"Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them."








The Children Neglected By

 No Child Left Behind



Beached by short-sighted policies, gifted and talented students struggle as they sit in our classrooms and wait. They wait for rigorous curriculum. They wait  to be challenged. They wait for engaging, relevant instruction that nurtures their potential. And, as they wait, these students lose interest in their passions, become frustrated and unmotivated from the lack of challenge. As a result, they become our lost talent.

 -Kristen Stephens and Jan Riggsbee





Developing Programs for the Gifted


A Six Step Approach



1. Define the Gifted Student  



These students possess talents and abilities that differ from those of their peers to such a degree that differentiated educational programs should be provided to nurture their growth and development. 

What are the characteristics of students who are gifted? 

       When asked this question, most teachers will  cite three qualities. Firstly, gifted youngsters tend to get their work done quickly and may seek further assignments. Secondly, they ask questions that differ from their classmates in depth of understanding. Finally, they have interests in areas that are unusual or more akin to the interests of older students.




 2. Develop Overall Goals for a Gifted Program

determine the characteristics of the gifted.

develop teaching methods and models.

explore social-emotional needs of the gifted.

evaluate programs. 

encourage parental involvement.



 3. Devise Eligibility Components


Eligibility for program services should be based on and include:

Acquisition of extensive information on the abilities of the student

Early identification

Involvement of qualified professionals in the identification process

      When identified and nurtured at an early age, gifted students are exposed to the attitudes and motivation necessary for full development of their capabilities.  Observation of student behavior, portfolio assessment and review of individual assessment results are a few of the strategies found effective in the early identification of gifted students.




4. Use  Multiple Criteria to Develop a Student Profile


1. Assessment of appropriate student products and  performance.

2. Record of observation concerning classroom behavior.

3. Appropriate rating scales, checklists, or questionnaires.

4. Individual interview.

5. Individual or group aptitude tests.

6. Individual or group achievement tests.

7. Record of previous accomplishments (such as awards, honors, and  





5. The Case for In-Service Programs

      The goal for program planners  is to create a learning environment in which these students can fully develop their abilities and interests without losing their sense of membership as part of the class. This is a tall order for teachers and students, because the usual remedy is to segregate these students into small homogeneous groups or to assign individual projects. While both of these strategies have their place, neither is sufficient to accomplish the goal. Therefore, we must  consider the overall dynamics of the classroom, and plan for an environment in which all the students can fully develop their abilities and interests within the confines of one organizational unit.

-Beverly Parke



6. Create a Pool of Candidates


       To develop a pool of candidates to be considered for services provided by the gifted program, local personnel should establish a specified time each year to scan test scores, student grades, and student work samples.

      In addition to the screening of information available in school records, personnel should also  seek referrals of gifted students from teachers, parents, students, and community members.




Additional Sources:  Guidelines for the Gifted from the State of Virginia



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