Equitable Representation of Culturally Linguistically Economically Diverse Students in Intellectual Gifted Programs in School Divisions in the Commonwealth of Virginia

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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this study was to identify which school divisions in the Commonwealth of Virginia have equitable representation of Culturally Linguistically Economically Diverse (CLED) students in gifted programs within their schools. Existing literature on CLED students was reviewed. Three years of data (school years 2016-2017, 2017-2018, and 2018-2019) obtained from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) were analyzed to determine whether equitable representation exists within gifted education programs in each of the 132 Virginia school divisions. Furthermore, the researcher used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to acquire longitudinal gifted data from each school division 2016-2019. The Relative Difference Composition Index (RDCI), Equity Allowance Formula (EAF), and Representation Index (RI) formulas were used to determine, which schools have equitable representation within their gifted programs.

This study sought to answer the following questions:

  1. What school divisions have proportional representation of economically disadvantaged students?
  2. What school divisions have proportional representation of Black or African American students?
  3. What school divisions have a proportional representation of Hispanic or Latinx students?

At the conclusion of the data collection process, the researcher examined (1) which school divisions have equitable representation of gifted students in their gifted programs in schools using the EAF, and (2) What schools have equitable representation utilizing the RI. The analysis revealed the majority of the school divisions in the Commonwealth of Virginia had equitable representation when the EAF was applied to the economically disadvantaged students. When the EAF was applied to the 2016-2019 school years data for the Black or African American students and Hispanic or Latinx students the range of 33%- 42% were proportionately represented. The English Language Learner students were not proportionately represented when the EAF was applied. When the RI formula was applied to the data, none of the school divisions had perfect proportion in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 2016-2017, Halifax school division had a score of .86 which translates to proportionate representation when the EAF and RI formula were applied to the data.

The findings of this study provide educational leaders with relevant research toward equitable representation for CLED students in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The VDOE and school leaders could offer professional development regarding equitable representation for teachers and staff that work with CLED students to resolve disproportionality. School divisions could benefit from the implementation of equity allowance goals to help reduce inequitable representation of CLED gifted students.



gifted, underrepresentation, equity, poverty, equitable, low socioeconomic status, economically disadvantaged