Excellence Gaps in Education

Excellence Gaps in Education Expanding Opportunities for Talented Students

Jonathan A. Plucker and Scott J. Peters
paper, 240 Pages
Pub. Date: November 2016
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-992-1
Price: $33.00

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Pub. Date: November 2016
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-994-5

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2017 Texas Association for Gifted and Talented Legacy Scholar Book Award
2017 National Association of Gifted Children Scholar Book of the Year Award

In Excellence Gaps in Education, Jonathan A. Plucker and Scott J. Peters shine a spotlight on “excellence gaps”—the achievement gaps among subgroups of students performing at the highest levels of achievement. Much of the focus of recent education reform has been on closing gaps in achievement between students from different racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic backgrounds by bringing all students up to minimum levels of proficiency. Yet issues related to excellence gaps have been largely absent from discussions about how to improve our schools and communities. Plucker and Peters argue that these significant gaps reflect the existence of a persistent talent underclass in the United States among African American, Hispanic, Native American, and poor students, resulting in an incalculable loss of potential among our fastest growing populations. 


As a school administrator charged with developing programs for gifted and talented students I am painfully aware of the limited understanding school personnel have regarding the advanced learning needs of this population of students. All school administrators should read this book, especially those needing research-based support for their efforts advocating for academically advanced students. — Dina Brulles, director of gifted education, Paradise Valley Unified School District, Arizona

Plucker and Peters present a clear road map for leaders in education to increase equity and eliminate excellence gaps based on solid research. — M. René Islas, executive director, National Association for Gifted Children

Excellence Gaps in Education is a must read for all who are interested in the education of high-potential students. The book will be an eye opener for many as they read about the extremely low percentages of children from lower-income backgrounds and children from African-American and Hispanic families who are achieving at advanced levels. — Julia Link Roberts, Mahurin Professor of Gifted Studies, Western Kentucky University

By focusing on excellence gaps, Plucker and Peters create an argument that goes beyond increasing the talent pool of US students, making a strike for educational equity and opportunity. — M. Jayne Fleener, Teachers College Record

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About the Authors

Jonathan A. Plucker is the Julian C. Stanley Professor of Talent Development at Johns Hopkins University, with a joint appointment at the Center for Talented Youth and School of Education. He is one of the original developers of the concept of excellence gaps and first wrote about them in the report Mind the Other Gap (2010) and then in Talent on the Sidelines (2013), in addition to several other studies and papers on the topic. In addition to more than $30 million in externally funded research and over two hundred publications, he has edited or authored the books Critical Issues and Practices in Gifted Education: What the Research Says (with Carolyn Callahan), Essentials of Creativity Assessment (with James Kaufman and John Baer), Intelligence 101 (with Amber Esping), Doing Good Social Science: Trust, Accuracy, Transparency (with Matthew Makel), and Creativity and Innovation: Theory, Research, and Practice. He is a recipient of the National Association for Gifted Children’s Distinguished Scholar Award and American Psychological Association’s Rudolf Arnheim Award for Outstanding Achievement in Creativity Research and an elected Fellow of the APA and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He received his PhD from the University of Virginia and has previously taught at the University of Maine, Indiana University, and the University of Connecticut. Professor Plucker currently serves on the NAGC board of directors.

Scott J. Peters is an associate professor of Educational Foundations at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater. He received his PhD from Purdue University, specializing in gifted and talented education and applied research methodology. His research focuses on educational assessment, identification of student exceptionalities (particularly those from low-income or underrepresented groups) and gifted and talented programming outcomes. He has published in Teaching for High Potential, Gifted Child Quarterly, Journal of Advanced Academics, Gifted and Talented International, Gifted Children, Journal of Career and Technical Education Research, Educational Leadership, Education Week, and Pedagogies. He is the recipient of the Feldhusen Doctoral Fellowship in Gifted Education, the NAGC Research an Evaluation Network Dissertation Award, the NAGC Doctoral Student of the Year Award, the NAGC Early Scholar Award, the Michael Pyryt Collaboration Award, and the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater Innovation and Outstanding Research Awards. He has served as the program chair of the AERA Research on Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent SIG; on the board of the Wisconsin Association for Talented and Gifted; and as the National Association for Gifted Children Research and Evaluation Network Secretary. He is the lead author of Beyond Gifted Education: Designing and Implementing Advanced Academic Programs (with Michael Matthews, Matthew McBee, and D. Betsy McCoach) (Prufrock Press).

Table of Contents


Blog Post: Making the Elimination of Excellence Gaps an Educational Priority

Author Interview with NPR-WAMU

E-book available through online booksellers

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