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Should Achievement Be the Sole Determinant for Inclusion in a Gifted Program?

Achievement copy

Image courtesy of Flickr  CC 2.0 License

 

Inclusion of a particular student in a gifted program is often predicated on how the term ‘gifted’ is perceived by those determining entrance requirements. When schools have a talent development mind-set, gifted programs seem to promote achievement as the primary goal. High-achievers are sought after while twice-exceptional and under-performing students are usually overlooked. Lack of a federal policy on gifted education has led to a widely disjointed approach to how local school districts determine who participates in a school’s gifted program.

Is there a difference between gifted and high-achieving? Bertie Kingore in her consummate piece, “High Achiever, Gifted Learner, Creative Thinker” explains it this way:

“Identification of gifted students is clouded when concerned adults misinterpret high achievement as giftedness. High-achieving students are noticed for their on-time, neat, well-developed, and correct learning products. Adults comment on these students’ consistent high grades and note how well they acclimate to class procedures and discussions. Some adults assume these students are gifted because their school-appropriate behaviors and products surface above the typical responses of grade-level students.

Educators with expertise in gifted education are frustrated trying to help other educators and parents understand that while high achievers are valuable participants whose high-level modeling is welcomed in classes, they learn differently from gifted learners. In situations in which they are respected and encouraged, gifted students’ thinking is more complex with abstract inferences and more diverse perceptions than is typical of high achievers. Articulating those differences to educators and parents can be difficult.”

It was agreed by most that many gifted students are high-achievers, but that alone should not be the sole determining factor; who receives gifted services should be based on a much more comprehensive procedure.

When asked if gifted programs should cater only to high performers, the answer was a resounding, “No!” Many pointed out that gifted children who do not perform according to ‘standards’ may well be the ones who need help the most. As Cait, school psychologist and blogger at My Little Poppies, pointed out, “You’d leave so many behind. The outliers, the creatives, the square pegs- those who think differently.” Gifted programs which address social and emotional needs may be the last glimmer of hope for some students.

Should students who are not performing up to expectations be left-behind in favor of students who ‘want’ to learn? This was obviously an emotionally charged question. Students with high ability who are stuck in unchallenging academic environments may tune out and not even try to achieve. Molli Osburn, the Creative Math Coach,  observed, “Lack of challenge leads to lack of engagement, which leads to lack of achievement.” Curriculum design and programs need to be tailored to motivate and inspire gifted children. Susanne Thomas, Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Online, noted that “We lose the slow, deep, rich thinkers. We lose so much. Gifted education shouldn’t be a reward, but a program that is MEETING NEEDS.”

Finally, the discussion turned to what criteria should be used in gifted screenings. Jade Rivera, educator and coach suggested, “Recommendations from knowledgeable adults that have experience with gifted theory and the child.” Culture, socio-economic levels, portfolios, qualitative assessments, observation, and parental insights were all mentioned as important aspects in identification. For a more in-depth look at this topic see the full transcript at Storify.

gtchat thumbnail logoGlobal #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM 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 Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About 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: gtchatmod@gmail.com

 

Links:

Gifted Under Achievers from Jo Freitag

Underachievement of Verbally Gifted Children

Potential Doesn’t Equal Performance

Comparison of High Achievers’ & Low Achievers’ Attitudes, Perceptions & Motivations (pdf)

Promoting a Positive Achievement Attitude with Gifted & Talented Students

Achievement Versus Ability Why One Isn’t a Sign of the Other

Is It a Cheetah? by Stephanie Tolan

What is the Right Score for Admittance to a Gifted Program?

Gifted Underachievers: Underachieving or Refusing to Play the Game?

London G&T: Teacher Tools for Identifying Gifted & Talented Students

When Kids Qualify for Gifted Programs, but Don’t Sign Up

Latent Ability Grades and Test Scores Systematically Underestimate Intellectual Ability of Negatively Stereotyped Students

Maryland State Department of Education Criteria For Excellence: Gifted and Talented Education Program Guidelines (pdf)

Georgia Department of Education: Education Programs for Gifted Students Evaluation and Eligibility Chart (pdf)

Texas Education Agency Gifted Talented Education

The Problem With Being Gifted

To Show Or Not To Show (Work) from Byrdseed Gifted

Effective Grouping of Gifted Students with guest Lisa Van Gemert

Lisa VanGemert2014

This week #gtchat welcomed longtime friend, Lisa Van Gemert, the Youth and Education Ambassador for American Mensa, to tackle the tough questions surrounding effective grouping of gifted students. Lisa explained to us the many different types of grouping that were possible, but reminded us “it’s important to keep groups fluid – allowing movement with achievement and progress.” She went on to say, “Teachers need to teach the skills of working in groups. It doesn’t come naturally to anyone, especially the gifted.” A valid point often overlooked by critics of grouping.

One of the biggest complaints that gifted students have about grouping is having to do the majority of the work. Lisa told us, “It is *critical* that a student never be graded on another student’s effort (or lack thereof). Instant frustration. It’s unfair to set up GT kids for social failure by putting them in groups in which they have to take over in order to succeed.

An oft heard criticism of ability grouping is that it undermines less-able children. However, Lisa pointed out that this is just an excuse to deprive GT kids of the opportunity to work with their peers. Her philosophy ~ “I believe that best serving all children best serves all children. The end.” We couldn’t agree more! A full transcript of this chat may be found here.

Lisa Van Gemert will be presenting at this year’s TAGT Conference in Fort Worth, December 3rd to the 5th. You can register for the conference here. Check out the conference schedule here.

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM 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 Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About 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: gtchatmod@gmail.com

 

Links:

Amazing Classrooms: Engaging the High Achievers (YouTube 14:35)

Why Separate Classes for Gifted Students Boost All Kids

To Track or Not to Track via @jeff_shoemaker

Grouping Students by Ability Regains Favor in Classroom

Differentiation Class Poster – Free Download from Lisa Van Gemert

Lisa Van Gemert’s Profile at eSpeakers

Lisa Van Gemert’s website GiftedGuru.com

Grouping without Fear from Lisa Van Gemert

The Resurgence of Ability Grouping and Persistence of Tracking

Effective Classrooms, Effective Schools: A Research Base for Reform in Latin American Education

What Educators Need to Know about Ability Grouping (pdf)

The Relationship of Grouping Practices to the Education of the Gifted & Talented Learner (pdf)

Grouping Gifted Children at Hoagies Gifted

The Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Method (SCGM) A Paradigm Shift in The Delivery of

Gifted Education Services by Susan Winebrenner (pdf)

Your Favorite Grouping Strategy Creates Bullies from Ginger Lewman

Multicultural Gifted Education

Donna Ford Multicultural Gifted Education

This week’s Global #gtchat welcomed Dr. Donna Y. Ford of Vanderbilt University to chat about Multicultural Gifted Education, a topic of which Dr. Ford has been raising awareness for nearly 20 years. Please see our recent interview here.

For many of the participants from 20 states and 6 countries, the information provided by Dr. Ford proved to be a real education! When asked about the role culture plays in participation in gifted programs, Dr. Ford explained, “Culture always matters. Educators and policies are harmful if colorblind – results in under-representation. Culture matters when making ALL decisions & selecting measures/instruments for ID and services. Culture matters when making ALL decisions & selecting measures/instruments for screening. Policies and procedures must consider culture to not be racist and discriminatory. When the culture of non-White students is addressed, White privilege is also addressed. And equity improves.” A full transcript may be found on our Storify site. 

Links:

Culturally Diverse Gifted Students” Livebinder

Multicultural Gifted Education” from Dr. Donna Y. Ford

Understanding Under-representation in Gifted Education

Dr. Donna Y. Ford Bio

Dr. Ford’s Website

Integrating Multicultural and Gifted Education: A Curricular Framework” (pdf)

An Interview with Dr. Donna Y. Ford (pdf)

We Must Be As Diligent About Closing the Achievement Gap As We Were About Creating It

Welcome Dr. Donna Y. Ford to SENG’s Professional Advisory Committee

Civil Rights Data Collection Data Snapshot: College and Career Readiness

Closing the Achievement Gap: Donna Ford (YouTube)

Donna Ford YouTube

Intelligence Testing & Cultural Diversity: Concerns, Cautions & Considerations by Dr. Donna Y. Ford

Cybraryman’s Culture Page

Cybraryman’s Multicultural Celebration Page

Cybraryman’s Poverty Page 

Cybraryman’s You Matter Page

Can Equity Be Achieved in Gifted Education?

Global #gtchat was excited to host not one, but two surprised guest experts at this chat! Dr. Joy L. Davis, educational consultant, scholar and author at Creating Positive Futures; and Dr. Donna Y. Ford, Professor of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University. A full transcript can be found here.

Joy-Lawson-Davis1Dr. Joy Lawson Davis

donna ford

Dr. Donna Y. Ford

During this chat we discussed barriers which exist to participation  in gifted programs for high-ability, low-income students; which groups of children are most widely excluded from gifted programs; and who is most poised to make a difference – parents, educators, policy makers.  Finally, best practices in achieving equity in gifted education and practical steps that could be taken by local educators to make a difference were proposed.

In 2012, the NAGC released “Unlocking Emergent Talent: Supporting High Achievement of Low-Income, High-Ability Students” which “challenges the nation to move beyond its near-singular focus of achieving minimum performance for all students, to identifying and developing the talent of all students who are capable of high achievement, including our promising low-income and culturally and linguistically diverse students who too often literally languish in our schools.” Information from this report was used in the research for this chat.

Links:

Title I + Gifted Education=Partnership for Equity from @davis_joy

Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged

Poverty’s Multiple Dimensions

Overlooked Gems A National Perspective on Low-Income Promising Learners (pdf)

#IAGC Diverse Populations: The Prism of Giftedness

In the News: U-46 Found to Discriminate in Gifted Program

New & Important Books to Help with Eradicating Inequities in Education” from @davis_joy

Donna Y Ford, PhD’ (website)

Bright, Talented & Black (Amazon) from @davis_joy

Multicultural Gifted Education” from @donnayford

Bright, Talented & Black (website)

We Are Gifted 2 (Dr. Joy’s Blog)

Mirror Books: Power of Positive Images (Dr. Joy’s Facebook Page)

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students in Gifted Education: Recruitment Issues (pdf) by Dr. Ford

Renowned Educators Share Strategies to Support At-Risk-Youth

From the Texas Education Agency: What is Equity in G/T Education?

Civil Rights Date Collection (U.S. government)

Critique of ‘Unlocking Emerging Talent’ from @GiftedPhoenix

Cybraryman’s Culture Page

CultureGrams  

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