Gifted and Talent Identification

Characteristics and Behavior

Rogers 2002 compares cognitive processing in gifted and talented individuals to "information chunking" which may explain their ability to "engage highly complex - abstract thought, patterns, and sequences. She also points to "high motivation, interest, deep curiosity, risk taking and an intense desire to achieve." Cognition in gifted and talented individuals, according to Rogers 2002, occurs in one of two forms - ambiguity or structure.

Renzulli's three-ring model asserts that gifted and talented individuals display three primary behaviors: above average performance, high levels of creativity and task commitment. Renzulli later added "profound student interest" to his model. "Interest" he concluded, is tantamount to commitment. An online link to Renzulli's "Interest-a-lyzer" is provided below.

Delisle argues that Renzulli's three-ring model is behavior-based, and overlooks high potential -twice exceptional students, because it does not take into account the student’s cultural and environmental disposition, or any physical - cognitive - psychological and social-emotional conditions that mask extraordinary ability.

Unidentified twice exceptional students according to Delisle 2002, can appear unmotivated, uninterested, and underachieving; their academic performance is generally average at best. Twice exceptional students are "at risk," according to Silverman 1993, because without intervention, they regress, underachieve, lose interest and drop out.

Delisle 2001 emphasizes looking beyond giftedness as a set of behaviors; he is quoted, "giftedness constitutes what a person is." Dabrowski's work on "Overexcitabilities" or OE's is the basis for understanding the heightened emotional, - psychomotor, - intellectual and imaginational awareness, responses and sensitivities in gifted individuals.

Identification Processes

The Stanford-Binet or the Wechsler’s, WISC IV Intelligence Scales, according to Silverman 2000, score gifted IQ at 130 or higher; this is two standard deviation points above the norm. Normal is one hundred. Federal law requires that schools must provide curriculum modifications, special assessments, teaching services and individualized plans for students who score two standard deviation points below the norm, which is 70, or lower. No federal mandate currently exists for gifted learners. Delisle 2000 argued that many intelligence scales used to identify IQ are bias because test writers do not take into account minority perspectives and experiences. Delisle 2000 contends that culture greatly influences learning and recommends alternative tests geared toward minorities be provided; such as the SOMPA - The System of Multicultural Pluralistic Assessment, the abbreviated version of the Binet, or The Black Intelligence Test of Cultural Homogeneity.

Since IQ scores are not always reliable or available, educators need to consider other criteria to help identify gifted and talented students. The "Parent Inventory Process," introduced by Rogers 2002, and “Parent-Teacher Nominations" can provide clues related to extraordinary ability by examining early childhood traits, personal natures, and habits. For example, Robinson, Shore and Enersen 2007 and Rogers 2002 point out that many gifted learners are early readers. Access to the "Parent Inventory Process" or PIP, is provided as an online resource below. Online sources are also provided for the Purdue Academic Rating Scales (PARS).

Student portfolios contain products that portray student imagination, creativity, and emotion, as well as help identify strengths and weaknesses. They are more comprehensive than test scores and GPA, especially in the assessment of twice exceptional learners, whose high potential is most often overlooked.

The term "high potential" best characterizes twice exceptional students because their intellectual, emotional, and overall growth depends on identification and intervention. Parent-teacher nominations that include evidence of extraordinary performance and ability can significantly aid the identification process. See online sources regarding portfolios under "Assessments" in the Bright Pace Footer section.

The US. Federal Definition for Giftedness is as follows; "Students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities".

Online Sources:

Developing Talents Among High-Potential Students From Low Income Families in an Out-of-School Enrichment Program Rachelle Miller Marcia Gentry Purdue University

Letter US department of Education Antidiscrimination of the Twice Exceptional

Academic enrichment

Academic Acceleration and Twice the twice exceptional student

Parent Inventory Process

Renzulli's interest a-lyzer

Purdue Academic Rating Scales

The Underachievement of Gifted Students: What Do We Know and Where Do We Go?

Research Articles

Barber, C., & Mueller, C. T. (2011). Social and self-perceptions of adolescents identified as gifted, learning disabled, and twice-exceptional.Roeper Review, 33(2), 109-120.

Clark, B. (2008). Growing up gifted. Pearson Education Inc. Upper Saddle New Jersey.

Delisle, J. (2000). Once upon a mind: The stories and scholars of gifted education. Wadsworth/Thompson Learning Inc., Belmont Ca.

Delisle, J. (2002). When Gifted Kids Don't have all the answers. Free Spirit Publishing Inc. Minneapolis, Mn.

Robinson, A., Shore, B. & Enersen D. (2007). Best practices in gifted education. Prufrock Press. Waco Texas.

Rogers, K.B. (2002). Re-forming gifted education. Great Potential Press. Scottsdale, Az.

Schroth, S. T., & Helfer, J. A. (2009). Practitioners' conceptions of academic talent and giftedness: Essential factors in deciding classroom and school composition. Journal Of Advanced Academics, 20(3), 384-403.

Silverman, L.K. (Ed.). (1993). Counseling the gifted and talented. Denver, Co.

VanTassel-Baska, J., Feng, A., Swanson, J., Quek, C., & Chandler, K. (2009). Academic and affective profiles of low-income, minority, and twice-exceptional gifted learners: The role of gifted program membership in enhancing self. Journal Of Advanced Academics, 20(4), 702-739.

Yssel, N., Prater, M., & Smith, D. (2010). How can such a smart kid not get it Finding the right fit for twice-exceptional students in our schools. Gifted Child Today, 33(1), 54-61.

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