History of Gifted Education

important events and people who have impacted gifted education

This timeline shows some events and people that have impacted education, and gifted education in particular. It is a work in progress--not all important events and people are included, yet...;xNLx;The colored bands reflect the categories, which you can see listed on the top left of the page. If you click on any entry, you can find out more about it.;xNLx;The years are across the bottom, and you can advance by using the arrows on your keyboard.;xNLx;The little wrench in the bottom on the right allows you to search for certain items by title or category or to view only certain categories of items at a time. ;xNLx;The little 2D in the bottom left of the screen allows you to view the timeline in 2 dimensions.

0427 BC-01-01 00:00:00

Plato established free school for gifted

In ancient Greece, Plato recognized the importance of education for democracy and established a free school for intellectually gifted young men and women

0580-01-01 00:00:00

China Recognized Intelligence

China's Tang Dynasty educated child prodigies at the imperial court to prepare them for a life of civil service

1185-01-01 00:00:00

Japanese Samurai

Children of Samurai were well-educated and received training in a number of areas, including history, classics, and martial arts. Lower class children received training in obedience and loyalty instead of the traditional school subjects learned by the upper class students

1300-01-01 00:00:00

The Renaissance In Europe

The Renaissance marked the rebirth of all forms of arts and education. Gifted and talented artists, architects, poets, authors, singers, and many more received both private and public patronage, allowing them the freedom to explore and grow their talents.

1363-01-01 00:00:00

The Ottoman Palace School Enderun

The first gifted school to select the most able youngsters within the Ottoman Empire and to educate them to become the members of the ruling class.

1800-01-01 00:00:00

Thomas Jefferson

Concern grew for equity and conformity. Private tutoring was considered the birthright of male children of aristocracy and wealthy families. Thomas Jefferson recommended using public funds for education of the brightest males.

1868-01-01 00:00:00

St. Louis Plan, MO

William Torrey Harris, superintendent of public schools for St. Louis, institutes the earliest systematic efforts in public schools to educate gifted students: The St. Louis Plan: flexible promotion in the St. Louis schools.

1869-01-01 00:00:00

Sir Francis Galton

Wrote Hereditary Genius and is credited with the earliest significant research and writing devoted to intelligence

1886-09-01 00:00:00


Some form of tracking for instruction was begun in schools in the late 1800s in Elizabeth, NJ, Cambridge, MA, and Santa Barbara, CA (Click on the map to see places marked)

1900-09-01 00:00:00

Rapid advancement classes: NY

beginning of special progress classes; junior high could complete three years work in two years

1901-09-01 00:00:00

Special Schools for Gifted

First special schools for gifted in the U.S.

1905-06-01 00:00:00

First Intelligence Tests

French researchers, Binet and Simon, develop a series of tests (Binet-Simon) to identify children of inferior intelligence for the purpose of separating them from normally functioning children for placement in special classrooms. Their notion of mental age revolutionizes the science of psychological testing by capturing intelligence in a single numerical outcome.

1905-09-01 00:00:00

Alfred Binet

1905 Paris, France: Alfred Binet and his colleague, Theodore Simon, created the first lasting intelligence test to predict which youngsters would succeed in the primary grades

1908-06-06 00:00:00

Henry Goddard

Henry Goddard studies in France with Binet and is introduced to the Binet-Simon measurement scales. Subsequently, he ferries the test back to American in order to translate it into English and disseminate it to American educators and psychologists.

1914-09-01 00:00:00

Army Alpha and Army Beta

Development of the Army Alpha and Army Beta intelligence tests to test large numbers of recruits for WWI

1915-10-08 00:00:00

E. Paul Torrrance

E.Paul Torrance, often called the Father of Creativity, did much to infuse creativity into classrooms. His major accomplishments were: The development and publication of his tests of creative thinking The creation of the Future Problem Solving Program The creation of the Incubation Curriculum Model And, numerous research studies

1916-09-01 00:00:00

Lewis Terman

Adapted Binet's test for students in the U.S. and published it as the Stanford Revision of the Binet-Simon Scale (he was at Stanford University). It was later called the Stanford-Binet.

1918-06-06 00:00:00

Lulu Stedman

Lulu Stedman establishes an “opportunity room” for gifted students within the University Training School at the Southern Branch of the University of California.

1918-09-01 00:00:00

Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education

These principles established that high schools should create separate courses of study for college preparatory and vocational interests

1918-09-01 00:00:00

Schools for high IQ children

schools selecting by mental ability tests were created in Louisville, KY; New York City; Urbana, Illinois; Columbus, Ohio; Berkley, California

1920-01-01 00:00:00

"Age of the Common Man"

Dean Worcester called the 1920s the "age of the common man" or "the age of mediocrity" in relation to gifted education. It was a time where teachers and educators focused on students all being at the same level, accomplishing the same standard, but were not concerned with pushing students above the standard, or to their highest potential.

1921-09-01 00:00:00

Genetic Studies of Genius

Lewis Terman begins what has remained the longest running longitudinal study of gifted children with an original sample of 1,500 gifted children. The results from the study have been published in five books, a monograph, and dozens of articles. 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.

1922-09-01 00:00:00

Leta Hollingworth

experimental classes for gifted children at P. S. 165 and studies of the highly gifted

1926-06-06 00:00:00

First Textbook on Gifted Education

Leta Hollingworth publishes Gifted Children: Their Nature and Nurture, which is considered to be the first textbook on gifted education. The full book is available at the link.

1936-06-01 00:00:00

Establishment of Speyer School

Leta Hollingworth opened Public School 500 in New York City, known as the Speyer School, in 1936. This school was established for gifted children between the ages of seven and nine. The school was culturally diverse in an attempt to represent the population of the area.

1938-05-17 00:00:00

Mary Fraiser

Fraser was the founder of the Torrance Center for Creativity and Talent Development in the College of Education at UGA. She played a huge role in the way that children are assessed to receive gifted services by creating the Fraiser Talent Assessment Profile.

1944-06-06 00:00:00

GI Bill of Rights

G.I Bill of Rights making a college education available to veterans from World War II who would otherwise not have had the opportunity to pursue higher education.

1946-09-01 00:00:00

City and Country School of Bloomfield Hills

George and Annemarie Roeper established the City and Country School of Bloomfield Hills. They later transformed this school into one of the first schools for gifted children.

1950-06-01 00:00:00

Guilford's APA address

Importance of researching and nurturing creativity

1954-06-08 03:36:22

Brown vs. Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education ends “separate but equal education.”

1954-06-08 03:36:22

NAGC Founded

The National Association of Gifted Children is founded under the leadership of Ann Isaacs.

1955-06-01 00:00:00

The College Board Started AP Exams

The College Board came up with different tests that allowed advanced high school students to earn college credit before entering college.

1957-10-04 03:36:22


On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first man-made object to orbit the Earth. In a single stroke, this 184-pound object brought into question the United States' pre-eminence in science, industry, and military power.

1958-06-08 03:36:22

National Defense of Education Act

The National Defense Education Act passes. This is the first large-scale effort in gifted education by the federal government. In response to the perceived threat of Sputnik, this was passed to provide funding for emphasis in science and math.

1964-06-01 00:00:00

Civil Rights Act

The Civil Rights Act passes, emphasizing equal opportunities including those ineducation.

1968-06-01 00:00:00

International Baccalaureate in Switzerland is Founded

The International Baccalaureate foundation is started. This allowed gifted students to take college credit courses in high school. This is because an international curriculum outline was created.

1972-06-08 00:00:00

Marland Report

The Marland Report-The first formal definition is issued encouraging schools to define giftedness broadly, along with academic and intellectual talent the definition includes leadership ability, visual and performing arts, creative or productive thinking, and psychomotor ability. [Note: psychomotor ability is excluded from subsequent revisions of the federal definition.]

1974-06-08 00:00:00

Office of the Gifted and Talented

The Office of the Gifted and Talented housed within the U.S. Office of Education is given official status.

1975-06-08 00:00:00

Public Law 94-142

Public Law 94-142 The Education for all Handicapped Children Act establishes a federal mandate to serve children with special education needs, but does not include children with gifts and talents.

1983-01-01 00:00:00

Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardner proposed this theory in his book "Frames of the Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences". He suggests eight different intelligences: musical-rhythmic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic.

1983-01-01 00:00:00

Dr. Jim Delisle

James R. Delisle, Ph.D. has contributed to the field of gifted education from the 1980s until present. He has authored over 200 works including books and articles in the Gifted Quarterly. He has made both practical and theoretical contributions in the field. Dr. Delisle continues to advocate for gifted students by sharing their artwork, journal reflections, and experiences during his presentations to educators and parents of gifted students.

1983-06-08 00:00:00

A Nation At Risk

A Nation at Risk reports scores of America’s brightest students and their failure to compete with international counterparts. The report includes policies and practices in gifted education, raising academic standards, and promoting appropriate curriculum for gifted learners.

1984-01-01 00:00:00

The Torrance Center UGA

The University of Georgia College of Education created a service, research, and instructional center concerned with the identification and development of creative potential and with gifted and future studies named in honor of E. Paul Torrance.

1988-06-08 00:00:00

Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act

Congress passes the Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act as part of the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

1993-06-08 00:00:00

National Excellence: A Case for Developing America's Talent

National Excellence : The Case for Developing America's Talent, issued by the U.S. Department of Education, outlines how America neglects its most talented youth. The report also makes a number of recommendations influencing the last decade of research in the field of gifted education. You can download a pdf of the full text at the link.

2002-06-09 00:00:00

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is passed as the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The Javits program is included in NCLB, and expanded to offer competitive statewide grants. The definition of gifted and talented students is modified again: "Students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities."

2004-06-09 00:00:00

A Nation Deceived

A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students, a national research-based report on acceleration strategies for advanced learners is published by the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa. Download the full report at the link.

2006-06-09 00:00:00

NAGC publishes national gifted education standards for teacher preparation programs

2006 NAGC publishes national gifted education standards for teacher preparation programs and knowledge and skill standards in gifted education for all teachers. (The standards were revised in 2013.)

2010-06-09 00:00:00

NAGC Revised Pre-K-Grade 12 Gifted Programming Standards.

The standards were revised in 2010 as Pre-K-Grade 12 Gifted Programming Standards. Read about the standards and download them at the link:

2013-06-09 00:00:00

NAGC Revised Standards for Teachers

The revised standards report on Knowledge and Skill Standards in Gifted Education for All Teachers, as well as standards for teachers of the gifted and advanced standards. You can read/download all standards from the link.

History of Gifted Education

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