DAVIDSON INSTITUTE, UI BELIN-BLANK CENTER TO
COLLABORATE ON ADVANCING GIFTED EDUCATION
RENO, Nev. (May 9, 2007) – A new partnership between the University of Iowa's Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development and the Davidson Institute for Talent Development in Reno, Nev., will create opportunities for groundbreaking research in the area of gifted education.
"This is a very important partnership that will significantly advance the field of gifted education," said Nicholas Colangelo, director of the Belin-Blank Center. "The students enrolled in the (Davidson Institute) programs represent a national sample of truly exceptionally talented students. This gives us a unique opportunity to learn about highly intelligent students so we can make informed decisions about their educational and social development. It gives us a chance to understand and respond to their educational, social and emotional needs."
Former educational software entrepreneurs, Bob and Jan Davidson, founded the Davidson Institute in 1999 as a nonprofit operating foundation out of a concern that the nation's most gifted and talented young people are largely neglected and underserved by the current education system.
“Bob and Jan Davidson symbolize what caring people with vision and resources can do to benefit society,” Colangelo said.
The mission of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development is to recognize, nurture and support profoundly intelligent young people and to provide opportunities for them to develop their talents to make a positive difference.
“As a result of our efforts during the past eight years to support this unique population of students, our team at the Davidson Institute and The Davidson Academy of Nevada recognizes the need for additional research to better understand and serve,” said Jan Davidson. “We believe this research initiative will be a springboard to a higher quality of life for these students that will give them more opportunities to make major contributions to society.”
Bob Davidson added, “We look forward to this significant research partnership with Belin-Blank as we have collaborated with Belin-Blank in the past on projects such as our book, Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds, and their publication, A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students.”
The research is going to focus on students in the following three programs of the Davidson Institute:
Colangelo said the students involved in these Davidson programs are individuals who are likely to go on to make substantial contributions in society, making this research collaboration even more significant.
"These are students we are going to hear from again later on in life in terms of Pulitzers, Crawfords and Nobels,” Colangelo said. “I am confident they will become prominent people in the future.”
Colangelo, along with Susan Assouline, Belin-Blank Center associate director, and Damien Ihrig, administrator for Belin-Blank Center Research/Evaluation and Talent Searches, will lead this research collaboration. Colleen Harsin, director of the Davidson Academy, will serve as the research coordinator for the institute.
The plan is to look at these three groups cross-sectionally, short-term, and longitudinally, Ihrig said. Very few studies have been done in this area, with the most notable ones being the longitudinal research on gifted children conducted by Lewis M. Terman in the mid 1920s, and current studies at Vanderbilt University using the SAT and ACT for above-level testing with middle school students.
"We want to take a snapshot of these groups as they are, and then follow at least a portion of them as they move through school, their careers and the rest of their lives," Ihrig said of the research. "We have a very real, tangible opportunity to work with a unique set of kids to discover some things that we haven't seen before."
While the Davidson Institute excels in helping to support these exceptionally gifted students, they have never taken the step of following these students later in life or doing research, Assouline said.
"What's different with the Davidson research collaboration is that it's not based on a test score as the main predictor," Assouline said. "It's really based on exceptional achievement."
Colangelo said he believes this pioneering research may be a better predictor of future success than the previous studies, which defined gifted and talented in narrower terms or purely on test scores.
For more information on the UI Belin-Blank Center, visit http://www.education.uiowa.edu/belinblank/.
For more information on the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, visit http://www.DavidsonGifted.org/.
for Talent Development