A detailed process is presented illustrating how students can be effectively screened for gifted and talented programs through the three-ring conception approach. Essentially, this research tells us that highly productive people are characterized by three interlocking clusters of ability, these clusters being above average though not necessarily superior ability, task commitment, and creativity. A graphic representation of this conception is presented in Figure 1.
College of William and Mary Center for Gifted Education Volume Year The identification of gifted children has long been a topic of great debate in the field of gifted education. More citations in the literature exist on this topic than on any other in the field. Moreover, it remains one of the most common problems of program development cited by school district personnel and state department coordinators in administering programs and services to gifted children.
There are many reasons for the intractable problems associated with identification of the gifted. One of them is related to the concept of absolute versus relative notions of giftedness.
A second issue that continues to be problematic is recognition of the range of individual differences within the group of learners who might be designated "gifted. Cutting on a continuum of human ability is a risky venture and one many times difficult to justify.
At the same time that such debates on identification rage, highly gifted students frequently idle without extensive and intensive enough services because programs are far more likely to focus resources on the mildly gifted group which may be larger and demand more attention.
Finally, there is the nagging concern that underrepresented groups are not adequately being assessed to be included in gifted programs. Thus we make the test the proverbial messenger to be attacked and continue to search for a better instrument that may reveal greater parity in performance.
Any one of these issues would be sufficient to keep identification at the top of concerns for local school districts in planning and implementing programs. The three taken together guarantee that identification will always be a controversial topic. Until our beliefs about identification change, little progress can be made in developing a better system that resolves all of the issues noted.
Our task is not to identify only the truly gifted but also to locate students who demonstrate undeveloped potential intellectually and in specific areas including academic, artistic, and leadership domains. Our task is not to select students for all time but to select them for enhanced instructional opportunities that may benefit them at a given stage of development.
Whether the intervention works or not, students should be regularly reassessed for new opportunities and dropped from those that are not meeting their needs. Our task is not to be gatekeepers to exclude students but rather custodians of promoting student growth by recognizing discernible strengths and working with the school community to enhance them whether through the gifted program or another medium.
Establishing numerical cutoffs on relevant criteria may be less useful than gaining a holistic assessment of students being considered and matching program to strengths of a particular population. What do we currently understand about the act of identification that may help us deal with the difficulties inherent in the process?
First of all, many studies and authors favoring newer conceptual definitions of giftedness acknowledge the multidimensionality of the phenomenon Gardner, ; Sternberg, Some students are omnibus gifted, capable across many domains and areas.
Yet the majority of gifted students are not. They have distinct profiles of strengths and relative weaknesses. Their abilities may be discerned by performance and not paper and pencil tests. Their giftedness may not be evoked by the school environment but shine in the context of community.
Some may experience developmental spurts at key stages of development which could not be discerned earlier. Interest may be piqued at some stage that motivates a student to develop abilities in relevant areas.
In all of these examples, there is a clear sense that giftedness may be elusive in its manner and context of manifestation. We also know that there are both genetic and environmental factors at work in the manifestation of giftedness. Individuals vary considerably in their ability to function effectively in various domains.
Attention must be paid to the "rubber band" effect of human potential -- our genetic markers allow for expansive growth and development but not to an unlimited extent.
We can stretch ourselves within a range based on the genetic potential which we possess.
It is the role of education in the larger environment to provide the experiences which may stretch the individual potential in the areas of greatest flexibility for learning.
This recognition of pre-existing individual differences would help educators realize the folly of trying to find a "one size fits all" program of study or curriculum. As long as differentiated practices are reserved for labeled special populations, the spirit of individualized learning will always be in jeopardy.
Giftedness does not guarantee entitlement to educational privilege, but it does call for a flexible response by schools and other agencies to higher levels of functioning, based on the individual level of functioning not age.
The concept of degree or extent of giftedness is an important aspect to consider in developing identification processes.Programs for the gifted often concentrate on student strengths and interests and the gifted and talented coordinators may have been sensitive to these features of the profiles.
Classroom teachers are often cast in a diagnose and remediate role with students. The following links provide examples of remodeled lessons found in The Critical Thinking Handbook: 4th - 6th Grades..
The basic idea behind lesson plan remodeling as a strategy for staff development in critical thinking is simple.
Gracie's Big Secret at Warren Tech North; Arvada West High School Catering Students Create Gingerbread Houses; Warder Elementary Supports Community Members in Need. 1 Introduction to the Scales for Identifying Gifted Students The Scales for Identifying Gifted Students (SIGS) is a norm- referenced rating scale designed to assist school dis-tricts in the identification of students as gifted.
Identifying and Nourishing Gifted Students Let's broaden our definition of gifted students to include creativity, writing skills, musical and artistic talent, superior leadership and speaking skills, and moral character. Because no two gifted children are alike is important to collect information on both the child's performance and potential through a combination of objective (quanitifiably measured) and subjective (personally observed) identification instruments in order to identify gifted and talented students.