Global Dimensions of Gifted Education: Cross-National Dichotomies between Perceptions, Practices, and Policies

  • Brian Lloyd Heuser Peabody College, Vanderbilt University
  • Ke Wang Peabody College, Vanderbilt University
  • Salman Shahid Peabody College, Vanderbilt University
Keywords: International Education Policy, Comparative Education, Gifted and Talented Education, Global Education Reform


We examine recent research across countries and cultures in regard to the issues related to the formation of gifted and talented education perspectives, policies, and practices.  Many modern cultures and subcultures have developed formal and informal definitions of what it means to be gifted and talented, and when we compare the perceptions, policies, and practices across nations, we discover very different constructs of intelligence and ability.  These understandings of giftedness and gifted and talented education can be grouped into four binary dimensions, scholarly versus co-curricular capabilities, aptitude versus achievement, nature versus nurture, and individualistic versus collective, that have significant implications for policy and practice.  These constructs can serve as a foundation for countries that are looking to formalize or expand their gifted and talented education models or can be used to challenge the norms of established systems.  We put forward recommendations to address some of the challenges in advancing gifted education cross-nationally, an area that is often assumed to introduce risks of enlarging social inequity.  We also provide a cross-national matrix that captures known elements of gifted education policies and programs from over 20 subnational jurisdictions, countries, and world regions.