Papers and other publications citing the Academic Support Index

Research papers

  • ​How talented low-income kids are left behind
    • ​Abstract: Finding and developing talented youth from low-income backgrounds is an ongoing challenge for U.S. gifted education policy. These students face strong headwinds, whereas advantaged students enjoy favorable tailwinds, and these factors accumulate throughout K-12, higher education, and beyond. Jonathan Wai and Frank C. Worrell explain how talented low income kids are left behind. They discuss the historical tension between the development of excellence and the pursuit of equity, explain the importance of early and universal talent identification and development in the critical K-12 years, and link that development to students’ personal success and societal growth.
    • Citation: Wai, J., & Worrell, F. C. (2020). How talented low-income kids are left behind. Phi Delta Kappan, 102(4), 26-29.
  • ​Improving Gifted Talent Development Can Help Solve Multiple Consequential Real-World Problems
    • ​Abstract: Fully developing the talents of all students is a fundamental goal for personal well-being and development and ultimately for global societal innovation and flourishing. However, in this paper we focus on what we believe is an often neglected and underdeveloped population, that of the gifted. We draw from the cognitive aptitude and gifted education research literatures to make the case that solutions to consequential real-world problems can be greatly enhanced by more fully developing the talents of the intellectually gifted population, which we operationalize in this paper as roughly the top 5% of cognitive talent. Should well-supported high achievers choose to solve them, these problems span health, science, economic growth, and areas unforeseen. We draw from longitudinal research on intellectually precocious students and retrospective research on leaders and innovators in society, showing that mathematical, verbal, and spatial aptitudes are linked to societal innovation. We then discuss two remaining fundamental challenges: the identification of disadvantaged and marginalized groups of students who have traditionally been neglected in selection for gifted programming suited to their current developmental needs, and the building of skills beyond academic ones, specifically in the related areas of open-minded thinking and intellectual humility.
    • Citation:​ Wai, J., & Lovett, B. J. (2021). Improving Gifted Talent Development Can Help Solve Multiple Consequential Real-World Problems. Journal of Intelligence, 9(2), 31.
  • Subversive learning analytics​
    • ​Abstract: This paper puts forth the idea of a subversive stance on learning analytics as a theoretically-grounded means of engaging with issues of power and equity in education and the ways in which they interact with the usage of data on learning processes. The concept draws on efforts from fields such as socio-technical systems and critical race studies that have a long history of examining the role of data in issues of race, gender and class. To illustrate the value that such a stance offers the field of learning analytics, we provide examples of how taking a subversive perspective can help us to identify tacit assumptions-in-practice, ask generative questions about our design processes and consider new modes of creation to produce tools that operate differently in the world.
    • ​Citation: Wise, A. F., Sarmiento, J. P., & Boothe Jr, M. (2021, April). Subversive learning analytics. In LAK21: 11th International Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference (pp. 639-645).
  • From traditional practice to tiered comprehensive services for all: Developing a responsive school culture for the future
    • ​Abstract: In this article, we reflect on the evolution of school psychology practice from the past to the present, and share some thoughts about the future. Although school psychology programs provide training in consultation, prevention, social emotional development, counseling, and mental health interventions, school psychology practice is still dominated by assessment, and the specialty has yet to live up to its promise to address the multiple needs of an increasingly diverse student population. Today’s practitioners need to be skilled in systems-level programing that is informed by cultural awareness, knowledge, and skills necessary to responsibly work toward the best outcomes for students and families from all cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. As the demand for mental health and other services in schools continues to increase, we argue for a wholescale adoption of culturally adapted evidence-based practices to address the expanding role of school-based practice. Finally, we offer considerations from the social psychology literature that will help school psychologists prioritize behavioral health while also reducing disparities in educational attainment.
    • Citation: Hughes, T. L., Hess, R., Jones, J., & Worrell, F. C. (2020). From traditional practice to tiered comprehensive services for all: Developing a responsive school culture for the future. School Psychology, 35(6), 428.
  • How group composition affects gifted students: theory and evidence from school effectiveness studies
    • ​​Abstract: In this paper, I analyze the theoretical and empirical foundations for how class composition affects gifted students’ academic outcomes. First, I define the term composition effect and distinguish it from other context effects. Based on this definition, I present the mechanisms behind composition effects while drawing distinctions between resource-related, peer-related and teacher-related composition effects. Subsequently, I discuss theories and empirical results of international school effectiveness studies in terms of their relevance to increasing equity in gifted education. Ability groups, especially gifted classes, have an advantage for the promotion of gifted students. However, due to selection mechanisms, low-income students drop out of these support programs very early in their school careers. Behind the supposed negative influence of ethnic composition on school performance, a socioeconomic effect can be assumed. This is thus the most important composition effect in regard to inequality in talent development. However, there are ongoing efforts to ensure greater equity specifically in gifted education.
    • Citation: Wagner, G. (2021). How group composition affects gifted students: theory and evidence from school effectiveness studies. Gifted and Talented International, 1-13.
  • The future of intelligence research and gifted education
    • ​​​Abstract: This paper considers the future of intelligence research and gifted education by first examining gifted education through the lens of intelligence research and second by examining intelligence research through the lens of gifted education. We take a historical approach to understanding the potential confluence of the two domains and also consider the challenges of integrating a primarily science focused field with a primarily advocacy and applied field. We conclude by acknowledging genuine challenges of integrating the two fields in the future while simultaneously providing some recommendations on how intelligence research and gifted education might find a scientific and pragmatic intersection with a focus on helping develop the talents of all students, and especially those from marginalized backgrounds.
    • ​​​Citation: Wai, J., & Worrell, F. C. (2021). The future of intelligence research and gifted education. Intelligence, 87, 101546.


Selected on-line references:

  • A Crystal Ball To Predict Student Struggles - Robert Kaplinsky
    • ​I first heard David Stevens speak about his Academic Support Index (ASI) at a conference in San Diego. My colleagues and I were so impressed by the potential that he was hired to help implement the program in my district, Downey Unified School District. For years I’ve wanted others to know about his research, so that’s why I’m writing about it on my blog. Click here to continue reading.
  • Mind the Gap: Why It's Time to Stop Talking About the Achievement Gap 
    • ​Have You Heard Podcast Graduate Student Research Contest
    • The achievement gap has driven education reform for the past twenty years. Guest David Stevens says it’s time to stop talking about the achievement gap and focus instead on the “headwinds” and “tailwinds” that hold some students back while pushing others along. With the pandemic exacerbating the inequality between students, Stevens’ alternative approach, what he calls the Academic Support Index, has never been more relevant. You’ll be inspired and encouraged, and you’ll understand exactly why Stevens is the winner of the 2020 Have You Heard Graduate Student Research Contest. Click here to listen.
  • All Together Now
    • While the universal ninth grade is new, efforts to “redesign” Berkeley High in the name of equity are not. In a special three-part series, Berkeleyside examines the then and now. ​
    • The ASI scores are meant to provide more nuanced predictions of the support a student will need as they make their way through Berkeley schools, and help the district distribute resources appropriately. Stevens’ analysis has shown an ASI score to be a strong predictor of many academic outcomes, and other districts have adopted the algorithm too.
      BUSD credits the ASI system with more directly targeting “interventions,” and not simply, and problematically, pulling black kids out for an extra support class because as a group they test more poorly on average. Those interventions have ended up boosting state exit exam scores for black and Latino students, according to the district.

    • Click here to read the full article.