Gifted Education Within Context of Comparative & International Education

Comparative & International Education Society CIES Annual Conference

March 2006

Gifted Education is viewed as an integral part of education in the United States. Yet there are variances in terms of the construct of giftedness and the perceived need for education of the gifted in other countries of the world. In the field of Comparative & International Education, there is little reference to the education of gifted students however countries that do not promote formal gifted education still provide educational opportunities for advanced students.

The concept of giftedness is explored from the perspective of cultural dichotomies, including individualism/collectivism, universalism/particularism, achievement/ascription, and secular/religious. These comparisons are also viewed within the context of Huntington’s concept of the world according to civilizations. There is evidence that factors of culture and civilization have an effect on the participation of countries in gifted education. An analysis of the organizations sponsoring international conferences related to gifted education illustrates these global dynamics. A review of some of the findings of TIMSS (Third International Math and Science Study) data also provides additional evidence related to international comparisons of high-achieving students.

In a broader comparative sense, the evidence as to disparities in gifted education may be attributed to cultural relativity. The presentation, however, develops a case for rethinking the comparative, and broadening such rationale to an expanded theory of Cultural Integrity, which honors the strength of the culture’s indigenous support for its advanced students, without falling prey to the competitiveness that often evolves from global publicity regarding international achievement.

CIES Presentation