Gifted and Talented Students

How to help them reach their potential

Who are Gifted and Talented Students?

A Gifted and Talented students, commonly referred to as "GT students", are children who have exceptional abilities, achieving much more than other students. However, GT students are not limited to academics subjects. In fact, there are six subjects that GT students can excel in including, intellectual ability, specific aptitudes, creative or productive thinking skills, leadership, visual or performing arts, and psychomotor skills.

Common Characteristics of Gifted and Talented Students

Social and Emotional

  • criticizes self
  • empathizes
  • Plays with older friends
  • persists
  • Is intense
  • Exhibits individualism
  • Has strength of character
  • Demonstrates leadership abilities
  • Has ethical concerns
  • takes risks
  • mature sense of humor
  • uses different forms of expression

Intellectual and Academic

  • Reasons abstractly
  • Conceptualizes and synthesizes
  • Manages and processes information quickly and meaningfully
  • Solves difficult problems
  • Learns quickly
  • Dislikes drill and routine
  • Remembers large amounts of material
  • Prefers learning in a quiet enviroment
  • Adapts well
  • Focuses and concentrates on a topic or idea for long periods of time

(Smith and Tyler, 2014)

Identification and Assessment of Gifted and Talented Students

Unfortunately there is an inconsistent American commitment to gifted and talented students. Many states have different definitions of gifted and talented students, as well as different ways of testing for a gifted and talented student. For example, Massachusetts only has 0.7% of their students listed as gifted and talented. On the other hand, Maryland has 16.1% of their students listed as gifted and talented. This is due to the inconsistency in testing and state funding for GT programs because Massachusetts does not have a state definition or funding for GT students.


According to Smith and Tyler, if academic achievement is the priority then we should focus on test scores. Giving GT funding to students who test in the top 3-5 percent or 95th percentile.

Potential Interferences

There are very few interferences that you will have GT students. Below are some examples

  • Bordum in class due to slow pace environment
  • Other distracting students
  • Unnecessary repetition

Here is a helpful video about the characteristics of gifted students

Teachers TV: Gifted and Talented

Classroom Accommodation

Enrichment Programs

GT students like extensive detail and have the ability to work consistently for long periods of time. Thus, you should go more in-depth with the material then in other classrooms.


GT students often do not feel challenged by the material or find it repetitive. Thus, as a teacher you should encourage a fast pace learning environment and do not waste time on simple concepts or repetition.

Address Students Social/Emotional Needs

  • Promote a safe learning environment
  • Give students opportunities to talk to one another
  • Set up mentorships with older exceptional students

Here are some more resources about gifted and talented students

How can Parents Help?

Unlike students with disabilities, gifted and talented students already generalize information between school and home. Parents, if you are looking to help try one of the following techniques:

  • encourage independent learning
  • interact with other parents of GT students
  • enroll your students in weekend or summer programs that they find interesting
  • educational day trips

Here is a very helpful website to assist you with educating your GT student

Website Resources

The website above is very helpful because it contains a variety of resources including tests for identification, helpful information, and studies about GT students
This website is helpful because it identifies how much money, time and resources are going into gifted and talented programs in texas. I know school systems are important to parents so if Texas is funding GT programs more than your current state, it might be worth moving.

Apps for GT students

Aqueduct is a very helpful app for GT students. There are many puzzles and logic problems that will challenge your student in new creative ways.


Smith, D., & Tyler, N. (2014). Gifted and Talented. In Introduction to contemporary special education: New horizons. Boston: Pearson Education.

Young, M., Balli, S. (2014). Gifted and Talented Education (GATE). Gifted Child Today, 37(4), 236-244