Gifted Program Development
This week we began our #gtchat Professional Development Summer Series with Gifted Program Development. This series will continue throughout the summer months with chat topics to include design thinking, genius hour and making the most of conference attendance.
The starting point for an exemplary program must be the Identification Process. A recent hot topic in gifted education is the need to equitably represent special populations including minority, English language learners and low-income students. Gifted identification must be culturally sensitive; linguistically appropriate; and with regard to low-SES environmental factors. Best practices in identification of gifted students dictate 3 or more criteria and a variety of assessments at varied times. Gifted identification of gifted students should start in kindergarten (or sooner if indicated) and be ongoing throughout K12. It should be considered for students with disabilities as these may mask intellectual/creative giftedness. Out-of-level testing is crucial for identifying gifted students as low-ceilings produce inaccurate measurements.
Gifted identification must be culturally sensitive; linguistically appropriate; and with regard to low-SES environmental factors.
We then turned our attention to Specially Designed Instruction in gifted programs: curriculum, instruction, process & product. Gifted curriculum should be more complex; an in-depth study of key concepts; and stress higher-level thinking, creativity, and problem solving. Gifted curriculum can be a combination of acceleration, enrichment, and compacting to meet individual needs of the student.
Gifted curriculum should be more complex; an in-depth study of key concepts; and stress higher-level thinking, creativity, and problem solving.
Some key factors in the delivery of services include promoting authentic experiential learning experiences; teachers rethinking their role – being a coach/facilitator rather than instructor in many situations; and classrooms which provide an environment conducive to exploration of student’s interests.
This may lead to differences in expectations regarding student voice and program options. Gifted students often provide a strong voice in the direction of their own education which require providing a variety of options. These options must be high-level, high-quality and relevant to the individual strengths of each student.
What should be expected of student products and how do you assess them? The Connecticut Association for the Gifted recommends that students should be encouraged to challenge existing ideas and produce new ones; products should be comparable to those made by professionals in the field; and criteria for student products should be high-level and exemplary to assess final products.
The importance of ongoing and high-level professional development is essential to producing the ideal gifted program. Few if any courses about gifted education are taught at the undergraduate level; teachers need to have the latest information available. More and more states are acknowledging the importance of a gifted endorsement for teachers of gifted students.
Extensions to gifted programs need to be in place for twice-exceptional learners. Gifted programs need to work in tandem with special education programs to identify gifted learners. Educators need instruction on the existence and possibility that twice-exceptional learners will need multiple accommodations. Some states recognize this fact and allow for both GIEPs and 504 Plans. If not, this should be a focus of advocacy and the education of district administrators.
First and foremost, students should be showing academic growth if a program is to be considered effective.
Finally, what criteria should be used for evaluating the effectiveness of program options and design? First and foremost, students should be showing academic growth if a program is to be considered effective. Evaluators should question whether or not initial goals set forth are being met. Effective programs should ensure that all stakeholders – students, teachers, and parents – are receiving appropriate communications. A transcript of this 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 Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at Noon (12.00) NZST/10.00 AEST/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 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
State & International Links:
CO: Gifted Identification 2016 (pdf)
FL: Gifted Education
HI: Program Guide for Gifted & Talented 2007 (pdf)
KY: GT Handbook (pdf)
PA: Gifted Education Guidelines 2014 (pdf)
CAN (BC): Special Education Services E-4 2016 (pdf)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.