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What we learn by tracking gifted kids for 45 years

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In the early 1970s, gifted programs were in their infancy, and nobody asked 13-year-olds to take the SAT.

That didn’t stop Julian Stanley, who launched the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) near the end of his career at Johns Hopkins University.

“I wanted to do a longitudinal study of these kids that I wanted to continue, surveying them and learning about them, throughout their life—at least that was the idea,” recalls Camilla Benbow, dean of education and human development at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody School, who worked with Stanley as a graduate student.

The researchers did in fact follow up with a cohort of gifted children, giving them surveys throughout their lives. This short film traces the study’s origins and its findings.

“Different kids need different opportunities,” explains David Lubinski, professor of psychology and human development and co-director with Benbow of SMPY.

“We just need to realize that these kids are as different from the norm as kids with special needs are—and that we need to be responsive to their learning needs,” adds Benbow.

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Source: Vanderbilt University