This information was produced by the staff of the Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development (B-BC) at the University of Iowa ( The resources and information listed here are for informational purposes; there is no direct or implied endorsement by the B-BC. Services provided by the B-BC include programs for academically talented K-12 and college students, professional development for teachers, the Assessment and Counseling Clinic, the Acceleration Institute (, and graduate programs and research in gifted education.


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Annotated Bibliography

Articles are listed in descending order by year (most recent first), and then by first author's last name.

Gifted Preschoolers and Early Entrance to Kindergarten

Lincove, J. A., & Painter, G. (2006). Does the age that children start kindergarten matter? Evidence of long-term educational and social outcomes. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 28(2), 153-179.

This article analyzes the relationship between age of school entry and later educational and social outcomes. Specifically, the authors ask, “What are the effects of age at school entry during high school and the transition to adulthood?” To answer this question, the authors use data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988, from which they chose to study 25,000 eight-grade students at 1,000 schools. Dependent variables were eighth-grade achievement test scores, whether the student had a child out of wedlock, whether the student dropped out of high school, whether the student entered college, and the student’s wage in 1999. Independent variables included the student’s original socioeconomic status, family structure, family context, academic attitudes, and school experiences.The results suggest that retaining students to start kindergarten at a later age is not an effective way to improve student outcomes, whether these outcomes are measured by academic scores, college entrance, or later earnings, though younger students are more likely than older students to display behavioral problems. Specifically, the authors note that students who enter kindergarten at a younger age and repeat a grade have higher test scores than students who enter kindergarten at an older age and repeat a grade. In general, these findings are consistent with previous research and add to existing knowledge by controlling for a wider range of independent variables. Readers should be cautioned that the study design does not allow for causal inferences to be made.

Gagne, F., & Gagnier, N. (2004). The socio-affective and academic impact of early entrance to school. Roeper Review, 26(3), 128-138.

Dr. Gagne is an Honorary Professor (retired) in the Department of Psychology at l’Universite du Quebec a Montreal. He has published extensively in the field of gifted education over the past twenty years and is best known in the U.S. and abroad for his Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent. Despite numerous studies indicating that early entrants to school do not experience social and emotional deficits at a greater rate than their non-accelerated peers, there is general public concern about the potential negative impacts of early entrance. In this article, the authors note that many methodological issues – including confusion of early entrants with students who are younger than the rest of their cohort, biases from teachers and researchers, and misused statistical analyses – reinforce the difference between research findings and personal beliefs. The main purpose of this article is to measure the effects of early entrance on social-emotional development by identifying and using the best measures of social-emotional adjustment, analyzing early entrants separately from those that are younger than average, and minimizing teacher bias in the assessment process. The authors hypothesize that early entrants will achieve at least as well academically as their regularly admitted peers, the difference in academic achievement between early entrants and regularly admitted peers will increase noticeably from kindergarten to Grade 2, the early entrants will adjust at least as well socio-affectively as the regularly admitted students, the relationship between chronological age and adjustment will not affect accelerated students, regularly admitted girls will show better adjustment than their male peers, and female early entrants will not outperform their male peers on any of the adjustment measures. This study utilized quantitative and qualitative methods to analyze four adjustment measures: conduct, integration, maturity, and academic achievement. Data were collected on 738 kindergartners and 1,083 second graders from 36 kindergarten classes and 42 second grade teachers. The researchers found comparable adjustment levels for both early entrants and regularly admitted students on all four indices of socio-affective and academic adjustment, though boys had lower scores on conduct items regardless of when they were admitted to school. This result supports the hypothesis that regularly admitted boys do not adjust as well as their female counterparts. When using qualitative methods, the researchers identified a significant percentage of early entrants with perceived adjustment problems. The authors conclude that early entrants are not the students most at risk for adjustment problems. The two groups with the highest adjustment risks were boys and the youngest among regularly admitted students. In addition, they note that different methodologies can provide different results. This study adds to the existing literature by helping to explain why public perceptions and research conclusions differ, using appropriate and well-designed variables and analyses, and refocusing the public discussion about which groups of students parents and educators should watch for adjustment problems.

Rotigel, J. V. (2003). Understanding the young gifted child: Guidelines for parents, families, and educators. Early Childhood Education Journal, 30(4), 209-214.

Describes characteristics of young gifted or talented children that affect the way they learn and develop. Asserts that teachers and parents should consider each child's unique needs as they plan for their education. Discusses concerns such as uneven development, the need for acceleration or enrichment, appropriate socialization and peer interactions, and modification of the curriculum. Includes suggestions and resources for teachers and parents

Sankar-DeLeeuw, N. (2002). Gifted preschoolers: Parent and teacher views on identification, early admission, and programming. Roeper Review, 24(3), 172-177.

An exploration of the issues and concerns of the parents of gifted preschoolers and preschool/kindergarten teachers surrounding early identification and programming for gifted‐ness was undertaken using a survey. The majority of parents reported that early identification can (91%) and should (74%) be done, while teachers acknowledged each at 78% and 50% respectively. The practice of differentiated curriculum was supported by 76% of parents and 32% of teachers surveyed, while the educational option of early entrance was supported by 37% of parents and 7% of teachers. The physical domain was superseded by both social‐emotional and intellectual domains in the levels of importance for early entrance consideration by both respondent groups. Parental requests for information were categorized as resources for additional challenge, disciplinary techniques, educational options, and parenting guidelines. Teachers required information on balancing differing development rates and supportive programming. A number of professionals were acknowledged by both groups as beneficial to acquiring requested information, including school staff, support groups, medical staff, psychologists, the media, and political lobbyists.

Gould, J. C., Thorpe, P., & Weeks, V. (2001). An early childhood accelerated program. Educational Leadership, 59(3), 47-50.

Describes the Early Childhood Accelerated Program, an innovative pilot program in Wichita, Kansas, focusing on high-ability children ages 3-5 from culturally diverse groups.

McCluskey, K. W., Massey, K. J., & Baker, P. A. (1997). Early entrance to kindergarten: An alternative to consider. Gifted and Talented International, 12, 27-30.

The purpose of this article is to provide evidence in support of providing gifted children with early access to preschool. The authors analyzed data from the Lord Selkirk School Division in Canada, which has had an early entrance program for the last 24 years. Subjects in this study are students who were accelerated between 1971 and 1990, and participants were divided into one of four admission groups (1971-1974, 1975-1978, 1979-1982, 1983-1986, 1987-1990). School personnel – including principals, teachers, and assistants – provided letter grades for each student’s progress, ranging from A+ to D. This rating served as the dependent variable and was gathered after each student completed kindergarten and again following completion of fifth grade.The results show that early entrants received higher ratings from their teachers at the end of their fifth grade year than they had at completion of kindergarten, suggesting that students may have needed the chance to “warm up” and develop over time. The authors interpret these results as further evidence that accelerated students do well in school, though the scope of their argument is limited by not having a comparison group of non-accelerated students and by not having a more comprehensive measure of student success.

Feldhusen, J. F. (1992). Early admission and grade advancement for young gifted learners. Gifted Child Today, 15(2), 45-49.

This article looks at decision factors in early admission or grade advancement for young gifted children. Specific criteria are offered for determining the appropriateness of both early admission and grade advancement. Special training for teachers and parents of gifted children is encouraged.

Karnes, F. A., & Johnson, L. J. (1991). Differentiating instruction for preschool gifted children. In R. M. E. Milgram (Ed.), Counseling gifted and talented children: A guide for teachers, counselors, and parents (pp. 179-205). Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation.

This chapter provides an up-to-date report of the status of gifted education at the preschool level. Describes the characteristics of these children, the specific problems they are likely to encounter, and approaches used to differentiate curriculum and to individualize instruction for them. It considers the competencies required by teachers of preschool gifted children and highlights the importance of fostering positive attitudes toward young gifted children. It also suggests means of involving parents in providing the required enrichment and acceleration of their gifted preschool children.

Robinson, N. M., & Weimer, L. J. (1991). Selection of candidates for early admission to kindergarten and first grade. In W. T. Southern & E. D. Jones (eds.), The academic acceleration of gifted children (pp. 29-50). New York: Teachers College Press.

This article by Nancy Robinson and Linda Weimer explains that children learn best when challenged appropriately at a level they are ready for. It suggests strategies for parents to use when advocating for early school entrance through all the different viewpoints of teachers, administrators and professionals. Also included is a catalog of preferred tests and assessments for various domains.

Benbow, C. P., & J. C. Stanley (Eds.) (1983), Academic precocity: Aspects of its development. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Revised, expanded, and updated proceedings of the Tenth Annual Hyman Blumberg Symposium on Research in Early Childhood Education focus on the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY).

George, W. C., Cohn, S. J., & Stanley, J. C. (Eds.) (1977). Educating the gifted: Acceleration and enrichment. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Revised and expanded proceedings of the Seventh Annual Hyman Blumberg Symposium on Research in Early Childhood Education.

Bereiter, C. (1967). Acceleration of intellectual development in early childhood (Final Report: 210). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois.

The child's capacity for self-actuated intellectual growth and the possibility of speeding up intellectual growth through improved opportunities and increased stimulation were studied. Six exploratory studies carried out during the first two years of this project were reported. The three main areas of learning that were investigated with the idea of locating promising approaches were reading, creativity, and logical operations. These studies concerned (1) exploring the teaching of reading to very young children, (2) a teaching machine approach which showed some promise in the first study, (3) preferences for high-frequency versus low-frequency word use occurring in children's speech, (4) construction activities involving independent problem-solving and guided construction, (5) a method of inducing conservation of substance in kindergarten children, and (6) teaching formal logical operation to preschool children. Two other studies were discussed, including (1) instruction of direct verbal instruction in language, arithmetic, and reading to four-year old disadvantaged children, and (2) comparison of a direct verbal instruction with a Montessori program for four-year olds. Results and conclusions were many and varied.

Reynolds, M. (Ed.) (1962). Early school admission for mentally advanced children. Washington, DC: Council for Exceptional Children.

Research and school system policies on early admission are reviewed in this publication. Articles include (1) "The Early Admission Issue" by Maynard C. Reynolds, (2) "Review of Research on Early Admission" by Maynard C. Reynolds and others, (3) "The Brookline Massachusetts Program of Early Admission to Kindergarten" by James R. Hobson, (4) "The Early Admission Program in Evanston, Illinois" by Vera V. Miller, (5) "The Early Admission Program in Minneapolis, Minnesota" by Sarah F. Holbrook, and (6) "Twelve Years of Early Admission in Nebraska" by Marshall S. Hiskey. A 110-Item bibliography is included.

Birch, J. W. (1954). Early school admission for mentally advanced children. Exceptional Children, 21, 84-87.

An evaluation by principals and teachers made over a two-year period of the educational and social adjustments of 43 children admitted early to the first grade is reported. In 30 instances, the evaluations were completely positive; in only five instances were any negative evaluations obtained, and these did not totally characterize the five children. The examining, counseling, and evaluative procedures are described.

Hobson, J. (1948). Mental age as a workable criterion for school admission. Elementary School Journal, 48, 312-321.

Ten years of experience with a system for admitting under-age children to kindergarten and Grade I by test are evaluated as measured by teacher's marks, promotions, achievement test results, and grade by grade progress, in comparison with other children. The under-age group admitted by test showed superior academic performance on the basis of all the criteria given, except for kindergarten where different standards existed. A consistently higher percentage of A's and B's, a lower percentage of failure, and higher achievement test results characterized the under-age group. Recommendations made to the board concerning continuance of the program are presented.