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Building a Successful Gifted Program

Gifted programs should ensure a continuum of services throughout a GT student’s entire K-12 school career. They should include opportunities for all forms of acceleration, differentiation in the regular classroom, and alternative learning environments. All gifted programs need a social-emotional component to fully meet the needs of gifted students.

Best practices in gifted identification require a multifaceted approach. Reliance on only one measurement, such as IQ tests, will result in many students being missed. Out-of-level testing are essential to avoid inaccurate measurements. Because the best programs are tailored to student needs and not vice versa; universal testing as well as parent and teacher recommendations, should be utilized. Gifted identification should be culturally sensitive, linguistically appropriate, and take into account low-SES environmental factors such as lack of access to technology.

The best gifted programs provide challenge to all GT students include PG, twice-exceptional, and ELL. Curriculum should promote authentic experiential learning experiences and be conducive to exploration of student interests. A gifted curriculum should be more complex, provide in-depth study of key-concepts; and stress higher-level thinking, creativity, and problem solving. It can include enrichment and compacting as needed. Services may include standalone gifted classrooms; full-grade or subject acceleration; full or part day pull-out; independent study; early entrance/early out; dual enrollment in college classes; and counseling services.

Parents should be included in district planning and evaluation of gifted programs. Programs serve students and parents are often good judges of their child’s need. Their involvement can be a conduit for advocacy of gifted programs. As programs develop, parents need to be informed of identification criteria and procedures; and have access to application forms. Utilizing classroom tech, social media, and newsletters are all ways to stay connected. Forming a Parent Support or Advocacy group is a great way to build support for a school’s gifted programs. Parents can be invited to special information sessions at Parent Night events or engaged at regular monthly meetings.

Professional development is essential in a high quality gifted program. Few teachers receive any coursework in gifted education during their undergraduate years. PD should be often and on-going to be effective. Gifted endorsement is highly recommended. Most endorsements are attainable online. Many states require teachers of gifted students to receive continuing education credits in gifted education.

What criteria should be used for evaluating effectiveness of program options & design? Criteria for student products should high-level and exemplary. Student products should be comparable to those of professionals in the field, challenge existing ideas, and produce new ones. Criteria for evaluating a program’s success and effectiveness should rely on standardized, achievement, and performance-based assessments as well as program feedback from all stakeholders – students, teachers and parents. All students, including GT students, should demonstrate academic growth with special care identify areas of strength and weakness in order to modify existing programs to better meet students’ needs.

A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

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

Resources:

Gifted Program Development

Building an Exemplary Gifted Program

Elements of a Good School Gifted Program

South Carolina – Gifted and Talented Best Practices Guidelines: Identification (pdf)

Gifted Education in America is Finally Moving Past its Legacy of Inequality

Why School Districts Are Rethinking Gifted & Talented Programs

Why Grouping Kids Based on Ability Works

Duke TIP Study Finds Using Local Criteria Identifies More Students as ‘Gifted’

Featured California Schools for Gifted Learners

Top Four Things to Look for in Your Gifted Program

The Best Kind of Schools for Gifted Kids

TAGT: Program Evaluation

Program Evaluation in Gifted Education (Book)

Gifted Education Strategies

Developing Exemplary Gifted Developing Exemplary Gifted Programs: Programs: What does the research say? What does the research say? (pdf)

High-Potential Students Thrive when School Districts Develop Sustainable Gifted Services

Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students 2019 Final (pdf)

UK: What Works in Gifted Education? A Literature Review (pdf)

Is Gifted Education a Bright Idea? Assessing the Impact of Gifted and Talented Programs on Achievement and Behavior (pdf)

What Works in Gifted Education: Documenting the Effects of an Integrated Curricular/Instructional Model for Gifted Students

Gifted Education in China

State of the Nation in Gifted Education 2012 – 2013 (pdf)

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Role of Assessment and Curriculum Design

The first consideration in assessment is best practices in the identification of GT students. It’s important to use multiple criteria when assessing and identifying GT students. Various assessments should be used at varied times. Consideration should be given to multiple talent areas. When identifying students for a GT program, measures that are relevant to available programs should be considered. Equitable processes for selection, validation and placement are important in the identification process. Consideration of instruments (tests) and other approaches should be sensitive to the inclusion of minority, ELL, low-SES and disabled students. Out-of-level assessments may need to be used and different procedures should be considered for secondary students.

There are many considerations that must be taken into consideration when designing curriculum for identified GT students. Does the curriculum provide sufficient depth, complexity, and pacing? GT students should be provided opportunities for metacognition and reflection. Will they be taught content, process, and concepts? Three characteristics of GT students critical for curriculum design include complexity, precocity and intensity. (VanTassel-Baska 2011) Motivation, persistence, interests, and access to resources and support are also important. GT students are capable of providing high-quality feedback regarding the curriculum. Will they be given sufficient voice to provide such feedback?

Appropriate learning assessments for gifted students include performance-based assessments and off-level achievement tests. Portfolios and informal assessments such as one-on-one discussion or peer-group discussions and observations are also appropriate for GT students.

The NAGC has produced national standards which list expected student outcomes. Standard 3 deals specifically with curriculum planning and instruction. We have provided links to these resources. Student outcomes include students demonstrating growth commensurate with aptitude; developing talents in talent or interest areas; and becoming independent investigators. In addition, student outcomes include developing knowledge and skills to live in a multicultural, diverse and global society; and receive benefits from gifted education that provides high quality resources and materials.

GT curriculum should provide “a means to serve not only the internal characteristics of gifted students, but also develop talent traits that are instrumental for advanced achievement. These talent traits include intellectual engagement, openness to experience, perseverance and passion for attaining long-term goals, a need for Ascending Intellectual Demand & intense focus in areas of personal and professional interests.” (Housand, A)

A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

 Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa 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

 

Resources:

ASCD: Six Strategies for Challenging Gifted Learners

Standard 3: Curriculum Planning and Instruction

APA: What is Assessment?

SC – Gifted and Talented Best Practices Guidelines: Assessment (pdf 2018)

Developing Exemplary Gifted Developing Exemplary Gifted Programs: Programs: What does the research say? What does the research say? (pdf Stambaugh)

Alternative Assessments With Gifted and Talented Students (aff. link)

Introduction to Curriculum Design in Gifted Education (aff. link)

Assessment of Gifted and High-Ability Learners: Documenting Student Achievement in Gifted Education (aff. link)

Curriculum Planning and Instructional Design for Gifted Learners (3rd ed.) (aff. link)

Methods and Materials for Teaching the Gifted (4th ed.) (aff. link)

HK: Implementation of School-based Gifted Development Programmes

High Quality Curriculum for Gifted Learners

Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students (pdf)

Gifted Learners as Global Citizens: Global Education as a Framework for Gifted Education Curriculum (pdf)

UK: What works in gifted education? (pdf)

Eight Universal Truths of Identifying Students for Advanced Academic Interventions (pdf)

Texas Performance Standards Project

Graphic courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

 

Does Changing the ‘Gifted’ Label Change Anything?

gtchat 03082016 Gifted Label

 

“We need the word until we, as a culture, can see the distinct and varied permutations of human intellectual difference without feeling fear, threat, or envy for those whom the word “gifted” fits.” ~ Pamela Price

 

In education, labels are used as the basis for requesting appropriate programs, challenges, enrichment, and accommodations. Without labels, services may not be offered. According to Jo Freitag of Gifted Resources in Australia, “Labels help to determine the educational, counselling and parenting provisions that are needed.” Alex Clough, a school counselor, added, “Labels are protective, allowing school staff to plan appropriately for students.” Gail Post, a clinical psychologist, explained, “A label, term, diagnosis, etc. can be tested, validated, or disproven.” Kathleen Eveleigh, a K-5 gifted specialist in Chapel Hill, N.C., also told us ” Gifted students have special social and emotional needs that regular education teachers may not know about. The label helps us advocate.”

 

gtchat Notion Better Than

 

Unfortunately, the ‘gifted’ label has become divisive. Sarah Smith, a gifted education teacher said, “I struggle with the label because some think it to be a synonym for perfectly behaved or high achieving or motivated,etc.” Gifted advocates need to do a better job at educating the general public about the true nature of giftedness. Different areas of the U.S. and other countries use terms such as high ability, AIG (Academically and Intellectually), or high potential. Alternatives exist to make the idea of ‘ability’ more palatable to the general public.

 

gtchat Gifted Feel Different

In the end, will it make any difference if we change the label? Leslie Graves, President of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, made an important point, “Once you’ve stopped labeling something, it’s easy to pretend it doesn’t exist.” Carolyn of Hoagies Gifted added, “changing label will change little, but confuse many. Not worthwhile.” A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

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: gtchatmod@gmail.com

 

Links:

Why We Need the Gifted Label

Giftedness as a Social Construct Does Giftedness Really Exist?

Giftedness: The Word That Dare Not Speak Its Name?

Again With the “All Children Are Gifted” Talk

Time to Ditch ‘Gifted’ Label? Every Child Should Be Challenged in School

Sprite’s Site ~ GT Chat: Labels: Good, Bad, or Simply Wrong

Why Do We Need To Define Giftedness?

Let Me Tell You about…Why Gifted Identification Matters

Why the Word “Gifted” Still Matters

Why Having a “Gifted” Label Matters to Me

Why Identifying High Intelligence Might Change Everything

Sprite’s Site ~ Giftedness: Why Does It Matter?

Giftedness: Why does it Matter?

Giftedness: Why it Matters

My Kid is Gifted (YES, I’m that Mom)

Hoagies’ Blog Hop May 2014: The “G” Word “Gifted”

The Gift of Giftedness? A Closer Look at How Labeling Influences Social and Academic Self-Concept in Highly Capable Learners (pdf)

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog Hop – Giftedness: Why It Matters

Sprite’s Site: The G Word

Graphics courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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!

 

 

gtchat-logo-new bannner

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: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

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 About.com 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.

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