Monday, May 4, 2015

LTW: Identifying the #Gifted Student

Identifying the Gifted Student
Welcome back to Lightening the Way: Teaching the Gifted Child. This week we will be looking at the qualifications of how to identify a student who is gifted. 

Gifted education has traditionally been reserved for students who score a 130 or above IQ. Borland (2009) argued utilizing a standard IQ score as the aptitude for those who are admitted into a gifted program is problematic. A student who scores 129 on an IQ is not considered gifted and thus is denied services they may need in order to survive their academic career whereas the student who has a 130 IQ is admitted to the program. What is the school supposed to do with the child who just barely missed entrance into the gifted program? Sternberg (2002) argues IQ’s should not be the only measurement used to determine eligibility for admittance into a gifted program but one of many bases used for determination.

Multiple Intelligences
            The definition of intelligence has been defined and redefined throughout the centuries. Lunenburg & Lunenburg (2014) found scientist and educators tend to disagree whether intelligence is a single characteristic or a group of different abilities. Harvard professor, Howard Gardner, argued intelligence can be defined by 1) the ability to create a service or product that is valued by the culture in which the creator lives in, 2) a set of problem solving skills that aid someone in solving every day problems and 3) gathering new knowledge and creating finding or creating solutions for problems (Luneburg & Luneburg). Gardner identified nine different types of intelligences: logical - mathematical, linguistic, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalist, and existential (Luneburg & Luneberg). He argues that everyone possesses different strengths and weaknesses in all these areas. Luneburg & Luneburg (2014) argued students who struggle in English/Language Arts (ELA) may be doing so because they are not being taught in their preferred intelligence. The researchers suggest classroom educators need to adjust their delivery method and assignment expectations in order to meet the students’ intellectual needs.  
Successful Intelligence

Sternberg (2002) defined Successful Intelligence as the ability to utilize one’s strengths and correct one’s weaknesses in order to find success in one’s own culture by contributing to the society through a combination of creative, analytical and practical abilities. Like the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, the Theory of Successful Intelligences argues that there is more than one type of gifted student in the world. Yet unlike Multiple Intelligences, Successful Intelligence identifies only four types of gifted students; analytical, creative, practical, and balanced. Sternberg (2002) found Successful Intelligence explains why some gifted students achieve success on IQ tests while others fail, even though they show signs of giftedness outside a test environment. 

An analytical gifted student is identified as someone who is able to analyze, criticize, judge, compare and contrast. Sternberg (2002) found these types of students oftentimes excel in standardized testing and academic settings. The creative gifted student excels at inventing, discovering, imagination, creating and supposing. Sternberg (2002) argued these students do not do well on conventional tests and but excel in the rapid acquisition of creating new ideas. A practical gifted student is someone who excels at putting ideas into practice. Sternberg (2002) found these gifted students are successful in adapting to any environment and can decipher cultural norms that are not taught or verbalized. A balanced gifted person is identified as someone who does not show an extremity is any of the previous categories but is able to exhibit practical, analytical and creative attributes in a balanced way. Sternberg (2002) argues these gifted individuals know precisely how to use all three attributes accurately when faced with any situation.
Intelligence and Identifying Gifted Students
            Admittance into any gifted program is generally determined through the standardized IQ testing. Kaufmann (2012) found 90% of states in the United States use IQ scores as part of their definition of giftedness in students. Borland (2009) found most educators believe only 3 – 5% of the world’s population are gifted and challenges educators to rethink those percentage rates because there may be more gifted people in the world than previous believed. Silverman (2014) argues IQ scores may be depressing the reality of the size of the gifted population. Silverman (2014) found IQ scores are inconsistent from test to test thus making it hard to glean an accurate picture of a person’s true intelligence. Silverman (2014) argues the new IQ tests work well for 90% of the population but are inadequately constructed for the highly gifted or the profoundly retarded student.  Sternberg (2009) argues the identification of gifted students should be gleaned from a multiple of tests.

Creative Problem Solving
            The National Research Center on the Gifted and the Talented (2002) found most research conducted on creative problem solving and the gifted population has been conducted on adults instead of children. It is difficult to review literature on this area in gifted education due to the lack of research.

Cho & Lin (2011) found middle school aged children best exhibit creative problem solving skills when faced with ill defined or open-ended problems. Measuring a student’s ability to utilize creative problem solving skills can be problematic. The National Research Center on Gifted and Talented (2002) found, like the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, creativity is expressed differently from person to person and culture to culture. Thus it is difficult to establish a baseline from which every creative problem-solving test administered can be judged against. Cho & Lin (2011) found when psychometric instruments are used to measure creative problem solving skills it usually only measures divergent thinking. Divergent thinking is just one of many different types of creative problem solving skills.  Kaufman (2012) found 54% of states in the United States who have defined giftedness have accounted for creativity in their definitions.

            Defining giftedness through intelligence and/or creativity can be challenging. While in the past an IQ of 130 or above defined giftedness, new research is starting to challenge that practice. The gifted students not only show a higher IQ but also have higher skill sets that were not previously measured. In order to fully understand the gifted student educators, psychologists and administrators need to understand and appreciate all of the advanced skills a gifted student brings to the gifted classroom instead of focusing just on their IQ score. 

Borland, J. H. (2009). Myth 2: The gifted constitute 3% to 5% of the population. moreover,             giftedness equals high IQ, which is a stable measure of aptitude: Spinal tap      psychometrics in gifted education. The Gifted Child Quarterly, 53(4), 236-238. Retrieved             from

Cho, S., & Lin, C-Y. (2011). Influence of family processes, motivation, and beliefs about intelligence on creative problem solving of scientifically talented individuals. Roeper Review, 33(1), 46–58.
Hélie, S., & Sun, R. (2010). Incubation, Insight, and Creative Problem Solving: A Unified Theory and a Connectionist Model. Psychological Review,117(3), 994-1024. doi:10.1037/a0019532
Kaufman, S. (2012, January). Who is Currently Defined as Gifted in the United States? Retrieved from
Lunenberg, F., Lunenberg, M., (2014). Applying Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom: A Fresh Look at Teaching Writing. International Journal of Scholarly Academic Intellectual Diversity, 16(1), 1-13.
Silverman, L. K. (2012). Assessment of Gifted Children. Malone Family Foundation. Found at
Seokhee, C., & Chia-Yi, L. (2011). Influence of Family Processes, Motivation, and Beliefs About Intelligence on Creative Problem Solving of Scientifically Talented Individuals. Roeper Review, 33(1), 46-58. doi:10.1080/02783193.2011.530206
Sternberg, R. J., & Grigorenko, E. L. (2002). The theory of successful intelligence as a basis for gifted education. Gifted Child Quarterly, 46(4), 265-277.
The National Research Center on the Gifted and the Talented. (2002). Assessing Creativity: A Guide for Educators (Award No. R206R000001). Retrieved from 

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