The conference will take an unusual six days, from 23 to 28 March 2021, so it will actually be a so-called ECHA Thematic week where we would listen to leading researchers, Marta Fülöp (Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Frank C. Worrell (Berkeley, CA), Paula Olszewski-Kubilius (Northwestern University) and Jonathan Plucker (Johns Hopkins University) and Tibor Péter Nagy (Hungarian Academy of Sciences) speaking about our topic in cc. 3 hours a day.
Hosts of the Conference:
Szilvia Fodor, PhD
Balázs Klein, PhD
Day 1 – Thuesday March, 23
Opening address of the hosts Dr. Szilvia Fodor...
Opening address of ECHA Dr. Lianne Hoogeveen
Opening address of ECHA Hungary Dr. László Balogh
Being competitively gifted: disadvantaged gifted need it the most
By Prof. Márta Fülöp
Day 2 – Wednesday March, 24
Replay of the first day
Research-Based Models and Practices for Serving Low Income Gifted Students
By Prof. Paula Olszewszki-Kubilius
Film on ECHA Porto Conference
Excellence Gaps 12 Years Later What we know about Causes and Solutions
By Prof. Jonathan Plucker
The first paper on excellence gaps was published in 2010. In the dozen years since that original report, researchers and educators have learned a great deal about excellence gaps. In the early years of the century, policymakers and educators around the world started to focus on the closing of “achievement gaps” and improving the educational performance of disadvantaged students. But achievement gaps usually meant “minimum competency” gaps in these conversations. What about achievement gaps at advanced levels of student performance, or “excellence gaps”? In this talk, we will review the current state of the research on causes of excellence gaps and strategies for shrinking and eventually eliminating them.
5:40 - 6:30 PM
Discussion: Dr. Szilvia Fodor is talking with Prof. Jonathan Plucker
In the early years of the 21st century, policymakers and educators around the world started to focus on the closing of “achievement gaps” and improving the educational performance of disadvantaged students. But achievement gaps usually meant “minimum competency” gaps in these conversations. What about achievement gaps at advanced levels of student performance or “excellence gaps”? The conversation between Prof. Jonathan Plucker and Dr. Szilvia Fodor raises the issue of the practical aspects of the excellence gap: challenges of identification, changes of perspective and the concept of a ’smart context’.
Day 3 – Thursday March, 25
Replay of the second day
4:00 - 5:30 pm
Symposium: Talent management practices for children in Extreme Poverty and Risk
By Prof. János Győri, Dr. Narayan Desai, Prof. dr. Sheyla Blumen and Ms. Ndondo P. Mulli
Since the values of equality and equity in education is so important nowadays all over the world, most of the talent management programs include special opportunities for children of disadvantaged families with scarce financial, educational and social opportunities. However, much less attention is devoted to those children who grow up in extreme poverty and in an extremely hazardous environment. Extreme poverty is not a well-defined concept (Lukács, 2017), but we can conceptualize it as one clearly distinct from disadvantagement. According to UNICEF (2021), an estimated 356 million children live in extreme poverty worldwide: “Children who grow up impoverished often lack the food, sanitation, shelter, health care and education they need to survive and thrive.” Jensen defines extreme poverty as “a chronic and debilitating condition that results from multiple adverse synergistic risk factors and affects mind, body, and soul” (Jensen, 2009, p.1.). This population is most of the time off the radar and beyond the reach of gifted education programs. However, we can assume that a number of children within this population are also gifted, for whom a well-designed gifted education program would equally be needed. In our round-table session, we discuss gifted management possibilities for children in extreme poverty and risk: theory and good practices from four countries, all over the world.
Diversifying Gifted and Talented Education: An Uphill Battle for Our Field
By Prof. Frank C. Worrell
Day 4 – Friday March, 26
Replay of the third day
Routes to Elite
By Prof. Tibor Péter Nagy
People – belonging to the upper tenth and fifth of the social pyramid – provide their children with cultural, educational, property and relationship capital in such a way that they have a very high chance of reaching the top tenth and fifth of the next generation . The success of this mechanism is always partial – we know this fact from the fact that those belonging to the lower tithes and fifths of society gettint into the upper tithes and fifths , and those whose parents are in the upper tithes or fifths getting into the ninth tenth or fourth fifth or lower.. The number of aspirants to the top tenth or to one-fifth of societies is always higher than the number of ‘places’in these groups, selection from the bottom four-fifths or nine-tenths is done by some sort of this positive selection – it must show excellence in some respects . The mechanism of this selection is classified by society, and it speaks of “lucky ones” , “hard workers”, “adapters”, “fiduciary clients” and in this context it also speaks of “talented”. The top fifth or tenth, much smaller group defined as power-elite, and a group of people in the head of the social subsystems defined as reputational elite .
“Talented students” – educational public discourse when a student meets the requirements of the system to a greater extent than is assumed by the system based on the predictive validity resulting from the social calculation. Therefore, in the case of those belonging to the lower group, he speaks of talent if he shows the same performance as the members of the upper group, and in the case of the student belonging to the upper group, if his performance points towards the elite. The lecture shows the social forces which drive the lower groups to the upper fifth, upper tentsch of society, and to the elite – in international and national meaning
5:10 - 6:45 PM
Symposium: Socially disadvantaged students in Hungary
By Dr. Anikó Fehérvári, Dr. Aranka Varga and Fanny Trendl, Dr. Judit Kiss Páskuné and Csilla Fuszek
Arany János Talent Support Programme (AJTP)...
The permanently developing Arany János Talent Support Programme (AJTP), active for 21 years, was the first national secondary school programme to integrate underprivileged children living in small settlements into the best grammar schools, i.e. schools they would have had no chance to be admitted to and provide outstanding performance at without special help. AJTP had been launched with a lucky combination of political will, money and not in the least human enthusiasm. After 2000, the original concept was complemented by another 2 sub-programmes within a few years; one concerned Roma students and was based on boarding school accommodation, and the other supported vocational school students.
The talent support programme was accompanied by continuous psychometric measurements conducted by staff of Debrecen University for 21 years, producing an incredible amount of data for this special field of science. As the programme progressed, ELTE Budapest and Pécs University also joined in the sociological examination of AJTP from various aspects.
At the present symposium, members of 3 different universities of science present a longer-term research project each, and introduce a higher education organisation focusing basically on disadvantage compensation and talent support that can be interpreted as the follow-up of the secondary school AJTP and has been attended by several “Arany” students to this day.
Programme about the results of the relevant researches
The first presentation...
The first presentation by Ass. Prof. Anikó Fehérvári describes the phenomena of resilience through a Hungarian education (talent development) programme, which is aimed at enhancing equity. The Arany János Programme, which has been running since the year 2000, supports the education of socially disadvantaged students, helps them to get an upper-secondary level qualification, learn a vocation, or progress to higher education, and thus advance in social status compared to their parents.
Four concepts constitute the conceptual framework of the presentation. We consider the Arany János Programme an educational policy intervention, aimed at the prevention of early drop-out, therefore one of our concepts is drop-out. We link intersectionality to this, which is the compound emergence, mix and accumulation of social disadvantages, and it applies to a certain number of students in the observed programme. Resilience, the behaviour that differs from the one predestined by social status, is the expected effect of the programme. Inclusive educational environment, which plays a significant role besides personal traits in respect of success, is the fourth main focus of our research. This supportive environment can be guaranteed by the institutions participating in the Arany János Programme (AJP).
The presentation builds on two analyses. The first analysis highlights the drivers of resilience and intersectionality. This research based on a questionnaire-based data collection was conducted amongst all AJP students (N=3279) in 2017/2018 school year. The second analysis is a quasi-experiment. In the context of a retrospective study, differences in academic success and learning pathways were examined in a cohort comprising a group that participated in the programme and a group that did not. The analysis used quantitative data (test results) of grade 6 and grade 10 students from the Hungarian National Competence Assessment.
The second analysis found that the academic achievement of students participating in the programme was higher than that of the control group. By grade 6, participants showed higher academic achievement, better results in competence tests and better school grades, and the difference between the two groups increased further by grade 10. The programme thus contributed to compensating for the participants’ educational inequalities.
The second presentation...
The second presentation by Judit Páskuné Kiss–Szilvia Fodor seeks to answer how and to what extent the conceptual representations of work and leisure and the work values of underprivileged students with limited opportunities for social progress due to the socio-cultural specifics of their families differ from those of their better-off peers. Another question was how the emerging conceptual representations related to their potential future adult life roles. The fact that, according to the background questionnaire and the grammar school admission criteria, the student population under study (study and control group) was characterised by outstanding abilities, but highly different cultural and family patterns provided for a particularly differentiated approach. The patterns concerned could affect their ideas of their future career and life roles and, accordingly, their ability-management capacities and self-realisation in adult roles. Part of the study sample consisted of participants of the Arany János Talent Support Programme for Disadvantaged Students, and another part from students in special classes of the same institutions.
Our comparative study was conducted at the exit point of the five-year secondary school programme, The compilation of the Leisure and vision questionnaire applied in the main research part was preceded by a focus-group study mapping the conceptual schemes and semantic contents associated with ‘leisure’ in the mind of the youth, and the exploration of the scope of their imagined adult life roles.
In answering our questions, special attention was paid to the work and leisure roles due to their paramount importance for the assertion of personal qualities and thus for self-realisation.
Our results suggest that the difference between work and leisure experiences is less pronounced for talented young people in an underprivileged situation than for the control group, and they see both roles primarily as an opportunity to cultivate friendly, social relationships and “do the chores”. Leisure as “extra time” is more important for the control group as an opportunity to focus on themselves and achieve self-realisation.
The third presentation...
The aim of the third presentation by Fanni Trendl is to describe a higher education organisation that provides disadvantage compensation and talent support in the first place, and can also be regarded as a follow-up to the secondary-school Arany János Programmes. It focuses on a special College attended in the past and to this day by several “Arany-programme” students. It is based on a research composed of several parts. The empirical part took place in the autumn of 2017, and consisted of structured interviews conducted with members of Wlislocki Henrik Roma College (hereinafter: WHSz) based at the University of Pécs. The interviews were meant to show how intersectionality, resilience, empowerment and the inclusive pedagogical environment manifested themselves in the career and school successes of the youth cocnerned.
In the spring of 2018, efforts were made to identify the place the College in the framework of talent support models based on the results of the empirical research. The theoretical part of this presentation relies on a review and analysis of the relevant technical literature and documents, as well as the above-mentioned empirical results, to show how WHSz fits into the line of talent support organisations. One of the aims of the presentation is to point out the advantages of talent identification and support for those who suffer from social disadvantages, and the psychological and social psychology mechanisms that can be used to realise them. To support our approaches, we present one and a half decade of higher education practice at Wlislocki Henrik Roma College in Pécsbased on the analysis of professional/pedagogical documents and the results of previous research.
6:45 - 7:00 PM
Prof. Márta Fülöp answers the questions arrived on the first day
She logs in live
Day 5 – Saturday March, 27
Replay of the fourth day
4:00pm - 5:30pm
Dr. Hava Vidergor
Closing the Excellence Gap in Israel...
This lecture will focus on initiatives in Israel to promote participation of Ethiopian, Arab, and Beduin students in programs for gifted and able students. The talk will focus on several stages in catering for students from different cultural backgrounds. Stage 1: Identification of special populations paying careful attention to cultural aspects. Stage 2: Offering suitable and gradual mixed-population programs. Stage 3: Individual support including closing the language barrier, social-emotional support, and support and monitoring of learning at regular school. Stage 4: Supporting parents by forums and face-to-face or online meetings focusing on the expansion of knowledge on giftedness and high ability, as well as sharing and facing challenges at home, and at school. The talk will conclude with examples of Israeli Division of Gifted and Talented Children at the Ministry of Education initiatives to promote participation of students from different cultural backgrounds, who otherwise would not have been identified and entitled to attending the special programs.
Dr. Georgia Tsoulfa and Dr. Haido Samaras
An online learning environment for high-ability students aimed at narrowing the achievement gap in Greece: an emerging example of best practice...
To ensure that no high-ability student across the country is left behind, the Center for Talented Youth at Anatolia College in Greece is attempting to reduce the achievement gap created by socioeconomic, landscape and immigration status factors. This is being accomplished through the increase of accessibility to its extracurricular programs, irrespective of the financial means of the families, through its substantial scholarship scheme and through the development of an extensive online enrichment program, the existence of which has been further accelerated due
to the pressing needs caused by the pandemic conditions. The online environment exploits the basic technology and infrastructure available in the majority of Greek households and capitalizes on the dedication and passion of teachers to rise to the occasion and meet the challenges of the new digital era in teaching. By minimizing the costs, eliminating the distances, offering challenges, inspiring learning, empowering self-esteem to name but a few, students are being offered equal and fair opportunities to succeed. For advanced learners who have the ability to make a difference for themselves, over time this benefit will have a lasting impact on their families, schools, communities and on our shared future.
Prof. Ching-Chih Kuo, Mr. Chien-Hong Yu, Mr. Chia-Chao Li, Mr. Chien-Chi Chu and Mr. Shu-Hau Jang
Illuminating the Bright Minds...
Many studies have shown that low economically disadvantaged gifted students lack access to cognitively stimulating materials and experiences, which not only limits their cognitive growth but reduces their chances of benefiting from school. In this session I will present with my four doctoral students to introduce a Bright Minds Project that was designed for economically disadvantaged gifted students and share the participating students’ feedback. The Bright Minds Project, established jointly by Morgan Stanley and the Chinese Association of Gifted Education, is an enrichment program for economically disadvantaged students in Taiwan. The project was launched in 2004 and ended in 2018. About twenty-five students were selected per session to participate in this project, and provided with assistance in learning and financial support. All participating students were screened in a two-stage process composed of screening and identification, including outstanding performance in junior high school, low-income families proof, group intelligence tests, aptitude tests, and interviews. Once students were selected, they received 3 years of services, including enrichment programs, financial support, and mentoring. There were four camp activities tailor-made for the students in both the summer and winter vacations in their first two years of high school. In addition to the camps, the program also provided counselors to offer solicitude for daily and academic lives. The “Yes, we can” award was to give an opportunity for students to apply what they had learned in the camp and the spirit of group work. After the project ended in 2018, a retrospective tracking study was conducted to understand the students’ feedback on the project. The findings show that students hold a positive attitude toward the project and think it is of great help to their academic performances at school and future careers. They have learned empathy and teamwork, broadened their horizons, and adopted a positive attitude toward life. This project has been organized for 6 sessions with 157 students; for the first four sessions, 103 of them have entered universities and 59 have entered prestigious national universities. Such an enrichment program for economically disadvantaged students truly meets their needs and helps them get prepared for their future challenges.
Dr. Paromita Roy
Achievement Chasm: Entitlement, Expectation, Experience and Ethics...
The term ‘gap’ underestimates the extent of contrast, disparateness and inequity of more than 1.3 billion Indians and the lives they lead. A chasm so stark and blatantly graphic in every aspect of Indian life, is unfortunately only expanding. The systemic alienation between the haves and have-nots is a complex matrix of prenatal, biological, economic, social, religious, cultural, gender, educational and caste-based dynamics. India has now become the world’s youngest nation with an average age of an Indian being 29 years, which points towards aspirational levels of its people and the possible catastrophic fallouts of disproportionate achievement.
Initially, the presentation will focus on broad issues pertaining to India that are widening the gulf between the haves and the have-nots leading to huge achievement gaps in education, economy, quality of life and social ethos. The talk will then proceed to focus on equity in education along with data related to outcomes of the pandemic in educational aspirations and achievements of Indian students. The talk will conclude following a brief discussion on possible actions that can help to arrest the expanding achievement chasm with some institutional case examples.
Dr. Tewodros Mulugeta, Dr. Dula Tolera and Dr. David Rempel
Talent search: An Ethiopian approach...
To cultivate, foster, and better utilize giftedness potential individuals/students are being hunted in two ways. One of the approaches is to recruit academically outstanding students and to mentor in the best affordable condition. The outstanding students are recruited and trained by the public universities which are diffused all over the country, they are called Science Shared Campuses (SSC). The activities are strongly supported by the ministry of sience and higher education, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Innovation and Technology. The only SSC found in the capital Addis Ababa is Kotebe Metropolitan University SSC (KMUSSC). It is currently coaching more than 350 outstanding students in the city. Few other universities found in different regions of the country have already started SSC such as Bahirdar University and some are also starting. To assure the quality of mentoring, university staff are responsible for the teaching. Since mentoring is often practice-oriented university facilities such as laboratories and workshops are utilized. Establishing university-based Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) centers in different parts of the country is the other approach being followed. There are more than 45 public universities in the country and almost one-fourth of them have started STEM centers under a differing capacities. This is also supported by governmental and non-governmental organizations. STEM centers follow various modalities of mentoring; summer, after school, girls, and so on. Students of 5-12 grade level can be admitted for mentoring and trained between 2-6 months. There are pivotal challenges in both the programs:
- Limited space- since SSC or STEM centers are university confined getting enough space is one of the key challenges.
- Shortage of laboratory and workshop facilities and equipment- not all the equipment necessary can be found in local markets.
- Budget shortage- SSC and STEM center budget is a very small portion of universities budget.
- Lack of trained personnel- particularly in STEM-related subjects.
However, despite the short-coming, the motivation of students and the drive of instructors are showing promising results. The following reasons may contribute to the results obtained so far:
- Enrollment to both SSC and STEM centers is free of charge- thus this could encourage talented students from any social and financial background to attend.
- Universities are trying to make it one of their priorities- experience-sharing programs on SSC and STEM centers are becoming a very common tradition.
- Parents trust the programs- since they are university-based or controlled parents strongly believe their children will get the best.
- Mass and other forms of media are playing a great role in promoting- media coverage of talented/gifted students from different corners of the country is increasing.
- Lecturers’ commitment emanated from students’ performance and outstanding potential.
5:40pm - 7:10pm
Dr. Emese K. Nagy
Development of Low status Roma Students in a Heterogeneous Group of Students in Terms of Knowledge and Socialization...
Due to the diversity of cultural and social backgrounds there is a high degree of knowledge divergence in the student population. The question is how to respond to this diversity and challenge with high-quality education.
It is characteristic of successful education and teaching that individual treatment and differentiation are present to help both gifted and children needing catch-up. All children should receive education and training appropriate to their abilities, which is of particular importance with regards to Roma children.
We present how it is possible to consider the Complex Instruction Program, a component of the Hejőkeresztúr Model, based on a special cooperative process pedagogically, psychologically and sociologically as a part of an educational system well considered and consciously structured with respect to both theory and practice. The question is why the program is suitable for the education and teaching of low status Roma students.
Dr. Balázs Klein
The Social Cage...
Modern testing principles did not yield cognitive tests free from the effects of socio-economic status instead they provide stunning evidence of its influence throughout our entire lifespan.In this short lecture I will show the omnipresent effect of socio-economic status on large-sample representative data we collected during the last mandatory conscription in Hungary as well as recent data collected in schools and in the labour market.
Dr. Éva Gyarmathy
Flashcards for All...
Our recent development of learning tools called ‘flashcards’; was motivated by the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While about 10% of the children can progress better at home than in the classroom, the third of the student population, typically disadvantaged students, do not have access to distance learning and lag significantly behind.
The flashcard method has long been among the best learning/teaching practices. However, by using these cards in board games as we do, gamification is increased. The additional effect of the flashcards is the testing effect. Research shows that learning through testing is one of the most effective learning methods.
We marked the levels of our flashcards with letters and sorted them into different topics. The teacher or the session organizer can choose from the packages according to learners’; knowledge and the session-goal. Card-packages can be selected for participants below or above their real age level. Thus cards are both suitable for filling in the gaps and satisfying talented child’s thirst for knowledge.
NESTI: An AI-supported tool for early detection of atypical development...
Quality education during the early years sets children up for success throughout their education, including reduced dropouts, increased learning outcomes, better social inclusion and higher education goals met. Today, 175 million children, 50% of the world’s pre-primary-age population are not enrolled in early educations programs. Children from disadvantaged social groups attend early childhood education (ECE) at an even lower rate and start school at a significantly lower competence and skill level. Disadvantaged children have the greatest potential to benefit from ECE because their abilities are less developed when they start school, thus they have more scope for catching up. The gaps are evident in math, reading, and general knowledge along with social and emotional skills. Since teachers often lack the necessary knowledge and tools to address developmental alterations in the classrooms, children with atypical development in large numbers end up in segregated learning environments or drop out of school. Social exclusion of atypically developing children is common worldwide, generating a substantial proportion of human capital untapped, neglected, and overlooked.
At NestingPlay, we enable teachers to better (i) detect early developmental alterations, such as gaps, deficits, or high ability (ii) design their curriculum-based daily activities addressing the diverse skill-profile of their students, and (iii) provide the necessary targeted measures to improve the affected deficit areas in inclusive classroom setting, ensuring better performance in school. As we are a social enterprise, we design and pilot innovative educational practices offline and online, such as NESTI, an AI-supported application on early childhood education. NESTI helps any teacher (and parent) identify developmental alterations early, so that children could benefit from early interventions. Its potential is especially valuable for disadvantaged communities for skill/ability development and early talent management.
Dr. Renáta Anna Dezső and Barbara Sándor-Schmidt
Closing the achievement gap by activating Gardner’s multiple intelligences at various levels of education in the Carpathian Basin...
Amongst contemporary theories of learning a well known concept is that of Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple inltelligences – a concept that may add indeed to closing the gap from several approaches via education. During the process of pre-service and in-service teacher education at the University of Pecs, Hungary a community of enthusiastic educators has been formed working on the various possible pedagogical applications of the gardnerian theory within the last decade. This continuously changing professional team, lead by Dr Dezső has involved colleagues representing different levels of the education system. The teams’ professional results contain edited compilations of lesson plans and thematic projects using Gardner’s theory, testbook analysis from adequate aspects, and relevant research on coopretion between pre-service teacher education and schools with socially disadvantaged pupils. Teacher specific gardnerian intelligence profile has also been investigated and compared amongst the pre-service teacher students at the University of Pecs Hungary, and those of the Ferenc Rakoczi II Transcarpathian Teacher Institute in Berehovo, the Ukrain.
One of the most longitudinal researches of the field is Sándor- Schmidt’s development focusing on pre-scool education. Her work is built on one of the US „Project Zero” Project Spectrum methods, it is called EIDW (Everybody is Intelligent in Different Ways). Ms Sándor-Schmidt adopted games and activities in different locations in the Carpathian Basin and observed different children’s intelligence profiles. She also investigated prechool teachers. Her overall research contains 72 preschool teachers’ intelligence profiles, 51 individual profiles from Croatia and 21 individual profiles from the Ukraine. It also contains 25 program assisted multicoded data analyses, which focus on preschoolers’ multiple intelligences. In Sandor-Schmidt’s research the closing the gap aspect may be traced as it contains data of those using their Hungarian mother tongue as a minority language.
7:10 - 7:20 PM
By Csilla Fuszek
Day 6 – Sunday March, 28
Replay of the fifth day
Participation at the conference week will be free of charge to all, but preliminary registration is required.