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Who are the Gifted?


Web Sites to Visit for Information about Characteristics of Gifted

  • National Association for Gifted Children

  • Neag Center for Gifted Education & Talent Development



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Characteristics of Gifted Children by the National

Association for Gifted Children


Very often parents are the first to recognize that their child is bright for his or her age. There are many checklists of gifted characteristics. No one will show all these characteristics, but very bright children will fit a significant number of them.In general they contain several common elements:

  • Compared to other children your child’s age, how many of these fit your child:
  • Reasons well and learn rapidly
  • Has extensive vocabulary and talked early
  • Early or avid reader
  • Asks lots of questions and learns more quickly than others
  • Has a very retentive memory
  • Is extremely curious and can concentrate for long periods on subjects of interest
  • Perseverance in their interests
  • Has a wide general knowledge and interest in the world
  • Enjoys problem-solving, often missing out the intermediate stages in an argument and making original connections
  • Has an unusual and vivid imagination
  • Is intense and shows strong feelings and opinions
  • Concerned with justice and fairness
  • Has an odd sense of humor
  • Sets high standards and is a perfectionist
  • Loses interest when asked to do more of the same
  • Is sensitive (feelings hurt easily)
  • Shows compassion and is morally sensitive
  • Has a high degree of energy
  • Prefers older companions or adults
  • Judgment mature for age at times
  • Is a keen observer
  • Is highly creative
  • Tends to question authority
  • Has facility with numbers
  • Extremely good at jigsaw puzzles
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Gifted in Pennsylvania


Web Sites to Visit for Information about Gifted in Pennsylvania


Criteria for Gifted

May a person with an IQ lower than 130 be admitted to gifted programs?
Yes. Section 16.21 indicates that a person with an IQ lower than 130 may be admitted to the gifted program when other educational criteria in the student's profile strongly indicate gifted ability. IQ may not be the sole criteria for identifying a student as a gifted student.

May school districts set criteria such as high-test ceilings or IQ's of 140+ or design a matrix that is more restrictive than the requirements of Chapter 16 to determine whether a student is gifted and in need of specially designed instruction?
No. Each school district must establish procedures for determining whether a student is mentally gifted through a screening and evaluation process that meets the requirements of Chapter 16. Chapter 16 defines the term mentally gifted as "including a person who has an IQ of 130 or higher and when multiple criteria indicate gifted ability." A person with an IQ lower than 130 may be gifted when other educational criteria in the child's profile strongly indicate gifted ability. The matrix used the the school district may not be more restrictive than the requirement of the Chapter 16 regulations.

What are the multiple criteria that indicate a student may be mentally gifted?
The multiple criteria indicating a student may be mentally gifted include:

  • A year or more above grade achievement level in one or more subjects as measured by nationally normed and validated achievement tests.
  • An observed or measured rate of acquisition/retention of new academic content or skills.
  • Demonstrated achievement, performance or expertise in one or more academic areas as evidenced by excellence of products, portfolio, or research, as well as criterion-referenced team judgment.
  • Early and measured use of high level thinking skills (Guilford/Bloom's Taxonomy), academic creativity, leadership skills, intense academic interest areas, communications skills, foreign language aptitude or technology expertise.
  • Documented, observed, validated or assessed evidence that intervening factors such as English as a second language, learning disability, physical impairment, emotional disability, gender or race bias, or socio/cultural deprivation are masking gifted abilities.


In the "multiple criteria" section 16.21 (e), what is meant by "subject results shall yield academic instruction levels in all academic subject areas"?
Subject results means sub-tests of achievement tests should provide results that can be used to determine placement in academic instruction in all academic subject areas.

In the "multiple criteria" section 16.21 (e), how do you measure or show "an observed or measured rate of acquisition/retention of new academic content or skills that reflect gifted ability"?
Rate of acquisition is the rapidity or speed at which the student is able to acquire, understand, and demonstrate competency or mastery of new learning. Rate of acquisition and rate of retention of new materials/skills can be defined as how many repetitions the student needs before the student masters new information/skills and can use the information/skills appropriately any time thereafter. This data can be obtained by simple procedures such as Curriculum Based Assessment (CBA), direct observation, and reporting from parents, teachers or supervisors. The Gifted Guidelines includes a copy of the Chuska Scale for Rate of Acquisition and Chuska Scale for Rate of Retention for use by Pennsylvania school districts.

In the "multiple criteria" section 16.21 (e), how is "demonstrated achievement, performance or expertise in one or more academic areas as evidenced by excellence of products, portfolios or research, as well as criterion-referenced team judgment" evaluated and reported?
Evaluations by a professional staff or an expert in the particular academic area would be used to report "demonstrated achievement, performance, or expertise in one or more academic areas as evidenced by excellence of products, portfolios, or research, as well as criterion-referenced team judgment". The following examples could be a way to document achievement:

  • Student A is a member of the high school debate team and has qualified for the state finals in grades 9, 10, & 11.
  • Student B loves to write poetry and has a folder of many unpublished works.
In the "multiple criteria" section 16.21 (e) what does measured use mean in "early and measured use of high level thinking skills, academic creativity, leadership skills, intense academic interest areas, communications skills, foreign language aptitude or technology expertise."
Early and measured use of high level thinking skills could include checklists, inventories, and anecdotal notes. It could also include documentation of developmental milestones that are reached earlier than average students reach the milestone. For example:
Using a "checkpoints for progress" chart, you could show that a student has mastered skills beyond that child's age level. These types of charts often accompany grade level texts.
  • The average kindergarten student uses symbols and letters to represent words.
  • The average third grade student uses a variety of sentence structures.
  • The average sixth grade student writes effectively using standard grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling in a final draft.
A kindergarten student who is able to spell common words correctly, make appropriate and varied word choices, and/or understands common capitalization and end punctuation would be demonstrating achievements that are a result of early and measured use of high level thinking skills.

A child who could speak before age one or read before kindergarten would be other examples.



Chapter 16 and Your Role

Websites to help you understand your role in providing instruction for gifted students.


Does the school district have an obligation to find all mentally gifted students in a district, including ones not attending school in the public school district?
Yes. A school district must locate and identify all students who reside within the district who are thought to be gifted and in need of specially designed instruction.

What is the school district's responsibility in providing services and programs for gifted students?
Section 16.2 indicates that each school district must, by direct service or through arrangement with other agencies, provide the following:

  • Services and programs planned, developed and operated for the identification and evaluation of each gifted student.
  • Gifted education for each gifted student which is based on the unique needs of the student, not solely on the student's classification.
  • Gifted education for gifted students which enables them to participate in acceleration or enrichment programs, or both, as appropriate, and to receive services according to their intellectual and academic abilities and needs.


Addressing the Needs of Gifted Students Through the Regular Education Program

In Pennsylvania, a student is eligible for gifted support when he/she has outstanding intellectual ability and a need for specially designed instruction that is not provided in the regular education program. Students with outstanding intellectual ability who are appropriately educated through the regular education program and, may not require specially designed instruction. This determination is made through the evaluation process and team meeting. In making this determination, the team considers the educational offerings and opportunities available for the student and whether these are sufficient to meet the student’s needs.

Citations
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