Gifted and Talented Students

Kaitlyn Wilson

How can we define gifted and talented students?

Each state has their own definition.

The U.S. Department of Education defines it as; Children capable of high performance include those with demonstrated achievement and/or potential in any of the following areas:

  1. General intellectual ability
  2. Specific academic aptitude
  3. Creative or productive thinking
  4. Leadership ability
  5. Visual or performing arts
  6. Psychomotor activity
(Smith & Tyler, 2014)


  • Solves difficult problems
  • Has wide interest
  • Generalizes learning
  • Remembers great amounts of material
  • Strong verbal skills
  • Plays with older friends
  • Intense
  • Criticizes self
  • Leadership abilities
  • Takes risks
(Smith & Tyler, 2014)


There are approximately 3.2 million students currently identified as gifted and talented students in American elementary and secondary schools. A considerable amount of variation occurs across the states. The national average is 6.7% of students are gifted and talented. Although 0.7% of students in Massachusetts are considered gifted and talented, where as, 16.1% of students in Maryland are gifted and talented. This is not saying that students in Maryland are smarter. It depends on the way that each state defines giftedness. There are no national guidelines so many students will continue to not receive the educational opportunities they deserve and require. (Smith & Tyler, 2014)

How can being gifted and talented interfere with learning?

Although these students possess higher levels of intelligence than their peers, they are at a disadvantage because they are not given the opportunity to reach their full potential. Schools and teachers can be unaware of how to appropriately meet the needs of these students. The learning needs of a gifted and talented student, if not met, can lead to frustration, a loss of self-esteem, laziness and underachievement. (Page, 2010)

Classroom Accomodations

  • Acceleration can be used to assist students that are gifted and talented. There are 18 types of acceleration a few are: grade skipping, continuous progress, self-paced instruction, mentoring. This allows the student to move through the curriculum more rapidly than their typical peers.

  • Advanced placement (AP) courses, students earn college credit for courses taken in high school. They are not specifically designed for students that are gifted, but they provide a more in-depth, challenging learning in specific areas of study.

  • Curriculum Compacting is used to reduce or eliminate instruction time on material that students that are gifted have already mastered, or will master in a fraction of the time that their peers will. The time that the student has gained can be used doing other activities that will continue to advance their education.

Home Strategies

  • Become a partner in your child's quest for knowledge--explore libraries, museums, labs.
  • Play word games and puzzles with them.
  • Provide opportunity for interaction with like-ability peers.
  • Do not overload your child.
  • Learn about gifted and talented so you are better able to support your child.

Parents are able to attend this convention along with teachers, administrators, researchers, etc. This allows them to learn about having a child that is gifted and talented.

Website Resources This is a site that allows parents of students who are gifted and talented to sign up for course offered by Stanford University, stay informed and challenge their children. Allows parents and students to gain information about a summer program offered to gifted and talented students.

An app that can be utilized by a student that is gifted and talented is "The Chemical Touch". This app allows students to explore the properties of the elements, the standard amino acids, and the nucleobase.
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Gifted-friendly Parenting Strategies. (n.d.).

Page, J. (2010). Challenges Faced by "Gifted Learners" in School and Beyond.

Smith, D., & Tyler, N. (2014). Introduction to Contemporary Special Education: New Horizons (pp. 398-419). Boston: Pearson Education.