Screening and Identification of Giftedness in Schools
How gifted children are identified and served varies from state to state, district to district, and school to school. It is recommended that parents explore the particular methods and procedures that have been established by their respective school system. Ideally identification procedures should:
- Be comprehensive – data on all the abilities specified within the school system’s definition of giftedness should be provided.
- Be inclusive – all students should have the opportunity to be included in the initial screening phase.
- Begin early – early identification is desirable in order to promote optimal talent development.
The procedures used to select students should meet the purpose of the programs in place. For example, if the gifted program was designed to meet the unique educational needs of the mathematically gifted, procedures should identify students with this type of giftedness, as they would benefit from participation in such a program.
While some schools may assess all students at a particular grade level for participation in the gifted program, others may use a three-step approach to identification:
At each of these stages, decisions are made as to which children will continue on to the next step.
- Nomination – Students can be nominated by teachers, parents, peers, or themselves for further consideration. Ideally, a large group of students should be included in this phase of the process, even those with vague hints of giftedness. Participation in special education programs should not preclude a child’s inclusion in this nomination group. Nomination instruments may include checklists, test scores, portfolios, teacher reports, and background information.
- Screening – Additional data is collected at this stage. Since the pool of students is smaller than in the nomination phase, schools may choose to use individually administered methods such as interviews and observations.
- Selection – Using all the data collected in the nomination and screening phase, a committee determines which students are selected for the gifted program. No one instrument or single criterion for selection should be used. The committee should consider all data – both qualitative and quantitative.
Reprinted with the permission of Duke University. © 2008 Duke University Talent Identification Program.
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