Should Participation in Gifted Programs Be Conditional?
Participation in gifted programs is often conditional for a variety of reasons. Criteria is usually mandated at the state level and based on IQ scores or other standardized tests. In all too many cases, participation may also be a reward for good behavior or grades.
It was agreed, however, that multiple criteria must be used when identifying students for a gifted program. As Clinical Psychologist Dr. Gail Post of Gifted Challenges stated, “Ideally the program is geared to fit the child, not the other way around. Too often, students are expected to conform to the gifted program in place – there is no flexibility.” Jo Freitag of Gifted Resources listed possible considerations including, “Results of psychologist’s or achievement testing, teachers’ observations, parents’ information, etc., showing need for placement.” Antonia Duncan, Elementary GT Specialist in Texas added, “We use multiple criteria assessment. Tests include NNAT, COGAT, Renzulli, etc. Then, depending on age, also portfolios and teacher recommendations.”
When considering what age children should be assessed for gifted programs, the general consensus was – the earlier the better. Reasons included that signs of giftedness can appear very early and the need for services are based on those assessments. When a child is placed in an inappropriate educational setting, they can become frustrated, succumb to underachievement or even become disruptive in the regular classroom.
The idea of reassessing a child who was previously identified for gifted services was met with a resounding “No”! However, this is a fairly common practice in several U.S. states. If a child fails to consistently achieve at a certain level, they are removed from the program. As Valerie Lewis pointed out, this begs the need for states to come to the table with a universal definition of ‘gifted’. Most felt that the only reason for reassessment should be to offer more services; not less. Also, many experts believe that re-testing students already identified profoundly affects the racial/ethnic makeup of programs.
Should gifted services be considered a reward for grades or behavior? Just as it would never be considered for special education students to loose services for these reasons; nor should it be for gifted students. One would think that this wouldn’t even be a consideration; unfortunately, it happens more often than we’d like. As Jeremy Bond stated, “Education is a right to all. It should never be a punishment or reward. And scores should certainly not be the basis for either.” Krissy Venosdale, #gtchat Advisor, added, “A gifted program that can be earned thru good behavior is not a gifted program.”
What advice would you give parents facing denial of gifted services after identification? Parents need to be aware of state laws and mandates regarding gifted education. They should contact and work with their state gifted organization who often can refer them to advocates. It’s imperative that they gather data (test scores; outside testing) and as much information as possible; be prepared for all meetings with school personnel. And in the end, Jim Katzaman offered this advice, “Keep the kid’s happiness in mind. I was sad when son was recommended not to skip to 1st grade. He, on other hand, was relieved.” A transcript of the chat can be found at Storify.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 13.00 NZDT/11.00 AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.
Posted on December 18, 2015, in Education, gifted, gifted and talented, gifted education, Identification, testing, Twice-exceptional, Underachievement and tagged gifted and talented, gifted education, gifted programs, gtchat, TAGT, Twitter. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.