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Gifted Education - Identification

Who are Gifted Students?
"Giftedness appears in many different forms in every cultural group at every level of society...Yet, it remains a potentiality until it has been discovered and developed. In coming to grips with more effective approaches to identify giftedness, the promise is that educators will better understand how to identify and nurture the potential of all learners."
- Passow and Frasier

The Javits 1993 definition states that gifted learners are children and youth with outstanding talent who perform or show the potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared with others of their age, experience, or environment. It also notes that giftedness is present in children and youth from all cultural groups, across all economic strata, and in all areas of human endeavor.

Characteristics of gifted youngsters most often found in research studies include:

Rapid learning ability Extensive stores of information
Long attention span Strong problem-solving abilities
Perfectionism Wide range of interests
Sensitivity High degree of energy
Early reader Preference for older companions
avid reader Well-developed sense of humor
Perseverance Ease with puzzles and mazes
Vivid imagination Maturity in judgment

(Frasier, 1991; Rogers, 1986; Silverman, Rogers, and Water, 1982 Silverman, Chitwood and Waters, 1986)

How do we identify students who need gifted services?
The formal identification process in DoDEA schools consists of three steps:
  1. Referral: Students are referred for consideration by the Gifted Review Committee either through screening an individual nomination by a parent, teacher, or other professional staff member or transfer.
  2. Assessment: Information about a student's strengths is gathered from a number of sources which may include observations, tests, grades, and student products.
  3. Eligibility: The Gifted Review Committee determines whether a student is eligible or ineligible for gifted education services, or needs to be monitored.

Who serves on the Gifted Review Committee?
The Gifted Review Committee at each school is a group of professional staff members who review information on students who have been referred. The committee consists of at least three members with knowledge about gifted education and the areas of strength being assessed.
How does a student become eligible for gifted program services?
Eligibility is determined by the Gifted Review Committee. Each member of the Committee independently reviews a student's profile. Using the available data and the indicators of highly unusual ability and/or performance, the committee determines if a student is eligible or ineligible for gifted education services or needs to be monitored prior to eligibility decision.
Where can I get more information on the identification of gifted students?
The school principal and other educators at your local school can provide information about identification. The chairperson of the Gifted Review Committee will be very knowledgeable about the process. In addition, the school counselor can be a valuable resource in understanding the behavioral indicators of individual students.

Several national groups can provide a perspective on standards for identification, recent research, and general information about the identification process and gifted education. These sources include:

Gifted Education:

Contact Information:
DoDEA Gifted Education Services
4800 Mark Center Drive
Alexandria, VA 22350-1400