Making Gifted Student Identification More Effective
There’s a process to spot gifted students. Presently, discrepancies exist between white and minority students in gifted education. To ensure all students are represented, better methods to spot deserving students need to be implemented.
Gifted students show higher-level thinking that significantly surpasses their peers in the same age group. But a smart child doesn’t necessarily mean being gifted. The process of nomination spots gifted students who’re outspoken and even those who’re quieter.
The nomination should be open to parents, administrators, teachers, students. Each nomination should be reasonable and backed by grounding evidence to support and validate why the student should be a part of the gifted program, not just because it suits college applications well.
- Teacher Feedback Narratives
Since teachers spend significant time with students, their impartial feedback on objective forms can offer additional confirmation to the screening process’s findings and help identify gifted students. When they keep their personal feelings and views about students aside, teachers can assess them for their efforts and skills instead of their negative behaviors.
The objective teacher feedback forms should be kept discrete as a formality to deter teachers from giving evasive answers in terms of student abilities. Some examples of objective questions these forms could have for a particular student “A” are:
- Did A express a passion for a particular topic concerning your class or another class (say, knowing rare and extremely specific aspects of World War II)?
- Did A demonstrate new and creative ways to approach concepts and debate topics in your class?
- Did A show eagerness and enthusiasm on being assigned a complex assignment or idea?
- Multifaceted Screening
Standardized tests and test scores aren’t always useful in spotting gifted students. For instance, a student’s interests and efforts could be concentrated on just passing a test. That’s why different screening tools should be used that consider things like special needs and language barriers. Though a student may not excel in a test or written language, he may possess extremely conceptual ideas or an extensive vocabulary that indicates gifted talents. Offering these students a growing number of opportunities will help create a more diversified group of gifted students.
Apart from special needs and language barriers, there are many high-achieving students who stand out in a specific subject or have a certain way of thinking but aren’t included in programs for the gifted. For example, a student made to take a solitary test based on an unfamiliar learning style won’t do well. This concern can be addressed with comprehensive screening while giving an idea of how the student is as a whole.
- Portfolio Presentation
Portfolios can have materials from different classes to display diverse skills (say, comprehensive learning) the student has mastered over time and the starting points and progression related to such mastery. Since a portfolio contains authentic work, it indicates a student’s learning journey, skill retention, and risk-taking ability.
- Multiple, Neutral Observations
Similar to the IEP, different professionals should monitor nominated gifted students in different classes and at different times of the day. A lone observation isn’t sufficient when the student’s effort and personality don’t blend well with the class’s and teacher’s personality, the teacher’s expectations, or even the time of day the class is run.
Since gifted students have diverse ways to unlock their potential, their identification should be made using various methods. Giftedness isn’t merely scoring high in an aptitude examination or a yearly standardized test. Instead, it surfaces daily and via different modes. Facilitating leveled access for all prospective students should be at the core of the identification process for gifted students.