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Gifted and on the move: The impact of losing the gifted label for military connected students

APA Citation:

Hilt, R. (2023). Gifted and on the move: The impact of losing the gifted label for military connected students. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 46(3), 236-258. https://doi.org/10.1177/01623532231180882

Abstract Created by REACH:

Military-connected students tend to relocate more often than others. Those designated “gifted” can lose this status due to differing criteria between school districts. This study examined how inconsistent labeling as “academically gifted” affected military-connected students’ sense of self and their social connections. Informed by Labeling Theory and Foucault’s “technologies of self,” researchers interviewed 5 military-connected adolescents about their experiences losing the gifted label due to military-related relocation. 2 themes emerged: Students held themselves accountable when they lost the gifted label, and the qualities associated with being gifted drove the students’ social connections.



Branch of Service:

Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

Child of a service member or veteran
Spouse of service member or veteran
Active duty service member
Military families


Childhood (birth - 12 yrs)
School age (6 - 12 yrs)
Adolescence (13 - 17 yrs)


Hilt, Robyn


Society is becoming increasingly mobile, which impacts all facets of the educational experience, including gifted education. Military students attend several different schools in their educational careers, and inconsistent criteria and identification practices among states and school districts result in a fluid gifted label for many of these students. While some aspects of school mobility are highlighted in existing research, limited attention has been paid to school mobility within gifted education. This research works to address this gap by exploring the impact of losing the gifted label on children of military members, whose relocations frequently require mobility across state and district boundaries, utilizing a unique framework, Foucault’s technologies of self. Research findings explore student perspectives on the impact of their own effort or hard work on their ability to retain the gifted label and serve as a launching point from which to explore the issue of school mobility in gifted education.

Publication Type:

REACH Publication


gifted education, gifted label, student perspectives

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

REACH Newsletter:

  September 2023

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