Definitions of "Giftedness"
"All individuals have strengths
relative to their other capabilities; some individuals have
exceptional abilities relative to most other people
Party Report, Nov 2001
A gifted or talented student stands
out from everyone else in the above definition ... perhaps in one area,
sometimes in many.
Gifted children have been defined as those
"who by nature of outstanding abilities are capable of high
performance". The term "outstanding abilities" refers to general
intellectual ability, specific academic aptitude, leadership ability,
ability in the visual or performing arts, creative thinking, or
How do others define being "gifted"?
Some groups link giftedness with IQ - a measure of
intelligence. Those people with a high IQ are "gifted", everyone else
is not. But there a different types of IQ tests and the "magic number"
to reach to be called "gifted" depends on the test used.
In general, since IQ tests assume that the
inteligence quotient values for any given population is based on a
normal distribution (bell-shaped curve), a person operating at 2 or 3
standard deviations above the mean can be considered gifted.
Some schools consider the top 15%,
10% or 5% of their students to be gifted or talented.
See NOTE below.
BUT IQ tests are not appropriate for very
young children and can fail intelligent children who have limited
experiences of the world.
BUT this definition does not pick up those
under-achieving students who are bored by a subject or do not see it as
important and can pass with very little effort.
for IQ tests are biased against gifted children. Because of
their low ceilings, none of the current tests provides valid IQ scores
for highly gifted children.
children's IQ scores become depressed at approximately 9 years of age
due to ceiling effects of the test. The ideal age for testing is
between 4 and 8.
There has been a trend away from defining
the gifted and talented in terms of a single category (for example,
high IQ) towards a multicategory approach, which acknowledges a diverse
range of special abilities.
There is plenty of evidence that gifted children should
be differentially treated, either by acceleration, enrichment, or
ability grouping. But how you decide to define
giftedness will influence how you later identify
gifted children. So far we have not differentiated between being
"talented" and being truly "gifted". Does research support the lumping
together of these groups?
in the top 3 percent of the population have atypical developmental
patterns and require differentiated instruction. Children in the top 10
percent of the population are not statistically or developmentally
different from children in the top 15 percent, and it is not
justifiable to single them out for special treatment.
It is similar
to the situation where the moderately intellectually impaired, highly
intellectually impaired and profoundly intellectually impaired all have
quite different challenges and associated needs. So it is with the
moderately gifted, highly gifted and profoundly gifted. They should not be lumped together.
Where to next?
So you think you finally know what the term
"gifted" or "talented" means...you might stick to the narrow
definitions above or have a wider view that includes artistic, creative
or leadership abilities.
How many of your children or students fit
that definition? And it is no good simply priding yourself on your
detective skills...what are you going to do about helping these