Gifted Education

Gifted Ed

Research has been conducted on the education of gifted and talented students, especially on effective approaches to curriculum and instruction.  Overall, teachers have tended to accelerate through the regular curriculum or enrichment that challenges to a greater depth (Ornstein et al., 2011).  There have also been widespread program trends, including (Ornstein et al., 2011):

  • Special mentoring assistance
  • Use of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
  • Great acceleration of learning opportunities for gifted and talented students
  • Given opportunities to participate in advanced-level projects
  • Delivery of instruction according to students’ learning styles
  • Special schools
  • Saturday programs and summer schools
  • Increased community resource use
  • Varied instructional approaches to match student interests and abilities
  • Condensing curriculum to replace known content with more challenging material

In general, researchers have found that open-ended, problem-solving approaches should be emphasized within the classroom (Ornstein et al., 2004); which is not unlike our familiar Dewey, progressive form of instruction! There are three main models of instruction for gifted education (Ornstein et al., 2004):

  1. A “content” model emphasizing accelerated study
  2. A “process-product” model emphasizing enrichment through independent study and investigation
  3. An “epistemological” model emphasizing understanding and appreciation of systems of knowledge

A major concern within gifted education is the under-representation of minority students, as well as economically disadvantaged students (Ornstein et al., 2004).  Criteria chosen to select gifted students tend to fail to identify disadvantaged students who otherwise might benefit from participation (Ornstein et al., 2004).  Recent efforts have broadened the definition of giftedness to include other forms of talent: strong problem-solving skills, high creativity, high verbal or nonverbal fluency, and unusual artistic accomplishments and abilities (Ornstein et al., 2004).  For example, the middle school at which I substitute frequently, there are students who are identified as “musically gifted” and “artistically gifted.”


Ornstein, A. C., Levine, D. U., Gutek, G. L., & Vocke, D. E. (2011). Foundations   of Education. (11 ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Pub Co.

3 responses to “Gifted Education

  1. I believe Anne did an outstanding job of addressing the questions we were asked. She provided great detail on the needs and resources for gifted education and how to support it in an inclusive environment. Great post with lots of good information!

  2. The crucial point you mentioned is that giftedness is more than academic intelligence. It include talents such as music, arts, handwork as well as strong problem-solving skills, high creativity, high verbal or nonverbal fluency, and unusual artistic accomplishments and abilities (Ornstein et al., 2004). People are gifted in several ways and the society needs such variety to progress. It is therefore important to promote other aspects of gifted and talented students in our schools. Secondly,you mentioned that minority students are underrepresented during selection of gifted students. This is because of the evaluating system. It will be important to have differentiated rubrics in measuring, evaluating and selecting gifted students from various social class and racial groups. This is because students are not given fair and even grounds in terms of access to quality teachers, resources and opportunities and therefore should not be assessed equally. The reality is that a medium average student from a low class, minority group, attending a public school could become a high achiever when given access to quality teachers and resources in another school. A student’s innate gift and talent is mostly developed by the exposure to the learning experiences the child interacts with and should be judge accordingly. That will be the fair thing to do, if not, we will continue to witness the disparity in terms of minority students in gifted programs.

  3. Anne, this is good information. When I think of gifted students in a general classroom, I think of extension activities, which is a simple approach that fails to really meet their needs. I didn’t realize that IEPs could be used for gifted students, but I like that idea! That would keep gifted students from being underserved. I also like the fact that you included information about how minorities are underrepresented in gifted programs and the alternative definitions and criteria that are being used to identify gifted students outside of the mainstream. Great post!