According to psychology, a gifted person is someone with an IQ substantially higher than most – the two percent who essentially are outliers. How is it then that in every school, students are tried and tested for “gifted” programs, and many prevail and become what is essentially known as a gifted student? Do schools follow the same pattern that the general public would, or would they create their own standards for deciding what a gifted student is?
As metrokids states, “Federal law does not mandate how school districts identify gifted children…” Instead, schools use their own individual tests, which are subject to flaws and controversy as a result. However, they are one of the best ways for schools to decipher if a student learns differently or thinks at a higher caliber than other students.
As a “gifted” student when I was in my elementary days, I still remember the tests that were administered and the way that I was able to successfully become “gifted.” The test administrator showed me flashcards with various items and told me to name them, such as a binocular and a fire hydrant, and had me complete higher thinking questions in subjects such as math and science, among other things. The tests spanned several days. Granted, I was eight years old at the time so I’m sure the tests would change appropriately as the ages would.
Psychology Today gives insight on what to look for if you believe your child may be gifted. Accordingly, gifted is not a measure of the high-achieving, successful student that most people think of when they think of giftedness. To be gifted is really just a “special” classification. To be gifted is to be the same as a child with a learning disability – which is a gifted student called “Under-Identified Children.” The typical “gifted” student – the high-achieving student that I discussed previously – may have great ability in language skills, quickness in learning, show deeper understanding in thinking and cognitive processes, a high activity level, and enjoyment of alone time, among other things.
A gifted student will fall away from the norm on a bell curve. They will be the outliers – they will be part of the standard deviation of the statistic. Keep in mind that if your student is tested as gifted, and they do not make it, it does not necessarily mean that they are not gifted. As every school’s tests are different, there is no way to ensure that your school’s standard will be as low as another. In any case, IQ test results can change on the drop of a hat – for example, if a student is feeling particularly happy, it can directly correlate to a higher score, whereas if a student is feeling particularly depressed, it can directly correlate to a lower score.
Really, since there is no way to standardize the tests administered as of current, the best we can do is ensure our child or student that they are not stupid – that they can flourish if they wish to but they must have that intrinsic motivation. That they are not stupid under any circumstances – because the worst thing you can do is make your child believe that they are incapable.