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    Illinois Association for Gifted Children

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

The resources and information on this page underscore the need for policy and advocacy to

support equal access to advanced programming nationally and in Illinois.


IAGC is proud to release the LearnLong case study report:
Promising Practices for Equity and Inclusion: A Portrait of Six Illinois Schools 

A Call for Equal Access to Advanced and Gifted Programming Services in Illinois Schools:

Gifted children are found in every socio-economic strata and racial group. However, the delivery of services in Illinois is not equitable in Illinois. The following realities in Illinois perpetuate these inequities:

  • There is no legal mandate for identifying or serving gifted students.
  • No dedicated state funding is provided for advanced and gifted programming in Illinois.
  • Because fewer than 1/3 of Illinois elementary/middle schools offer gifted programming, children, especially low income children, lack opportunity and access to programs designed to meet their needs and develop their talents. 

The Excellence Gap refers to disparities in performance at advanced levels between groups based on socio-economic status and race. lllinois currently has among the largest academic excellence gaps in the country.

  • 15% of 4th graders and 12% of 8th graders who did not qualify for free or reduced price lunch in Illinois scored at the advanced levels on the 2013 NAEP math test, while only 2% of students who qualified for free or reduced price lunch scored at advanced levels (Plucker, 2016).
  • Opportunity gaps create excellence gaps  in Illinois; most Illinois elementary/middle school districts do not offer gifted programming.
  • In 2003, prior to NCLB and end of state funding (ISBE), over 80% of Illinois offered gifted services. As of 2016, only 27% of districts provided gifted programming. Districts serving predominantly low-income students were least likely to provide programing. (Dwyer & Welch, 2016)
  • Lack of access to gifted programming during the school day is most detrimental to economically disadvantaged students whose families lack resources for supplementation.

Pursuant to the Illinois Report Card Act, as of 2020, the State Board must include demographic information concerning gifted education and advanced academic programs on the school report card. 

  • This data will help to inform educational leadership when implementing identification, talent development, and advanced programming to meet the needs of all children with gifts and talents. 

The following studies reveal that Illinois lags behind the national averages when it comes to opportunity and excellence gaps in gifted programming:

Thomas B. Fordham Institute Study (2018): This Fordham Institute study by Christopher Yaluma and Adam Tyner concluded that gifted programs are just as likely to appear in high-poverty schools as in low-poverty schools 68.3% of elementary/middle schools report having gifted programs). However, students in high poverty schools are significantly less likely to participate in gifted programming. In addition, Black and Hispanic students participate in these gifted programs at a much lower rate than their Asian and White counterparts.


Illinois does not compare well with the national average, as only 32.8% of high poverty schools in Illinois offer gifted programming. 

Jack Kent Cooke Report, 2nd Edition (2018)  

The Jack Cooke Kent report by Dr. Jonathan Plucker, Dr. Jennifer Glynn, Grace Healey, and Dr. Amanda Dettmer, includes data from each of the fifty states about gifted education policies. The report reveals that large excellence gaps at high levels of performance exists in nearly all of the states. "A-F" state rankings are assigned according to state policy "inputs" such as requiring services for identified advanced learners, acceleration and early entrance policies, concurrent and dual enrollment, accountability models including growth measures for high ability children, and gifted coursework required in teacher and administrator training. Output rankings related to student achievement are also assigned.


The study assigned Illinois a C ranking based upon the inputs and outputs considered.