Gifted Education History

This timeline shows the intellectual history of the field of gifted education over the past 150 years.

The purpose of this project was to create an intellectual history of the field of gifted education. Dr. Tracy Cross’ EPPL 712 class developed this project to display the results of their research during the Spring 2012 and Spring 2013 semesters. The contributors to this project are: Lori Andersen, Patty Costis, Darlene Dockery, Natalie Dudnytska, Paige Hendricks, Ginny Hutcheson, Sakhavat Mammadov, Jessica McDonough, Amy Schmidt, Young Eun Son, Elizabeth Starke, and Anthony Washington. This is a foundational document. Our hope is that future students will take our efforts and continue to develop this timeline.

1865-03-26 23:52:05

Francis Galton (1822-1911)

Galton used historiometric methods to study the inheritiability of intelligence. His work brought the notion of giftedness as hereditary into prominence.

1865-03-26 23:52:05

Heritability of intelligence

Galton's work supports the idea that intellectual ability is genetically inherited.

1868-01-01 00:00:00

William Torrey Harris (1835-1909)

Superintendent of public schools in St. Louis who implemented an acceleration plan for students (Jolly, 2008).

1890-03-26 23:52:05

James McKeen Cattell (1860-1944)

James M. Cattell was a student of Francis Galton. He believed in a unitary construct of intelligence and brought quantitative methods to psychology.

1894-05-07 21:05:00

Alfred H. Yoder

Studied the boyhoods of 50 great men. This work influenced Hollingworth and Terman (Jolly, 2004).

1896-05-07 12:10:44

The Myth of the Mad Genius

Cesare Lombroso's book marks the beginning of the myth that geniuses have mental disorders. Research based on this myth persists in the creativity literature.

1896-05-07 21:05:00

Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909)

Publishes "The Man of Genius", a study of men of genius who also exhibited insanity. He proposed a link between genius and neurosis which led to negative characterizations of gifted children.

1901-01-01 21:20:03

First School for Gifted Kids

In 1901, Worcester, Massachusetts opened the first special school for gifted children Reference: Colangelo, N., & Davis, G. A. (2003). Handbook of gifted education (3rd ed.). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

1903-07-27 10:49:54

Edward L. Thorndike (1874-1949)

Dr. Thorndike was on the faculty of Teachers College at Columbia University from 1899 to 1940.

1905-03-16 01:42:13

Entity Model of Giftedness

The work of Binet and Terman marks the beginning of an era where intelligence and giftedness is quantified by IQ and believed to be genetically linked. This is still strongly entrenched.

1905-03-26 23:52:05

Alfred Binet (1857-1911)

Binet's formal training was in law, but he later became interested in psychology. Developed educational placement test in France and established the concept of Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Binet's work Influenced Lewis Terman.

1905-03-26 23:52:05

The Juilliard School

The Juilliard School's teaching methods that help students transform expertise into artistry influenced Rena Subotnik's work on talent development trajectories.

1905-04-01 00:00:00

Binet-Simon Intelligence Test

At a conference in Rome, Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon announced the development of an objective measure capable of diagnosing different degrees of mental retardation. This announcement was followed 2 months later by the publication of the Binet-Simon Intelligence Test in L’Anée Psychologique.

1906-03-26 23:52:05

Lewis Madison Terman (1877-1956)

Earned his Ph.D. in Psychology from Clark University in 1905. Dr. Terman was a professor at Stanford University from 1910 to 1956.

1908-01-01 03:23:36

Henry Herbert Goddard

Henry Herbert Goddard (August 14, 1866 – June 18, 1957) was a prominent American psychologist and eugenicist in the early 20th century. He is known especially for his 1912 work The Kallikak Family: A Study in the Heredity of Feeble-Mindedness, which he himself came to regard as deeply flawed, and for being the first to translate the Binet intelligence test into English in 1908 and distributing an estimated 22,000 copies of the translated test across the United States; he also introduced the term "moron" into the field. He was the leading advocate for the use of intelligence testing in societal institutions including hospitals, schools, the legal system and the military. He played a major role in the emerging field of clinical psychology, in 1911 helped to write the first U.S. law requiring that blind, deaf and mentally retarded children be provided special education within public school systems, and in 1914 became the first American psychologist to testify in court that subnormal intelligence should limit the criminal responsibility of defendants.

1911-05-07 21:05:00

Guy Montrose Whipple (1876-1941)

Whipple received his A. B. degree from Brown University in 1897. He earned his Ph.D. in Psychology from Cornell University in 1900. Assistant Professor of Education at Cornell from 1904 to 1911. Associate Professor of Education from 1914 to 1917 at the University of Illinois. Professor of Experimental Education at the University of Michigan from 1919 to 1925.

1914-06-16 12:10:44

World War I

Intelligence testing was advanced considerably during World War I due to the efforts of Robert M Yerkes, Henry Goddard, Lewis M. Terman, and Walter Bingham. Over 1.5 million men were tested using the Army Alpha and Beta tests which supplied a vast amount of data for analysis. This was the first group intelligence test.

1916-05-07 21:05:00

Stanford-Binet Test Developed

Lewis Terman develops the Stanford-Binet test for use in America. The test was not revised for 20 years. This test is administered individually.

1918-05-07 21:05:00

Lulu M. Stedman (1876-1960)

Creates the first opportunity room for gifted students at the University of Southern California (Jolly, 2004). Stedman developed curriculum for gifted children.

1919-01-26 23:52:05

Army Alpha and Beta Tests

These were the first group intelligence tests. The Army Alpha was a verbal intelligence test and the Beta was a nonverbal test. The test was intended to separate high intelligence recruits from low intelligence recruits.

1921-03-26 23:52:05

Terman begins longitudinal study

Lewis Terman began his study of 1,528 gifted children in 1921. He selected children with IQ scores above 135. HIs findings are published in a five volume set: Genetic Studies of Genius.

1921-05-26 23:52:05

Robert Mearns Yerkes (1876-1956)

Yerkes earned his Ph.D. from Harvard in Psychology in 1902. He was an Assistant Professor of Comparative Psychology at Harvard from 1902 to 1917. He served as the chairman of the committee on psychological examination of recruits.

1921-06-26 23:52:05

The early mental traits of three hundred geniuses

Seminal work by Catharine Cox Miles. Her doctoral dissertation under Lewis Terman. This work was the second volume in Terman's Genetic Studies of Genius. Miles' work influenced Dean K. Simonton.

1921-06-26 23:52:05

Catharine Cox Miles (1890-1984)

Miles did her doctoral work with Lewis Terman at Stanford University. She compiled developmental histories for 301 geniuses for her dissertation. She was a Professor of Clinical Psychology at Yale Medical School from 1932 to 1953.

1923-01-01 00:00:00

Leta Stetter Hollingworth (1886-1939)

Professor of Education at Teachers College of Columbia University. She was born in rural Nebraska and educated in a one-room school. Hollingworth was interested in identifying very bright children to further their education.

1923-01-12 20:52:22

Carl Brigham (1890-1943)

Brigham was a professor of psychology at Princeton who had earned all of his degrees from Princeton. Brigham collaborated with Robert Yerkes to publish the results of the Army Alpha and Beta tests.

1924-05-07 21:05:00

Education of Gifted Children

Lulu M. Stedman publishes the book, "Education of Gifted Children". Establishes the practice of "opportunity rooms" for gifted children at the Los Angeles Branch of the State Normal School. This book is a seminal work in gifted education.

1925-05-05 14:59:17

Genetic Studies of Genius

Lewis Terman publishes Genetic Studies of Genius, concluding that gifted students were: (a) qualitatively different in school, (b) slightly better physically and emotionally in comparison to normal students, (c) superior in academic subjects in comparison to the average students, (d) emotionally stable, (e) most successful when education and family values were held in high regard by the family, and (f) infinitely variable in combination with the number of traits exhibited by those in the study. This is the first volume in a five-volume study spanning nearly 40 years.

1926-01-01 00:00:00

Gifted Children: Their Nature and Nurture

First textbook on gifted children, written by Leta Hollingworth.

1927-03-26 23:52:05

Charles Spearman (1863-1945)

Earned his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Leipzig, Germany in 1906.

1927-03-26 23:52:05

Essence Theory or Theory of "g"

Charles Spearman posits that intelligence was explained by one underlying construct, labelled "g". His "essence theory" posits that all measures of intelligence involve a singular common factor.

1931-12-07 23:52:05

Exceptional Children and Youth Section Established

The United States Office of Education established the Section on Exceptional Children and Youth but does not give it any funding or legislative power

1933-01-12 20:52:22

James Bryant Conant (1893-1978)

Dr. Conant was a Ph.D. Chemist. A president of Harvard from 1933 to 1953, Conant believed that tests, such as the SAT, could identify the ability of individuals and eventually serve to equalize educational opportunities.

1936-01-01 00:00:00

Raven's Matrices Test Developed

Developed by John C. Raven, this test is considered one of the best measures of Gf.

1936-01-01 00:00:00

John Carlyle Raven (1902-1970)

Developer of Raven's matrices. Dr. Raven was a student of Charles Spearman. He developed the matrices during his master's thesis at the University of London, in 1936.

1936-03-26 23:52:05

Jean Piaget (1896-1980)

Piaget posited a theory of the developmental progression of intelligence. His work is considered a foundation of modern education.

1936-12-09 12:22:00

The Speyer School

Hollingworth establishes P. S. 500, the Speyer School, for gifted children ages 7-9.

1938-03-26 23:52:05

Louis L. Thurstone (1887-1955)

Thurstone earned is Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Chicago. He was a professor at University of Chicago from 1924 to 1952. Developed factor analysis. Director Psychometric Laboratory, University of North Carolina from 1952 to 1955.

1938-03-26 23:52:05

Primary Mental Abilities Theory

Theory of Primary Mental Abilities posits 9 common factors that accounted for specific variance in intelligence tests scores.

1938-11-17 16:05:37

The Bronx High School of Science

The Bronx High School of Science was founded in 1938 by resolution of the Department of Education of the City of New York with Dr. Morris Meister as the first principal of the school.

1939-09-26 23:52:05

World War II

After World War II, there was more emphasis on equal opportunity and a decline in special programs for the gifted (Robins, 2010). Gifted education had little growth during this period.

1940-12-25 23:52:05

Paul Witty (1898-1976)

School psychologist and later, researcher at Northwestern University, Witty examined environmental factors, drive and creativity in the identification of gifted children. His alternative form of identification was completely different from the widely-accepted IQ testing of Terman and Hollingworth. Today, alternative identification methods such at drive (motivation) and creativity are common among school districts nationwide. In addition, Witty suggested grouping students according to ability and interest for the purpose of reading instruction. His balanced developmental reading program combined fiction, non-fiction, film and discussion to create a child-centered reading program. He founded the International Reading Association Finally, Witty was the first to study the influence of watching television on children, advocating for an increase in creative, quality programming for children. “Perhaps it is desirable to broaden our definition of the gifted and to consider as ‘gifted’ any child whose performance, in a valuable line of human activity, is consistently or repeatedly remarkable” (Witty, 1959b, p. 10). Jolly, J.L. (2010). Paul A. Witty: A friend of gifted children. Gifted child today, 33(4), 14-17. Witty, P. (1959b). Identifying and educating gifted and talented pupils. In P. Witty, J. B. Conant, & R. Strang (Eds.), Creativity of gifted and talented children (pp. 1–15). New York, NY: Teachers College, Columbia University.

1941-03-26 23:52:05

Raymond B. Cattell (1905-1998)

Earned his bachelor's degree in Chemistry from the University of London in 1924. Received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of London in 1929.

1941-03-26 23:52:05

Gf-Gc Theory

Gf-Gc theory is a theory of two intelligences, called fluid (Gf) and crystallized (Gc). Also called Cattell-Horn theory.

1941-05-01 12:10:44

Hunter College Elementary School

Begins entering only gifted students who have scored in the top 1% on the Stanford-Binet (Robins, 2010).

1941-12-07 23:52:05

Japan attacks Pearl Harbor

America enters World War II.

1942-01-01 23:52:05

Creative Problem Solving

The first version of a thinking strategy which requires students to think both divergently (brainstorming) and convergently (evaluating) to solve problems.

1942-03-26 23:52:05

Children Above 180 IQ

Book published by Leta Hollingworth.

1942-05-01 12:10:44

Monroe High School

60 students are enrolled in a high school for the gifted in Rochester, NY (Robins, 2010).

1942-06-01 12:10:44

Science Talent Search

The Westinghouse electric company sponsors a national science talent search. This event becomes the Intel Science Talent Search.

Gifted Education History

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