The Gifted Identification Process with Guest, Dr. Joy Lawson Davis


gtchat 01262016 Identification


The gifted identification process has been a hot topic in gifted education for decades. Far too often it is mired in personal prejudices, politics, and misapplied theories about what constitutes a gifted student. Dr. Joy Lawson Davis, our guest expert, shed some much needed light on the topic during our chat and we thank her for taking the time to share her insights with us.

There are several issues associated with the fair assessment. The fairness of group vs individual testing is an important factor when considering assessing gifted students. There needs to be a procedure in place for identifying students in immediate need of services as well as potential for need. The identification process must involve the collaboration of multiple stakeholders – administrators, teachers, parents and the student. Dr. Gail Post, clinical psychologist, pointed out that “when schools form a gifted “program” with loose guidelines”; it can become an issue.

Best practices in the use of assessments include aligning assessment tools with state and local definitions of gifted as well as the school’s gifted program’s goals and objectives. School personnel need to be familiar with the test being used and know how to administer it. Joshua Lemere, 4th grade gifted education teacher in NC, explained, “[Best practices include] valid and reliable assessments; if using work samples, clearly defined rubric with independent “examiners”. If using a checklist and rating scale, then the auditor MUST BE trained in how to effectively use it without bias.” Dr. Stephen Covert, Principal at Pine View School for the Gifted in Sarasota, Florida, related, “it’s not just those who ‘play well at school’.” Susan E. Jackson of Celebrating High Potential  added, “Quantitative assessments should be re-normed for local population to be valid.”

“Too often creative,  aberrant gifted is ignored. It happens to diverse students too much!” ~ Dr. Joy Lawson Davis

The responsibilities of program administrators in the identification process are first being responsible for eliminating bias in the choice of assessments to be used to identify gifted students. Carolyn K of Hoagies’ Gifted suggested, “Program administrators should do in-service to refresh teacher training on specific measures, and keep an eye out for unusual gifted kids.” Finally, administrators should periodically review the identification process.

“Program Administrators should understand and re-design identification protocol as needed. They are responsible to ensure equity and fairness.” ~ Dr. Joy Lawson Davis

Next we considered how poor identification methods can adversely affect low-income, minority, and ELL students. Most often, they fail to account for cultural bias in tests. Dr. Davis told us, “Portfolios, performance based assessments, and observations are all excellent criteria and tools to use. Parent checklists appropriate for all cultures should also be used. A recent study from Vanderbilt demonstrated that Black students are less likely to be referred when teachers are white.  Also important that any checklist be culturally fair and up to date. Many districts use lists that are 20+ years old. Limited access to high end high school courses limits students ability to apply for and be accepted in competitive colleges.”

“Students suffer from low self esteem, isolation, underachievement when they don’t have access to high end classes.” ~ Dr. Joy Lawson Davis

What do parents need to know about their school’s identification process for gifted programs? Parents need to understand that there are no nation-wide or even state-wide standards for identification. They should be aware of the criteria their school uses and ask how their child was evaluated for selection into gifted program. Barry Gelston of Mr. Gelston’s One Room Schoolhouse, queried, ” Should I homeschool my child?”

Dr. Davis added, “Parents need to know WHO will administer the testing what the results of the tests ‘say’ about their child’s potential. They need to know about the district’s appeals process in case the child is not ‘eligible for services’. Parents need to know if outside/alternative testing is allowed and what the time-frame is.Parents should ask if they can attend the ‘decision’ meeting to serve as an advocate for their child.”

A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

Enjoy our blog, but haven’t joined in a chat on Twitter? We’d love to have you share your expertise with others. Who knows? You may be quoted in one of our posts and you will definitely be included in the transcript. Not sure where to start? Check out our post here to find out how! And remember that #gtchat now meets on Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P. See you there!



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Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at  2 PM (14.00) NZDT/Noon (12.00) AEDT/1 AM (1.00) UK. to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found atStorify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  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:


Why Gifted Children Can Slip through the Cracks

How Teachers Can Identify Gifted Students and Promote High Achievers

In One Elementary School, a Researcher Finds Sharply Divergent Views on its Gifted Program

Identifying and Nourishing Gifted Students 

Identifying Gifted Learners (Livebinder)

#gtchat Blog: Gifted Identification

Identification of Gifted Children

The Ongoing Dilemma of Effective Identification Practices in Gifted Education (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Gifted Identification Page

Ethical Considerations for Gifted Assessment & Identification of Diverse Students (pdf)

The Role of Assessments in the Identification of Gifted Students

Giftedness Defined: How to Identify a Gifted Child

Best Practices for Identifying Gifted Students (pdf)

Study: Washoe Gifted, Talented Selection Process Biased

Educational Views: Dr. Joy Lawson Davis (audio 2:37)

Gifted Children at with Carol Bainbridge

Bright, Talented, & Black: A Guide for Families of African American Gifted Learners by Dr. Joy Lawson Davis

Identification from the NAGC via Jerry Blumengarten

An Overview: Tests and Assessments from the NAGC via Cathleen Healy

These Kids were Geniuses — They were Just Too Poor for Anyone to Discover Them

Gifted by State from the NAGC

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Posted on February 1, 2016, in Advocacy, Asynchronous Development, Diversity, Education, gifted education, Identification, Multicultural and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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