Project STAR Research

Following the development of Project STAR performance tasks protocol in 1996 and the first follow-up study with Project STAR performance task-identified students in 2002, The Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary has just completed a two year research study with Project STAR identified students (the second follow-up study) in 2005. The purpose of this recent study is to analyze Project STAR student identification and performance patterns longitudinally and to study prototypical characteristics of gifted learners of five research prototypes (i.e., low income African American students, low income minority students, low income White students, high nonverbal, low verbal students, and twice-exceptional students) through in-depth interviews.

Based on an analysis of six year's identification profiles:
  • Performance task protocols identify more students from low income and African American backgrounds than traditional aptitude and achievement measures.
  • Project STAR protocols appear to be identifying more students with uneven profiles with respect to verbal or nonverbal strengths.
  • More students from low income minority backgrounds in this study qualified through nonverbal measures than verbal measures.
  • Traditionally identified students outperformed performance task-identified students on state assessment test in English language arts and mathematics; however, the differences lacked educational significance (i.e., small effect size).
  • Students with uneven identification profiles had achievement pattern consistent with their identification strength dimensions.
Based on an analysis of 37 vignettes of students under five research prototypes:
  • Identification and participation gifted programs strengthened students' self-esteem, confidence
  • Gifted learners of disadvantaged background tended to be strong-willed, looking forward to a better future via gifted program participation.
  • These students, regardless of prototype classification, have clear preference toward one or more subjects.
  • These students, more than their parents and teachers, tended to be sensitive to affective and social issues in their school lives.
  • Overall, the benefits of identification and programming far outweighed negative consequences of such interventions in the lives of all of these students.