The Gifted Education Research Group engages in research on gifted education, defined broadly. The group conducts research that is informed by disciplinary perspectives in fields such as psychology and sociology, and aims to advance knowledge and practice on the education, learning, teaching, well-being, and development of individuals of high ability. The research group forms an integral part of GERRIC, which is the pre-eminent centre of gifted education research at UNSW and in the southern hemisphere, and one of approximately 10 substantial centres of gifted education research worldwide.

The research group has had numerous successes in securing grant funding from prestigious bodies such as the John Templeton Foundation (US$362,600 awarded to Professor Miraca Gross for a study completed in 2011 on academic acceleration) and the Australian Research Council (one of two Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRA) in the entire field of education awarded to Dr Jae Yup Jung in 2012 for a study on the career decisions of gifted adolescents; AU$333,623). Some of the awards granted to members in the area include the 2008 International Lifetime Achievement Award by the Mensa Foundation (to Professor Miraca Gross), a 2008 Order of Australia by the Queen (to Professor Miraca Gross), the 2011 Outstanding Research Award by Division E (Counseling and Human Development) of the American Educational Research Association (to Dr Jae Yup Jung), Australian Postgraduate Award (to Dr Susen Smith), UNE Vice-Chancellor¹s Award for Outstanding Achievements in Interdisciplinary Innovation (to Dr Susen Smith), the 2013 Early Leader Award from the National Association for Gifted Children (to Dr Jennifer L. Jolly), the 2012 Michael Pyryt Collaboration Award, AERA/Research on Creativity, Giftedness, and Talent (to Drs Jennifer L. Jolly, Alex Garn, and Michael Matthews), the 2008 Award for Excellence in Research, Mensa Foundation (to Dr Jennifer L. Jolly). Members in the area have published in all of the pre-eminent academic journals in the field, and have extensive international collaborations with esteemed scholars in the field. Professor Joyce VanTassel-Baska (College of William and Mary), Professors Susan Assouline and Nicholas Colangelo (University of Iowa), Professor Ann Robinson (University of Arkansas), Professor C. June Maker (University of Arizona), and Associate Professor Lannie Kanevsky (Simon Fraser University) have been regular visitors to UNSW.

Gifted thumbnail
This poster explains the research areas and achievement of the Gifted Education research group (PDF).

The history of gifted education and parents of gifted learners are Dr Jolly’s main areas of research and she is passionate about assisting pre-service student teachers identify and work with gifted students.

Dr Jae Jung, School of Education, UNSW Australia
When it comes to gifted education, Dr Jung explains why UNSW is an obvious choice as it has a number of international experts in this area of research.

See our current HDR students here

Current and past research projects encompass the following areas:

  • Acceleration and grouping provisions for the socio-emotional and intellectual needs of gifted students
  • Achieving, underachieving and selective consuming gifted students
  • Bibliotherapy & video therapy for socio-affective development
  • Career decisions of Gifted EFL students
  • Contributing factors in the underachievement of gifted middle school students
  • Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration: A theory of personality development
  • Differentiation for talent development
  • Engagement of higher order reading processes by young talented readers
  • Enrichment programs for gifted and talented students
  • Gifted education in a Confucian cultural context
  • Gifted senior secondary student responses to academic pressure in high-stakes assessment contexts
  • Issues of twice-exceptionality
  • Self-paced learning for gifted students
  • Opinions about gifted education and skills with differentiation of classroom teaching.
  • Parental support for translating giftedness into a talent
  • Policy and curriculum influences on talent development
  • Predictors of teacher attitudes toward academic acceleration
  • Profoundly gifted students and like minded peers
  • Pro-social reasoning and empathy in gifted children
  • Teacher attitudes and effective teaching practices for gifted students
  • Teachers’ understandings of the cluster group models
  • Teachers views of Curriculum Differentiation, pedagogy and assessment and teachers’ professional learning needs
  • Teaching strategies for supporting the socio-affective needs of early childhood gifted students
  • The engagement of metacognition during critical literacy discourse by young talented readers. (2014 AAEGT John Geake National Award for best thesis and 2014 Beth Southwell Research Award 2014 for outstanding thesis: NSW Institute for Educational Research.)
  • The forced choice dilemma of gifted youth early university entry for gifted adolescents
  • Underachieving gifted children: Intergenerational issues
  • Validation and measurement of underachievement.

Selected publications:


Robinson, A., & Jolly, J. L. (Eds.). (2014). A century of contributions to gifted education: Illuminating lives. New York, NY: Routledge.

Roberts, J. L., & Jolly, J. L. (2012). A teacher¹s guide to working with children and families from diverse backgrounds. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.

Jolly, J. L., Inman, T., Smutny, J. F., & Treffinger, D. (Eds.) (2011). Parenting gifted children: The authoritative guide from the National Association for Gifted Children. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.

Journal Articles/Book Chapters:

Jolly, J. L. (in press). Differentiated curriculum: Learning from the past and exploring the future. In T. Kettler (Ed.). Modern curriculum for gifted and advanced academic students. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.

Jung, J. Y., & Evans, P. (in press). Career decisions of musical prodigies. In G. Macpherson (Ed.), Musical prodigies: Interpretations from psychology, music education, musicology and ethnomusicology. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Garn, A. C., & Jolly, J. L. (in press). A model of parental achievement-oriented psychological control in academically gifted students, High-Ability Studies.

Jolly, J. L., & Hughes, C. L. (Eds.). (2015). Meeting the needs of student with gifts and talents [Special issue]. Teaching Exceptional Children, 47(4)

Matthews, M. S., Ritchotte, J. A., & Jolly, J. L. (2014). What¹s wrong with giftedness? Parents perceptions of the gifted label. International Studies in Sociology Education, 24, 372­393.

Smith, S. R. (2015). Differentiating teaching for sustainability for diverse student learning. In N. Taylor, F. Quinn, C. Eames (Eds.), Teaching for the future: Educating for sustainability in primary schools (pp. 64-84). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

Jung, J. Y., Young, M., & Gross, M. U. M. (2015). Early college entrance in Australia. Roeper Review, 37, 19–28.

Bannister-Tyrrell, M., Smith, S., Merrotsy, P. & Cornish, L. (2014). Taming a 'many-headed monster': Tarricone's taxonomy of metacognition [online]. TalentEd, 28, 1–12.

Garn, A. C., & Jolly, J. L. (2014). High ability students¹ voice on learning motivation. Journal of Advanced Academics, 25, 7–24.

Jolly, J. L. (2014). Building gifted education one state at a time. Gifted Child Today, 37, 258–260

Jolly, J. L. (2014). Historical perspectives: The 1958 Conference Report. Gifted Child Today, 37, 119–122.

Jolly, J. L. & Matthews, M. S. (2014). Parenting. In J. A. Plucker & C. M. Callahan (Eds.). Critical issues and practices in gifted education: What the research says (2nd ed., pp. 481-492). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.

Jolly, J. L., & Robinson, A. (2014). James J. Gallagher: Man in the white hat. Journal of Advanced Academics, 25, 445–455.

Jung, J.Y. (2014). Modeling the occupational/career decision-making processes of intellectually gifted adolescents: A competing models strategy. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 37, 128–152.

Jung, J.Y. (2014). Predictors of attitudes to gifted programs/ provisions: Evidence from preservice educators. Gifted Child Quarterly, 58, 247–258.

Jung, J.Y. & Gross, M.U.M. (2014). Highly gifted students. In J. A. Plucker & C. M. Callahan (eds.). Critical issues and practices in gifted education: What the research says (2nd ed., pp. 305-314). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.

Jolly, J. L., Matthews, M. S., & Nester, J. (2013). Homeschooling the gifted: A parental perspective. Gifted Child Quarterly, 57, 12–134.

Culross, R. R., Jolly, J. L., & Winkler, D. (2013). Facilitating grade acceleration: Revisiting the wisdom of John Feldhusen. Roeper Review, 35, 36­46.

Gallagher, S., Smith, S.R., & Merrotsy, P., (2013). You turn up the first day and they expect you to come back! Gifted students perspectives on school and being smart. Gifted and Talented International, 28(1), 111–122.

Gallagher, S., & Smith, S. R. (2013). Acceleration for talent development: Parents and teachers perspectives on supporting the social and emotional needs of gifted children. The International Journal for Talent Development and Creativity, 1, 97–112.

Jung, J.Y. (2013). The Cognitive Processes Associated with Occupational/Career Indecision: A Model for Gifted Adolescents', Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 36, 433–460.

Gallagher, S., Smith, S.R. & Merrotsy, P., (2012). In the dark: Perspectives of parents of gifted students in Queensland primary schools. Australasian Journal of Gifted Education, 21(1), 42-51.

Garn, A. C., Matthews, M. S., & Jolly, J. L. (2012). Parents¹ effects on gifted students¹ motivation. Psychology in the Schools, 49, 656–667.

Jolly, J. L., & Matthews, M. S. (2012). A critique of the literature on parenting gifted learners. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 35, 259¬–290.

Jung, J.Y. (2012). Giftedness as a developmental construct that leads to eminence as adults: Ideas and implications from an occupational/career decision-making perspective. Gifted Child Quarterly, 56, 189–193.

Jung, J.Y., McCormick, J, & Gross M.U.M. (2012). The forced choice dilemma: A model incorporating idiocentric/allocentric cultural orientation, Gifted Child Quarterly, 56, 15–24.

Gallagher, S., Smith, S.R. & Merrotsy, P., (2011). Teachers’ perceptions of the socioemotional development of intellectually gifted primary aged students and their attitudes towards ability grouping and acceleration, Gifted and Talented International, 26(1 & 2), 11-24.

Jung, J.Y., Barnett, K., Gross, M.U.M., & McCormick, J. (2011). Levels of intellectual giftedness, culture, and the forced-choice dilemma. Roeper Review, 33, 182 - 197.