Facebook Pixel Online Toolkit | Western Kentucky University

Online Toolkit

This kit contains videos, reports, documents, pamphlets, and other materials addressing the Excellence Gap and Gifted Education.

Excellence Gap


Give Excellence a Chance from The Center for Gifted Studies on Vimeo.

Interview: Talent on the Sidelines: The Excellence Gap with Dr. Jonathan Plucker  


Hardesty, J., McWilliams, J., & Plucker, J. (2014). Excellence gaps: What they are, why they are bad, and how smart contexts can address them … or make them worse. High Ability Studies, 25, 71-80. Harris, B., & Plucker, J. (2014). Achieving equity and excellence: The role of school mental health providers in shrinking excellence gaps. Gifted Child Today, 37(2), 110-116.


Excellence Gaps in Kentucky  


Plucker, J., & Peters, S. (2016). Excellence Gaps in Education: Expanding Opportunities for Talented Students. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Press.  


  • Mind the (Other) Gap! The Growing Excellence Gap in K–12 Education by Jonathan Plucker, Nathan Burroughs, and Ruiting Song (University of Connecticut, Neag School of Education, Center for Education Policy Analysis, 2010)—Using data from national assessments, researchers showed statistics that defined and explained the excellence gap, an alarming achievement gap related to gender, poverty, ethnicity, and language background among students who perform at advanced levels.
  • Talent on the Sidelines: Excellence Gaps and America’s Persistent Talent Underclass by Jonathan Plucker, Jacob Hardesty, and Nathan Burroughs (University of Connecticut, Neag School of Education, Center for Education Policy Analysis, 2013)—Written 3 years after Mind the (Other) Gap (2010), this 2013 report discusses the continued underrepresentation of low-income and minority students among those performing at the highest levels of academic achievement in the U.S. Using national assessments, researchers demonstrated that a large excellence gap still exists and continues to grow.
  • 2012 Kentucky Excellence Gap State Profile Report
  • 2010 Kentucky Excellence Gap State Profile Report
  • Achievementrap: How America is failing millions of high-achieving students from lower-income families by Joshua Wyner, John Bridgeland, & John Diiulio (Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, 2009) -- This ground-breaking study argues that lower-income students score lower than their wealthier classmates and lose more educational ground than they do. Only 28% of the students in the top quartile of first grade are lower-income, and just 56% of them will remain high achievers by fifth grade. They virtually disappear in high school. This report examines the causes and detrimental effects of losing this valuable population. It can be a powerful tool to use.
  • Visit the NAGC web page “Key Reports in Gifted Education” for an overview and links to several other major reports.

Other Resources

Gifted Education


Importance of Challenge


  • A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students by Nicholas Colangelo, Susan G. Assouline, and Miraca U. M. Gross (The University of Iowa, The Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, 2004)—This seminal national study on acceleration for gifted students analyzed 50 years of research. The report discussed several types of acceleration, addressed frequently heard concerns (or myths) associated with each type, and provided research from gifted experts and authentic classroom practice to dispel the myths.
  • A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students by Susan G. Assouline, Nicholas Colangelo, Joyce VanTassel-Baska, and Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik (The University of Iowa, The Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, 2015)—Written more than a decade after A Nation Deceived (2004), A Nation Empowered(2015) explored 20 forms of acceleration, highlighted the research about the positive impact on gifted students’ academic and social-emotional development, and included personal vignettes from parents, teachers, and students.

Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 11/8/18