Hispanic Populations

A Problem in Identifying Gifted Hispanic Students
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The Hispanic population in our schools is growing rapidly. This chart shows that the percentage of Hispanic people in our school-age population grew 13% in 37 years, and it is continuing to grow. According to the NCES, less than 6% of the identified gifted students in the U.S. are Hispanic. When considering that over 19% of our schools are made up of Hispanic students, it's clear that they are underrepresented in gifted programs. I currently am an ESOL teacher in an elementary school. I serve or monitor 41 Hispanic language learners. Of those 41, one is identified as gifted. The gifted teacher and I pull from that child's classroom at the same time, so this student can only participate in gifted since the parents agreed to waive her from the ESOL program.

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This rapid growth of our Hispanic population means that many of the Hispanic students in school are either foreign-born or have parents that were foreign-born. This chart shows the 70% of our school-aged Hispanic population were born outside of the U.S. or have parents that were born outside of the U.S. Most second generation Hispanics learn Spanish as their native language even though they were born in the U.S. because that is what is often spoken at home. This means that close to 70% of the Hispanic population in America did not learn English as their first language. It is easy for language learners to fall behind if they are not supported in the classroom, and they are not likely to be identified as gifted if they are falling behind academically and not communicating as well with their peers and teachers.

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So what does this mean? Statistics show that the Hispanic populations in our schools are not achieving at the same rates as other populations, especially those that were born outside of the U.S. This chart shows the graduation rates over several years of different races.


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Underachievement within Hispanic populations begins in early education. It is important that these children the support they need to achieve on grade level, so that they can be seen as more than an underachiever or a language learner.






Tienda, M. (2009). Hispanicity and Educational Inequality: Risks, Opportunities and the Nation's Future.

Webley, Kayla. (2011). The Achievement Gap: Why Hispanic Students Are Still Behind.


Zurita, K. (2011). Breaking and Preventing the Cycle of Underachievement: The Importance of Early Childhood Education for Hispanic Children in their Quest for Higher Education.



Page Created By Emily Poleon

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