What We Do

The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) was founded by Johns Hopkins researcher and quantitative psychologist Julian Stanley, who was interested in learning how to systematically identify advanced young learners. More than four decades later, this work has evolved but continues as ongoing changes in the educational landscape drive a need for research that deepens our understanding of who academically advanced students are, how they learn, and what they need to thrive. CTY is dedicated to advancing the field of gifted education through this research.


CTY research projects are oriented around themes of equitably identifying and characterizing the skills of advanced learners; understanding and supporting the needs of advanced learners; and increasing access and opportunities for advanced learners from every community and demographic.

Current Projects

Dynamic Spatial Assessment

Game-based assessments are an innovative way to measure students’ skills, but they have yet to be applied in the advanced-learning space. This project aims to develop an interactive assessment that sheds light on some key characteristics of academically advanced students and their problem-solving skills, with the goal of improving identification.

Using Course-Embedded Performance Assessments to Identify Advanced Learners

One critical way to identify academically advanced students is by closely observing their behaviors and skills in the classroom. For example, does a student exhibit creative thinking when responding to an assignment? Do they respond with multiple solutions to a question? This project incorporates advanced-learner characteristics into course-embedded assessments, which can be leveraged as tools for identification.

Examining Fundamental Learning Tools

Understanding the characteristics of academically advanced students is a potentially helpful way to support the learning process. This project helps characterize these students' cognitive skills using a variety of measures, including spatial ability and problem solving.

Investigating the Effects of Enrichment in Academically Underrepresented Students

We know that advanced learners exist in every community and demographic, yet identification rates vary among certain groups of students. Within these groups, the use of standardized above-grade-level tests may result in advanced learners to be under-identified because the students have not yet been exposed to the content covered on the tests. This project’s purpose is to provide these emerging advanced learners with opportunities to participate in rigorous, interdisciplinary courses. By improving their academic abilities and content knowledge through these courses, we hope to increase identification, access, and opportunities for these students.

Exploring the Use of Cognitive Skills to Optimize Online Learning

Academically advanced students vary in their characteristics, which may be related to interest in certain types of courses, such as mathematics, science, or the humanities. The goal of this project is to understand how these characteristics may be useful in suggesting online courses for advanced learners, which will help them be successful, build their skills, and enjoy their learning experiences at CTY.

Examining the Impact of Generative Artificial Intelligence as a Co-teacher on the Student Experience

Applications of generative artificial intelligence (AI), specifically large-language models, have grown in popularity in the field of education. How can the use of generative AI as an educational tool in the classroom impact the student experience? This project examines how instructors can leverage AI as a co-tutor to help students complete activities and assignments with on-demand feedback. Funded by a Johns Hopkins University Digital Education and Learning Technologies grant, CTY’s Research team is working with the Whiting School of Engineering and the School of Education’s Center for Research and Reform in Education to examine whether the AI co-tutor impacts students’ learning and enjoyment of the course.