Identifying the Gifted Child
One of the questions I am most often asked by parents with students who have high IQ's is why their child did not get accepted into the Gifted Education program within their school. It can be quite frustrating to parents of gifted students when the school system does not provide the additional support their child may need in order to be academically successful.
The identification of students into a public school system's gifted program can be complicated. This is due to several key factors that influence the selection process of the program. This blog post will address two of these issues.
The first problem stems from the fact that there is no national standard each school system is required
There is more than one way to test for gifted intelligence. The traditional way is to administer an IQ test to the student. If the student scores an IQ of 130 or more then they are considered gifted. The problem with depending only upon an IQ tests is that some students who truly have a high IQ do not test well so their results are skewed.
The most common way for schools to test for an high IQ is to use to administer a IQ test but also gather data from teachers, parents, school work and other adults who have had experience working with the child. These behavioral interviews, profile of a child's work and the IQ test are then combined to glean a more accurate image of the child's academic capabilities. These methods seem to work best because spatially and athletically gifted students have a greater chance at being recognized as gifted.
Educators want to help students succeed. This can be difficult for an educator to do sometimes because they don't always have the training to help a struggling student. Gifted students are considered part of the special education system. General education teachers, which is most of the teachers in the United States, are not taught how to properly teach this specialized group yet are expected to have them fully engaged within the classroom. Some states, such as Texas, offers 30 hours of specialized training beyond a teacher's certification so they be recognized as having the training they need in order to interact with the gifted population.
The problem with the lack of teacher training can be felt in the gifted programming. When educators are given the opportunity to help devise a gifted program but are limited in the understanding of the gifted population the program suffers from the academic support the children required. Some schools offer pull out programs where gifted students gather once a week to do a project. While this can be somewhat affected what gifted kids need the most is to be placed within a learning environment that allows them to challenge their abilities everyday. Gifted kids can become easily bored with the pullout program. This leads to even more behavioral problems in the classroom.
Understanding a gifted child can be difficult if the teacher hasn't worked with gifted students before. Having book training on the subject of gifted education is completely different from working with this specialized population. Educators working with the gifted population need to experience working with them before they strive to create a gifted program.