Policy Matters: An Analysis of District-Level Efforts to Increase the Identification of Underrepresented Learners

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Policies delegating control of educational policy to the local level are widespread, yet there has been little examination of the effects of such distributed decision making in the area of advanced education programming. We used propensity score matching to examine the effectiveness of locally developed policies for identifying intellectually gifted children identifying themselves as Black or from low-socioeconomic backgrounds across one large U.S. state (Florida) that has a state-level gifted education mandate. Ongoing underrepresentation of traditionally marginalized groups in gifted education was evident, even among districts with policies specifically designed to ameliorate disproportional representation. However, the presence of such a policy reduced the degree of underrepresentation.