How do you decide who’s “gifted”?

Very carefully.
“Gifted” students are no different from “average” students in one very important respect:  each is a unique  individual.  That’s why there is no single set of criteria for their identification.  Instead, each child is evaluated  according to a number of different factors.  But generally, these children have potential, demonstrated abilities, or  high performance capabilities, which may include leadership, in one or more of the following:
  • Intellectual Aptitude.  Students with advanced aptitude or conceptualization whose development is accelerated beyond their age peers as demonstrated by advanced skills, concepts, and creative expression in general intellectual ability or in specific intellectual abilities.
  • Specific Academic Aptitude.  Students with specific aptitudes in selected academic areas:  mathematics; the sciences; and/or the humanities as demonstrated by advanced skills, concepts, and creative expression in those areas.
  • Technical and Practical Arts Aptitude.  Students with specific aptitudes in selected technical or practical arts as demonstrated by advance skills and creative expression in those areas to the extent they need and can benefit from specifically planned educational services differentiated from those provided by the general program experience.
  • Visual or Performing Arts Aptitude.  Students with specific aptitudes in selected visual or performing arts as   demonstrated by advanced skills and creative expression who excel consistently in the development of a product or performance in any of the visual and performing arts to the extent that they need and can benefit from   specifically planned educational services differentiated from those generally provided by the general program experience.

Often a parent will be the first to notice a child’s unusual abilities.  Or sometimes group achievement test results, a simple evaluation of a recent project or cumulative classwork will reveal a child who is excelling.  At this  point, with parental permission, further evaluation may occur.

Next, a screening/placement committee which includes the child’s classroom teacher, specially trained teachers of  the gifted, a guidance counselor, an administrator and others whose input might be important will meet to determine student eligibility.

Since developmental and environmental factors can influence a very young child’s performance, exceptional  students in K-3 may be selected for participation in the Primary Enrichment Program, but will not be formally considered for the Gifted Program until grade 4.  At that time, the child’s progress will be evaluated and a decision  will be made as to whether placement in the program is appropriate.

It is important to note that ability alone is not enough for inclusion in the program.  A student must also exhibit the  desire and determination to pursue areas of interest and/or develop special abilities.  Each student ‘s progress is  monitored continuously.
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