Reducing Excellence Gaps: A Systematic Review of Research on Equity in Advanced Education

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Unequal access to advanced learning opportunities is among the most complex and controversial issues in American K–12 schools. Interventions that address policy, programming, and instruction can provide opportunities for students with advanced learning needs in school systems that prioritize minimum grade-level standards. Excellence gaps are differences in advanced performance among student subgroups that result from inequities in education and society. In this systematic review of the literature, the authors identified 80 empirical research studies on strategies for reducing excellence gaps published between 2010 and 2021 and identified themes related to the seven facets of the Excellence Gap Intervention Model (K–12 school accountability support, teacher professional learning, expanded advanced learning opportunities, universal screening with local norms, frontloading, flexible ability grouping, psychosocial interventions). This analysis revealed substantial evidence of intervention development over the past decade and suggests a revised approach to equitable, advanced education that begins with preparation (e.g., teacher professional learning, student frontloading) and is followed by placement, evaluation, and adjustment as students’ learning needs change.




Meyer, M. S., Shen, Y., & Plucker, J. A. (2023). Reducing Excellence Gaps: A Systematic Review of Research on Equity in Advanced Education. Review of Educational Research.

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