National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version

Spring 2006


Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 7:1, Spring/Summer 2006. Copyright © 2006 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


While not all students entering a post-secondary honors program have previously participated in gifted programming, honors programming in theory begins through gifted services in elementary schools and later culminates in honors colleges and honors programs at post-secondary institutions. However, a review of participants in these programs suggests that the population is not consistent through the various levels of the educational system. Studies indicate that gifted services and the participating population change in middle school and/or high school when programming shifts from gifted to honors. Related to these shifts are misconceptions and mistaken assumptions that often correlate to a lowering of standards and rigor in “honors” offerings. In order to develop programming appropriate for any population, the population must first be identified and its needs assessed. Thus, it is important that honors directors at the post-secondary level understand both the services provided and population served in the K- 12 system. From this understanding, honors directors will be more aware of the needs of two divergent sets of students, those who are identified as gifted and those who are involved in such programs as a result of parental pressure or other perceived advantages. Further, honors directors may find an underserved population in truly gifted students who are not currently participating in post-secondary honors programs partially as a result of their experiences in K-12 gifted programs.