The GiftedChild

For the past several years, our national focus has been on establishing and meeting a minimum level of competency for school children. While this is important, this policy neglects an entire segment of children falling through the cracks. Without being given the right instruction and setting, thousands of gifted children may go through school without learning anything new.

Gifted and high ability learners have intellectual, social, and emotional needs that are simply not met in standard classroom environments or typical pull-out programs. Oak Crest Academy is able to meet the needs of these students.

We have listed some common characteristics of gifted youth as well as some resources.

Common Characteristics of Gifted Youth

-Gifted students may score two or more standard deviations above the         norm on intelligence tests.

-They may be able to perform several grade levels above their chronological age cohort.

-They may consistently get perfect or near-perfect scores on tests, even when they don’t seem to have studied much.

-Or, they may not finish their assignments, saying it was too boring or they already knew the answers.

-They may complain about being bored in class, and even ask not to have to go to school.

-They may also experience asynchronous development, meaning one or more of their areas of ability outpace others. For instance, a student may be three-grade levels ahead in math but on grade level for reading.

-Teachers may say that they are a distraction, because they finish their work too quickly or aren’t paying attention in class.

-They may spend too much time on an assignment, going far more in-depth than required to the neglect of other work.

-Gifted students often have common social-emotional struggles that may be unsupported in a typical school setting: perfectionism, anxiety, and/or over-excitability or sensitivity in a variety of areas.

-Gifted students may have difficult finding true peers, connecting with classmates, and generally fitting in.

A GuideFor The Gifted

Whether or not your child is a student at Oak Crest Academy, the process of meeting a gifted child’s needs can feel overwhelming. Below we have provided resources we have found useful in understanding and supporting gifted learners.

Getting Started:
A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students, by Nicholas Colangelo, Susan G. Assouline, and Miraca U. M. Gross,presents research supporting the academic acceleration of gifted students. Its success led to the creation of the Institute for Research and Policy on Acceleration. It can be read online for free here.

The National Association for Gifted Children is a national organization has many resources for helping parents to understand the needs of gifted learners as well as to advocate on their behalf at local, state, and federal levels. We particularly like: Myths about Gifted Education (http://www.nagc.org/myths.aspx); the Legislative Updates (http://www.nagc.org/legislativeupdate.aspx); Gifted by State data (http://www.nagc.org/GiftedByState.aspx).

Hoagies’ Gifted is a regularly-updated clearinghouse of information on gifted education for parents, educators, and children. We particularly like: Gifted 101 (http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/gifted_101.htm), an overview on identification, testing, and gifted programs; Gifted Online Communities (http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/on-line_support.htm), including mailing lists, social networking sites, and message boards; and of course, the Best of Hoagies is a great place to start, compiling best articles, links, research, and resources (http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/dont_miss.htm).

Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) offers webinars, articles, and other resources for understanding and supporting gifted children and adults across all areas of need: intellectually, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

The Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa College of Education has a national and international reputation for its research, training, and service. It is a resource for educator professional development and specialized educational opportunities for students.

The Davidson Young Scholars Program is part of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development. This nonprofit works to support profoundly gifted students 18 and under.

Local resources:
AVID provides resources for parents and educators.

Out of Level Testing: Out-of-level testing is when students are given assessments that are normed at higher grade levels, to compare their current performance with that of older peers. This can provide helpful information for gifted students who may be performing several grade levels above what their chronological age would indicate.

The EXPLORE Test (http://www.act.org/products/k-12-act-explore/) was created by ACT for 8th and 9th graders; however, it is frequently used as an out-of-grade assessment for younger students (3rd-6th grade) to assess these students’ academic abilities.

The SCAT Test, offered by Johns Hopkins’ Center for Talented Youth (http://cty.jhu.edu/talent/) for 2nd-8th graders. The SCAT test is also used to determine entrance to the CTY online course catalog.


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