Some Thoughts on Serving Students Who are, and almost Gifted

Over the past few years, my view on Gifted Education has shifted from the classroom to the whole state. I have been learning more and more about what it means to be a gifted educator from talking to many gifted educators and coordinators about how they serve students who are gifted.

In Ohio, we are limited as to how we identify our gifted population due to the Ohio’s Revised and Administrative Codes. Ohio also has no mandate to serve those identified students, however if they do choose to serve there are guidelines for it. There are a plethora of options that can used to serve students who are gifted.

One of the criticisms I have when it comes to serving our students who are gifted is that many districts create the service first then test for it. I feel like it should be the other way around. Services should be designed around the needs of the students. Many students have exceptionalities in multiple areas, however they may not be in the available services.

An area that I wish was more utilized in districts was talent development. I know there are many obstacles to why a district would not have a talent development program, however if educating all students is in your core principles then talent development should be an option. Talent development can be very useful when trying to help identify talents and strengths of students who are from traditionally underrepresented populations. This can help lead to more equitable services in districts where most of the gifted population is from one ore two different racial or ethnic groups.

Given the fact that testing is required to identify students who are gifted, means we need to look at the data differently. The test scores are the doorway into service, however it should be a closed door. By using test data to identify where students who were not gifted are at academically and show strengths in certain academic areas, districts can identify candidates for a talent development program.

The more we delve into the data, and the more we look at who is and who is not in our gifted education programs we have to see that a change is needed in how we identify and serve our students who are gifted. How do you see the future of Gifted Education? Do you see it changing, or evolving due to the present level of awareness to inequity in educational options for many of students?