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History of Gifted Education in the United States

Educational practices for gifted students in the United States have been well documented for more than 150 years. William Torrey Harris, the superintendent of St. Louis public schools, initiated the earliest efforts for educating gifted children that allowed students to advance every 5 weeks based on academic performance. This promotion schedule allowed for rapid advancement through the curriculum. During the next 50 years, various systems of flexible promotion or grade skipping appeared across the United States, as described in this entry.

Early Schooling Efforts

In 1907, at the national meeting of the National Education Association, a special committee recommended that gifted students be grouped together in exceptional classes with special curricula and environment, taught by teachers who possessed the disposition to work with gifted students. Soon thereafter, ...

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