Gifted & Talented Learners
Guiding Our Shining Stars to Soar Above & Beyond!
May 4, 2015
Plymoth-Canton Community Schools Talent and Gifted Program
The federal term for gifted and talented identifies children “who possess demonstrated or potential high-performance capability in intellectual, creative, specific academic and leadership areas, or the performing and visual arts.” (Friend & Bursuck, 2015). Gifted and talented students tend to perform at an excellent level in academic ability, creativity, the arts, and motivation.
The Plymoth-Canton Community Schools Talent and Gifted (TAG) program provides a program to develop our gifted students’ intellect and creative abilities to their full potential. TAG goals are based on the Michigan Curriculum Framework. The program helps students develop their thinking skills, intellect and creativity.
What are Characteristics of Gifted and Talented Learners?
Gifted and talented children have many characteristics. As a group they are from diverse socioeconomic groups, races and cultures. They are have a great capacity to comprehend information faster than normal functioning students. They have a high level of language development. They have a big capacity of obtain and retain knowledge. Gifted and talented students have the ability to recognize relationships between a large variety of ideas. They are great problem solvers and have strong memory. They are also keen observers.
Socially and emotionally, some gifted and talented students can be well adjusted with children as well as adults. On the other hand, some gifted and talented students can be at risk for emotional issues and may be unpopular. They are often high energy and seem precocious when compared to their peers. Gifted and Talented students have an advance sense of justice, morality and fairness. (Plymoth-Canton Community Schools, 2014-2015)
Why and How we Test our Gifted & Talented Students?
Gifted and talented learners are tested to identify their strengths and needs. A thorough assessment can include portfolios of work samples, anecdotal records from observations and interviews, as well as, formal assessments like standardized tests. To begin the process of assessing these students, we look to their teachers who work with them, observe them and assess them. The teacher may complete a recommendation form to recommend the gifted and talented students for further assessments.
TAG students will be tested on aptitude and will be selected based on five standardized tests scores. Students take a Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) and a gifted aptitude test. The tests are sent to a national testing organization for scoring. Students who qualify are identified for placement in the TAG program. Qualitative information is also collected from observations. Students are chosen by a committee which include school psychologist, TAG teacher representatives, and TAG elementary and middle school administrators.
Services for Gifted & Talented Learners
Gifted and Talented students need a challenging and demanding curriculum. Schools often provide services for these students which tend to be different from traditional curriculum. Gifted and talented curriculum are gear to meet the needs of the students. Some services include:
- Gifted Resource Services- through a pull-out program or resource room
- Independent study- children can research and explore a topic of interest. This gives the student opportunities to ask questions, use resources and challenging reading materials.
- Honors and advanced placement courses- students learn in an advance level courses. In high school, students take the Advance Placement (AP) class, then the AP exams to earn college credits
- Mentorship- gifted children work with mentors with similar interests.
- Summer courses and specialized- camps are offered for TAG students to ensure they have the opportunity to continue learning during the summer months.
Accommodations used for Gifted and Talented Learners
Some accommodations are:
- Accelerations- is when a student who performs above grade level and is ready to move to the next level.
- Enrichment- is an instructional approach where the teacher provides materials, information and assignments so that they are able to elaborate on concepts. The student must use high level thinking.
- Specialized intervention- to encourage students to work at their potential intervention may be needed. For example, bring in an artist mentor to encourage a student who not want to display their talent.
- Curriculum compacting- is a strategy where the time spent on an academic subject is shortened and includes advanced level concepts. The students can then produce more sophisticated products.
Friend, M., & Bursuck, W. D. (2015). Including Students with Special Needs: A Practical Guide for Classroom Teachers (7 ed.). Pierson Education.
Plymoth-Canton Community Schools. (2014-2015). Talented and Gifted Program Elementary Handbook. Retrieved May 2, 2015, from Plymoth-Canton Community Schools: http://www.pccs.k12.mi.us/sites/pccs.k12.mi.us/files/shared/tag/PCCS-TAG-Handbook-2014-2015.pdf