- Gifted Education
Understanding Gifted Education
Gifted education, also referred to as Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) or Talented and Gifted (TAG), refers to the broad set of practices, pedagogy and theories used when teaching students who have been identified as “gifted” or “talented.” While there is no universal definition of what it means to be a student who is gifted and/or talented, the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) defines “gifted” children and youth as 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).” Unlike special education programs, gifted education programs are not federally regulated, causing services, funds and legislation to be determined by state and/or local budget restrictions. The state-regulation of gifted education services causes the definition of giftedness to vary from state to state. Visit the NAGC’s State Definitions of Giftedness for a comprehensive list of accepted definitions.
Twice-Exceptional (2e) StudentsThe term “twice-exceptional” or “2e” (also referred to as “GT/LD”) refers to students who have above-average intelligence and are identified as having one (or more) disability. Micaela Bracamonte is the principal and founder of The Lang School, a New York City private school designed exclusively for twice-exceptional students. Her article, “2e Students: Who They Are and What They Need,” discusses the typical 2e student profile, acknowledging that inconsistency in test results and overall performance is one of the “hallmarks” of twice exceptionality. She explains, “2e students typically perform at very high levels on some, but not all, of the gifted screening tests used by public schools. On the other hand, they tend to simultaneously perform very poorly on one or more of the local, state, or national standardized assessments used to measure individual student progress.” Bracamonte outlines the remaining hallmarks as including:
- Evidence of a discrepancy between expected and actual achievement
- Evidence of an outstanding talent or ability
- Coincident evidence of a processing deficit
Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Program OptionsDue to their outstanding levels of aptitude and/or competence, gifted and talented students often find the general education curriculum unmotivating and unchallenging. There are several program delivery models available to gifted and talented students that allow these students to remain motivated and stimulated in their learning and that are aligned with students’ levels of competence and interests. While many gifted students do remain in classes with their general education peers, it is important to explore all possible options when seeking the best education for these students.
Equal Rights and AdvocacyThere are over 3 million academically gifted students in the United States alone, yet there are no federally mandated requirements for gifted and talented students. Currently, the Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act is the only federal program for gifted and talented children. This program does not establish rights for gifted children (as IDEA does for Special Education); instead, it focuses on research and advocacy for gifted children in underserved populations. This program funds the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented and is awarded approximately $7.5 million dollars per year. According to the NAGC, funding for the Javits program is “in jeopardy each year.” It is the responsibility of state, local and federal programs to “develop new policies supporting gifted education, to remove obstacles, and to ensure adequate funding.”
Additional Gifted Education Resources
- National Association for Gifted Children
- Hunter College Center for Gifted Education
- NYC DOE Gifted & Talented
- National Society for the Gifted and Talented
- Duke University Talent Identification Program
Articles and Resources
- The Twice-Exceptional Dilemma: NEA
- Why Do We Need To Define Giftedness? RIAGE
- Gifted, Talented and Separated: NYTimes
- Grouping Students by Ability Regains Favor in Classroom: NYTimes
- National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) "Principal" magazine: May/June 2009 Gifted Education
- ABCs of Gifted: NAGC
- Unwrapping the Gifted: EdWeek
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