity of the SAT-M for high-ability 7th and 8th graders was supported.
[op-ed: despite progress in G&T education like more states mandating gifted programs, a new federal office & research center, and institutions like “governor’s schools”, many gifted programs are still being eliminated, American society remains anti-intellectual, and gifted programs remain heavily criticized; Benbow advocates educational acceleration as a response to the absence of gifted programs.]
Dr. Stanley was interviewed in Boston during the Annual Conference of the American Educational Research Association in April, 1990. Since then, he has updated the original transcript a little.
[Founding of SMPY; choice of math testing and rarity of perfect SAT-M scores <12yo, per Piaget; nature of math teaching and talent; how to run an acceleration class]
…The purpose of this review is to document some gender differences among the gifted, which have remained pronounced for at least the past 20 years.2 Gender differences in mathematical reasoning are noted in particular, but other attributes, cognitive and noncognitive (eg. interests and values), also are reviewed in the context of theoretical discussions attempting to explain them…Males tend to be more variable on measures of cognitive functioning, even on tests for which females have higher means.6…In mathematically gifted samples, disparate male/female proportions are well-known…The following proportions of males to females at various cutting score was approximately as follows: SAT-Math ≥ 500: 2⁄1; SAT-M ≥ 600, 4⁄1; SAT-M ≥ 700, 13⁄1…Table 1 contains data on abilities and values of gifted students tested through SMPY at Iowa State University from 1998 through 1991…There are substantial gender differences in spatial and mechanical reasoning abilities…Two especially important values in Table 1 deserve particular attention. Intense theoretical values are characteristic of physical scientists and are also more characteristic of males than females. Social values are negatively correlated with interests in physical science and are more characteristic of females than males…Thus, males, compared with females, tend to have abilities more congruent with optimal adjustment in math and science careers…The data in Table 2 show the gender discrepancy in math and science educational credentials for a sample of males and females in the top 1% of mathematical ability. Clearly, even females who have greater general intellectual ability and quantitative ability than the typical physical scientist are not entering the math-science pipeline…For the most able students, however, relevant ability and preference profiles are in place before high school…In our culture at this juncture, the personal attributes of males and females are such that, for educational and career reasons, stressing either abilities or preferences will undoubtedly result in disparate male/female proportions in many disciplines; stressing both abilities and preferences will intensity these disparities.
Four groups of 10th-grade students were selected from the upper tails of four distributions based on a stratified random sample of the nation’s high schools (n = 95,650): Two groups consisted of mathematically gifted subjects (boys n = 497, girls n = 508); the remaining two groups comprised environmentally privileged students (boys n = 647, girls n = 485). The former represented approximately the top 1% on a standard measure of quantitative ability, whereas the latter represented approximately the upper 1% of a conventional SES index. These four gifted/privileged groups were then compared to one another, by gender, and to their gender equivalent normative cohorts on 43 indices of medical and physical well-being. Although higher levels of physical health are found in both gifted and privileged groups (relative to the norm), medical and physical well-being appears to be more highly associated with mathematical giftedness than extreme levels of socioeconomic privilege. To the extent that these findings may be linked to the construct general intelligence, they confirm and extend the view that the nomothetic span (network of correlates) of general intelligence permeates a variety of important and valued nonintellectual domains (cf. Brand, 1987).
“Evaluating an accelerated mathematics program: A centre of inquiry approach”, 1992, in Competence and Responsibility: The Third European Conference of the European Council for High Ability, ed 1992/4:
Michael Pyryt from the University of Calgary (Canada) made the first presentation “Evaluating an accelerated mathematics program: A centre of inquiry approach” (authors: M. C. Pyryt & R. Moroz). This contribution has been printed in full length in this volume. The evaluation was related to a junior high school, where a selected group of seventh graders completed the materials for the mathematics of the seventh and eighth grades. During their eighth grade, these students then completed the mathematics curricula for ninth graders, and in their ninth grade, they were presented with mathematics—in anticipation of the first year of high school—materials from the tenth grade. The study showed that, depending on the cohort and year 80–100% of the selected students had no difficulty whatsoever in completing the accelerated curricula. The criteria for this was the achievement of at least 70% correct in final test for the school year. In addition, there were no differences in achievement scores between the accelerated students and the older students viewed in comparison, who completed the same materials over a longer period of time (Pyryt & Moroz, 1992).
“A Slice of Advice”, 1992:
[Researchers are advised to work hard toward publishing articles where they will get full attention from the ablest professionals in the field. A second piece of advice is to interact with persons in the field of special research interest, and seek them out through publications and professional conferences.]
This column is the fourth in a series presenting the advice of veteran educational researchers aimed at their junior colleagues. Each invited contributor will be asked to offer one or more career-relevant guidelines for beginning educational researchers, developers, and/or evaluators. The column’s function is to serve as a repository for the experience-based insights of our field’s senior members—insights that, if not shared, must be rediscovered.
“My Life and How It Grew”, 1992b: short autobiography.
For over 20 years, above-level testing with the College Board Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) has been used to assess the abilities of well over 1,000,000 highly able 12–13-year-olds (students in the top 3% in intellectual ability). In this population, the predictive validity of the mathematical part of the SAT, SAT-M, for academic and vocational criteria has been demonstrated over 10-year gaps. Here, we document aspects of the psychological and achievement profiles of these highly able students, paying particular attention to sex differences. Males score higher on SAT-M (ie. mathematical reasoning ability) than females; this difference is accompanied by differences between the sexes in spatial-mechanical reasoning abilities and in a number of lifestyle and vocational preferences. Collectively, these attributes appear to play a key role in structuring male-female disparities in pursuing advanced educational credentials and careers in the physical sciences. After profiling a number of the behavioural characteristics of the highly able, we examine some underlying biological correlates of these phenotypic manifestations. These include hormonal influences, medical and bodily conditions and enhanced right hemispheric activation.
[See 1987b on correlates, 1993a on interests; adds some additional graphs/tables.]
The Origins and Development of High Ability, ed 1993 (ISBN 0-471-93945-5). Anthology:
“Psychological profiles of the mathematically talented: some sex differences and evidence supporting their biological basis”, 1993:
For over 20 years, above-level testing with the College Board Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) has been used to assess the abilities of well over 1000000 highly able 12–13-year-olds (students in the top 3% in intellectual ability). In this population, the predictive validity of the mathematical part of the SAT, SAT-M, for academic and vocational criteria has been demonstrated over 10-year gaps. Here, we document aspects of the psychological and achievement profiles of these highly able students, paying particular attention to sex differences. Males score higher on SAT-M (ie. mathematical reasoning ability) than females; this difference is accompanied by differences between the sexes in spatial-mechanical reasoning abilities and in a number of lifestyle and vocational preferences. Collectively, these attributes appear to play a key role in structuring male-female disparities in pursuing advanced educational credentials and careers in the physical sciences. After profiling a number of the behavioural characteristics of the highly able, we examine some underlying biological correlates of these phenotypic manifestations. These include hormonal influences, medical and bodily conditions and enhanced right hemispheric activation.
- Discussion: Benbow, Lubinski, Sternberg, Sitruk-Ware, Gardner, Fowler, Hatano, Dudai, Gruber, Stanley, Freeman, Bouchard
“Boys and girls who reason well mathematically”, 1993:
Since 1971 the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) at Johns Hopkins University has pioneered in discovery of and provision of educational help for 12-year-old boys and girls who reason better mathematically than 99% of other 12-year-olds. SMPY originated widespread searches for such youths and special academic classes for them outside the regular school system. A regional talent search, verbal as well as mathematical, now covers all 50 states of the USA, and many varied residential summer programmes are offered across the country. These have provided educational facilitation for many thousands, and have encouraged greater curricular flexibility in schools and better articulation of in-school with out-of-school learning experiences. From the first talent search conducted by SMPY in 1972, it became obvious that boys tend to score considerably higher than girls on the College Board Scholastic Aptitude Test-Mathematical (SAT-M), a test intended mainly for college-bound 17- and 18-year-olds. This difference was reported in 1974 but attracted little attention until a controversial report in 1980 stimulated research on sex differences in various aspects of mathematics.
Here I describe a study of sex differences over 10 years on 14 College Board high school achievement tests, which are taken (three usually) by bright 17- and 18-year-olds seeking admission to the USA’s selective colleges and universities. Among the high scorers on the European history test the ratio of males to females was greatest, 6:1. The next most sex-differentiating test was physics, 2.9:1, followed by elementary-level mathematics (mainly algebra and geometry), 2.5:1. Other ratios favouring males were, in 1991, chemistry (2.4:1), American history (2.1:1), biology (1.8:1), precalculus mathematics (1.6:1), Latin (1.6: 1), French (1.4:1), modern Hebrew (1.1:1) and German (1.02:1). Tests in which more females were high scorers were literature (1.26: 1), English composition (1.05: 1) and Spanish (1.01:1). The largest sex differences on other standardized tests, for mechanical reasoning and spatial rotation, favour males. There are even larger differences for self-reported evaluative attitudes, with the theoretical value high for boys and the aesthetic high for girls. Such value scores correlate strangely with scores on achievement and aptitude tests. By 12 or younger, bright boys and girls already show many of the cognitive sex differences found in 18-year-olds.
…focus specifically on factors relating to educational/vocational choice, exceptional educational/vocational achievements and gender differences within the gifted population / our… research . . . is also aimed at program experimentation and refinement of well-known educational interventions. Draws on the longitudinal findings from SMPY [Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth] to illustrate key antecedents to gender differences in the physical sciences / describe the design of our study and its theoretical framework / [discuss] gender differences in actual achievement among the mathematically talented and some empirical findings involving gender differences on familiar as well as underappreciated variables critical for choosing to excel in math/science domains.
Over the past 30 years, many of the unenlightened barriers preventing gifted women from achieving educational credentials and occupational status commensurate with their abilities have been removed. In many educational programs, comparable gender representation quickly ensued, especially in areas like law where many kinds of 4-year degrees are acceptable for admissions. Exceptional performances by women on bar exams, law school grades anti honors followed, just as the protagonists who worked so hard to remove the aforementioned barriers had predicted all along. Gender-comparabilities in medical schools, both in representation and in performance, followed shortly thereafter. This trend served to reinforce further the well-grounded arguments for removing gender-discriminating educational barriers to begin with. That is, arguments initially stemming primarily from political-ideological concerns now became buttressed by economic and psychological justification: not only were women performing admirably in these areas, the disciplines themselves were benefiting from a more able student population. As a consequence of the greater number of women with exceptional academic credential: entering law and medicine, both disciplines have insured that their future leaders and practitioners will have greater competencies and sophistication.
…Our research, however, is also aimed at program experimentation and refinement of well-known educational interventions. That is, in working with intellectually talented students, individually and in groups, we attempt to find and provide environments wherein their talents can best blossom and come to their full fruition. Understanding what those environments consist of and learning how to provide them are two of the more central goals of our applied research. We shall draw upon that work as well.
…It is the thesis of this chapter that the theoretical model guiding our research with the gifted, which is to be explicated, has implications for analyzing and better understanding the under-representation of women all along the math/science pipeline. Indeed, our empirical studies have revealed unique factors operating to preserve gender-disparities in math/science careers and these factors relate to choice. We propose here that gender differences in achievement are a reflection of choices and that these choices naturally emerge from a number of gender-differentiating attributes critical for a commitment to, and excellence in, math/science careers. Further, we suggest that it might be profitable to reconceptualize the professional and the public view of gender differences in math/science achievement, namely, as consequences of the different perspectives and personal qualities that males and females bring to situations.
In what follows, we shall draw on the longitudinal findings from SMPY to illustrate key antecedents to gender differences in the physical sciences. We shall first describe the design of our study and its theoretical framework. This is followed by a discussion of gender differences in actual achievement among the mathematically talented and some empirical findings involving gender differences on familiar as well as underappreciated variables critical for choosing to excel in math/science domains. Finally, we close with a brief discussion of the implications of our current state of knowledge and how these implications might be used to both guide and organize the direction of future research on gifted females (as well as males).
Clear personality differences were found for a sample of academically talented students when compared to a general population of same age students. On the Myers-Briggs dimensions, the academically talented students differed significantly from the comparison group on all four dimensions. Specifically, the academically talented group expressed greater preferences for introversion, intuition, and thinking. Although there were more judging types in this group than in the comparison group, overall more academically talented students expressed a preference for a perceptive style. They also tended to be higher on achievement motivation and lower on interpersonal and social concerns. In particular, a cognitive style that emphasizes a thinking over a feeling mode appears to mediate gender differences in mathematics ability and achievement.
Acceleration and enrichment may be regarded as legs that support the same chair. Casual consideration of the definitions of the two approaches will reveal apparent similarities. Whatever the appearances, the rationales. for acceleration and enrichment are based on different assumptions about four basic issues: the nature of intellectual giftedness, affective characteristics of giftedness, the goals of regular and gifted education, and the adequacy of regular education curricula.
Cultural and societal factors and historical events have also influenced the assumptions of educators and the public: about all factors associated with acceleration and enrichment. Differences in basic assumptions and shifts in values and goals have had a profound influence On initiatives to provide programs to gifted students. This chapter is divided into four principal sections. First, it begins with a discussion of definitions of acceleration and enrichment. Implications of the definitions fer program development and implementation will accompany those discussions. The second section of the chapter describes the historical context of the debate over the relative merits of acceleration and enrichment. In the third section, factors that fuel the debate are delineated. The final section of the chapter describe attributes of national educational systems that affect the development of acceleration and enrichment options and presents descriptions of the options that are employed.
This paper summarizes and critiques the empirical research of the 1970s and 1980s on programs for mathematically gifted students. Much research has shown that accelerating the mathematics curriculum provides a very good program for precocious students. Organizational plans that place mathematically gifted students together for mathematics instruction also offer opportunities for these students to perform well. Although technology-based instruction also appears to provide an efficacious way of providing instruction for mathematically gifted elementary students, this method should be examined further with older students and in long-term studies. Research with enriched curricula and non-computer-based instruction provided inconclusive evidence of efficacy for mathematically gifted students.
…Putting the Research to Use: This review shows clearly that mathematically precocious students profit by participating in accelerated mathematics programs. Also, mathematically gifted students perform better when they work alongside other mathematically able students. Therefore, teachers and parents are encouraged to identify and develop programs or organizational plans that provide these opportunities for students. Elementary school teachers should make technology-based programs in mathematics available to their students, especially those who are mathematically able, because these programs appear to work well.
“A decade of longitudinal research on academic acceleration through the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth”, 1993 (this has been republished as 2002, as part of a special issue reprinting articles from the previous 25 years):
Over the past decade, several longitudinal studies pertaining to the education of intellectually gifted students were produced through the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY). One area that was emphasized, in keeping with SMPY’s history, is academic acceleration. SMPY’s studies, which consider various groups of students, methods of acceleration, and types of outcomes, support acceleration as an educational method. Their results are in keeping with the work of other authors in this area. In this article, the subjects, methods, and outcomes of SMPY’s studies are described and plans for future research are outlined.
“The Achievement of Eminence: A Longitudinal Study of Exceptionally Gifted Boys and Their Families”, Robert S. Albert (previously: 1980) in Beyond Terman: Contemporary Longitudinal Studies Of Giftedness And Talent, ed 1994 (ISBN 1567500110)
“Follow-up insights on rapid educational acceleration”, et al 1994 (republished in 2002 in the 25-year special issue):
Too little is known about what happens, when they grow up, to youths who reason extremely well mathematically. Few tell their story to specialists in education of the gifted, either in writing or orally. Julian Stanley brought two successful former “radical accelerants” to the November 1993 annual meeting of the National Association for Gifted Children in Atlanta and also provided some information about 12 other mathematically precocious youths. Jane C. Charlton and Donald M. Marolf, the two young adults featured, told the symposium audience about themselves and answered questions. They were amazingly frank, insightful, and humorous about their lives thus far. Both are convinced, and are convincing, that rapid progress through school grades all the way to the Ph.D. degree is the nearly optimal way for persons like themselves to enrich their education and prepare for adulthood. All three speakers agreed, however, that extremely fast educational advancement might not be the ideal curriculum path for some other equally capable boys and girls.
…In all seriousness, people often ask me what it is like, as a friend put it recently, “to be so smart”, to have appeared on the cover of Parade magazine and been featured in Newsweek, Life magazine, and even Sports Illustrated for Kids. I can tell you that it’s been a lot of fun, and extremely rewarding. Through my activities and competitions, I have made lifelong friends, seen fascinating places, and met people even more famous than my brother. Perhaps my greatest blessing is a mind enchanted by everything from math to music, from literature to tennis. I have been fortunate to have a wealth of opportunities as eclectic as they have been numerous. And much of my success should belong to my hardworking, devoted, and visionary parents…
“The Study Of Mathematically Precocious Youth: The First Three Decades Of A Planned 50-Year Study Of Intellectual Talent”, 1994, in Beyond Terman: Contemporary Longitudinal Studies Of Giftedness And Talent, ed 1994 (ISBN 1567500110):
describes the planned 50-yr longitudinal study that is being conducted by the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) / present data from SMPY and the psychological literature that have relevance for identifying the early psychological antecedents of competence and satisfaction at all points along the math/science pipeline, from selecting a college major to earning a doctorate in a technical discipline / factors especially conducive to exceptional achievements will be given particular attention, as will special influences that contribute to the optimal educational and vocational development of the nascent physical scientist; possible influences related to gender differences in achievement will be stressed.
A sample of 162 intellectually gifted adolescents (top 1%) were administered the Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory at age 13. Fifteen years later, they were administered the Strong again. This study evaluated the intra- and interindividual temporal stability of the 6 RIASEC (Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, Conventional) themes and the Strong’s 23 Basic Interest Scales. Over the 15-year test-retest interval, RIASEC’s median interindividual correlation for the 6 themes was .46; the median of all 162 intraindividual correlations was 0.57. Configural analyses of the most dominant theme at age 13 revealed that this theme was significantly more likely than chance to be either dominant or adjacent to the dominant theme at age 28-following RIASEC’s hexagonal structure. For intellectually gifted individuals, it appears to be possible to forecast salient features of their adult RIASEC profile by assessing their vocational interests during early adolescence, but some RIASEC themes seem more stable than others.
…How do we develop the talents of gifted children while maintaining equity? Based upon the long and celebrated history of individual differences research (1992) from educational and vocational counseling (1950; Dawis and 1984; 1938; 1939; 1965), we believe that optimal utilization of talent depends upon responding to individual differences in personalities. Specifically, children must be placed in educational environments that are congruent with, and build upon, their most salient abilities and preferences (Benbow and 1994; in press; Lubinski and 1994; Lubinski, Benbow, and 1993; 1977). This approach, which is advocated by the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) (Benbow and ; in press; ), serves as the focus of this article.
We argue and present evidence that individuals possess certain attributes that make them differentially suited for excelling, with fulfillment, in contrasting educational and vocational tracks. That is, only a limited set of learning environments is educationally optimal for anyone individual, even a gifted individual. Students, for example, put forth their best effort when they intrinsically enjoy what they are doing, and world-class achievement is most likely to develop when gifted individuals are allowed to pursue what they love at their desired pace. Indeed, learning can be optimized and achievement motivation enhanced if students are presented with tasks that are not only challenging (ie. slightly above the level already mastered) but also personally meaningful to them (Lofquist and 1991)…
This study examined the incremental validity of the Defining Issues Test (DIT), a test purporting to measure moral reasoning ability relative to verbal ability and other major markers of the construct of general intelligence (g). Across 2 independent studies of intellectually precocious adolescents (top 0.5%), results obtained with the DIT revealed that gifted individuals earned significantly higher moral reasoning scores than did their average-ability peers; they also scored higher than college freshmen, who were 4 to 5 years older. The relative standing of the intellectually gifted adolescents on moral reasoning, however, appears to be due to their superior level of verbal ability as opposed to any of a number of the other psychological variables examined here. The hypothesis that the DIT is conceptually distinct from conventional measures of verbal ability was not confirmed. Investigators conducting subsequent studies involving the assessment of moral reasoning are advised to incorporate measures of verbal ability into their designs, thereby enabling them to ascertain whether moral reasoning measures are indeed capturing systematic sources of individual differences distinct from verbal ability.
The theory of work adjustment was used as a conceptual framework in evaluating the concept of multipotentiality, taken from the psychological literature on counseling intellectually gifted individuals (viz., those with high-flat ability and preference profiles that may lead to career indecision and distress). An examination of over 1,000 intellectually gifted students (top 1%) in 4 separate cohorts, assessed with the Scholastic Aptitude Test, the Study of Values, and J. L. Holland’s (1985) six interest themes, revealed little empirical support for the prevalence of multipotentiality within intellectually talented adolescents (<5%). Rather, it appears that the idea of an overabundance of high-flat ability and preference profiles among gifted students stems from the use of age-calibrated and, hence, developmentally inappropriate assessment tools having insufficient ceilings. The results have important implications for the use of traditional vocational assessment measures in counseling gifted students.
This paper critically reviews the concept of multipotentiality as it has been defined and encountered in the scientific literature on gifted children. Until recently, it has not been adequately subjected to empirical evaluation. Despite its ubiquitous presence in the literature, several pieces of evidence are presented suggesting that multipotentiality has been erroneously interpreted and falsely assumed to apply to a majority of intellectually gifted individuals. Findings are summarized from a recent report (Achter, Lubinski, & Benbow, 1996) on the ability, interest, and value profiles of over 1000 students from the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY), as well as evidence compiled from other empirical studies, indicating that above-level assessment of abilities and preferences among gifted adolescents reveal markedly differentiated profiles for the vast majority (over 95% when all factors were consulted). Thus, the concept of multipotentiality requires rethinking. Traditional assessment tools found in vocational psychology (ie. questionnaires and tests measuring abilities, interests, and values), when offered in an above-level format, are useful in serving the educational and career counseling needs of intellectually gifted young adolescents. Further, such tools are helpful for gaining an appreciation of the diversity of individual differences among the intellectually talented.
Intellectual Talent: Psychometric and Social Issues, ed 1996 (ISBN 0801853028). Anthology, section IV, “The Use of Knowledge: the SMPY Project”:
On April 19, 1992, almost a hundred individuals made a pilgrimage to San Francisco to attend a symposium conducted in honor of Julian C. Stanley and his career achievements. The symposium was entitled “From Psychometrics to Giftedness”, a fitting description of Julian’s career path. It was attended by many of his former as well as current colleagues and students, including a research participant in his Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth.
This book grew out of that symposium. All but four of the presentations were expanded upon and developed into chapters for this volume. Eight chapters were added to round out the book’s coverage of the subject matter. The book is meant to tell an important story, and we believe it does. It begins with a discussion of IQ and the educational acceleration of gifted children, and how work in this area is affected by the Zeitgeist. A major theme is how political climates and emotions influence scientific inquiry by limiting both the questions posed and what knowledge obtained from social science research is actually put into practice. What we have learned is that little of what is applied is consistent with what research informs us are good practices. Rather, we are attracted to fads with insufficient empirical support.
This leads to two questions: what do we actually know, and what would happen if our knowledge were applied? We decided to approach these issues by having several contributors examine one problem: how properly to educate children with exceptional academic talents. There is much that we know about this topic and have known for quite some time, as the chapters reveal. When this knowledge is applied, as it was by Julian Stanley through his Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth, the results are simply striking. This leads one to wonder more generally what could the state of education in the United States be if we actually applied what works and resisted the temptation to jump on the next bandwagon. The current state of affairs in education and the social sciences could be considered malpractice. The book comes to a close with several chapters dealing with psychometric issues and the crucial differences between genius and giftedness.
This paper contains a brief description of the founding and early years of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) from 1968 to the present. Several of the guiding principles behind SMPY are discussed. SMPY led to the formation of strong regional, state, and local centers that now blanket the United States with annual talent searches and academic summer programs. Among their main tools are the assessment tests of the College Board including the SAT, high school achievement tests, and Advanced Placement Program (AP) examinations. Identifying, via objective tests, youths who reason exceptionally well mathematically and/or verbally is the initial aim of SMPY and its sequels. The 12- or 13-year-old boys and girls who score high are then provided the special, supplemental, accelerative educational opportunities they sorely need.
“Contributions of the Talent-Search Concept to Gifted Education”, van Tassel-1996
“Nurturing Exceptional Talent: SET as a Legacy of SMPY”, 1996
“The impact of SMPY’s educational programs from the perspective of the participant”, et al 1996:
Discusses the impact SMPY (Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth) has had on the field of education, particularly on gifted education / documents the impact that SMPY has had on the students it has served, in terms of their subjective impressions of their participation and its influence on their development / the authors’ evaluation will focus on students identified by SMPY, regardless of whether or not they received any assistance beyond the basics provided through the talent search. this evaluation draws on the vast amount of data collected by SMPY at Iowa State University through its longitudinal study / the study currently includes about 5,000 mathematically and verbally talented individuals identified over a 25-yr period and grouped into 5 cohorts, each separated by a few years.
Over the past three decades, the achievement of waves of American students with high intellectual potential has declined as a result of inequity in educational treatment. This inequity is the result of an extreme form of egalitarianism within American society and schools, which involves the pitting of equity against excellence rather than promoting both equity and excellence, anti-intellectualism, the “dumbing-down” of the curriculum, equating aptitude and achievement testing with elitism, the attraction to fads by schools, and the insistence of schools to teach all students from the same curriculum at the same level. In this article we provide recommendations for creating positive change—recommendations that emphasize excellence for all, that call for responsiveness to individual differences, and that suggest basing educational policies on well-grounded research findings in psychology and education. Educational policies that fail to take into account the vast range of individual differences among students—as do many that are currently in use—are doomed to be ineffective.
A sample of 203 intellectually gifted adolescents (top 1%) were administered the Allport Vernon-Lindzey (1970) Study of Values (SOV) at age 13; 20 years later, they were ad ministered the SOV again. In this study, researchers evaluated the intra and interindividual temporal stability of the 6 SOV themes, namely, Theoretical (T), Economic (E), Political (P), Aesthetic (A), Social (S), and Religious (R). Over the 20-year test-retest interval, the SOWs mean and median interindividual correlations for the 6 themes were 0.37 and 0.34, respectively. Correspondingly, the mean and median of all 203 intra-individual correlations were 0.30 and 0.39. Configural analyses of the most dominant theme at age 13 revealed that this theme was significantly more likely than chance to be dominant or adjacent to the dominant theme at age 33. Adjacency was ascertained through a number of empirically based auxiliary analyses of the SOV, revealing 2 robust gender-differentiating clusters: T-E-P for males and A-S-R for females.
[brief discussion of SMPY case-studies, particularly referencing et al 1994 ]
…By studying these six remarkable young people, one can make a number of tentative generalizations…
- Intellectual ability far above the average is a crucial prerequisite for radical educational acceleration. …
- The student must be eager to accelerate in ways he or she thinks best. …
- Push parents who drive a youth much faster than his or her abilities and/or interests warrant often encounter negative reactions from their child sometime later.
- Laissez-faire, hands-off fathers and mothers can be just as detrimental. …
- Each accelerate’s educational trajectory differs, often considerably, from that of others. …
- None of the six accelerates seemed to live in a single-parent home, but the families were varied: Protestant, Jewish, Black, Chinese background, Korean background, etc.
- All six seemed to have appropriate self-esteem and social ability. …
- Radical acceleration in grade placement certainly isn’t for everyone, even the brightest. …
- One can have one’s cake and eat it, too.
…This is enough preamble. You’ll now want to read what [Michele J.] Cargain and [Alexander] Plotinck tell us about their coping mechanisms and achievements…
“My Education”, 1996:
Speech delivered at the Conference on Adolescence, Acceleration, and National Excellence at Simon’s Rock College of Bard College, Great Barrington, MA, June 19, 1994.
Speech delivered at the Conference on Adolescence, Acceleration, and National Excellence at Simon’s Rock College of Bard College, Great Barrington, MA, June 19, 1994.
“Citation: David Lubinski”, 1997 (APA biographical profile):
David Lubinski is acknowledged for methodologically and conceptually rigorous contributions to differential psychology. His use of the theory of work adjustment has illuminated critical constellations of personal attributes that promote academic excellence and world-class eminence, especially in the sciences. His framework for identifying early signs (and different kinds) of intellectual distinction also points to ways to facilitate its development. A citation, biography, and selected bibliography of Lubinski’s works are provided.
“Intellectually Talented Children: How Can We Best Meet Their Needs?”, 1997 (in Handbook of Gifted Education, ed 1997, ISBN 0205260853): review.
“Yesterday’s Whiz Kids: Where Are They Today? Nearly three decades have passed since Hopkins’s Julian Stanley began his”grand experiment” to identify young math and science prodigies and radically accelerate their academic course. How they’ve fared depends on which one you ask.”, June 1997, Melissa Hendricks.
[History of SMPY/CTY, profile/interview/quotes from several both positive & negative, discussion of Benbow and Lubinski’s survey of SMPYers’ perception of benefit vs harm (overwhelmingly positive).]
Summary/commentary about 1997 from Gross & van 2003:
Objective: To report on the historical development of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY). To report on the course of the lives of gifted students who were identified by SMPY and who radically accelerated their education with the support of SMPY.
Design: Informative article for a college magazine.
Setting: The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth, Johns Hopkins University.
Participants: Staff and students of SMPY.
Assessment of Variables: Staff and students were interviewed about their experiences at SMPY. The interviews were supplemented with information from research journals concerning outcomes for students from SMPY.
Main Results: The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth was founded by psychologist Julian Stanley in the early 1970s. Scientifically and mathematically precocious youth were identified. These were 12 and 13-year-olds who had achieved high test scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, the College Board admissions test normally taken by senior high school students. These students were offered opportunities to accelerate their education. They were able to attend intensive summer and weekend programs at Johns Hopkins University and were supported to radically accelerate their education. Many of these students opted to enter college early. This program continues to offer similar opportunities to gifted youth today.
Research has been conducted since SMPY was established to follow the academic and socio-affective development of students. This research has acted to assuage the concerns and objections of many people to the work of SMPY. Recent findings show that the majority of participants have been successful in both study and career, and have not experienced adverse social outcomes. Nonetheless there are a small number of students who did not fare well and some who do not endorse the acceleration program. Research findings from SMPY show that 9% of men and 5% of women said that acceleration had a negative or somewhat negative effect on their educational planning. The author presents examples of students who radically accelerated their education under the guidance of SMPY. Mark Jacobson was one of the first students to be identified by SMPY. At the time this article was written, he was spending weekends as the official scorekeeper for the Baltimore Orioles and was employed during the week with the Defence Department in a high-security role. He started college at age 15. Joseph Louis Bates also enrolled in university early, at the age of 13. By the age of 17 he had earned his baccalaureate and master’s degrees and had begun a doctorate in computing at Cornell. At the time of writing he was a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University.
Jonathan Edwards also entered university aged 13. Unlike the others, he did not complete his university studies and did not receive a degree. Instead he left university at the age of 17, disillusioned with academia and suffering problems in his social life. However he does not regret attending university at a young age and recalls very positive memories of university life. Despite a lack of academic success, Jonathan has found great career success. At the time the article was written he was the chief technology officer of a company he founded called Intranet. The company has an annual revenue of 17 million dollars, employs 140 people, and has a partnership with IBM.
Discussion with these men, along with others, who were among the first students to be identified by SMPY, revealed an overall positive picture of radical acceleration. Comments about academic and social gains were encouraging. Some offered suggestions for modifications to the course taken to radically accelerate, in the hope of making radical acceleration even more successful for those following in their footsteps. Dr Julian Stanley offered some insights into personal factors identified by research that appear to contribute to successful radical acceleration. Among these were a true desire on the part of the student to accelerate, a hunger for learning, and the motivation and energy for hard work.
Conclusion: Research conducted at SMPY, along with personal insights gained from ex-students and staff associated with SMPY, reveal that radical acceleration has allowed many people to achieve remarkable academic and career outcomes. There appear to be no overall detrimental effects on social health and many ex-students identify positive social and emotional outcomes. There are a small number of students for whom radical acceleration has not been successful. SMPY staff make it clear that radical acceleration should be considered only for some exceptionally gifted students. Commentary: This article presents results from longitudinal research on radical acceleration as well as insights from people who have experienced radical acceleration. As such, it allows the reader to make judgements based on data from various sources. Personal comments from those who have been involved add immediacy to the findings from empirical research and allow for an expanded understanding of the effects of radical acceleration on the lives of students. Comments by Dr Julian Stanley, a respected authority in the field of gifted education, are enlightening. This article describes his courageous and well-informed leadership of SMPY.
In a paper published in this journal, a possible QTL association was reported between general cognitive ability and a marker, identified by an expressed sequence tag, EST00083 (et al 1995). In two small samples, the frequency of the common allele of this DNA marker, which was shown to be in the threonine transfer RNA gene in mitochondrial DNA, was significantly greater in a high-IQ group than in a low-IQ group. As part of the ongoing IQ QTL Project (et al 1995), we have attempted to replicate this QTL association. First, we found that the QTL association remained significant when we compared 51 high- and 51 -average IQ subjects, drawn in part from the samples used in the previous report. However, when we examined the association in new samples of 40 extremely high-IQ subjects and 50 average-IQ subjects, the association did not replicate. This underlies the need for replication in case-control studies of allelic association.
Precocity, prodigiousness, brightness, intelligence, talent, creativity, eminence, renown, greatness, and genius may be aspects or consequences of characteristics often lumped together under the multi-dimensional term “giftedness.” Certain of these concepts can be traced from Galton through Spearman, Binet, and Terman to outstanding recent contributors. We consider identification of intellectually talented youth and, to some extent, their educational facilitation. Although the “abilities” view of talent is emphasized, more qualitative approaches such as those of Bloom, Ericsson, Gardner, Simonton, and Sternberg receive attention. Life outcomes of mathematically and/or verbally precocious youth identified across the nation by talent searches emanating since 1971 from Johns Hopkins University and elsewhere may help clarify relationships between intellectual precocity, creativity, and achievement.
Quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with general cognitive ability (g) were investigated for several groups of children selected for very high or for average cognitive functioning. A DNA marker in the gene for insulin-like growth factor-2 receptor (IGF2R) on Chromosome 6 yielded a significantly greater frequency of a particular form of the gene (allele) in a high-g group (0.303; average IQ = 136, n = 51) than in a control group (0.156; average IQ = 103, n = 51). This association was replicated in an extremely-high-g group (all estimated IQs > 160, n = 52) as compared with an independent control group (average IQ = 101, n = 50), with allelic frequencies of 0.340 and 0.169, respectively. Moreover, a high-mathematics-ability group (n = 62) and a high-verbal-ability group (n = 51) yielded results that were in the same direction but only marginally significant (p = 0.06 and 0.08, respectively).
[Note that like all QTLs identified for intelligence/personality in normal or enriched samples in the pre-GWAS era, including the false positive debunked by et al 1997 previously using a SMPY sample, this was a false positive. GWAS attempts to find rare variants which contribute to high intelligence, like BGI or et al 2016 or et al 2017 , have come up dry, and attempts at investigating different group heritabilities between high/normal intelligence using DeFries-Fulker methods like et al 2014 suggest that high intelligence is merely part of the continuum of normal intelligence & driven by common genetic variants of small effect.]
In 1998 in this journal, we reported results suggesting that a gene (insulin-like growth factor-2 receptor, IGF2R) on chromosome 6 was associated with general cognitive ability (g) in two independent case-control samples of children selected for very high g (cases) or for average g (controls; et al 1998).
…Because of the likelihood of false positive results in the quest for quantitative trait loci (QTLs) of small effect size using many DNA markers, replication is crucial (Cardon & Bell, 2001). We had hoped that other laboratories would attempt to replicate the IGF2R association with g, but 4 years after the original publication in this journal, we are not aware of such efforts. For this reason, we conducted our own replication analysis. The purpose of the present letter is to report results for the IGF2R gene for a new sample that is as large as the two previously reported samples combined
…The results we reported for the combined original and replication samples yielded an allelic frequency for allele 5 of 32% in the high-g group and 16% in the control group, χ2 (1, n = 186) = 12.41, p = 0.0004. In the present sample, the frequency of allele 5 was 19% in the high-g group and 24% in the control group, χ2 (1, n = 188) = 1.54, p = 0.22. Tests of other alleles and genotypic comparisons also failed to replicate our previous results.
…The present sample was as large as our original and replication samples combined and provided 98% power to detect a QTL association with an effect size as small as 1%. Thus, we conclude that the TG repeat polymorphism in IGF2R is not associated with high g.
The purpose of this article is to describe ways of challenging gifted students through accelerative practice. Despite the overwhelming amount of favorable evidence, Daurio, 1979; Gold, 1965; Kulik & Kulik, 1983; programming experiences for the gifted encourage enrichment over acceleration. Gold (1965) wrote, “No paradox is more striking than the inconsistency between research findings on acceleration and the failure of our society to reduce the time spent by superior students in formal education” (p.238). …
[SMPY; AP courses; the Iowa Acceleration Scale]
Study 1 examined the construct validity of the Strong Interest Inventory and the Study of Values for 695 intellectually talented 13-year-olds. Study 2 consisted of a generalization probe to 695 graduate students enrolled in select universities. This analysis manifested an impressive degree of adolescence-to-adult cross-validation. Well-known preference questionnaires appear to assess meaningful individual differences among intellectually talented young adolescents. How preference assessments may complement routine ability assessments of gifted adolescents and how counselors may use such information to encourage students to take a more active role in their personal development are discussed. The authors also present a methodological application, responsive to R. V. Dawis’s (1992) concern about the amount of redundancy in psychological measuring tools.
The researchers used the theory of work adjustment (R. V. Dawis & L. H. Lofquist, 1984; L. H. Lofquist & R. V. Dawis, 1991) and C. P. Snow’s (1959) conceptualization of two cultures as theoretical frameworks to analyze the incremental validity of above-level preference assessment (relative to abilities) in predicting humanities, math-science, and other college majors completed 10 years later by intellectually gifted adolescents. Scholastic Aptitude Tests and Study of Values assessments of 432 intellectually gifted adolescents (age 13) provided unique and valuable information for predicting the type of college major completed 10 years after initial assessment. These positive findings add to growing support for the applied utility of teaming preference assessments among the gifted with above-level assessments of ability. For intellectually gifted adolescents, these assessments could facilitate educational planning (and counseling).
Lange, Melissa Bernadine. “The educational and vocational preferences of a cohort spatially gifted females and males from the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth.” PhD dissertation, Iowa State University, 1999. [Citation from Google Scholar; unknown source; abstract copied from WorldCat] TODO
This study was designed to gain a better understanding of the unique profile of interests, abilities, values, and preferences of spatially gifted adolescents. It has been hypothesized that spatial ability is related to success in careers in engineering and the sciences. The adolescents in the study were participants in the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) and at the time were enrolled in summer programs for academically gifted youth at a large Midwestern university. Subjects were identified as spatially gifted based on a composite score from three measures of spatial-visualization and mechanical reasoning (Vandenberg Mental Rotation Test, Cubes test, and Bennett Mechanical Comprehension test). Comparisons between genders and levels of spatial ability were made on measures of mathematical ability, vocational interest and values, and educational/occupational preferences.
Chi-squared and analysis of variance procedures were used. Spatially gifted males were found to possess intense Investigative vocational interests and Theoretical values, strong mathematical abilities, and a preference for activities involving contact with objects. Spatially gifted females had a slightly different profile, with strong Artistic vocational interests, Aesthetic values, and a preference for activities involving working with others. Results were discussed as they apply to the under-representation of females in careers in engineering and the sciences.
This study compares two groups of gifted students, highly (n = 74) and moderately (n = 163) gifted [Duke Talent Identification Program (TIP)], on a number of scales including self-concept, emotional autonomy, and anxiety. Although a measure of academic ability was used to create distinctive ability groups, the results did not support the hypotheses that highly gifted students would be more likely to display lower self-concepts and more adjustment problems than the moderately gifted group. These findings are examined in light of past research on differences in highly and moderately gifted students.
“Using Talent Searches to Identify and Meet the Educational Needs of Mathematically Talented Youngsters”, Rotigel & Lupkowski-1999:
Regional talent searches have been available since Julian Stanley developed the Talent Search model in the early 1970s, and over 200,000 students per year nationwide take advantage of the opportunities these university-based programs offer. The above-level testing offered by regional talent searches is useful in (a) identifying mathematically talented students, (b) tailoring educational recommendations to the abilities of the students, and (c) providing challenging educational opportunities for the students. Important considerations and concerns, as well as a discussion of the benefits, are explored in this article.
Reported is the 20-year follow-up of 1,975 mathematically gifted adolescents (top 1%) whose assessments at age 12 to 14 revealed robust gender differences in mathematical reasoning ability. Both sexes became exceptional achievers and perceived themselves as such; they reported uniformly high levels of degree attainment and satisfaction with both their career direction and their overall success. The earlier sex differences in mathematical reasoning ability did predict differential educational and occupational outcomes. The observed differences also appeared to be a function of sex differences in preferences for (a) inorganic versus organic disciplines and (b) a career-focused versus more-balanced life. Because profile differences in abilities and preferences are longitudinally stable, males probably will remain more represented in some disciplines, whereas females are likely to remain more represented in others. These data have policy implications for higher education and the world of work.
International Handbook of Giftedness and Talent, 2nd Edition, ed et al 2000 (ISBN 9780080544168). Anthology:
- “Talent Development in Math and Science”, 2000
- “Gender Differences in Engineering and the Physical Sciences Among the Gifted: An Inorganic-Organic Distinction”, et al 2000
“States of Excellence”, 2000:
Research from the individual-differences tradition pertinent to the optimal development of exceptional talent is reviewed, using the theory of work adjustment (TWA) to organize findings. The authors show how TWA concepts and psychometric methods, when used together, can facilitate positive development among talented youth by aligning learning opportunities with salient aspects of each student’s individuality. Longitudinal research and more general theoretical models of (adult) academic and intellectual development support this approach. This analysis also uncovers common threads running through several positive psychological concepts (eg. effectance motivation, flow, and peak experiences). The authors conclude by underscoring some important ideals from counseling psychology for fostering intellectual development and psychological well-being. These include conducting a multifaceted assessment, focusing on strength, helping people make choices, and providing a developmental context for bridging educational and industrial psychology to facilitate positive psychological growth throughout the life span.
“Choosing Excellence”, 2001: rebuttal to 2001 criticizing 2000.
Well-known, well-validated principles of individual-difference psychology and education should lead to major changes in classroom instruction. Students need to be helped to learn what they do not already know, instead of being marched through course materials in lockstep, largely regardless of what they knew at the start of the course. The lockstep method especially hurts the intellectually talented, who tend to be far ahead of grade level. This finding led the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) at Johns Hopkins University to devise a Diagnostic Testing followed by Prescribed Instruction (DT-PI) procedure. It has been tested often and successfully, especially for instruction in middle and high school mathematics, but the procedure is applicable to other subjects. Nevertheless, the DT-PI model is viewed by SMPY as merely a stopgap on the road to radical reorganization of instruction in schools.
U.S. math-science graduate students possessing world-class talent (368 males, 346 females) were assessed on psychological attributes and personal experiences in order to examine how their talents emerged and developed. Comparisons were made, using similar assessments, with mathematically talented students (528 males, 228 females) identified around age 13 and tracked into adulthood by the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY). Well before college, both samples were academically distinguished; however, the graduate students could be identified during adolescence as a subset of mathematically talented youths based on their nonintellectual attributes. Their profiles corresponded to what earlier psychological studies found to characterize distinguished (and exclusively male) scientists: exceptional quantitative reasoning abilities, relatively stronger quantitative than verbal reasoning ability, salient scientific interests and values, and, finally, persistence in seeking out opportunities to study scientific topics and develop scientific skills. On these attributes, sex differences were minimal for the graduate students (but not for the SMPY comparison groups). Developing exceptional scientific expertise apparently requires special educational experiences, but these necessary experiences are similar for the two sexes.
Adolescents identified before the age of 13 (n = 320) as having exceptional mathematical or verbal reasoning abilities (top 1 in 10,000) were tracked over 10 years. They pursued doctoral degrees at rates over 50 times base-rate expectations, with several participants having created noteworthy literary, scientific, or technical products by their early 20s. Early observed distinctions in intellectual strength (viz., quantitative reasoning ability over verbal reasoning ability, and vice versa [“tilt”]) predicted sharp differences in their developmental trajectories and occupational pursuits. This special population strongly preferred educational opportunities tailored to their precocious rate of learning (ie. appropriate developmental placement), with 95% using some form of acceleration to individualize their education.
All measures of cognitive processes correlate moderately at the phenotypic level and correlate substantially at the genetic level. General cognitive ability (g) refers to what diverse cognitive processes have in common. Our goal is to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with high g compared with average g. In order to detect QTLs of small effect size, we used extreme selected samples and a five-stage design with nominal alpha levels that permit false positive results in early stages but remove false positives in later stages. As a first step toward a systematic genome scan for allelic association, we used DNA pooling to screen 1842 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers approximately evenly spaced at 2 cM throughout the genome in a five-stage design: (1) case-control DNA pooling (101 cases with mean IQ of 136 and 101 controls with mean IQ of 100), (2) case-control DNA pooling (96 cases with IQ >160 and 100 controls with mean IQ of 102), (3) individual genotyping of Stage 1 sample, (4) individual genotyping of Stage 2 sample, (5) transmission disequilibrium test (TDT; 196 parent-child trios for offspring with IQ >160). The overall Type I error rate is 0.000125, which robustly protects against false positive results. The numbers of markers surviving each stage using a conservative allele-specific directional test were 108, 6, 4, 2, and 0, respectively, for the five stages. A genomic control test using DNA pooling suggested that the failure to replicate the positive case-control results in the TDT analysis was not due to ethnic stratification. Several markers that were close to significance at all stages are being investigated further. Relying on indirect association based on linkage disequilibrium between markers and QTLs means that 100,000 markers may be needed to exclude QTL associations. Because power drops off precipitously for indirect association approaches when a marker is not close to the QTL, we are not planning to genotype additional SSR markers. Instead we are using the same design to screen markers such as cSNPs and SNPs in regulatory regions that are likely to include functional polymorphisms in which the marker can be presumed to be the QTL.
At age 13, 393 boys and 170 girls scoring at the top 0.5% in general intelligence completed the Scholastic Assessment Test Mathematics (SAT-M) and Verbal (SAT-V) subtests and the Differential Aptitude Test (DAT) Space Relations (SR) and Mechanical Reasoning (MR) subtests. Longitudinal data were collected through follow-up questionnaires completed at ages 18, 23, and 33. Multivariate statistical methods were employed using the SAT-M, SAT-V, and a DAT (SR + MR) composite to predict a series of developmentally sequenced educational-vocational outcomes: (a) favorite and least favorite high school class, (b) undergraduate degree field, (e) graduate degree field, and (d) occupation at age 33. Spatial ability added incremental validity to SAT-M and SAT-V assessments in predicting educational-vocational outcomes over these successive time frames. It appears that spatial ability assessments can complement contemporary talent search procedures. The amount of lost potential for artistic, scientific, and technical disciplines that results from neglecting this critical dimension of nonverbal ideation is discussed.
Arts curriculum for gifted and talented students has not been given the attention it deserves in the field of gifted education. In this article, Gilbert Clark and Enid Zimmerman set forth recommendations for educating highly able artistically talented students based on work they were doing to establish a high school in Israel at the time the article was written.
The goal of the proposed residential high school was to “tend the special spark in talented youngsters, equipping them to lead Israel’s scientific, artistic and community life…those who have within themselves, the greatest potential in arts or sciences-the top 1% of the nation’s students.” As members of the International Advisory Panel to this project, Clark and Zimmerman focused on issues associated with articulating goals for the arts and science curricula. The authors argue that a comprehensive art program for talented students needs to be addressed through a sequential curriculum based on acceleration across a scope and sequence of content, as is the education of gifted students in mathematics and science.
Clark and Zimmerman used a well-respected mathematics program, the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY), as a prototype for developing principles, techniques and identification procedures that could be implemented in the art curriculum. As mentioned in previous articles, SMPY was a project devoted to helping students who reason exceptionally well mathematically. Educational acceleration was shown to work with these highly able students, and Clark and Zimmerman describe how a similar program might be created for the visual arts. …
“The progress and problems of an incredibly talented sister and brother”, 2002 [case study of a pair of Jewish siblings]
Educational acceleration as a curriculum option has been a much debated and divisive issue among educators for some time. Opponents of acceleration have argued that it disrupts the organizational structures of the schools and that it is not equitable because it allows an individual, or a group of learners, to get ahead of others. Critics have also expressed concerns about the possible negative social and emotional effects of acceleration. Nancy Delano Moore brings new light to some of these issues and dispels the notion of acceleration as a negative and inequitable educational practice.She presents a case study of a brother and sister with exceptional intellectual abilities in mathematical reasoning and describes the triumphs and disappointments of the parents, the children, and their teachers as they attempt to provide educational opportunities that are challenging and appropriate. Moore’s case study suggests that students with exceptional abilities can benefit academically, socially, and even emotionally from some form of acceleration. The children in the case study demonstrate exceptional mathematical abilities. According to Moore, “R” blossomed in nursery school, was accelerated to grade 1 from kindergarten, and then found much of the curriculum throughout her elementary school years unchallenging and discouraging. “R’s”brother, “M”, who was accelerated to the second grade on the advice and recommendation of his first grade teacher, also found much of the curriculum unchallenging and discouraging. The case studies of these children suggest that the most beneficial provisions for such intellectually advanced children is to provide opportunities to work at levels appropriate to their abilities and achievements. According to Moore, the children thrived intellectually, emotionally, and socially when they found themselves in situations matching their exceptional abilities—when they were accelerated in some form in combination with high level summer programs and competitions. This case study reveals the fact that many teachers and administrators fail to appreciate acceleration as part of the complement of options to be used with gifted students and are resistant to implementing the acceleration practices that are available. However, the parents in this case study were fully aware and well versed with respect to the exceptional abilities and needs of their children and were strong advocates for their children’s educational needs. It is important to note that it was only with the parents’ active involvement that these children were able to receive a variety of acceleration practices.
This longitudinal study tracked 1,110 adolescents identified as mathematically precocious at Age 13 (top 1%) with plans for a math-science undergraduate major. Participants’ high school educational experiences, abilities, and interests predicted whether their attained undergraduate degrees were within math-science or nonmath-nonscience areas. More women than men eventually completed undergraduate degrees outside math-science, but many individuals who completed nonmath-nonscience degrees ultimately chose math-science occupations (and vice versa). At Age 33, the 2 degree groups reported commensurate and uniformly high levels of career satisfaction, success, and life satisfaction. Assessing individual differences is critical for modeling talent development and life satisfaction; it reveals that equal male-female representation across disciplines may not be as simple to accomplish as many policy discussions imply.
[Awarded to Rose Mary Webb] For an outstanding research paper whose findings challenge the untested presumption in much of the current literature that individuals who leave the math-science pipeline are underachieving. The paper entitled “Mathematically Facile Adolescents With Math-Science Aspirations: New Perspectives on Their Educational and Vocational Development” was published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, was highlighted in the 2002-11-15 issue of Science, won the Susan W. Gray Award for Excellence in Scholarly Writing, and was the basis for Webb’s selection as the 2002–2003 Psi Chi/APA Edwin B. Newman Graduate Research Award recipient. Dr. David Lubinski served as Research Advisor and coauthor of the paper.
…Under the joint mentorship of Lubinski and Benbow, Webb completed her master’s work, which tracked the educational-vocational development of 1,110 adolescents who, at the age of 13, were identified as at least the top 1% in ability, and who, at the age of 18, reported plans for an undergraduate major in a math or science domain (Webb, Lubinski, & Benbow, 2002). Webb and her colleagues found that women were more likely than men to change their undergraduate majors to domains outside of math or science and that these differences were partially explained by the individual’s pattern of specific abilities and interests. For example, Webb et al. documented that, on average, the highly able women in their study had more similar math and verbal abilities than their male counterparts, whose math abilities were markedly more pronounced than their verbal abilities. This finding was supported by discoveries in Webb’s earlier collaborative research, which indicated that mathematically able women tended to be more verbally talented than equally mathematically able men (Lubinski, Webb, Morelock, & Benbow, 2001). Moreover, participant sex explained only 1% of the variance between those who did and those who did not complete a math-science undergraduate degree, and after controlling for ability and interest variables, participant sex contributed no incremental explanation of degree group membership. Webb et al. found that both women and men who chose to change their undergraduate majors to domains outside math-science reported levels of career satisfaction, career success, and life satisfaction that were similar to those of women and men who remained in math-science disciplines. These findings challenge the untested presumption in much of the current literature that individuals who leave the math-science pipeline are underachieving. This work was published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, was highlighted in the November 15, 2002, issue of Science, won a Mensa Award for Excellence in Research, won the Susan W. Gray Award for Excellence in Scholarly Writing, and was the basis for Webb’s selection as the 2002–2003 Psi Chi/APA Edwin B. Newman Graduate Research Award recipient.
Complementing Webb’s empirical work are a chapter and a comment. The chapter, coauthored with her graduate advisor, David Lubinski, reviews findings from the major domains of differential psychology (Lubinski & Webb, 2003). The comment, coauthored with April Bleske-Rechek, a research associate for SMPY, is a methodological critique of a report on female psychologists in the academy (Bleske-Rechek & Webb, 2002).
Throughout Webb’s graduate experience, she has served as a research assistant for SMPY. She has been instrumental in progressing data collection for the longitudinal study from traditional mail survey methods to more complex, individually tailored Internet-based survey methods. Furthermore, she has contributed conceptually and technically to the instrument development on two current projects. First, she has made unique contributions to a 10-year follow-up of 714 individuals with math-science talent identified in top U.S. graduate programs; her ideas helped broaden the study’s focus beyond educational-vocational development to include other areas of life experiences such as family and relationship choices. Second, she has contributed to a 20-year follow-up of the study’s most able cohort. Because the participants of this cohort have had numerous educational opportunities available to them (many of which they have utilized), Webb helped design a series of items to assess both their views regarding the importance of providing specific accelerative learning opportunities for gifted children in general and their likelihood of using those opportunities for their own children.
This chapter focuses on the evolution of theory, empirical knowledge, and practice on the optimal development of exceptional intellectual abilities. We are pleased and honored to contribute to a volume on positive psychology that highlights the contributions of counseling psychology. The scientific study of identifying and nurturing intellectual giftedness, although not consistently given priority nor always regarded in a positive light by society over the past 100 years, is one of the earliest examples of positive psychology…First, we provide a historical overview of the major people and ideas moving the scientific study of intellectual talent forward over the past 100 years. Second, building on this, we review key empirical findings from recent decades in the context of implications for educational and counseling practice today. Within this discussion, we summarize a theoretical model for organizing contemporary results. Finally, we close with a summation of current knowledge and offer some future research directions. The need for more scientific knowledge on truly exceptional forms of achievement, creativity, and lifelong learning is underscored. This knowledge is likely to come from more complete understandings of the personal attributes characterizing intellectually precocious populations and the environmental provisions that catalyze their talents to full fruition.
Career counseling with the intellectually gifted poses unique challenges to counselors. Development of competent practices with this population requires the career counselor to be aware of several issues specific to the intellectually gifted in general, along with specific issues that may differentially affect gifted males, females, and minorities. Traditional career counseling is insufficient to meet the needs of this population. Therefore, the article reviews trends and improvements to counseling the intellectually gifted, controversies, and multicultural issues and suggests an expanded role for career counselors of the intellectually gifted.
We evaluated the Advanced Placement (AP) program from the point of view of intellectually precocious youth and their subsequent educational-vocational outcomes, analyzing normative and idiographic longitudinal data collected across 30 years from 3,937 participants. Most took AP courses in high school, and those who did frequently nominated an AP course as their favorite. Students who took AP courses, compared with their intellectual peers who did not, appeared more satisfied with the intellectual caliber of their high school experience and, ultimately, achieved more. Overall, this special population placed a premium on intellectual challenge in high school and found the lack of such challenge distressing. These findings can inform contemporary educational policy debates regarding the AP program; they also have general implications for designing and evaluating educational interventions for students with special needs.
The study of individual differences in cognitive abilities is one of the few branches of psychological science to amass a coherent body of empirical knowledge withstanding the test of time. There is wide consensus that cognitive abilities are organized hierarchically, and C. Spearman’s (1904) general intelligence occupies the vertex of this hierarchy. In addition, specific abilities beyond general intelligence refine longitudinal forecasts of important social phenomena and paint a rich portrait of this important domain of psychological diversity. This opening article identifies and then reviews 5 major areas concerning the personological significance of cognitive abilities and the methods used to study them. In models of human behavior and important life outcomes, cognitive abilities are critical in more ways than social scientists realize
Given the expertise of the contributors to this volume and the necessary space limitations imposed upon authors, this brief chapter will focus on a series of recent findings. The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) has, over the past four years, published four extensive longitudinal reports. Collectively, they contain evaluations of the subjective feelings and educational-vocational outcomes of thousands of participants, from five cohorts assembled over three decades (Lubinski & Benbow, 1994), who have experienced many different kinds of educational acceleration (Benbow, Lubinski, Shea, & Eftekhari-Sanjani, 2000; Bleske-Rechek, Lubinski, & Benbow, 2004; Lubinski, Benbow, Shea, Eftekhari-Sanjani, & Halvorson, 2001; Lubinski, Webb, Morelock, & Benbow, 2001). These findings are especially important because, among other things, they contain evaluations of adults based on 10- and 20-year longitudinal achievement and reflection. Hence, in addition to conventional criteria, they enable us to ascertain whether participants of accelerative learning opportunities harbor subsequent regrets. Because these findings are fresh, they will be reviewed in detail; but the focus will be on outcomes and subjective impressions exclusively tied to educational acceleration. Readers are referred to the original reports for more extensive findings on the life patterns of this special population.
In a shorter section, some writings of previous generations of leading psychologists will be drawn on. By examining the historical record of those committed to educational practice based on science, it is remarkable how many modern empirical findings were anticipated, and to some extent documented, by early pioneers (Allport, 1960; Hobbs, 1951, 1958; Hollingworth, 1926, 1942; Paterson, 1957; Pressey, 1946a, 1946b, 1949; Seashore, 1922, 1930, 1942; Terman, 1954; Thorndike, 1927; Tyler, 1974).
For decades, it is clear that we have known a number of general principles about meeting the needs of intellectually precocious youth, and modern empirical findings have added precision and multidimensionality to this knowledge. Yet, putting this research into practice has been difficult due to a variety of political and social forces that always operate on educational policy and practice (Benbow & Stanley, 1996; Stanley, 2000). Due in no small part to talent searches, and the efficiency with which talent searches facilitate large- scale longitudinal research, an impressive empirical literature has developed to support and add refinement to the efficacy of educational acceleration for intellectually precocious youth (Colangelo & Davis, 2003; Lubinski & Benbow, 2000; VanTassel-Baska, 1998). It is becoming increasingly difficult to neglect the evidence that has emerged (Ceci, 2000; Stanley, 2000). Today, we have a much better understanding of how to identify intellectual precocity, the nonintellectual attributes that facilitate its development, and the learning environments needed for actualizing truly exceptional potential. Hopefully, this volume will contribute toward moving these findings into educational policy and practice.
“Youths Who Reason Exceptionally Well Mathematically and / or Verbally Using the MVT:D4 Model to Develop Their Talents”, 2005, in Conceptions of Giftedness ed 2005 (ISBN 0-511-16064-x):
…After administering above-grade-level tests to identify students with advanced mathematical reasoning abilities, SMPY provided counseling and created programs to meet their academic needs. Eventually, university-based talent centers were established around the country to continue the practices SMPY pioneered. Because SMPY’s methods for developing talent evolved over time in a very pragmatic way, that is, in response to the needs of individual students, the psychological and conceptual bases for this approach have not been especially emphasized in the literature.
In the first edition of this book, for example, 1986 suggested that SMPY was “not concerned much with conceptualizing giftedness” and had “not spent much time contemplating the psychological underpinnings of giftedness” (p. 361). However, Duke University psychologist Michael Wallach, in a review of one of SMPY’s early books (Stanley, George, & Solano, 1977), observed that:
What is particularly striking here is how little that is distinctly psychological seems involved in SMPY, and yet how very fruitful SMPY appears to be. It is as if trying to be psychological throws us off the course and into a mire of abstract dispositions that help little in facilitating students’ demonstrable talents. What seems most successful for helping students is what stays closest to the competencies one directly cares about: in the case of SMPY, for example, finding students who are very good at math and arranging the environment to help them learn it as well as possible. One would expect analogous prescriptions to be of benefit for fostering talent at writing, music, art, and any other competencies that can be specified in product or performance terms. But all this in fact is not unpsychological; it is simply different psychology (Wallach, 1978, p. 617).
There was always a strong rationale behind the choices and decisions that were made by SMPY (Stanley, 1977). Three principles from developmental psychology, in particular, have contributed to the programmatic recommendations that were adopted. These principles are that learning is sequential and developmental (Hilgard & Bower, 1974), that children learn at different rates (Bayley, 1955, 1970; George, Cohn, & Stanley, 1979; Keating, 1976; Keating & Stanley, 1972; Robinson & Robinson, 1982), and that effective teaching involves a “match” between the child’s readiness to learn and the level of content presented (Hunt, 1961; Robinson & Robinson, 1982). The implication of these principles, as delineated by Robinson (1983), Robinson & Robinson (1982), (Stanley, 1997), and 1986, is that the level and pace of educational programs must be adapted to the capacities and knowledge of individual children. The pioneering work of Hollingworth (1942), who used above-grade-level tests to measure students’ precocity (see Stanley, 1990), and of Terman (1925), who was among the first to systematically identify and study gifted students, also profoundly influenced the direction of SMPY. …
Special issue (volume 16 issue 1):
“The Center for Talented Youth model: 25 years of fostering talent”, 2005 (introductory editorial to special issue)
The antecedents for the 4 regional annual talent searches for boys and girls who reason exceptionally well mathematically and/or verbally began in 1971 at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, with the creation of the “Study of mathematically precocious youth” under the direction of the author of this article, its originator. Here he traces the development and expansion that led to much experimentation during the 1970s and the formation in 1979 of what is now called the Center for Talented Youth (CTY) and similar programs based at 3 other private universities in the United States. These cover the entire USA and cooperate with educators in a number of foreign countries, especially England, Ireland and Spain.
The Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth (CTY) is celebrating 25 years of working with gifted children both in the USA and from throughout the world. Beginning in 1979, its mission has been to identify students of exceptional academic promise and to offer them distinctive and challenging educational opportunities. More than one million young people have now been reached through CTY’s talent search and program offerings. The programs and services offered to CTY students include: summer programs, distance education, civic leadership institutes, family academic conferences, awards ceremonies, diagnostic counseling and testing, research and publications. Through its offerings, CTY has reached beyond the USA and has become an international program, with students attending its summer program from almost 80 countries and enrolling in its distance education courses from 55 countries. In collaboration with colleagues from throughout the world CTY remains committed to nurturing these highly talented young people and to providing an environment where their talent can ‘soar’.
Through annual talent searches based on the model developed by Julian Stanley, the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) seeks to identify, assess and recognize students with advanced academic abilities. CTY has also developed extensive programs and services to meet the needs of these students. Having grown steadily in response to students’ needs since its inception, CTY now serves approximately 80,000 students each year through its talent search and various academic offerings. This article presents an overview of these programs and services.
“The Duke University Talent Identification Program”, et al 2005:
The Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) holds the distinguished position of being the first ‘transplant’ of the Center for Talented Youth (CTY) regional talent search model developed by Professor Julian Stanley at Johns Hopkins University. Duke TIP was established in 1980, one year after CTY officially began. This article describes the history of Duke TIP and the evolution of its talent searches and various formats of its educational programming models as well as the complementary role that research has played at Duke TIP. The success of Duke TIP stands as a truly remarkable tribute to Julian Stanley and to the robustness of the talent search model that he created at Johns Hopkins University. Although the specific types of programs and initiatives may have taken different forms at Duke TIP, the underlying philosophy and commitment to identify and further the development of gifted and talented youth remains steadfast.
This article describes implementation of the talent search model developed by Julian Stanley at the Center for Talent Development of Northwestern University. While remaining true to the basic components of the talent search, the talent center at Northwestern has emphasized using talent search as a means to influence programming in local schools for gifted students, research and development of various types of educational programs for talented children, the creation of an articulated set of programs leading to systematic development of abilities across childhood and adolescence, extensions into other domains of talent, such as leadership, and creating synergy for gifted education through collaboration and partnerships with other leaders in the Midwest.
The ‘Rocky Mountain Talent Search’ (RMTS) at the University of Denver was developed based on the talent search model developed by Dr Julian Stanley of Johns Hopkins University. This article summarizes the establishment of RMTS and outlines its contemporary programs. Guided by the philosophy that gifted students have unique needs, require academic challenge and crave interaction with their intellectual peers, the RMTS program continues to offer assessment, recognition and summer enrichment programs for academically gifted students. Now in its 23 year, RMTS is flourishing and expanding its offerings annually.
Technological advances and widespread access to the Internet are facilitating new educational approaches that go beyond the traditional face-to-face classroom setting. Distance education has emerged as a valuable option for a number of special populations of learners whose needs are more difficult to meet in the classroom, of which gifted students are one. This paper explores the many varieties of distance education and the technologies that support them and examines research on the effectiveness of the approaches in different settings. Research on the distance education programs offered by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth is summarized and best practices, based on the findings, are proposed.
The Study of Exceptional Talent (SET) identifies students who exhibit extremely advanced mathematical and/or verbal reasoning abilities and helps them find the challenging educational programs they need to achieve their full potential. Specifically, students who score 700–800 on the mathematical or verbal portion of SAT I before the age of 13 are invited to take advantage of SET’s counseling and mentoring opportunities. An ongoing longitudinal study tracks the progress of these students, and their achievements to date have been exceptional. SET students, as a group, participate in a variety of accelerated programs, attend highly selective colleges and universities and earn advanced degrees in large numbers. Those who have embarked on their careers appear to be excelling in their chosen fields as well.
This chapter summarizes the lessons learned from the over 25 years of research conducted by the Center for Talented Youth, as well as the prior 10 years of research conducted by Dr Julian Stanley and his graduate students. This summary also includes work done by the several other talent searches (Duke, Northwestern and Rocky Mountain), although a complete description of their work can be found in the individual articles written by each. The findings from the hundreds of research studies conducted validate the talent search identification model and process, as well as the programs developed to meet the needs of identified students. In addition, the authors have condensed the findings from numerous research projects examining the cognitive, social, personality and academic development of the students CTY serves.
Conducting potency tests on penicillin, discussing rocket technology with a NASA astronaut, analysing animal bone fragments from medieval times, these are just some of the activities which occupy the time of students at The Irish Centre for Talented Youth. The Centre identifies young students with exceptional academic ability and then provides services for them, their parents and teachers. This paper highlights the work of the Centre, particularly in relation to nurturing and developing interest in the sciences at an early age
This paper deals with the main aspects of the work carried out by the Center for Talented Youth Spain since its founding. The educational model applied here is based on the ‘Study of mathematically precocious youth’, developed by Julian Stanley in the early seventies and currently the inspiration behind all the centers belonging to Center for Talented Youth International. We provide data from the SCAT (‘School and college ability test’) test, validated in Spain by the first author, which is used to identify students with exceptional verbal or mathematical ability. The results obtained are analyzed in the light of theoretical models, highlighting the similarities between the results obtained and those in the USA. Moreover, we explore data on course development and student assessment of courses. Finally, we explore the future prospects for the Center and of highly able students in Spain.
This article compares the summer schools run by the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth (NAGTY) in England with those in the USA, run by the Centre for Talented Youth (CTY). When the NAGTY summer schools started they were based on the CTY model, but the programme has evolved over the last 3 years of operation. The article looks at basic design, the courses, students, summer school sites and issues of pedagogy. There is also an extensive section sharing evaluation data about the NAGTY programme in 2004. The overwhelming view expressed in the article is of two highly successful programmes, highly thought of by students and evaluators. As students who attended both have commented, the summer schools have similarities and differences, but are of high quality. Their experiences at the summer schools are life changing for the students. They emerge from the experience much more self-directed and with greater aspirations and expectations. NAGTY and CTY have some interesting plans to further develop the summer school model. With growing numbers of other countries developing similar programmes, the future is exciting. With continued collaboration all can gain from each other and build on the existing high quality experiences.
“What has been done, what has yet to be done”, 2005b [ending editorial]
This study tracks intellectually precocious youths (top 1%) over 20 years. Phase 1 (n = 1,243 boys, 732 girls) examines the significance of age 13 ability differences within the top 1% for predicting doctorates, income, patents, and tenure at U.S. universities ranked within the top 50. Phase 2 (n = 323 men, 188 women) evaluates the robustness of discriminant functions developed earlier, based on age-13 ability and preference assessments and calibrated with age-23 educational criteria but extended here to predict occupational group membership at age 33. Positive findings on above-level assessment with the Scholastic Aptitude Test and conventional preference inventories in educational settings generalize to occupational settings. Precocious manifestations of abilities foreshadow the emergence of exceptional achievement and creativity in the world of work; when paired with preferences, they also predict the qualitative nature of these accomplishments.
“In Appreciation: Julian Stanley”, The Observer: obituaries for Julian C. Stanley from David Lubinski (“A Kind and Compassionate Intellectual Giant”), Nicholas Colangelo (“Tribute to Julian”), Nancy M. Robinson (“Forever Improving”), Arthur R. Jensen (“Stanley and Terman: Co-stars in Research on the Gifted”), and Camilla Persson Benbow (“A Powerful American Intellect”).
This review provides an account of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) after 35 years of longitudinal research. Findings from recent 20-year follow-ups from three cohorts, plus 5- or 10-year findings from all five SMPY cohorts (totaling more than 5,000 participants), are presented.
SMPY has devoted particular attention to uncovering personal antecedents necessary for the development of exceptional math-science careers and to developing educational interventions to facilitate learning among intellectually precocious youth. Along with mathematical gifts, high levels of spatial ability, investigative interests, and theoretical values form a particularly promising aptitude complex indicative of potential for developing scientific expertise and of sustained commitment to scientific pursuits. Special educational opportunities, however, can markedly enhance the development of talent. Moreover, extraordinary scientific accomplishments require extraordinary commitment both in and outside of school.
The theory of work adjustment (TWA) is useful in conceptualizing talent identification and development and bridging interconnections among educational, counseling, and industrial psychology. The lens of TWA can clarify how some sex differences emerge in educational settings and the world of work. For example, in the SMPY cohorts, although more mathematically precocious males than females entered math-science careers, this does not necessarily imply a loss of talent because the women secured similar proportions of advanced degrees and high-level careers in areas more correspondent with the multidimensionality of their ability-preference pattern (eg. administration, law, medicine, and the social sciences). By their mid-30s, the men and women appeared to be happy with their life choices and viewed themselves as equally successful (and objective measures support these subjective impressions). Given the ever-increasing importance of quantitative and scientific reasoning skills in modern cultures, when mathematically gifted individuals choose to pursue careers outside engineering and the physical sciences, it should be seen as a contribution to society, not a loss of talent.
Talent-search participants (286 males, 94 females) scoring in the top 0.01% on cognitive-ability measures were identified before age 13 and tracked over 20 years. Their creative, occupational, and life accomplishments are compared with those of graduate students (299 males, 287 females) enrolled in top-ranked U.S. mathematics, engineering, and physical science programs in 1992 and tracked over 10 years. By their mid-30s, the two groups achieved comparable and exceptional success (eg. securing top tenure-track positions) and reported high and commensurate career and life satisfaction. College entrance exams administered to intellectually precocious youth uncover extraordinary potential for careers requiring creativity and scientific and technological innovation in the information age.
[See also “Invisible Geniuses: Could the Knowledge Frontier Advance Faster?”, 2018, which finds a similar gradient within highly-mathematically-talented IMO competitors: gold medalists have 50x the odds of winning a Fields Medal than graduates of top-10 US math programs. 2019 examines a single Hungarian IMO team as a case-study.]
If the academic needs of the most profoundly gifted students can be met through the use of existing educational practices, specialists in gifted education can assume that the educational needs of less able, but still academically talented, students can also be met by using some combination of these strategies as well. This paper illustrates the feasibility and effectiveness of utilizing an individualized educational approach with gifted students by highlighting the unique educational paths taken by two of the very ablest math prodigies identified by Dr. Julian Stanley through the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) since its founding in 1971. Interviews with Dr. Terence (“Terry”) Tao and Dr. Lenhard (“Lenny”) Ng, now both highly successful mathematicians, are presented in their entirety, demonstrating that even among the very ablest, strategies can be tailored effectively to the characteristics of each student through a combination of creative planning and the cooperation of parents, educators, and mentors.
“Counseling highly gifted students to utilize supplemental educational opportunities: Using the SET program as a model”, 2007, in Serving gifted learners beyond the traditional classroom ed VanTassel-2007.
Amid ongoing public speculation about the reasons for sex differences in careers in science and mathematics, we present a consensus statement that is based on the best available scientific evidence. Sex differences in science and math achievement and ability are smaller for the mid-range of the abilities distribution than they are for those with the highest levels of achievement and ability. Males are more variable on most measures of quantitative and visuospatial ability, which necessarily results in more males at both high- and low-ability extremes; the reasons why males are often more variable remain elusive. Successful careers in math and science require many types of cognitive abilities. Females tend to excel in verbal abilities, with large differences between females and males found when assessments include writing samples. High-level achievement in science and math requires the ability to communicate effectively and comprehend abstract ideas, so the female advantage in writing should be helpful in all academic domains. Males outperform females on most measures of visuospatial abilities, which have been implicated as contributing to sex differences on standardized exams in mathematics and science. An evolutionary account of sex differences in mathematics and science supports the conclusion that, although sex differences in math and science performance have not directly evolved, they could be indirectly related to differences in interests and specific brain and cognitive systems. We review the brain basis for sex differences in science and mathematics, describe consistent effects, and identify numerous possible correlates. Experience alters brain structures and functioning, so causal statements about brain differences and success in math and science are circular. A wide range of sociocultural forces contribute to sex differences in mathematics and science achievement and ability—including the effects of family, neighborhood, peer, and school influences; training and experience; and cultural practices. We conclude that early experience, biological factors, educational policy, and cultural context affect the number of women and men who pursue advanced study in science and math and that these effects add and interact in complex ways. There are no single or simple answers to the complex questions about sex differences in science and mathematics.
“Sex Differences in Personal Attributes for the Development of Scientific Expertise”, 2007, in Why aren’t more women in science?: Top researchers debate the evidence, 2007:
Society is becoming increasingly scientific, technological, and knowledge-based, depending on the utilization and maximization of human talent and potential (Friedman, 2005). A nation’s strength, both economically and civically, is now linked to what it can call forth from the minds of its citizens. Consequently, much attention is being focused on strategies for increasing the number of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals produced in the United States and possible untapped pools of talent. For policies to be effective, they need to build on knowledge about what it takes to become excellent in STEM areas. Here, we review a series of known antecedents to achieving excellence in and commitment to math and science domains. Particular focus is on the well-documented sex differences on these attributes and the implications for male versus female representation in STEM disciplines. We do not focus on the educational experiences and opportunities, such as appropriate developmental placement (Benbow & Stanley, 1996; Bleske-Rechek, Lubinski, & Benbow, 2004; Colangelo, Assouline, & Gross, 2004; Cronbach, 1996; Lubinski & Benbow, 2000; Stanley, 2000) or involvement in research (Lubinski, Benbow, Shea, Eftekhari-Sanjani, & Halvorson, 2001), which are important for developing talent in STEM areas; rather, we concentrate on the personal attributes that predispose individuals to pursue and achieve highly in STEM careers (Lubinski & Benbow, 1992; Lubinski, Benbow, Webb, & Bleske-Rechek, 2006; Wai, Lubinski, & Benbow, 2005). This essay is also not about enhancing the scientific literacy of the general U.S. population. That, although critically important, is a different proposition from producing outstanding STEM professionals, the topic of this essay. Through our Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY), we have specialized in the latter (Benbow, Lubinski, Shea, & Eftekhari-Sanjani, 2000; Lubinski & Benbow, 2000, 2001; Lubinski, Benbow, et al 2001; et al 2006; et al 2005; Webb, Lubinski, & Benbow, 2002) and draw on that work for this review. Focusing on the talented, as SMPY does, is appropriate, given that most STEM professionals come from those in the top 10% in ability (Hedges & Nowell, 1995).
…Recently, empirical findings have shown that individual differences within the top 1% of ability predict differences in occupational performance and creativity: More ability increases the likelihood of accomplishments such as earning a doctorate, earning tenure at a top-50 U.S. university, earning a high income, and securing a patent (Lubinski, Benbow, Webb, & Bleske-Rechek, 2006; Wai, Lubinski, & Benbow, 2005). Most normative assessments, however, are unable to differentiate the able from the exceptionally able, because both groups tend to pile up at the ceiling of conventional indicators such as college entrance exams. The lack of variation at the upper end constrains the covariation between these measures and subsequent accomplishments. When college entrance exams are administered to the intellectually precocious before age 13, however, these youth generate score distributions like those of typical college-going 12th graders, and the able and exceptionally able are readily distinguished (Lubinski & Benbow, 2006). When these youth are tracked over multiple decades, the psychological import of individual differences within the top 1%, which covers more than one third of the ability range, becomes open to evaluation. For example, IQs in the top 1% begin at approximately 137 and extend beyond 200. But in this case, too, outcome criteria with high ceilings are required to appraise the validity of these early assessments longitudinally (and follow-up intervals must be sufficiently long to allow for the development of the expertise needed for creative accomplishments).
In the study reported here, we tested the hypothesis that among intellectually precocious youth within the top 1% of ability, the pattern of exceptional mathematical and verbal reasoning abilities, as assessed at age 12, differentially predict creative achievements in the humanities versus STEM domains 25 years later.
A sample of 2,409 intellectually talented adolescents (top 1%) who were assessed on the SAT by age 13 was tracked longitudinally for more than 25 years. Their creative accomplishments, with particular emphasis on literary achievement and scientific-technical innovation, were examined as a function of ability level (sum of math and verbal SAT scores) and tilt (math SAT score minus verbal SAT score). Results showed that distinct ability patterns uncovered by age 13 portend contrasting forms of creative expression by middle age. Whereas ability level contributes significantly to creative accomplishments, ability tilt is critical for predicting the specific domain in which they occur (eg. securing a tenure-track position in the humanities vs. science, technology, engineering, or mathematics; publishing a novel vs. securing a patent).
A sample of 1,586 intellectually talented adolescents (top 1%) were assessed on the math portion of the SAT by age 13 and tracked for more than 25 years. Patents and scientific publications were used as criteria for scientific and technological accomplishment. Participants were categorized according to whether their terminal degree was a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree, and within these degree groupings, the proportion of participants with at least one patent or scientific publication in adulthood increased as a function of this early SAT assessment. Information about individual differences in cognitive ability (even when measured in early adolescence) can predict differential creative potential in science and technology within populations that have advanced educational degrees.
Typical standardized achievement tests cannot provide accurate information about gifted students’ abilities because they are not challenging enough for such students. Talent searches solve this problem through above-level testing—using tests designed for older students to raise the ceiling for younger, gifted students. Currently, talent search programs serve gifted students from grades 2 through 8 throughout the mainland United States and in several foreign countries. Extensive research demonstrates that above-level test scores differentiate among levels of giftedness and have important implications for educational planning. Students with high scores learn advanced material rapidly and well and thrive in accelerated learning settings. Therefore, talent searches have followed up on testing with educational programs, many of which focus on acceleration. Decades of research have documented both academic and psychosocial benefits to participants. Perhaps the greatest challenge ahead of the talent searches is that of facilitating the appropriate education of gifted students in the school setting.
Students identified by talent search programs were studied to determine whether spatial ability could uncover math-science promise. In Phase 1, interests and values of intellectually talented adolescents (617 boys, 443 girls) were compared with those of top math-science graduate students (368 men, 346 women) as a function of their standing on spatial visualization to assess their potential fit with math-science careers. In Phase 2, 5-year longitudinal analyses revealed that spatial ability coalesces with a constellation of personal preferences indicative of fit for pursuing scientific careers and adds incremental validity beyond preferences in predicting math-science criteria. In Phase 3, data from participants with Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores were analyzed longitudinally, and a salient math-science constellation again emerged (with which spatial ability and SAT-Math were consistently positively correlated and SAT-Verbal was negatively correlated). Results across the 3 phases triangulate to suggest that adding spatial ability to talent search identification procedures (currently restricted to mathematical and verbal ability) could uncover a neglected pool of math-science talent and holds promise for refining our understanding of intellectually talented youth.
Success in mathematics is widely regarded as an important gate keeper for many courses and occupations. But does success in mathematics at school influence educational and career paths? Do talented mathematics students have distinctive working habits, are they attracted to a mathematics intensive field or more likely to turn to other areas? These and related issues are explored through information gained from students recognized at secondary school as high achievers in mathematics. [The Australian Mathematics Competition (AMC)]
Review of Previous Research: The development of exceptionally talented individuals, including high achievers in mathematics, has attracted sustained and diverse research attention. The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth [SMPY] founded by Julian Stanley in 1971 has spawned a huge amount of literature, ranging from publications in which the rationale for the program and early findings pertaining to SMPY participants were described (eg. Stanley, Keating, & Fox, 1974) to more recent documentation of longer term personal growth, educational and vocational adult achievements. As noted by Lubinski, Benbow, Webb, and Bleske-Rechek (2006) many of these latter publications focus on students who “before the age 13, … scored within the top 0.01 % for their age on either SAT mathematical reasoning ability (SAT-M ≥ 700) or SAT verbal reasoning ability (SAT-V ≥ 630)” (p. 194). Others to explore the development and working preferences of highly able mathematics.
“Extending Sandra Scarr’s Ideas about Development to the Longitudinal Study of Intellectually Precocious Youth”, Camilla P. Benbow & David 2009:
Sandra Scarr has devoted her career to bringing the science of human individuality to bear on lifespan developmental issues (Scarr, 1992, 1996; Scarr & McCartney, 1983). Shining a light on the science of human individuality and the differential outcomes revealed by the study of human psychological diversity has not always been easy (Scarr, 1992, 1998), but it has almost always been useful for both applied and basic psychological science (Lubinski, 1996, 2000; Underwood, 1975), as well as for developing meaningful public policies focused on changing human behavior (Scarr, 1996). Still, the psychological import of valid measures of human individuality and the scientific knowledge gleaned by assessments thereof are routinely denied or neglected.
In this chapter, our objectives are twofold. First, we will document the extent to which findings about human individuality are frequently dismissed or ignored in the social sciences, and how this hobbles the identification and development of truly exceptional human capital and modeling extraordinary human accomplishment. Second, we outline the usefulness of Scarr’s ideas about niche building and selection (Scarr, 1996; Scarr & McCartney, 1983), and how the study of environments from a psychological perspective informs the creation of more optimal learning opportunities for students with exceptional abilities (Benbow & Lubinski, 1996; Benbow & Stanley, 1983; Benbow & Stanley, 1996; Stanley, 2000). Doing so simultaneously affords insight into their lifelong learning.
The Johns Hopkins Talent Search model, which was pioneered in the early 1970s by Professor Julian Stanley, has now spread to countries around the world. Also known as the MVT:D4 model of talent development, the power and efficacy of this approach for identifying and serving students with above-grade-level mathematical and/or verbal reasoning abilities have been well validated. Researchers at Johns Hopkins, as well as at other universities who use this model, have contributed greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the needs of gifted students. They have also developed and evaluated numerous strategies for meeting the educational needs of students with advanced abilities. This chapter summarizes the history of the Talent Search, its principles and practices, and the research that has been done on Talent Search students.
“Work Preferences, Life Values, and Personal Views of Top Math / Science Graduate Students and the Profoundly Gifted: Developmental Changes and Gender Differences During Emerging Adulthood and Parenthood”, et al 2009:
Work preferences, life values, and personal views of top math/science graduate students (275 men, 255 women) were assessed at ages 25 and 35 years. In Study 1, analyses of work preferences revealed developmental changes and gender differences in priorities: Some gender differences increased over time and increased more among parents than among childless participants, seemingly because the mothers’ priorities changed. In Study 2, gender differences in the graduate students’ life values and personal views at age 35 were compared with those of profoundly gifted participants (top 1 in 10,000, identified by age 13 and tracked for 20 years: 265 men, 84 women). Again, gender differences were larger among parents. Across both cohorts, men appeared to assume a more agentic, career-focused perspective than women did, placing more importance on creating high-impact products, receiving compensation, taking risks, and gaining recognition as the best in their fields. Women appeared to favor a more communal, holistic perspective, emphasizing community, family, friendships, and less time devoted to career. Gender differences in life priorities, which intensify during parenthood, anticipated differential male-female representation in high-level and time-intensive careers, even among talented men and women with similar profiles of abilities, vocational interests, and educational experiences.
This commentary touches on practical, public policy, and social science domains informed by cognitive epidemiology while pulling together common themes running through this important special issue. As is made clear in the contributions assembled here, and others (Deary, Whalley, & Starr, 2009; Gottfredson, 2004; Lubinski & Humphreys, 1992, 1997), social scientists and practitioners cannot afford to neglect cognitive ability when modeling epidemiological and health care phenomena. However, given the dominant concern about the confounding of general cognitive ability (GCA) and socioeconomic status (SES), and the extent to which SES is frequently seen as the primary cause of health disparities (while GCA is neglected as a possible in fluence in epidemiology and health psychology), some methodological applications for untangling the relative influences of GCA and SES are reviewed. In addition, cognitive epidemiology is placed in a broader context: Just as cognitive epidemiology facilitates an understanding of pathology (“at risk” populations, and ways to attenuate undesirable personal and social conditions), it may also enrich our understanding of optimal functioning (“at promise” populations, and ways to identify and nurture the human and social capital needed to develop innovations for saving lives, economies, and perhaps even our planet). Finally, while GCA is likely the most important dimension in the study of individual differences for modeling healthy behaviors and outcomes, other relatively independent dimensions of psychological diversity do add value (Krueger, Caspi, & Moffitt, 2000). For example, compliance has at least two psychological components: a “can do” competency component (ability) and a “will do” motivational component (conscientiousness). Ultimately, developing and modeling healthy behaviors, interpersonal environments, and medical maladies are best accomplished by teaming multiple dimensions of human individuality.
Characterizing the outcomes related to the phenotype of exceptional cognitive abilities has been feasible in recent years due to the availability of large samples of intellectually precocious adolescents identified by modern talent searches that have been followed-up longitudinally over multiple decades. The level and pattern of cognitive abilities, even among participants within the top 1% of general intellectual ability, are related to differential developmental trajectories and important life accomplishments: The likelihood of earning a doctorate, earning exceptional compensation, publishing novels, securing patents, and earning tenure at a top university (and the academic disciplines within which tenure is most likely to occur) all vary as a function of individual differences in cognitive abilities assessed decades earlier. Individual differences that distinguish the able (top 1 in 100) from the exceptionally able (top 1 in 10,000) during early adolescence matter in life, and, given the heritability of general intelligence, they suggest that understanding the genetic and environmental origins of exceptional abilities should be a high priority for behavior genetic research, especially because the results for extreme groups could differ from the rest of the population. In addition to enhancing our understanding of the etiology of general intelligence at the extreme, such inquiry may also reveal fundamental determinants of specific abilities, like mathematical versus verbal reasoning, and the distinctive phenotypes that contrasting ability patterns are most likely to eventuate in at extraordinary levels.
The importance of spatial ability in educational pursuits and the world of work was examined, with particular attention devoted to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) domains. Participants were drawn from a stratified random sample of U.S. high schools (Grades 9–12, n = 400,000) and were tracked for 11+ years; their longitudinal findings were aligned with pre-1957 findings and with contemporary data from the Graduate Record Examination [GRE] and the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth [SMPY]. For decades, spatial ability assessed during adolescence has surfaced as a salient psychological attribute among those adolescents who subsequently go on to achieve advanced educational credentials and occupations in STEM. Results solidify the generalization that spatial ability plays a critical role in developing expertise in STEM and suggest, among other things, that including spatial ability in modern talent searches would identify many adolescents with potential for STEM who are currently being missed.
“Recognizing Spatial Intelligence: Our schools, and our society, must do more to recognize spatial reasoning, a key kind of intelligence”, et al 2009 ( Scientific American):
…Recent research on cognitive abilities is reinforcing what some psychologists suggested decades ago: spatial ability, also known as spatial visualization, plays a critical role in engineering and scientific disciplines. Yet more verbally-loaded IQ tests, as well as many popular standardized tests used today, do not adequately measure this trait, especially in those who are most gifted with it.
…A recent review, published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, analyzed data from two large longitudinal studies. Duke University’s Jonathan Wai worked with two of us (Lubinski and Benbow) and showed how neglecting spatial abilities could have widespread consequences. In both studies, participants’ spatial abilities, along with many others, were measured in adolescence. The participants with relatively strong spatial abilities tended to gravitate towards, and excel in, scientific and technical fields such as the physical sciences, engineering, mathematics, and computer science. Surprisingly, this was after accounting for quantitative and verbal abilities, which have long been known to be predictive of educational and occupational outcomes. In a time when educators and policy-makers are under pressure to increase the number students entering these fields, incorporating knowledge of spatial ability into current practices in education and talent searches may be the key to improving such efforts.
…Due to the neglect of spatial ability in school curricula, traditional standardized assessments, and in national talent searches, those with relative spatial strengths across the entire range of ability constitute an under-served population with potential to bolster to the current scientific and technical workforce. Alvarez and Shockley found their way despite being missed by the Terman search, and each had considerable impact on technology in the last century. But how many more Alvarezes and Shockleys have we missed? Given the potential of scientific innovations to improve almost all aspects of modern life, missing just one is probably one too many.
“Aligning Potential and Passion for Promise: A Model for Educating Intellectually Talented Youth”, et al 2009b (in ed et al 2009, Systems and Models for Developing Programs for the Gifted and Talented (Second Edition)):
For effective interventions and programs for the intellectually talented to be optimally developed and implemented, educators first need to realize what is important to understand for all students, namely, the nature and scope of their psychological diversity-or, their Individuality, the title of E. L. Thorndike’s (1911) landmark essay, from which an appreciation of individual differences was ushered into American psychology (Dawis, 1992). In essence, program design should align opportunities to learn with each student’s individual characteristics (Lubinski & Benbow, 2000, 2006). Or, stated another way, it should merge an individual’s potential (abilities) and passion (preferences) with educational experiences tailored to each student’s unique promise (readiness to learn). Personal promise for differential development emanating from constellations of contrasting ability/preference patterns is expressed in synthetic concepts such as “trait clusters” (Ackerman, 1996), “aptitude complexes” (Corno, et al 2002; Snow, 1991), and “taxons” (Dawis & Lofquist, 1984). The basic idea is that knowing what a person can do (abilities or capabilities) is only one part of the equation; another important component is knowing what he/she will do or would like to do (viz., interests, needs, and values)…The longitudinal data we will draw on to support our model stems primarily from the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY).
“The effects of acceleration on high-ability learners: A meta-analysis”, Steenbergen-2009 (thesis):
Current empirical research findings about the effects of acceleration on high-ability learners’ academic achievement and social-emotional development were synthesized using meta-analytic techniques. A total of 38 primary studies conducted between 1984 and 2008 were included. The included studies were closely examined to ensure that accelerated high-ability learners were compared with appropriate comparison groups. Hedges’s g was used as the primary effect size index. Analyses were performed using random effects models, which assume that the effects vary across different contexts, intervention conditions, and/or subjects. The overall effects of acceleration were analyzed first. Then, the results were broken down by developmental levels (P-12 and post-secondary) and comparison groups (whether accelerants were compared with same age, older age, or mixed-age peers). In addition, analyses were conducted to identify potential moderators of the effects. Results were interpreted in terms of practical significance and were also compared with those from relevant previous meta-analytic studies.
In terms of academic achievement effects, the findings from this meta-analysis are consistent with the conclusions from previous meta-analytic studies, suggesting that acceleration had a positive impact on high-ability learners. When the academic achievement effects were sorted by developmental levels, positive effects were found at both levels. The sub-group of ‘with same age peers’ consistently showed a positive effect on academic achievement that were higher than the other subgroups, suggesting that the effects of acceleration may be more discernible when accelerated high-ability learners are compared with their non-accelerated same age peers. Furthermore, acceleration duration and statistical analysis were identified as moderators of academic achievement effects.
The effects of acceleration on high-ability learners’ social-emotional development appeared to be slightly positive, although the positive effect was not as strong as for academic achievement. However, compared to prior meta-analytic studies, a more positive impression of the effects of acceleration on social-emotional development was found.
“The Effects of Acceleration on High-Ability Learners: A Meta-Analysis”, Steenbergen-2010 (paper version of Steenbergen-2009 thesis):
Current empirical research about the effects of acceleration on high-ability learners’ academic achievement and social- emotional development were synthesized using meta-analytic techniques. A total of 38 primary studies conducted between 1984 and 2008 were included. The results were broken down by developmental level (P-12 and post-secondary) and comparison group (whether the accelerants were compared with same-age, older, or mixed-age peers). The findings are consistent with the conclusions from previous meta-analytic studies, suggesting that acceleration had a positive impact on high-ability learners’ academic achievement (g = 0.180, 95% CI = -0.072, 0.431, under a random-effects model). In addition, the social-emotional development effects appeared to be slightly positive (g = 0.076, 95% CI = -0.025, 0.176, under a random-effects model), although not as strong as for academic achievement. No strong evidence regarding the moderators of the effects was found.
Putting the Research to Use: The findings of this meta-analysis suggest that acceleration influences high-ability learners in positive ways, especially on academic achievement. An important message for educators, parents and students is that high-ability learners can benefit from acceleration both in the short-term and in the long run. Specifically, accelerated students tend to outperform students who are not accelerated in their performance on standardized achievement tests, college grades, degrees obtained, status of universities or colleges attended, and career status. Accelerants equal or surpass non-accelerants in self-concept, self-esteem, self-confidence, social relationships, participation in extracurricular activities, and life satisfaction. It is informative for policy-makers that acceleration programs, especially university-based early college entrance programs, have been frequently assessed and appear to be the most effective. In summary, acceleration can be effective both in K-12 education and in college. Parents are encouraged to consider acceleration for their academically talented children and educators are encouraged to make acceleration options available.
Spatial ability is a powerful systematic source of individual differences that has been neglected in complex learning and work settings; it has also been neglected in modeling the development of expertise and creative accomplishments. Nevertheless, over 50 years of longitudinal research documents the important role that spatial ability plays in educational and occupational settings wherein sophisticated reasoning with figures, patterns, and shapes is essential. Given the contemporary push for developing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) talent in the information age, an opportunity is available to highlight the psychological significance of spatial ability. Doing so is likely to inform research on aptitude-by-treatment interactions and Underwood’s (1975) idea to utilize individual differences as a crucible for theory construction. Incorporating spatial ability in talent identification procedures for advanced learning opportunities uncovers an under-utilized pool of talent for meeting the complex needs of an ever-growing technological world; furthermore, selecting students for advanced learning opportunities in STEM without considering spatial ability might be iatrogenic.
“Beyond the threshold hypothesis: Even among the gifted and top math / science graduate students, cognitive abilities, vocational interests, and lifestyle preferences matter for career choice, performance, and persistence”, et al 2010:
The assertion that ability differences no longer matter beyond a certain threshold is inaccurate. Among young adolescents in the top 1% of quantitative reasoning ability, individual differences in general cognitive ability level and in specific cognitive ability pattern (that is, the relationships among an individual’s math, verbal, and spatial abilities) lead to differences in educational, occupational, and creative outcomes decades later. Whereas ability level predicts the level of achievement, ability pattern predicts the realm of achievement. Adding information on vocational interests refines prediction of educational and career choices. Finally, lifestyle preferences relevant to career choice, performance, and persistence often change between ages 25 and 35. This change results in sex differences in preferences, which likely have relevance for understanding the underrepresentation of women in careers that demand more than full-time (40 hours per week) commitment.
Two studies examined the relationship between precollegiate advanced/enriched educational experiences and adult accomplishments in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). In Study 1, 1,467 13-year-olds were identified as mathematically talented on the basis of scores ≥ 500 (top 0.5%) on the math section of the Scholastic Assessment Test; subsequently, their developmental trajectories were studied over 25 years. Particular attention was paid to high-level STEM accomplishments with low base rates in the general population (STEM PhDs, STEM publications, STEM tenure, STEM patents, and STEM occupations). Study 2 retrospectively profiled the adolescent advanced/enriched educational experiences of 714 top STEM graduate students (mean age = 25), and related these experiences to their STEM accomplishments up to age 35. In both longitudinal studies, those with notable STEM accomplishments manifested past histories involving a richer density of advanced precollegiate educational opportunities in STEM (a higher “STEM dose”) than less highly achieving members of their respective cohorts. While both studies are quasi-experimental, they suggest that for mathematically talented and academically motivated young adolescents, STEM accomplishments are facilitated by a rich mix of precollegiate STEM educational opportunities that are designed to be intellectually challenging, even for students at precocious developmental levels. These opportunities appear to be uniformly important for both sexes.
Human Intelligence, 2011 (ISBN 978-0-521-88162-3). Textbook: chapter 10, “What Use Is Intelligence?” (reviews SMPY along with other relevant demonstrations of predictive validity of IQ like Terman, Project 100,000, and the ASVAB Misnorming)
This paper reviews the literature on the Talent Search identification model that was developed by Julian Stanley as the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth at Johns Hopkins in the 1970s and implemented by the Center for Talented Youth from the early 1980s through to the present. Other universities in the United States have also adopted this model for talent identification and development, and it has been adapted for use in other countries. To date, more than 3.5 million students have participated in Talent Search assessments, and hundreds of thousands of students have enrolled in specialized academic programs for able learners. Here we analyze the model’s founding principles, its universal characteristics, and its application and functioning in Spain. We conclude with some reflections about what we have learned and what could be done worldwide.
This study has two main objectives. First one to carry out a conceptual review of the literature together with the work done in Spain by the authors about the identification model known in the international literature as Talent Search model or concept. This model created by J. C. Stanley in the early 70s has led to a huge development in the identification of verbal and mathematical talent of young people, in order to provide the appropriate educational provision their ability needs. Far from being an American model, in this paper we show, and this is the second objective, through data from several years of implementation of the model in Spain, that it can be considered a universal model, based among others in the principle of above or out of level measurement. Using this above level measurement, we can adequately discriminate the diverse ability of the students tested, that when measured alone with in level testing, is masked due to lack difficulty and discrimination of the tests used. Some suggestions for large-scale use of these procedures in schools are provided.
Calls to strengthen education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are underscored by employment trends and the importance of STEM innovation for the economy. The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) has been tracking over 5,000 talented individuals longitudinally for 40 years, throwing light on critical questions in talent identification and development in STEM. SMPY includes individuals identified in 7th/8th grade as in the top 1% or higher in mathematical or verbal ability, and a comparison group identified as top STEM graduate students. SMPY findings cover the educational and occupational attainments of participants, including a large percentage earning a degree or pursuing high powered careers in STEM; gender differences; the extent to which high school experiences, abilities, and interests predict later outcomes; and subsequent creative production. Mathematical reasoning ability as measured by standardized tests is a reliable predictor for later math/science engagement and achievement in adulthood, and spatial ability adds predictive value. Exposure to appropriate educational opportunities do correlate with career achievement and creative production. SMPY researchers have concluded that potential future STEM innovators can be identified early and that educational interventions can increase their chances of success.
For over 60 years, longitudinal research on tens of thousands of high ability and intellectually precocious youth has consistently revealed the importance of spatial ability for hands-on creative accomplishments and the development of expertise in science, technology, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) disciplines. Yet, individual differences in spatial ability are seldom assessed for educational counseling and selection. Students especially talented in spatial visualization relative to their status on mathematical and verbal reasoning are particularly likely to be underserved by our educational institutions. Evidence for the importance of assessing spatial ability is reviewed and ways to utilize information about individual differences in this attribute in learning and work settings are offered. The literature reviewed stresses the importance of spatial ability in real-world settings and constitutes a rare instance in the social sciences where more research is not needed. What is needed is the incorporation of spatial ability into talent identification procedures and research on curriculum development and training, along with other cognitive abilities harboring differential—and incremental—validity for socially valued outcomes beyond IQ (or, g, general intelligence).
“Who rises to the top? Early indicators”, et al 2013a:
Youth identified before age 13 (n = 320) as having profound mathematical or verbal reasoning abilities (top 1 in 10,000) were tracked for nearly three decades. Their awards and creative accomplishments by age 38, in combination with specific details about their occupational responsibilities, illuminate the magnitude of their contribution and professional stature. Many have been entrusted with obligations and resources for making critical decisions about individual and organizational well-being. Their leadership positions in business, health care, law, the professoriate, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) suggest that many are outstanding creators of modern culture, constituting a precious human-capital resource. Identifying truly profound human potential, and forecasting differential development within such populations, requires assessing multiple cognitive abilities and using atypical measurement procedures. This study illustrates how ultimate criteria may be aggregated and longitudinally sequenced to validate such measures.
In the late 1970s, 563 intellectually talented 13-year-olds (identified by the SAT as in the top 0.5% of ability) were assessed on spatial ability. More than 30 years later, the present study evaluated whether spatial ability provided incremental validity (beyond the SAT’s mathematical and verbal reasoning subtests) for differentially predicting which of these individuals had patents and three classes of refereed publications. A two-step discriminant-function analysis revealed that the SAT subtests jointly accounted for 10.8% of the variance among these outcomes (p < 0.01); when spatial ability was added, an additional 7.6% was accounted for—a statistically significant increase (p < 0.01). The findings indicate that spatial ability has a unique role in the development of creativity, beyond the roles played by the abilities traditionally measured in educational selection, counseling, and industrial-organizational psychology. Spatial ability plays a key and unique role in structuring many important psychological phenomena and should be examined more broadly across the applied and basic psychological sciences.
Using data from a 40-year longitudinal study, the authors examined 3 related hypotheses about the effects of grade skipping on future educational and occupational outcomes in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). From a combined sample of 3,467 mathematically precocious students (top 1%), a combination of exact and propensity score matching was used to create balanced comparison groups of 363 grade skippers and 657 matched controls. Results suggest that grade skippers (a) were more likely to pursue advanced degrees in STEM and author peer-reviewed publications in STEM, (b) earned their degrees and authored their 1st publication earlier, and (c) accrued more total citations and highly cited publications by age 50 years. These patterns were consistent among male participants but less so among female participants (who had a greater tendency to pursue advanced degrees in medicine or law). Findings suggest that grade skipping may enhance STEM accomplishments among the mathematically talented
The US adolescents who signed up for the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) in the 1970s were the smartest of the smart, with mathematical and verbal-reasoning skills within the top 1% of the population. Now, researchers at BGI (formerly the Beijing Genomics Institute) in Shenzhen, China, the largest gene-sequencing facility in the world, are searching for the quirks of DNA that may contribute to such gifts. Plunging into an area that is littered with failures and riven with controversy, the researchers are scouring the genomes of 1,600 of these high-fliers in an ambitious project to find the first common genetic variants associated with human intelligence.
…After this, Plomin switched his strategy to focus on only the brightest minds. He collected DNA samples from 2,000 of the SMPY’s recruits, whose average IQ is above 150—surpassing the average of Nobel laureates and putting them three standard deviations above the general population’s mean score of 100. “In the earlier study, I bet we didn’t have more than two or three people with an IQ that high,” says Plomin, who has been studying the heritability of intelligence since the 1970s.
…Then he [Steve Hsu] heard about Plomin’s sample. The two struck up a partnership: Plomin supplied DNA samples from 1,600 SMPY recruits, and Hsu added samples from more than 500 people recruited—albeit less selectively—through his website…
[The summary here seems to be incorrect. Plomin’s work here was ultimately published as et al 2016 (the BGI work remains unpublished, reportedly due to internal disarray); as mentioned previously, no special rare mutations conferring relatively large increases in intelligence were found, although of course the extreme/case-control design offers relatively high power for such a small n. et al 2016, however, is explicit about the high-IQ sample being from Duke TIP, despite the claim here that it was coming from SMPY.]
The importance of spatial ability for success in a variety of domains, particularly in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), is widely acknowledged. Yet, students with high spatial ability are rarely identified, as Talent Searches for academically talented students focus on identifying high mathematical and verbal abilities. Consequently, students with high spatial abilities who do not also have high math or verbal abilities may not qualify. In an effort to identify students with spatial talent, the Center for Talented Youth developed a Spatial Test Battery to supplement its mathematical and verbal Talent Searches. This article traces the development of the battery; describes its components, important psychometric properties, and continuing development; and encourages its use by researchers and educators interested in developing spatial talent.
“Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth”, 2014; entry in Encyclopedia of Special Education: A Reference for the Education of Children, Adolescents, and Adults with Disabilities and Other Exceptional Individuals (ISBN 9781118660584)
“Early entrance to college: Academic, social, and emotional considerations”, 2014 (from A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students, Volume 2, ed et al 2014):
As one of many accelerative options available today, early college entrance provides some young students who are ready for the demands of college early with the unique opportunity to move forward in their educational trajectories one, two, or even more years sooner than most of their age peers. Early college entrance has increased in popularity among high school students in search of greater challenge, as evidenced by the upsurge in early college entrance programs in the United States. This chapter provides an historical overview of early college entrance and describes the widely varying program models being implemented today. Research findings highlighting both academic and social/emotional outcomes of early entrants and the implications of this research for educators are presented
Two cohorts of intellectually talented 13-year-olds were identified in the 1970s (1972–1974 and 1976–1978) as being in the top 1% of mathematical reasoning ability (1,037 males, 613 females). About four decades later, data on their careers, accomplishments, psychological well-being, families, and life preferences and priorities were collected. Their accomplishments far exceeded base-rate expectations: Across the two cohorts, 4.1% had earned tenure at a major research university, 2.3% were top executives at “name brand” or Fortune 500 companies, and 2.4% were attorneys at major firms or organizations; participants had published 85 books and 7,572 refereed articles, secured 681 patents, and amassed $452.6$358.02014 million in grants. For both males and females, mathematical precocity early in life predicts later creative contributions and leadership in critical occupational roles. On average, males had incomes much greater than their spouses’, whereas females had incomes slightly lower than their spouses’. Salient sex differences that paralleled the differential career outcomes of the male and female participants were found in lifestyle preferences and priorities and in time allocation.
[discussion of SMPY and et al 2014, focusing on how the screening process still misses children and general neglect of gifted & talented education.]
“The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth at Maturity: Insights into Elements of Genius”, 2014 in The Wiley Handbook of Genius, ed 2014 (ISBN 9781118367377)4:
The Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) was founded in 1971 as a means of identifying and nurturing intellectually precocious young adolescents. SMPY’s oldest of five cohorts are now in their early 50s. This chapter reviews longitudinal findings based on over 5,000 participants SMPY is currently tracking to ascertain the many different ways in which intellectual precocity may unfold, whether educational interventions are helpful, and the personal characteristics of those who become eminent versus those who do not. A model of talent development is presented, which organizes critical cognitive, affective, and conative determinants of exceptional achievement. We describe these characteristics in terms of identifying populations at promise for making outstanding creative accomplishments, as we believe doing so affords insight into the development of performances approaching, if not denoting, “genius”.
Does cognitive ability matter in the development of expertise in educational and occupational domains? Study 1 reviewed prospective longitudinal data from the top 1% in ability within two cohorts of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY; Total N = 1975) and examined four cohorts of a stratified random sample of America’s population (Project Talent; Total N = 1536) to see whether ability differences at a younger age made a difference in the attainment of a higher percentage of educational degrees and specifically doctorates (eg. JDs, MDs, or PhDs) at a later age. Compared to the general population, the top 1% in ability earned a much higher percentage of educational degrees at each level. And even within the top 1% of ability, ability differences made a difference in obtaining a doctorate degree. Study 2 reviewed retrospective longitudinal data from five groups of America’s elite (Total N = 2254)—Fortune 500 CEOs, federal judges, billionaires, Senators, and members of the House of Representatives—to determine what percentage of each group was in the top 1% of general ability at a younger age. A large percentage of individuals within each of these areas of occupational expertise were found to be in the top 1% of ability. By combining multiple samples of both prospective and retrospective longitudinal data, cognitive ability was found to matter in the acquisition of educational and occupational expertise.
“Long-Term Effects of Educational Acceleration”, 2014b (from A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students, Volume 2; not to be confused with 2004b’s paper of the same title in the 2004 prequel book, A Nation Deceived):
Educational intervention comes in many forms. Educational acceleration is an important class of interventions that comprise the appropriate educational dose for an individual. Dosage implies that one specific intervention may not be as relevant as the right mix, number, and intensity of educational interventions for any given person. This chapter reviews findings from the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY), a longitudinal study of thousands of intellectually talented students followed for many decades to the present. The long-term educational-occupational impact and positive subjective impressions about educational acceleration from academically advanced participants reported in these studies supports the importance of educational acceleration and, more broadly, an appropriate educational dose. The longitudinal research findings reveal that an educational program designed to move students at a pace commensurate with their rate of learning is educationally appropriate and necessary. Exceptionally talented students benefit from accelerative learning opportunities, have few regrets about their acceleration, and demonstrate exceptional achievements. What matters for each student is a consistent and sufficient educational dose across a long span of time, what we think of as life-long learning, or learning at a pace and intensity that matches a student’s individual needs. All students deserve to learn something new each day, and if academically talented students desire to be accelerated and are ready for it, the long-term evidence clearly supports the intervention.
“The Julian C. Stanley Study of Exceptional Talent: A Personalized Approach to Meeting the Needs of High Ability Students”, 2015 (note: paper is in Spanish):
Typical school programs that are designed for average students, as well as programs for gifted students that do not address their unique characteristics, fail to meet the academic and personal needs of most advanced learners. In developing an appropriately challenging program to meet their individual needs, each student’s specific pattern of abilities, achievement levels, interests, motivation, and other personal traits should be considered, along with a wide a variety of educational strategies and programs in- and out-of-school. The level and pace of instruction should be adjusted as needed, students should have opportunities to probe topics of interest in depth, and provision should be made for them to interact with peers who share their interests and abilities. This personalized approach to meeting the academic and psychosocial needs of exceptionally advanced students has long been successfully employed by staff at the Study of Exceptional Talent (SET) at Johns Hopkins University, as well as its predecessor the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY). With a renewed interest today in personalized learning, there is an opportunity to institutionalize this approach more widely. However, students need information and recommendations from knowledgeable adults about programs that will develop their talents; schools must be flexible and willing to modify their curricula and to grant credit for work done outside of school; and financial barriers that might limit access to out-of-school programs need to be addressed.
In addition, informed decisions are often helped by assessment, especially above-grade-level assessments, that differentiate among gifted students, some of whom benefit from challenging grade level work while others need access to above-level content. This article describes SET’s approach to personalizing the educational experiences of the students with whom this program has worked in the hope that it can be replicated by others.
One hundred years of research (1916–2016) on intellectually precocious youth is reviewed, painting a portrait of an extraordinary source of human capital and the kinds of learning opportunities needed to facilitate exceptional accomplishments, life satisfaction, and positive growth. The focus is on those studies conducted on individuals within the top 1% in general or specific (mathematical, spatial, or verbal reasoning) abilities. Early insights into the giftedness phenomenon actually foretold what would be scientifically demonstrated 100 years later. Thus, evidence-based conceptualizations quickly moved from viewing intellectually precocious individuals as weak and emotionally liable to highly effective and resilient individuals. Like all groups, intellectually precocious students and adults have strengths and relative weaknesses; they also reveal vast differences in their passion for different pursuits and their drive to achieve. Because they do not possess multi-potentiality, we must take a multidimensional view of their individuality. When done, it predicts well long-term educational, occupational, and creative outcomes.
“How to Raise a Genius: Lessons from a 45-Year Study of Supersmart Children—A long-running investigation of exceptional children reveals what it takes to produce the scientists who will lead the 21st century”, 2016:
On a summer day in 1968, professor Julian Stanley met a brilliant but bored 12-year-old named Joseph Bates. The Baltimore student was so far ahead of his classmates in mathematics that his parents had arranged for him to take a computer-science course at Johns Hopkins University, where Stanley taught. Even that wasn’t enough. Having leapfrogged ahead of the adults in the class, the child kept himself busy by teaching the FORTRAN programming language to graduate students…Bates’s score was well above the threshold for admission to Johns Hopkins, and prompted Stanley to search for a local high school that would let the child take advanced mathematics and science classes. When that plan failed, Stanley convinced a dean at Johns Hopkins to let Bates, then 13, enrol as an undergraduate.
Stanley would affectionately refer to Bates as “student zero” of his Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY), which would transform how gifted children are identified and supported by the US education system. As the longest-running current longitudinal survey of intellectually talented children, SMPY has for 45 years tracked the careers and accomplishments of some 5,000 individuals, many of whom have gone on to become high-achieving scientists. The study’s ever-growing data set has generated more than 400 papers and several books, and provided key insights into how to spot and develop talent in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and beyond…
The educational, occupational, and creative accomplishments of the profoundly gifted participants (IQs > 160) in the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) are astounding, but are they representative of equally able 12-year-olds? Duke University’s Talent Identification Program (TIP) identified 259 young adolescents who were equally gifted. By age 40, their life accomplishments also were extraordinary: 37% had earned doctorates, 7.5% had achieved academic tenure (4.3% at research-intensive universities), and 9% held patents; many were high-level leaders in major organizations. As was the case for the SMPY sample before them, differential ability strengths predicted their contrasting and eventual developmental trajectories—even though essentially all participants possessed both mathematical and verbal reasoning abilities far superior to those of typical Ph.D. recipients. Individuals, even profoundly gifted ones, primarily do what they are best at. Differences in ability patterns, like differences in interests, guide development along different paths, but ability level, coupled with commitment, determines whether and the extent to which noteworthy accomplishments are reached if opportunity presents itself.
Although individual differences in intelligence (general cognitive ability) are highly heritable, molecular genetic analyses to date have had limited success in identifying specific loci responsible for its heritability. This study is the first to investigate exome variation in individuals of extremely high intelligence. Under the quantitative genetic model, sampling from the high extreme of the distribution should provide increased power to detect associations. We therefore performed a case-control association analysis with 1409 individuals drawn from the top 0.0003 (IQ >170) of the population distribution of intelligence and 3253 unselected population-based controls. Our analysis focused on putative functional exonic variants assayed on the Illumina HumanExome BeadChip. We did not observe any individual protein-altering variants that are reproducibly associated with extremely high intelligence and within the entire distribution of intelligence. Moreover, no significant associations were found for multiple rare alleles within individual genes. However, analyses using genome-wide similarity between unrelated individuals (genome-wide complex trait analysis) indicate that the genotyped functional protein-altering variation yields a heritability estimate of 17.4% (s.e. 1.7%) based on a liability model. In addition, investigation of nominally significant associations revealed fewer rare alleles associated with extremely high intelligence than would be expected under the null hypothesis. This observation is consistent with the hypothesis that rare functional alleles are more frequently detrimental than beneficial to intelligence.
…High-intelligence cases (HiQ): Individuals were recruited from the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP), a non-profit organisation established in 1980 and dedicated to identifying and fostering the development of academically gifted children35 (see Tip.duke.edu). Individuals were selected from the United States for participation in the HiQ study on the basis of performance on the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) or American College Test (ACT) taken at age 12 rather than the usual age of 18 years. A composite that aggregates verbal and mathematics SAT and ACT scores correlates >0.80 with intelligence tests and it is estimated that the TIP program recruits from the top 3% of the intelligence distribution.36
“Gifted Kids and High-Achievers Stay Fresh: Health Outcomes of Four SMPY Cohorts at Age 50”, et al 2017 (conference abstract)
Over a century of research has demonstrated that intelligence is associated with positive health outcomes (Terman, 1925, Mental and physical traits of a thousand gifted children). Nonetheless, some still doubt whether gifted children grow up to be (on average) healthy, well-adjusted adults (eg. Neihart, 1999). This study compares medical and psychological health outcomes of middle-aged adults from the general population (n = 3,652) to four SMPY cohorts. Cohort 1 (n = 1,159) score in the top 1% of ability and Cohort 2 (n = 491) score in the top 0.5% of ability. Four decades after identification, both cohorts were administered a comprehensive biographical survey, which included many health questions (Lubinski, Benbow, & Kell, 2014). Across 23 items, gifted males evinced more positive outcomes than males of average intelligence on 22 (96%). The mean odds ratio (OR) was 5.32, meaning males of average intelligence were over five times more likely to experience a negative health outcome than those in the top 1%. Gifted females evinced more positive outcomes in 65% of the categories, with a mean odds ratio of 2.52.
Comparisons of health outcomes within the top 1% are complicated by the higher mean age of Cohort 1 (53) relative to Cohort 2 (48). Only 2 statistically-significant differences emerged between gifted females: Those in the top 1% were more likely than those in the 0.5% to have felt calm and peaceful and less likely to have had emotional or physical problems interfere with their activities recently (average d = 0.12). Results were less consistent for males. Males in the top 1% were statistically-significantly more likely to experience chest pains, hypertension, and arthritis (OR = 2.23), while males in the top 0.5% were more likely to experience asthma, depression, and non-depressive psychiatric problems (OR = 1.2).
As a replication, 2 additional SMPY samples were administered the same survey. Cohort 3 consists of young adolescents identified as being in the top 0.01% in the early 1980s (anticipated n > 300). Cohort 4 consisted of first-year and second-year students attending top 15 U.S. math/science graduate programs in 1992 (anticipated n > 400). Health outcomes of these two cohorts will be compared not only to those of the general population, but to those of the top 1% and 0.5% as well. The size, scope, and quality of these data represent an unprecedented opportunity for examining the well-being of intellectually talent adults. Finally, these data also allow for the comparison of health outcomes between three high ability groups explicitly identified in young adolescence and a group of extraordinarily capable individuals identified as extraordinary achievers in early adulthood. Note: Preliminary data from Cohorts 3 and 4 are not ready for analysis, but the survey is well underway. Preliminary findings would be presented at ISIR 2017 for the first time.
In a famous talent search by Lewis Terman, there were two young boys who were not identified as gifted but would go on to win the Nobel Prize in physics. Their names were William Shockley and Luis Alvarez and the scientific area in which they achieved their fame was arguably heavily visual-spatial in nature. Why were two Nobel winners missed? Likely because Terman had used the highly verbal Stanford-Binet, which did not include a good spatial measure. Many standardized tests in schools today lack spatial measures, and this means many spatially talented students are not being identified, and their talent is therefore not fully encouraged and developed. This chapter first reviews over 50 years of data showing that spatial ability in addition to math and verbal ability has predictive power in STEM domains. Next, the issue of spatial training and females in STEM are discussed. Then, how these findings and other research can be translated into education practice is presented. Finally, a discussion of the broader societal implications of neglecting spatially talented students will be laid out. For example, how many innovations have we already lost because we have not adequately identified and developed the talent of some of our most promising innovators?
“Individual Differences at the Top: Mapping the Outer Envelope of Intelligence”, David Lubinski (in The Nature of Human Intelligence, ed 2018, ISBN 1316819566)
This investigation examined whether math/scientific and verbal/humanistic ability and preference constellations, developed on intellectually talented 13-year-olds to predict their educational outcomes at age 23, continue to maintain their longitudinal potency by distinguishing distinct forms of eminence 35 years later. Eminent individuals were defined as those who, by age 50, had accomplished something rare: creative and highly impactful careers (eg. full professors at research-intensive universities, Fortune 500 executives, distinguished judges and lawyers, leaders in biomedicine, award-winning journalists and writers). Study 1 consisted of 677 intellectually precocious youths, assessed at age 13, whose leadership and creative accomplishments were assessed 35 years later. Study 2 constituted a constructive replication—an analysis of 605 top science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) graduate students, assessed on the same predictor constructs early in graduate school and assessed again 25 years later. In both samples, the same ability and preference parameter values, which defined math/scientific versus verbal/humanistic constellations, discriminated participants who ultimately achieved distinct forms of eminence from their peers pursuing other life endeavors.
In 1992, the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) surveyed 714 first- and second-year graduate students (48.5% female) attending U.S. universities ranked in the top-15 by science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field. This study investigated whether individual differences assessed early in their graduate school career were associated with becoming a STEM leader 25 years later (eg. STEM full professors at research-intensive universities, STEM CEOs, and STEM leaders in government) versus not becoming a STEM leader. We also studied whether there were any important gender differences in relation to STEM leadership. For both men and women, small to medium effect size differences in interests, values, and personality distinguished STEM leaders from nonleaders. Lifestyle and work preferences also distinguished STEM leaders who were more exclusively career-focused and preferred to work—and did work—more hours than nonleaders. Also, there were small to large gender differences in abilities, interests, and lifestyle preferences. Men had more intense interests in STEM and were more career-focused. Women had more diverse educational and occupational interests, and they were more interested in activities outside of work. Early in graduate school, therefore, there are signs that predict who will become a STEM leader—even among elite STEM graduate students. Given the many ways in which STEM leadership can be achieved, the gender differences uncovered within this high-potential sample suggest that men and women are likely to assign different priorities to these opportunities.
Note that this is not a direct investigation of an SMPY cohort recruited through the SAT-M or childhood testing but a followup investigation of a cohort recruited as STEM graduate students at elite universities, reported in et al 2001a .
It has been claimed by prominent authors that there is no relationship between differences in some human traits (eg. cognitive ability, physical ability) and differences in skill among experts. We assert that the failure to detect such associations is often due to an extreme form of range restriction that particularly plagues research focused on expert samples: right-tail range restriction (RTRR). RTRR refers to a lack of representation of data from the far right segment of the normal distribution, inhibiting the observation of statistical associations. Using two example studies we demonstrate that, when RTRR is not present, relationships between differences in experts’ traits and differences in their degree of skill can be observed. Based on the characteristics of these studies we make recommendations for methodological practices that can be followed to help investigators overcome RTRR and facilitate the continued development of a robust and replicable science of expertise. [Keywords: Range restriction, expertise, traits, cognitive ability, physical ability, performance, athletics, psychological attributes]
Academic acceleration of intellectually precocious youth is believed to harm overall psychological well-being even though short-term studies do not support this belief. Here we examine the long-term effects. Study 1 involves three cohorts identified before age 13, then longitudinally tracked for over 35 years: Cohort 1 gifted (top 1% in ability, identified 1972–1974, n = 1,020), Cohort 2 highly gifted (top 0.5% in ability, identified 1976–1979, n = 396), and Cohort 3 profoundly gifted (top 0.01% in ability, identified 1980–1983, n = 220). Two forms of educational acceleration were examined: (a) age at high school graduation and (b) quantity of advanced learning opportunities pursued prior to high school graduation. Participants were evaluated at age 50 on several well-known indicators of psychological well-being. Amount of acceleration did not covary with psychological well-being. Study 2, a constructive replication of Study 1, used a different high-potential sample—elite science, technology, engineering, and mathematics graduate students (n = 478) identified in 1992. Their educational histories were assessed at age 25 and they were followed up at age 50 using the same psychological assessments. Again, the amount of educational acceleration did not covary with psychological well-being. Further, the psychological well-being of participants in both studies was above the average of national probability samples. Concerns about long-term social/emotional effects of acceleration for high-potential students appear to be unwarranted, as has been demonstrated for short-term effects. [Keywords: gifted, acceleration, replication, appropriate developmental placement, psychological well-being]
Impact Statement: Best practices suggest that acceleration in one of its many forms is educationally efficacious for meeting the advanced learning needs of intellectually precocious youth. Yet, parents, teachers, academic administrators, and psychological theorists worry that this practice engenders negative psychological effects. A three-cohort study of intellectually precocious youth followed for 35 years suggests that there is no cause for concern. These findings were replicated on a sample of elite STEM graduates whose educational histories were assessed at age 25 and tracked for 25 years.
“Intellectual Precocity: What Have We Learned Since Terman?”, 2020 (review):
Over the past 50 years, eight robust generalizations about intellectual precocity have emerged, been empirically documented, and replicated through longitudinal research. Within the top 1% of general and specific abilities (mathematical, spatial, and verbal) over one third of the range of individual differences are to be found, and they are meaningful. These individual differences in ability level and in pattern of specific abilities, which are uncovered by the use of above-level assessments, structure consequential quantitative and qualitative differences in educational, occupational, and creative outcomes. There is no threshold effect for abilities in predicting future accomplishments; and the concept of multipotentiality evaporates when assessments cover the full range of all three primary abilities. Beyond abilities, educational/occupational interests add value in identifying optimal learning environments for precocious youth and, with the addition of conative variables, for modeling subsequent life span development. While overall professional outcomes of exceptionally precocious youth are as exceptional as their abilities, educational interventions of sufficient dosage enhance the probability of them leading exceptionally impactful careers and making creative contributions. Findings have made evident the psychological diversity within intellectually precocious populations, their meaningfulness, and the environmental diversity required to meet their learning needs. Seeing giftedness and interventions on their behalf categorically has held the field back. [Keywords: basic interpretive, mixed methods, psychometrics, assessment, creativity, gifted]
Is there an ability threshold, beyond which more ability doesn’t matter? No.
Does the pattern of specific abilities matter? Yes.
Is there evidence for multipotentiality? No.
Is ability pattern important for students with especially profound intellectual gifts? Yes.
Do educational/occupational interests add value to ability assessments of intellectually precocious youth? Yes.
Given the contemporary emphasis placed on the identification and development of human capital in STEM disciplines, are there other important findings from the gifted field germane to this need? Yes.
Can educational interventions enhance learning and ultimate levels of creative expression? Yes.
Beyond ability, interest, and opportunity, are conative attributes important? Yes.
Has the study of intellectual precocity contributed to its parent disciplines in the educational and psychological sciences? Is there a common theme that cuts across the above empirical generalizations, which have been replicated over multiple decades? Yes. And yes.
[Short interview with Linda Brody, current director of Study of Exceptional Talent (SET) at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY); she originally started working for SMPY in the 1970s along with Cohn/Pyryt/Benbow and for Lynn Fox & Julian Stanley, leaving in 1991 for CTY. She specialized in “twice-exceptional students” (both gifted & disabled). SET is currently studying its alumni.]
“Social-Emotional Characteristics and Adjustment of Accelerated University Students: A Systematic Review”, et al 2020 (systematic review):
Gifted students who experienced grade-based acceleration in primary or secondary education have to meet the challenges of adjusting to university at a younger age than students who did not accelerate. This systematic review critically evaluates the research on social–emotional characteristics and adjustment of these gifted accelerated university students. Based on a review of 22 studies, we may conclude that accelerated students did not differ very much in domains of social–emotional characteristics from their nonaccelerated gifted and nongifted peers. Factors that facilitated adjustment and well-being were cheerfulness, resilience, self-efficacy, a positive self-concept, high prior academic achievement, and supportive family environment. Furthermore, it was found that studies were incomplete in reporting the previous acceleration experiences of the students and that research on students who individually accelerated by 1 or 2 years was scarce. Future research should include individually accelerated students, previous acceleration experiences, gender differences, and comparison groups.
“Wrecked by Success? Not to Worry”, et al 2022:
We examined the wrecked-by-success hypothesis. Initially formalized by Sigmund Freud, this hypothesis has become pervasive throughout the humanities, popular press, and modern scientific literature. The hypothesis implies that truly outstanding occupational success often exacts a heavy toll on psychological, interpersonal, and physical well-being. Study 1 tested this hypothesis in three cohorts of 1,826 high-potential, intellectually gifted individuals. Participants with exceptionally successful careers were compared with those of their gender-equivalent intellectual peers with more typical careers on well-known measures of psychological well-being, flourishing, core self-evaluations, and medical maladies. Family relationships, comfort with aging, and life satisfaction were also assessed. Across all three cohorts, those deemed occupationally outstanding individuals were similar to or healthier than their intellectual peers across these metrics. Study 2 served as a constructive replication of Study 1 but used a different high-potential sample: 496 elite science/technology/engineering/mathematics (STEM) doctoral students identified in 1992 and longitudinally tracked for 25 years. Study 2 replicated the findings from Study 1 in all important respects. Both studies found that exceptionally successful careers were not associated with medical frailty, psychological maladjustment, and compromised interpersonal and family relationships; if anything, overall, people with exceptionally successful careers were medically and psychologically better off.
The findings, conclusions and recommendations of the panel participating in the Scientific Careers Project on the characteristics and motivations of natural scientists, mathematicians, and engineers represent an interdisciplinary approach to the process of vocational development and choice. Differentiation between career and occupation and among the various sub-specialties and subcategories of the same career is stressed. The 3 basic orientations, trait-and-factor theory, social system theory, and personality theory should be integrated to a dynamic concept of career pattern as expressed in the vocational development theory dealing with vocational choice as a process which takes place over a period of time.
Spatial Ability: Its Educational and Social Significance, 1964; from the foreword:
At first sight it would appear to be a highly technical survey of the statistical findings of certain mental tests. But the conclusions which the author draws from his careful weighing of the evidence have very important implications for current educational policy. It is high time, therefore, that educationists should take the trouble to acquaint themselves with this technical evidence, to ponder on it. Briefly stated, Dr. Macfarlane Smith’s thesis is that British education, particularly that given in grammar schools, while stressing the development of general or all-round intelligence, has over-valued the verbal type of ability at the expense of its psychological opposite—spatial ability. The Crowther Report, Sir Charles Snow and many other public figures have, of course, urged the claims of mathematical, technical and scientific education, together with Britain’s need for technologists and scientists. But few of such advocates possess any scientific knowledge of the nature of these abilities they wish to encourage, what is their common essence, nor how this essence is related to other abilities or to temperamental traits and Personality qualities. Nor are they, perhaps, sufficiently aware that our current system of selection for secondary and university education actively discriminates against the pupil or student who is most likely to be talented in these directions.
Dr. Macfarlane Smith outlines a large body of work on spatial, performance, mechanical and other non-verbal tests and shows th.t there is a major underlying factor or type of ability which is best defined as the capacity to perceive and hold in mind the structure and proportions of a form or figure, grasped as a whole. This view reconciles the somewhat divergent results of British and American workers, since the latter have often used less appropriate multiple-choice tests involving recognition of details rather than perception and reproduction of complex wholes. There is ample evidence of the usefulness of such tests in selection for technical courses and training, for geometry and art. But in addition a comprehensive survey of work on mathematical aptitude indicates that, apart from general (preferably non-verbal) intelligence tests, the most predictive tests are also those of the spatial factor. In contrast, mechanical arithmetic tests give very little indication of future mathematical or scientific ability (hence Crowther’s advocacy of ‘numeracy’ is psychologically misleading). It would seem that the perception of form is a general characteristic of the abstract thinking involved in mathematics and science, as distinct from the verbal thinking involved in most school subjects.
A good deal of interesting work is surveyed, also, on defects in spatial ability associated with brain injury, cerebral palsy and leucotomy; and a discussion of the relations of this ability to types of attention (analytic vs synthesis) and to EEG brain waves throws further light on the neurological and mental processes involved. Finally the author makes a strong case for some relation between the ability and temperamental qualities akin to introversion, masculinity and initiative. The lack of understanding between the scientist and the humanist probably arises from the fact that their modes of thinking are intimately bound up with their whole personality organization.
“Visual Thinking: The Art of Imagining Reality”, Root-1985:
[Discussion of the role of visuospatial reasoning ability/spatial ability/‘imagination’ in scientific discovery, starting with the example of Jacobus Henricus van’t Hoff’s, a proponent of the role of visualization in science, who predicted the tetrahedral carbon by taking literally the idea of ‘atoms’ and imagining them geometrically. Root-Bernstein discusses his own biographical studies of eminent scientists, who are often quite creative in other areas or hobbies such as painting, and cites examples such as Robert Fulton or Louis Pasteur who were painters before they became great inventors or scientists—such training may have been directly useful in careful observation of specimens & reproduction in sketch form. Root-Bernstein concludes that]
In a three year research project, annual mathematics talent searches for highly able and motivated twelve year old students were conducted. Of these, 150 took part in a long term Saturday enrichment program to train their mathematical abilities in problem finding and problem solving. The article first discusses the educational and organizational constraints of programs for gifted children. Mathematical giftedness is defined by high achievement in two tests: The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT-M) and the HTMB, a set of seven problems specially devised for the talent search. The philosophy of the teaching program is explained and illustrated by examples. Preliminary results indicate the considerable success of the program. Possible consequences for normal classroom teaching are indicated.
Some of the earliest direct studies of very high IQ researchers were conducted by Anne Roe, who, akin to SMPY’s use of the SAT, used specially-constructed standardized test items to avoid ceiling effects and could appropriately measure her elite subjects’ (often Nobel-tier) cognitive abilities. While focused more on personality/psychiatry than psychometrics, Roe’s results are broadly similar to SMPY.
Below are a subset of papers from the FLS on the topic of “Intellectual and Motivational Giftedness”:
Academic intrinsic motivation of intellectually gifted children and a comparison group was examined in the Fullerton Longitudinal Study. Children at ages 9 through 13 years were administered the Children’s Academic Intrinsic Motivation Inventory which assesses intrinsic motivation for school learning in reading, math, social studies, science, and for school in general. Analyses showed that across the ages, relative to a peer comparison, gifted children had significantly higher academic intrinsic motivation across all subject areas and school in general. It is suggested that: Children who become intellectually gifted enjoy the process of learning to a greater extent; intrinsic motivation is important for potentiation of giftedness; Assessment of academic intrinsic motivation be included in selection of children for gifted programs.
Whereas perspectives on giftedness have included motivation as a construct related to giftedness, the proposed conceptualization advances a new view that motivation is an area of giftedness in and of itself. Academic intrinsic motivation (ie. enjoyment of school learning) is the domain focused upon in this conceptualization inasmuch as it has inherent ties to cognition, gifted intellect, and achievement. Research supports the following criteria, advanced as a beginning effort toward the development of a conceptualization of a gifted motivation construct: (a) significantly higher academic intrinsic motivation is evidenced by intellectually gifted compared to their comparison cohort; (b) academic intrinsic motivation is significantly, positively, and uniquely related to academic achievement above and beyond IQ; (c) academic intrinsic motivation evidences substantial continuity from childhood through adolescence; and (d) environment is significantly related to academic intrinsic motivation. The construct of gifted motivation serves heuristic purposes to advance further inquiry and also has implications regarding the development and implementation of giftedness programs. Suggestions are made regarding research needed for further development of a gifted motivation construct.
The construct of gifted motivation was examined in a contemporary, long-term, longitudinal investigation. Adolescents with extremely high academic intrinsic motivation (ie. gifted motivation) were compared to their cohort peer comparison on a variety of educationally relevant measures from elementary school through the early adulthood years. Assessment of academic intrinsic motivation was based on the Children’s Academic Intrinsic Motivation Inventory. Cross-time, pervasive differences resulted favoring the gifted motivation compared to the cohort comparison group on motivation, achievement, classroom functioning, intellectual performance, self-concept, and post-secondary educational progress. Meaningful effect sizes were obtained and corroborated by teachers’ observations. Gifted motivation proved to be distinct from gifted intelligence. This research serves to expand the definition of giftedness to include the construct of gifted motivation in its own right. These findings have implications for identifying students with gifted motivation for entry into programs for the gifted.
The Fullerton Longitudinal Study is a contemporary prospective investigation that spans approximately a quarter of a century. Commencing at age 1, [n = 130] children and their families were systematically followed every 6 months from infancy through preschool and annually at ages 5 through 17. They were again assessed at age 24. The course of development for intellectually [IQ>130, n = 20] and motivationally gifted [“Children’s Academic Intrinsic Motivation Inventory” (CAIMI); n = 21] children was studied across a breadth of developmental domains including academic, cognitive, self-perceptions, temperament, behavioral, social, family/environmental processes, and adult educational achievement. Presented are the methodology and unique aspects of this research that contribute to the study of giftedness. Major findings regarding these two distinct dimensions of giftedness are presented, with some implications for practice and directions for future research.
This chapter comprises three sections: (a) commentary on the Colombo, Shaddy, Blaga, Anderson, and Kannass chapter titled “High Cognitive Ability in Infancy and Early Childhood” (chap. 2, this volume); (b) consideration of issues concerning early prediction of gifted intelligence [especially reliability/test-retest stability]; and (c) discussion of implications regarding early identification of intellectual giftedness.
Gifted motivation was proposed by Gottfried & Gottfried (2004) as an area of giftedness in and of itself distinct from intellectual giftedness. Gifted motivation applies to those individuals who are superior in their strivings and determination pertaining to an endeavor. The foundation for theorizing about and providing empirical validation for this construct is based on the authors’ longitudinal study of giftedness in the realm of academic intrinsic motivation. Academic intrinsic motivation is defined as enjoyment of school learning characterized by an orientation toward mastery, curiosity, persistence, task-endogeny, and the learning of challenging, difficult, and novel tasks. The present chapter will present theory and contemporary findings regarding gifted motivation, and how this relate to concurrent and long-term outcomes from childhood through early adulthood. Implications for identification of gifted motivation, program selection, and program development and evaluation will be advanced.
The Fullerton Longitudinal Study offers a unique opportunity to model the stability of intelligence and achievement and their relations from elementary through secondary school. Using latent variable modeling, we fit a cross-lagged panel model to examine the relations between intelligence and achievement in two academic domains: mathematics and reading. Findings revealed that students’ achievement is highly stable across the school years. Childhood intelligence is a strong predictor of initial mathematics and reading achievement. After age 7-years, intelligence is not predictive of either mathematics or reading achievement after accounting for prior achievement. Students who enter school with strong academic skills tend to maintain their academic advantage throughout their elementary and secondary education. We discuss the implications of these results for talent development.
Following a short discussion of conceptual and theoretical problems of giftedness, the methodological foundations and selected results of a (presently) four year longitudinal study are presented. This study is based on a multidimensional concept of giftedness: intelligence, creativity, social competence, musical ability, psychomotor ability (or practical intelligence). Both academic achievements and leisure activities, as well as cognitive and motivational personality factors and school and family socialisation conditions relevant to giftedness, were studied. During the second project phase developmental aspects and achievement analyses of gifted and normal students aged 6 to 18 years were the central aspects of the study. Finally, methodological problems in the identification of gifted children and adolescents as well as consequences for the nurturing of giftedness are discussed.
The Munich Longitudinal Study of Giftedness (carried out from 1985 to 1989), the most comprehensive giftedness study ever conducted in Germany, covers six cohorts at three points of measurement. In this article, the study’s multidimensional and typographical conception of giftedness is explained. After a short overview, results concerning the validation of the multidimensional giftedness model as well as attempts to establish a giftedness typology are presented. While the multidimensional model proved to be useful for predicting achievement behavior, the typological attempts failed. Finally, it is demonstrated that intelligent and creatively gifted students differ strongly in their achievement behavior. Consequences for fostering the gifted, especially the creatives, in school are discussed.
After a brief introduction with four main questions related to identifying gifted and talented students, this article centres on the following topics: (1) multidimensional conceptions of giftedness as preconditions of suitable identification procedures, (2) functions and benefits vs. dangers of identification measures, (3) methodological problems and (4) practical recommendations for the identification of various groups of gifted and talented students.
A decisive factor in the determination of effective gifted education is the fit between the individual cognitive and noncognitive (eg. motivational and other personality) factors of the developmental and learning processes on the one hand and the environmental influences that are mainly from the social settings of family, school, and peers on the other hand. This chapter is based on multidimensional conceptions of giftedness and talent, such as the Munich Model of Giftedness (MMG), as well as on interaction models, such as the Aptitude-Treatment Interaction (ATI) by 1977 and 1986.
When considering the MMG as an example of a multifactorial conception of giftedness, along with the recently developed dynamic process approach to this model (Munich Dynamic Ability-Achievement Model of Giftedness [MDAAM]), the following questions arise: How should gifted individuals be identified and instructed? And how should their learning outcomes or excellent performance be assessed? These and other questions will be answered according to the MMG and the MDAAM, respectively.
After a brief introduction the theoretical basis of the Munich High Ability Test-Battery (MHBT) will be outlined in the first part of the article. The MHBT has been developed in the framework of the Munich longitudinal study of giftedness and talent. The MHBT includes not only cognitive predictors measuring several dimensions and types of giftedness concerning intellectual, creative or social abilities etc., but also giftedness-relevant non-cognitive personality and social moderators measuring interests, motivations, learning emotions, self-concepts or family and school climate, educational style, quality of instruction, etc. The MHBT-instruments (different scales and dimensions) are described in greater detail.
In the second part of the article, after dealing with the objectivity, the reliability, and the validity of the MHBT, the authors discuss the standardization procedure including the development of grade-based T-norms respectively as well as several talent-profiles, eg. of gifted achievers vs. underachievers, intellectual, creative, social talents or linguistic, math, science talent profiles etc. Finally, examples of talent search for gifted programs and case studies on the basis of MHBT should illustrate multidimensional identification procedures.
The MHBT fulfills the most relevant assessment tasks belonging to the gifted educational and counseling practice. The usefulness of the MHBT in the framework of giftedness research as well as of gifted program evaluation studies has also been proven in the last decade. Hence the MHBT offers many opportunities to assessing giftedness and talent.
Munich Studies of Giftedness, ed 2010 (ISBN: 3643107285). Anthology.
The Munich Longitudinal Giftedness Study (MLGS), originally carried out from 1985 to 1989 and completed by two follow-ups in the nineties, focused on three aims in the first project phase and on five aims in the second phase. From the mid-nineties to the end of 2010, many consecutive studies based on the theoretical and empirical results of the MLGS have been implemented at the Center for the Study of Giftedness at Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) of Munich. First of all, the “Munich Model of Giftedness” (MMG) and the extended version “Munich Dynamic Ability Achievement Model” (MDAAM) will be explained as the theoretical frame of the MLGS and the following investigations. After methodological remarks, selected findings of the MLGS are presented in greater detail. Practical applications to identifying gifted individuals and talent search for gifted programs are in the center of the following section. Of special interest should be MMG- and MDAAM-based scientifically evaluated intervention strategies and measures for enhancing individual potentials versus measures for reducing ineffective or dysfunctional motivation variables and self-concept patterns, eg. with regard to STEM- and at-risk-groups. Finally, some conclusions will be discussed.
An example of the ‘Mensa fallacy’—using a pathologically self-selected self-diagnosed sample—would be et al 2018, “High intelligence: A risk factor for psychological and physiological overexcitabilities”, which takes Mensa survey results at face-value while ignoring the fact that Mensa has attracted losers since its founding (a fact that I know was pointed out to the authors well before publication, and which they defend merely by saying that self-report data is common in many other areas while ignoring all contradictory evidence, which they pass over in silence).
The results are a priori unlikely as all population samples show that good things increase (eg. et al 2021 ), and dysfunctionality & mental illness rates drop steeply with increasing IQ definitely at least to the top decile (often the top percentile) with no quadratic or other curve observable indicating asymptotes or impending reversals; these results are so large and well known that Karpinski et al cannot doubt them, and so they attempt to ‘save the appearances’ with ad hoc invocations of nonlinear thresholds at high intelligence, while still relying on the relatively low IQ threshold of Mensa membership. Their results are so absurd as to discredit any attempt to claim that a Mensa sample can tell us anything at all about high intelligence, as (with the exception of the modest allergies finding) they are completely inconsistent with genetic & phenotypic correlations, almost impossible to reconcile with the universal life-expectancy/SES/education/IQ/wealth/mental-health correlations observed everywhere in psychology/sociology/medicine, and non-self-selected high-IQ samples (whether Terman, SMPY, FLS, Munich Longitudinal Study, SET, HCES, Scottish survey, Scandinavian population registry-based, UKBB etc)—including a self-reported Asperger’s relative risk of 223!
It’s unclear how these are even arithmetically reconcilable with the population estimates, as such large risk increases ought to push the averages way up at the top decile or percentiles, overwhelming the modest lower risks for non-Mensa-level individuals. Further, if any of the relative risks were true, higher intelligence would be one of the strongest risk factors ever discovered for illness, far exceeding the effects of minor things like smoking. If such relative risks were true of Mensans, who are merely ~+2.3SD (being generous & taking their 1% criterion at face-value), then the RRs of groups like SMPY, MIT, Nobelists, or Fields Medalists, who are 3–6SD, would be off the charts, and it would be difficult to so much as run a SMPY summer-camp without dealing with multiple suicide attempts or psychotic breaks, or find a single child who seemed at all socially-well-adjusted, or an eminent scientist who had not been institutionalized, or… Of course, this is not the case. No reported statistics from SMPY or other high-IQ samples not suffering from self-selection into exaggerated self-diagnoses agree with this, and researchers & journalists who interact with SMPYers and similar high-IQ cohorts fail to mention that the entire cohort is nuttier than a Snickers bar, and often mention that the members defy stereotype by seeming quite healthy, well-adjusted, and happy. (The implications continue to go beyond that—considering just genetics, such pathology would force stabilizing selection, which we do not observe.)
So all et al 2018 has to offer is a cautionary warning about GIGO: Mensa members are either remarkably selected for pathologies, or are not responding honestly (perhaps due to the trendiness of self-diagnosing autism as an excuse for failure). ↩︎
An example would be Gross’s Australian study, often cited as evidence that gifted children/adults are deeply troubled and often failures; however, to quote 2006, the study “advertised 1986–1987 in the Bulletin of the Australian Psychological Society, in the newsletters of the national and state gifted children’s associations, through letters to Colleges of Education in Australian universities, through letters to psychologists in private practice, and through informal contact with colleagues across the country who had a special interest in gifted education.” It takes little imagination to wonder how much this method of recruiting selected for unusually troubled or otherwise unhealthy children. (Nevertheless, even within Gross’s sample, acceleration of education strongly correlates with better outcomes, supporting SMPY’s results and an interpretation that much of Gross’s sample’s pathology was due to deeply inappropriate environments.)↩︎
Subsequently renamed “SMPY”.↩︎
Also of interest in this volume is 2014, “Genetics of Intellectual and Personality Traits Associated with Creative Genius: Could Geniuses Be Cosmobian Dragon Kings?”.↩︎