Will top achieving students in early grades maintain that edge by the time they graduate high school? According to a recent study, many won’t.

A Thomas B. Fordham Institute study finds that 30 to 50 percent of America’s best students fail to maintain their elite performance over time. The study followed 120,000 students and measured their progress in reading and math starting in third grade. Each of the “high flyers” in the study originally scored at or above the 90th percentile when compared with their peers.

Researchers have questioned whether policies like “No Child Left Behind” are neglecting the needs of these elite students.

Said Fordham president Chester E. Finn, Jr. in a recent press release: “If America is to remain internationally competitive, secure and prosperous, we need to maximize the potential of all our children, including those at the top of the class. Today’s policy debate largely ignores this ‘talented tenth.’ This study shows that we’re paying a heavy price for that neglect, as so many of our high flyers drift downward over the course of their academic careers.”

What does your school do to encourage development of its top-achieving students?