Duke TIP Research Honored with Mensa Awards

Date: 
Monday, June 15, 2015

For Immediate Release

Katy Munger
(919) 668-9153 kmunger@tip.duke.edu

DURHAM, NC—The Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) announced today that one of its researchers has won a 2015 Mensa Education and Research Foundation Award for Excellence in Research, which is given internationally for outstanding research on intelligence, intellectual giftedness, and related fields. Gifted Education Research Specialist Matt Makel received the prestigious Mensa award for his study, "Changing the Pond, Not the Fish: Following High-Ability Students Across Different Educational Environments," published in the Journal of Educational Psychology.

His study found that children participating in rigorous academic programs are likely to maintain or increase their academic confidence after participating in a supplemental educational program. Makel and his research team followed high-ability students as they experienced different educational environments, measuring academic confidence before and after the students left their regular school environments to participate in academically challenging out-of-school programs.

Results from the study revealed that, even with limits to potential increases in academic confidence because student confidence started so high, students participating in an academically rigorous summer program were more than two times as likely to increase or maintain their academic confidence as they were to report declines in their academic confidence.

Makel says of the findings, “Our research shows that parents should not be universally afraid of putting their children in challenging educational environments. It’s not necessarily always better to be a ‘big fish in a little pond.’ This even holds true for nonacademic domains—students participating in an academic summer program actually reported feeling more confident in their physical attractiveness and social acceptance at the end of the program than they had beforehand.”

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About TIP: Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving academically talented youth. As a global leader in gifted education, Duke TIP works with students, families, and educators to identify, recognize, challenge, engage, and support gifted youth in reaching their highest potential. More than 2.5 million students have benefited from TIP programs and resources since 1980. TIP’s talent identification, academic, and research programs now serve as worldwide models for the education of gifted students.