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History of SET

The Julian C. Stanley Study of Exceptional Talent (SET) is an outgrowth of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) at Johns Hopkins University. Founded in 1971 by Professor Julian Stanley, SMPY pioneered the concept of using the SAT as an above-grade-level assessment to identify middle school students with exceptionally advanced mathematical reasoning abilities, and offered rigorous academic opportunities so that they would be appropriately challenged.

In 1979, CTY was created as an independent entity to administer the Johns Hopkins Talent Search and academic programs, while Dr. Stanley focused on offering educational counseling to the ablest mathematical reasoners, that is, students who scored 700 or more on SAT-M before age 13.

In 1991, SET was established by Dr. Linda Brody at CTY to continue SMPY’s work with mathematically talented students, as well as to serve extremely verbally talented students. In 2005, SET was renamed in Dr. Stanley’s honor as the Julian C. Stanley Study of Exceptional Talent and an endowment was created to help fund the project permanently. Dr. Stanley passed away later that year. For his pioneering work, Dr. Stanley was selected by the Mensa Foundation as the winner of its first Lifetime Achievement Award. See Dr. Stanley’s invited talk to the American Psychological Association in August 2002 for his reflections on his life and work.

SET now serves an international population of exceptional students who score 700 or more on SAT-Math or SAT-Critical Reading before the age of 13, providing them with counseling and other services, including SET publications. SET’s alumni are followed up over time, which aids our effort to identify effective interventions for serving exceptionally talented students (see SET Research & Advocacy).