Gifted Testing & Education

Gifted Testing:

Creativity, visual arts, leadership, language, math, science, dance, theater, gymnastics; in any area of human pursuit, some people surface as unique in their development. Because of this, at Turning Point, we view as “gifted” someone who is in need of unique understanding and advocacy. As you decide on testing, use the following list to guide your thinking and know that in addition to IQ testing, we explore these traits as part of our assessment:

My child shows some of the following traits: Intensity of interest: (i.e. Develops an interest in a topic to a considerable depth.); Heightened sense of right and wrong, or injustice: (i.e. Forms opinions about social and spiritual issues.); Emotional sensitivity: (i.e. Has extreme reactions to stories, movies, events witnessed; feels things deeply and expresses profound sadness, excitement, fear.); Creativity and Imagination: ( i.e. Rich inner world and intense fantasy life; shows advanced artistic ability.); Sensitivity to and finesse in rhythm, movement, and coordination. (i.e. advanced in athletics, climbing, gymnastics, bike riding, playing drums, keeping time to music, dance.); Ability to see relationships. ( i.e. recognizes complex patterns in music, numbers, nature or language.); Use of advanced words: (i.e. Is markedly advanced in quality and quantity of written and/or spoken vocabulary.); Social preferences: (i.e. Prefers to play with older children, adults. Demonstrates social poise and an ability to communicate with adults in a mature way; likes to take the leadership role with peers.); Curiosity: (i.e. asks searching questions.); Advanced aptitude: (i.e. Shows reasoning powers and marked ability to handle ideas; recalls important details, concepts and principles; comprehends readily,); Academic acceleration: (i.e. Reads avidly and absorbs books well beyond his or her years; shows insight into number problems and grasps mathematical concepts readily.); Subtle or sophisticated sense of humor: (i.e. Understands complex jokes; uses parody, satire and sarcasm appropriately.)

Now also consider the following list as it relates to your child and know that we are also  mindful of these many challenges and how to address them: masks intelligence or acts less smart in order to fit in; doesn’t have any “issues” and is healthy and high functioning, but is jumping way ahead in math and/or reading; is difficult to motivate:  is stifled by perfectionism or anxiety; does not do well in the school setting; is really smart but might also have a challenge like dyslexia or ADHD (twice exceptional); has heightened sensory awareness; is “absent minded”; can remember every baseball player’s stats but can’t remember where she put her shoes; is awkward around others the same age; is introverted or extroverted;  interests seem weird to others; is left out when playing or prefers to play alone; is popular among peers.

At Turning Point, we assess the whole child. We provide resources, guidance, and point you in the right direction for schools, camps, therapies, enrichment, books, articles, and tools for understanding.

Gifted Education:

Colorado Department of Education requires every district to identify and provide an Advanced Learning Plan for its identified gifted students. They have excellent guides for ALP’s accessible online and we encourage parents to get familiar with these guidelines as they advocate in getting an ALP for their child by going to this link

Whom do I contact in Colorado for more information on gifted education?

The state department of education is one of the best places to start for seeking state-specific information related to gifted education.  

Colorado also has its own Gifted Association

Other Colorado resources can be found in the NAGC Gifted and Talented Resources Directory.

What are the best online sources of information on gifted education? Davidson Gifted is one of the best resources for primary research and education about gifted issues:

Social Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) is an excellent organization that educates parents and teachers about the educational and emotional needs of the gifted

Hoagies is a wonderful clearing house of resources for parents and educators:

The National Association of Gifted Children NAGC is an excellent organization that educates on policy, practice, and advocacy. We’ve provided the following links to NAGC resources to help answer frequently asked questions about specific education issues:

How do I know if a gifted program is of high quality?

The NAGC Pre-K-Grade 12 Gifted Programming Standards state that “a continuum of services must exist for gifted learners” at every level. In most cases, the decisions about the range of services offered are made locally, and may include pull-out programs, advanced classes, varied grouping strategies, acceleration, differentiation of curriculum and instruction, dual enrollment, magnet schools, and specialized, self-contained schools (e.g., high schools for performing arts).

This range of services can be organized in a variety of ways:

  • Accommodations in the regular classroom
  • Part-time assignment to both regular and special classes
  • Full-time grouping with students of similar abilities
  • Acceleration or grade advancement

Learn more about Gifted Education Practices here and here Curriculum and Instruction,

What kind of training does a teacher need to work with gifted students?

Gifted students need guidance from well-trained, challenging teachers who understand their educational needs. Teacher training requirements for working with gifted students are determined at the state and local levels and few districts require that all classroom teachers receive training to address the educational needs of advanced learners.

Research indicates that teachers who have received training in gifted education are more likely to foster higher-level thinking, allow for greater student expression, consider individual student strengths and weaknesses, and provide a variety of learning experiences to challenge students.

Read the knowledge and skills in gifted education that all teachers should have. 

Do The Common Core State Standards address the needs of gifted students?

The Common Core language arts and mathematics standards have been written to uphold and advance high standards for all students; however, the drafters of the Common Core did not write standards for advanced learners and have acknowledged that some students will be ready to move beyond these standards before the end of the year.

NAGC provides an in-depth look at the standards and gifted learners.

How much money is spent on gifted education in Colorado?

NAGC gathers information about the amount of funding states spend for gifted education, although it is not possible to know the amount districts are spending from local funds.

Learn more about the current level of funding in Colorado.

Are there any national reports about gifted students or gifted education?

There are two federal reports that are often cited when discussing gifted education: A Nation at Risk (1983) and National Excellence: A Case for Developing America’s Talent (1993). They both highlight the missed opportunities to identify and serve gifted students in the U.S. resulting in a call for additional research and programming in the field of gifted education.

Published in 2004, A Nation Deceived reported on the advantages of acceleration for gifted children, which illustrated America’s inability to properly meet the needs of its most able students despite the overwhelming research supporting acceleration practices in schools. 


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