The practice of conducting searches for students who reason extremely well mathematically and/or verbally was begun by Dr. Julian Stanley of The Johns Hopkins University in the early 1970's. Giving an SAT or ACT test to students who are much younger than the college-bound seniors for whom the tests were designed results in scores that measure differences among bright students who all score well on in-grade tests. Over 180,000 students participate annually in the four regional talent centers. These talent searches are conducted by The Center for Talented Youth (CTY) at Johns Hopkins University, the Talent Identification Program (TIP) at Duke University, and the Center for Talent Development (CTD) at Northwestern University.
The practice of the Optimal Match seeks to equate a child's educational experiences to his or her abilities, demonstrated achievement, interests and motivations. The optimal match represents both a philosophy of education and the informed selection among an array of instructional practices to best meet the needs of individual children (i.e., individualized instruction, cooperative learning, in-class ability grouping, pull-out initiatives). The optimal match also advances a strong liberal arts education for all students as the basis for combining inquiry and the acquisition of knowledge. It is not one-size-fits-all.