Assessing Gifted & Talented Students

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  • 0:04 Gifted & Talented Students
  • 0:48 Criteria
  • 1:35 Achievement Tests
  • 2:06 Ability Tests
  • 2:53 Subjective Assessments
  • 3:18 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Laura Gray

Laura has taught at the secondary and tertiary levels for 20+ years and has a Ph.D. in Instructional Design for Online Learning.

This lesson defines what it means for a student to be gifted and talented. It also discusses the assessments used to determine if a student meets state-mandated requirements for entering a gifted and talented program.

Gifted & Talented Students

We've all had them in our classrooms: kids who seem to be much brighter than average, easily complete the work we give them, and are often more motivated than other students. While it's wonderful for us, as teachers to work with these kids, it is also important that we successfully identify our gifted students so that they can go into programs that challenge them and make use of their talents even more than we can. Different states have their own definitions of what qualifies a child as a gifted and talented student, but in general, students who excel in at least one academic area and have an intelligence quotient (IQ) of somewhere between 120 and 130 or higher are considered gifted.


Once you suspect that a student in your class is gifted, you can usually refer him or her to either a psychometrist, which is someone who administers academic, educational, and psychological tests, or the school psychologist for further assessments. There are several types of tests that the psychometrist or a school psychologist will give in order to determine if a student does, in fact, meet state-mandated criteria for placement in a gifted and talented program.

These tests fall into two broad categories: achievement tests, which measure what students have already learned and ability tests, which are more of an indicator of student capabilities. Let's start with achievement tests.

Achievement Tests

Achievement tests may be specific to a particular academic area, such as math, or they may be more general in nature. Examples include the Test of Mathematical Abilities for Gifted Students (TOMAGS), Screening Assessment for Gifted Elementary Students (SAGES), or Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS). When given these tests, gifted students typically score one or more grade levels above their current grade.

Ability Tests

Ability tests, more commonly known as IQ tests, come in several forms. Examples include the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, and Woodcock Johnson tests. Essentially, these tests all measure the same thing, and all of them have different types of subtests. There are also a couple of nonverbal tests on the market, or assessments that require no verbal ability to complete. These are useful with autistic, deaf, and other nonverbal students and include the Test of Nonverbal Intelligence (TONI) and the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT).

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