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Benbow was a graduate student at Johns Hopkins when she met Stanley in a class he taught in 1976.Benbow and Lubinski, who have co-directed the study since Stanley's retirement, brought it to Vanderbilt in 1998.At the start, both the study and the centre were open to young adolescents who scored in the top 1% on university entrance exams.Pioneering mathematicians Terence Tao and Lenhard Ng were one-percenters, as were Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and musician Stefani Germanotta (Lady Gaga), who all passed through the Hopkins centre.At the same time, the work to identify and support academically talented students has raised troubling questions about the risks of labelling children, and the shortfalls of talent searches and standardized tests as a means of identifying high-potential students, especially in poor and rural districts.“With so much emphasis on predicting who will rise to the top, we run the risk of selling short the many kids who are missed by these tests,” says Dona Matthews, a developmental psychologist in Toronto, Canada, who co-founded the Center for Gifted Studies and Education at Hunter College in New York City.
His motto, he told his graduate students, was “no more dry bones methodology”.“Whether we like it or not, these people really do control our society,” says Jonathan Wai, a psychologist at the Duke University Talent Identification Program in Durham, North Carolina, which collaborates with the Hopkins centre.Wai combined data from 11 prospective and retrospective longitudinal studies, including SMPY, to demonstrate the correlation between early cognitive ability and adult achievement.Bates's score was well above the threshold for admission to Johns Hopkins, and prompted Stanley to search for a local high school that would let the child take advanced mathematics and science classes.
When that plan failed, Stanley convinced a dean at Johns Hopkins to let Bates, then 13, enrol as an undergraduate.
So Stanley decided to try the Scholastic Aptitude Test (now simply the SAT).