Paula Olszewski-Kubilius Wins Award for Paper on Acceleration for Gifted Minority Students

Paula Olszewski-Kubilius Wins Award for Paper on Acceleration for Gifted Minority Students

Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
A paper co-authored by Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, who is director of the Center for Talent Development at SESP, won the Gifted Child Quarterly Paper of the Year Award.

Her paper, entitled “The Efficacy of Academic Acceleration for Gifted Minority Students,” was co-authored with former CTD researcher Seon-Young Lee, now on the faculty of Yonsei University in South Korea, and former Project Excite director George Peternel. The article originally appeared in Gifted Child Quarterly in June 2010.

The study by Olszewski-Kubilius and her colleagues supported the use of acceleration for gifted minority students in math. The gifted minority students in the study viewed taking accelerated math courses as exciting and beneficial for preparation for high school and college and particularly liked the challenges they encountered while taking advanced classes.

In particular, the students enjoyed working ahead and having a head start in school and were infused with a special feeling of being gifted and talented in taking accelerated math, according to the researchers. Ethnicity was not a major factor for teachers’ support for acceleration.

The teachers in the study expressed the belief that acceleration provides necessary challenges for students, makes them committed to schoolwork, and enhances their academic achievement. No negative peer pressure resulting from academic acceleration was found, though the teachers were more certain than the students about the existence of negative peer culture for gifted minority students.

Students in the study participated in CTD’s Project Excite program, which provides enrichment in science and math for gifted minority children in Evanston, Illinois. One goal of the program, which begins in third grade, is to increase minority enrollment in accelerated high school science and math courses.

Olszewski-Kubilius is currently president of the National Association of Gifted Children, an organization that seeks to create public awareness of the needs of gifted children and influence positive change to support gifted children.

The full text of the article is available here.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 1/10/12