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Identification of Gifted Children
What is giftedness? There is no universal definition. Some
professionals define "gifted" as an
intelligence test score above 130, two or more standard deviations
above the norm, or the top 2.5%. Others define "gifted" based on
scholastic achievement: a gifted child works 2 or more grade levels above
his or her age. Still others see giftedness as prodigious accomplishment:
adult-level work while chronologically a child. But these are far from the only
definitions. Former U. S. Commissioner of Education Sidney P. Marland,
Jr., in his August 1971 report to Congress, stated:
Gifted and talented children are those identified by professionally
qualified persons who by virtue of outstanding abilities are capable of high
performance. These are children who require differentiated educational
programs and/or services beyond those normally provided by the regular
school program in order to realize their contribution to self and society.
A group of respected professionals in the field of gifted
suggest a definition based on the gifted child's differences from the norm:
"Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive
abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and
awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony
increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted
renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting,
teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally." The
Columbus Group, 1991, cited by Martha Morelock, "Giftedness:
The view from within",
in Understanding Our Gifted, January 1992
September 28, 2015
- All Children Are Gifted by Michael C.
- Originally printed in Our Gifted Children... Haven't we heard
- Assessing Gifted
Children by Julia B.
- Testing versus assessment. These two activities are frequently discussed
together and criticized together, when, in fact, they are quite different
Blog Hop: The "G" Word
- No discussion of identification is complete without discussion of the word
"gifted" itself. Hoagies' Gifted's inaugural Blog Hop brings 20+ community
blogs on the pros and cons of the label.
Myths From Realities: NRC/GT Research
- Here's a quiz to test the extent to which you can really identify what the
by Linda Silverman
- Equally accessible to the education professional as to the parent, written
by a recent pioneer in the field. Dispels common myths about giftedness,
challenges the view that eminence is the true signifier of giftedness,
provides support for the twice exceptional, offers specific guidelines to
parents and teachers, describes comprehensive assessment of the gifted, and
focuses on the complex inner world of the gifted... Don't miss this volume!
- Giftedness: The View from Within
- Martha Morelock introduces the Columbus Group's definition of giftedness as
asynchronous development, along with a developmental picture of giftedness
that extends beyond achievement
to Tell if Your Child Is Gifted
by Brett Singer
- Most parents think their kids are brilliant. But is your child gifted? And
what does "gifted" mean anyway?
Is It A Cheetah?
by Stephanie S. Tolan
- The classic essay on the characteristics of a gifted child in a regular
(Running cheetah graphic courtesy of
In The Asynchronous Family
by Kathi Kearney
- From asynchrony within the gifted child to asynchrony in the family to
asynchrony in the larger society, from the "early empty nest"
syndrome to schooling and other bureaucracies, a great summary of life with
the gifted child!
by Wenda Sheard
- Dear teacher, I’m writing you because I want to tell you a secret about
me... the letter our kids wish they could send each year before school
you're gifted... Now what? WebQuest for kids
- A WebQuest to promote self-discovery... (grades 6-8, but useful starting
as young as 3rd grade gifted)
1985 Australian TV drama for children (YouTube, in 5 parts)
- This movie has helped more than a few gifted children self-identify and
begin the path to self-understanding...
of the WISC-IV for Gifted Identification
Position Statement from the National
Association for Gifted Children
- It is recommended practice to derive the General Ability Index (GAI) when
there are large disparities among the Composite/Index scores. Flanagan and
Kaufman (2004), in
Essentials of WISC-IV Assessment, deem the FSIQ “not interpretable” if
Composite scores vary by 23 points (1.5 standard deviations) or more...
is a Gifted Child?
NSW Assn for Gifted & Talented Children
- A good question to start with...
What We Have Learned About Gifted Children
1979-2009 by Linda Kreger Silverman
- Linda Silverman's summary of
28 now 30! years of
observations, including "Parents are excellent identifiers of giftedness in
their children," "the ideal age for testing is between five and eight years,"
and "When parents fail to recognize a child’s gifts, teachers may
overlook them as well," " Gifted children are asynchronous," "Gifted
children have better social adjustment in classes with children like
themselves; the brighter the child, the lower the child's social
self-concept in regular classrooms,"...
- Metaphorically Speaking
- Many different analogies explaining gifted education...
Bright Child vs. Gifted
Learner Challenge Magazine
- Classic list from makes it easy to differentiate...
of Giftedness by Linda Kreger Silverman
- The characteristics associated with giftedness become apparent early in
life. This list of descriptors has been used successfully...
Myths About Gifted Students (ERIC Fact Sheet)
- The most common myths, and the facts to match! about gifted children...
Issues in the Identification and Nurturance of Promising Students from Low
Income Backgrounds by Joyce VanTassel-Baska, NRC/GT Senior Scholars Series
- There is little disagreement in the field of gifted education about the
need to have a broader diversity of students in programs for the gifted,
especially those representative of low socio-economic backgrounds and minority
students. However, our track record has been less than sterling... (scroll
otherwise untapped potential by Deborah Smith, APA Monitor on-line journal
- But that talent doesn't flourish on its own, [Psychologist Frank Worrell]
says: "People have talents in various areas, but if those talents aren't
developed, they're not going to mean anything." Without extra supports, many
children with potential are left behind...
of Giftedness by Judith Hewton
- To find a satisfactory definition of giftedness it is necessary to
understand its origins in the history of humankind... Terman's
longitudinal studies... the work of Hollingworth...
highly gifted students by J. Hansen
- The principle reason for identifying highly gifted children is to help
them get a better education than they probably would get otherwise. Tests
designed for age-peers are powerless in yielding information to meet this end.
One effective method of discovering highly gifted students is by above-level
Intellectual Potential by Jerry Schecter
- "Scenarios... are repeated countless times every school year, and
parents are often at a loss as to how to deal with them. Sometimes, if they
suggest that their child may be advanced and bored in class, they are met
with skepticism. They know their child and their abilities, and they don't
want to make mistakes with their education. Yet, they may come to doubt
their knowledge and judgment when faced with critical reactions..."
- A Fable?
printed in The Instructor, April. 1968
- One time the animals had a school. The curriculum consisted of running,
climbing, flying and swimming, and all the animals took all the subjects...
Children and Erikson's Theory of Psychosocial Development by Tracy L.
Cross (requires Prufrock journal subscription)
- Identification of giftedness is often linked to early evidence of ability.
The potential success of any identification process to locate children of
extraordinary ability is often subject to the extent to which children have
developed a sense of autonomy and engage in self-initiating behaviors. Not
successfully resolving the crises of the previous three states will have a
negative impact on later life. In addition, the culmination of not resolving
the crises will reduce the likelihood of children being identified as
Children: Are Their Gifts Being Identified, Encouraged, or Ignored? by
- Even if professionals do agree on certain recommendations, there is wide
variability in their implementation both at school and at home...
Children: Myths and Realities by Ellen Winner
- Myths and misconceptions about gifted children abound and cloud our
Children With Disabilities: Overcoming Stereotypes by Starr Cline and
Kathryn Hegeman, in
Gifted Child Today ($)
- Gifted children exist in all segments of the population. When children are
gifted and have a disability, identification of gifts presents special
challenges. Testing specialists tend to focus their assessments on
establishing the extent of a disability and may not pursue assessment of
giftedness. Stereotypic expectations work against gifted individuals
- Giftedness and the Gifted:
What's It All About? (ERIC digest #476)
- There are many misconceptions of the term, all of which become deterrents
to understanding and catering to the needs of children identified as gifted
- Giftedness as
Asynchronous Development by Stephanie Tolan
- It is vital to remember that giftedness (in childhood and beyond) is an internal
reality, mental processing that is outside of norms. Achievement, as important
as it is, is merely an expression of that mental processing
- Giftedness -
Nature or Nurture by Stephanie S. Tolan
- We’re on our own. We have to discover what our seedlings need for
Children with Learning Disabilities: A Review of the Issues by Linda E.
Brody and Carol J. Mills
- Many people have difficulty comprehending that a child can be gifted and
also have learning disabilities. As a result, children with special needs that
result from both their high abilities and their learning problems are rarely
identified and are often poorly served. This article explores the current
policies and practices with regard to defining, identifying, and educating
Achiever, Gifted Learner, Creative Thinker
by Bertie Kingore
- Identification of gifted students is clouded when concerned adults
misinterpret high achievement as giftedness. Educators with expertise in
gifted education are frustrated trying to help other educators and parents
understand that while high achievers are valuable participants whose
high-level modeling is welcomed in classes, they learn differently from
- How Do I Know If My Is Child
Gifted? from the TAGFAM home page
- This is the $64,000 question, and Valorie King does a terrific job of
Identification of Students Who Are Gifted (ERIC digest #644) by Mary Ruth
- Few areas in the education of children with exceptionalities are as
controversial and critical as appropriate identification of children who are
gifted. The controversies involve all the pros and cons of labeling children
as well as a variety of political issues. Yet, identification remains critical
to ensuring that children receive the services they need to thrive in school...
I Remember... by Wendy
- Why identification of gifted children is SO important!
Gifted Students: A Practical Guide by Susan K. Johnsen (or from
- Designed for practicing professionals, with up-to-date information for
building an effective, defensible identification process for gifted
students... Read excerpted chapter:
Making Decisions About Placement...
Interview with Dr. Edward R. Amend: About the Emotional Needs of Gifted Kids
- Meeting the educational needs of the gifted and talented child will also
help their social and emotional adjustment. The research has been fairly
clear in suggesting that the degree to which a gifted child's educational
needs are being met is an important factor in their overall adjustment...
My Child Bright? by Roxanne Cramer, Reprinted from the Mensa Gifted
- Is my child really bright? Or does he/she just seem that way to me? How
can I tell? What clues can I look for?
your child gifted? Minnesota Council for the Gifted & Talented (MCGT)
- A quick checklist for kids of various ages, particularly useful with
Aren't What Kids Need by Patrick Welsh, in the Washington Post
- "The school keeps saying, 'Don't worry. Your child's needs will be
met.' Then his teacher says she can't because 'We were told not to assign
above-grade-level work to anyone who isn't labeled TAG.' " Students
are relegated to the "regular" curriculum, where the emphasis is on ensuring
that lower-income children who lag far behind in basic skills will pass [the
tests.] The school administration was probably trying to fix that situation.
But the solution isn't to mark fewer students as gifted and talented. It's
to challenge all our kids, all the time...
Decisions About Placement by Susan K. Johnsen
- When identifying gifted students, schools need to select qualitative and
quantitative instruments that are technically adequate and that match gifted
students’ characteristics and the school district’s program. Most states
require "appropriate criteria that include both qualitative and quantitative
measures [Texas]"... [excerpted from
Gifted Students: A Practical Guide
Bright--or Brilliant? by Sheri Zimmerman
- Is your child truly gifted, or are you just one of those pushy, "stage
mother" types who thinks his or her bright child is really a genius?
- Misdiagnosis of the Gifted
by Lynne Azpeitia, M.A. and Mary Rocamora, M.A.
- Gifted individuals face many challenges. One of them may be in getting
correctly identified by psychotherapists and others as gifted
- Musings on our report
card by Hilary Dale
- An IQ score this high is surely not a predictor of first grade success.
"You see, we don't think he's really all that smart. Those silly tests
of Giftedness by The Association of Educators of Gifted, Talented and
Creative Children in British Columbia
On-going Dilemma of Effective Identification Practices in Gifted Education
by Joyce VanTassel-Baska
- The identification of gifted children has long been a topic of great
debate... The concept of degree or extent of giftedness is an important
aspect to consider... A better and more defensible strategy is to use
off level aptitude and achievement measures to ascertain a true dispersion of
the student scores...
- Parenting Gifted
- Realising that your preschooler is gifted can catch you unawares,
especially if the child is your firstborn... includes a great chart of early
are the best source of information about their children's abilities by John Worthington
- "Parents are a highly accurate and reliable
source of information about their children's intelligence and abilities with
most able to predict their child's IQ to within a few points, according to a
University of Queensland PhD study..." Also see A
Longitudinal Study of Early Literacy Development and the Changing
Perceptions of Parents and Teachers
Gifted Students: A Practical Guide for Classroom Teachers by Sandra Manning
- Given that gifted students clearly do not always exhibit classroom work,
behavior, and dispositions that are “teacher friendly,” how can classroom
teachers make informed decisions about the children they refer for gifted
education programs? A list of pertinent questions follows...
Giftedness In Young Children by Martin T. Rogers and Linda Kreger Silverman
- A comparative study of the developmental characteristics of gifted and
Role of Grandparents in Talent Recognition and Development by John
Gifted Child Today ($)
- The identification of gifts and talents is a long-term process. Tests and
rating scale scores on one occasion can give us insights about the level of
children's abilities, but long range observations by parents, teachers, and
grandparents can provide the information needed to clarify the nature and
levels of children's talents and pave the way to effective educational
programs and services...
- Self-test on
giftedness (for adults!) by the Rocamora School
- From general characteristics to entelechy to overexcitabilities, and
of California’s most gifted students are being ignored, advocates say by Carla Rivera, Los Angeles Times
- Highly intelligent, talented students need special programs to keep them
engaged and challenged. But experts say too often they aren't even
identified -- especially in low-income and minority schools -- and they
become emotional dropouts...
Bias in Identifying Gifted and Talented Students by Teri Powell and Del
- Teachers need better training to help them recognize the stereotypical
beliefs they hold about gifted and talented students. Such training will go
a long way toward improving referrals for gifted and talented programs
who fall by the way
- The tortoise and the hare, revisited... plus lots of great advice for
educating your gifted child!
to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley
- Though written about a Down Syndrome child, the experience is quite
similar when you discover your child is gifted... you thought you would have
a "normal" child, and now you have a whole new, different, set of
criteria... Welcome to Holland!
- What Is Gifted?
- National Association for Gifted Children's Parent Information summary...
talent masks learning disability by D. Smith Bailey
- Identification methods that look for intra-individual
differences--comparing a child's oral-language and printed-language skills,
for example--are more likely to catch a talented student with a learning
disability than other methods that compare students' performance with
benchmarks for normally achieving peers...
Know Your Child is Gifted When...: A Beginner's Guide to Life on the Bright
Side by Judy Galbraith
- Lots of great stories of gifted kids, from verbal to humor, and lots of
great quotes from the experts, all to get you started on your adventure with
your gifted child
Gifted Children by Gifted Canada
- From Help needed to identify young gifted children, to Different From
Birth, and Over excitable, this is a great summary of our young gifted