How are the Gifted Identified?
Before students can be identified as gifted, there must be a system put in place for this identification. There are some assumptions that all identification systems are based upon, according to Coleman & Cross (2005):
1. Giftedness exists and is recognizable
Basically, there are specific series of qualities about certain people in the population that we can identify and we call this series of qualities giftedness.
2. Identification plus programming nurtures giftedness
Since there is value in encouraging giftedness, it is appropriate that we correctly identify gifted individuals and provide them with an adequate program to nurture their talents.
3. There must be commitment to identification
All system of gifted identification must “assume that all participants in the process are committed to the education of gifted children” (p.68).
4. The system can be made reliable.
One has to have the belief that the identification system is or can be made effective in order for reliability to happen. No system is perfect, but it can be improved upon with positive criticism from all parties involved.
5. The child becomes an adult
It is assumed that a gifted child has the ability to become a gifted adult. Identification programs must be geared toward the child’s development to a successful adulthood.
These are the five major assumptions that are viewed as being central to a good identification system. As a parent, you should be aware as to whether or not the gifted identification program in your school system seems to be based upon these assumptions. Identification programs should be comprehensive and inclusive, meaning that the gifted identification program should give an initial chance to all students to be included in the selection process. If you feel your child has not been given this chance, it is important you talk with your school administrator regarding your concern. Your child could have been included in the process and the decision was made that your child did not exhibit enough qualities for further testing. It is important that you get your school to explain their identification process and why your child did not meet the requirements for entry into the program. Be aware that there is a screening process and your child may not have made it through for one reason or another. If you make sure you know the five assumptions the identification system should be based on, you will have a better grasp of where the school is coming from and can have a more fruitful discussion.
Since it is important for an identification system to begin as early in a career as possible, it is important to be aware of what is going on with your child’s education, especially if you feel your child is gifted. However, if your child is identified as gifted, it is important that you understand that the system is intended to be open-ended, and may not continue to provide your child with services if he or she no longer exhibits a need for those services.