One of the biggest roadblocks to receiving services for children begins defining the word “gifted.” How a teacher, administrator, educational organization, institution, state/region, or country views the term can make or break a child’s opportunity to access accelerated learning, competitions, peers and social-emotional wellbeing. In some cases it can be a score such as in IQ tests or programmes like John’s Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (JHUCTY) or Davidson Academy. In either case, understanding how you and others around you define the complex web of definitions is critical in your journey as parent and advocate.
How does your child's school view gifted education? How does the program gatekeeper define gifted children? What is your personal definition? Are there laws that govern the term? What test should your child take? What about special populations within gifted such as twice-exceptional, profoundly gifted or a language learner?
Top Definitions of Gifted Across the World
“Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as an exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in top 10% or rarer) in one or more domains. Domains include any structured area of activity with its own symbol system (e.g., mathematics, music, language) and/or set of sensorimotor skills (e.g., painting, dance, sports).”
- National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)
“Children and young people with one or more abilities developed to a level significantly ahead of their year group (or with the potential to develop those abilities).”
- Department for Children, Schools and Families UK
“Gifted children may show their extraordinary performance in different aspects, for example, in cognitive domains, leadership, arts and sports. Therefore, gifted children are best identified using multiple methods, such as behavioral checklists, teacher/parent/peer/self nomination, standardized tests and IQ tests.”
– Education Bureau of Hong Kong (EDB)
“Gifted behavior occurs when there is an interaction among three basic clusters of human traits: above-average general and/or specific abilities, high levels of task commitment (motivation), and high levels of creativity.”
– Joseph Renzulli (University of Connecticut)
Multiple Intelligence Theory suggests intelligence is based on eight different areas of human potential.
– Howard Gardner (Harvard)
“Gagné’s Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent (2008) provides research-based definitions of giftedness and talent that are directly and logically connected to teaching and learning. According to Gagné, gifted students are those whose potential is distinctly above average in one or more of the following domains of human ability.”
– Australian Curriculum
“ ‘Gifted child’ means a child who is of lawful school age, who due to superior intellect or advanced learning ability, or both, is not afforded an opportunity for otherwise attainable progress and development in regular classroom instruction and who needs special instruction or special ancillary services, or both, to achieve at levels commensurate with the child’s intellect and ability.”
IQ Tests: Generally a full-scale IQ (FSIQ) of 130 and above.
It’s clear just by looking at the information above, there are many ways to view intelligence. Some will be based on IQ scores whilst others will look at a variety of data points. The important take-away is to know how your child’s teacher, school, community and government view as to how they define gifted children.