What is "Gifted"?

Definition, Identification, Services

What is "Gifted"?

Washington state defines giftedness as follows:"“Highly capable student” shall mean a student who has been assessed to have superior intellectual ability as demonstrated by one or more of the multiple criteria specified in WAC392-170-040. These students exhibit high capability in intellectual and/or creative areas, possess an unusual leadership capacity, or excel in specific academic fields, thereby requiring services beyond the basic programs provided by schools. Outstanding abilities are present in students from all cultural groups, across all economic strata, and in all areas of human endeavor."


Why Does Gifted Education Matter?

The NAGC (National Association for Gifted Children) is a powerful advocate for gifted students. According to the NAGC publication on Myths about Gifted Students, gifted students need additional challenge and support to fully reach their potential. The typical classroom setting may not be challenging enough for these students. Although teachers strive to meet the needs of all their students, many are not trained to recognize and adequately understand the needs of this particular population.


I Think My Child Is Gifted...Now What?

Under Washington state law, districts are required to serve all students who are identified as "Highly Capable." with educational opportunities beyond the basic school programs. To pursue services for your child, talk to your child's teacher or administrator about you district's identification process.

This process is required to involve multiple data points and can typically be started with a nomination from a teacher or parent!

In addition to the services received at school, check with your child's teacher as well as the local library, city parks and rec department, colleges, and other educational venues about enrichment opportunities for your student.

What Else Can I Do?

There are a plethora of online resources to inform educators, parents, and community members about the needs of gifted students. Here are a few to get you started...

National Association for Gifted Education (NAGC)

This site offers many informative articles concerning gifted students and gifted education as well as many useful resources and links.

Davidson Institute for Talent Development

This site offers a plethora of articles and resources. The are dedicated to the support of gifted students.


This site offers resources, articles, and videos for parents and educators!