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Special & Gifted Education

Talented and Gifted Students

In 1987, the Oregon Legislature passed legislation requiring schools to have TAG programs.

"Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors."

-- African Proverb
Unlike children with disabilities, Talented and Gifted children receive relativley little protection under U.S. Fedenral Law.
Without a federal law to protect the legal rights of gifted children, the responsibility for such mandates rests with the states. Approximately 30 states have a mandate to serve gifted children, while the remaining ones have permissive legislation (Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted, 1994). The National Association for Gifted Children has written a position paper supporting the concept that each state should mandate by law educational opportunities for gifted children. (Karnes and Marquardt).

In 1987, the Oregon Legislature passed legislation requiring schools to have TAG programs. TAG funding from the state legislature and the Oregon Department of Education has been at a very very low level. It currently amounts to about $2.50 per such student per year. This estimate is based on about 8% of Oregon students being identified as TAG, and a funding level of $100,000 a year. This certainly provides a good example of a Legislature not adequately funding one of its mandates!

Note that the US Federal Government also has an interest in this area. See the Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program listed in the references given below.

A good (1990) introduction to the field is provided in Giftedness and the Gifted: What's it All About? ERIC Digest listed below in the References.

TAG is one of a number of relatively common "exceptionalities" that also include dyslexia, ADHD, and so on. In Oregon, approximately 8-percent of students are identified as TAG. A student may well have multiple exceptionalities and be enrolled in the regular course of instruction in K-12 schools. A student may well combine the exceptionalities of TAG and dyslexia, ADHD, and so on.

Many TAG students (as well as students with other exceptionalities) find that IT provides useful tools to help them do things that they want to do. Many TAG students are empowered as they gain the knowledge and skills to make effective use of IT, and as they gain good access to IT facilities. Thus, all teachers need to know how to help TAG students learn to make effective use of IT.

Historically, many people seemed to feel that just providing a TAG student with access to a computer and saying "go to it" sufficed. For a very few TAG and other students, that does suffice. For the great majority, it does not. IT is a large, growing, and challenging field that is applicable across the entire K-12 curriculum. TAG and other students need instruction and appropriate encouragement as they learn to make effective use of IT.

The references given below are quite general, not just focusing on IT and TAG. OTEC is looking for people who are specifically interested in IT in TAG and who are interested in helping to foster a Virtual Community of IT-Using Educators in this area. If you are interested in helping, please contact Dave Moursund.


American Association for Gifted Children. Accessed 11/27/02: http://www.aagc.org. Quoting from the Website:

On September 6, 1946 The American Association for Gifted Children (AAGC) was founded because two friends, Dr. Ruth Strang and Miss Pauline Williamson believed that "the gifted were the most neglected children in our democracy." These two pioneer educational leaders incorporated the first voluntary non-profit organization in the United States devoted exclusively to the needs of gifted, talented and creative children. Established in New York, Dr. Harold Clark, an educational leader and economist, was elected president and led the Association during the first twenty-five years.

Center for Talented Youth, Johns Hopkins University. Accessed 11/30/02: http://www.jhu.edu/gifted/. Quoting from the Website:

Message to Educators

Like you, at CTY we're dedicated to providing a challenge to very bright students. Letting your gifted students and their families know about CTY shows your support of the ongoing academic needs of this special group of children. It opens up to these unique kids a larger community of advanced learners from all over the world. And, for educators who are content experts and work well with very bright students, we might also have a place for you!

What is the CTY Talent Search?

CTY Talent Searches identify, assess, and recognize students with exceptional mathematical and/or verbal reasoning abilities. Students qualify for participation in the Talent Searches by scoring at or above the 97th percentile on a nationally normed, standardized aptitude or achievement test. Students scoring in the top three percentiles are "hitting the ceiling" of their regular tests.

The Talent Search gives students the opportunity to take a test designed for older students, one with a higher ceiling. This testing will reveal more about their academic abilities and will allow them to compare their results with those of other highly able students. They will also learn about educational options and opportunities for students with similar abilities, and they will receive recognition for their outstanding achievements.

ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education [Online]. Accessed 11/26/01: http://ericec.org/.

This is a good starting point for searching the TAG literature as well as the literature on multiple exceptionalities.

Eugene 4J Talented and Gifted. Accessed 11/27/02: http://www.4j.lane.edu/tilt/tools_teacher/

This site contains TAG resources and is part of the Eugene 4J Technology Integrated into Learning and Teaching (TILT) Website.

Giftedness and the Gifted: What's it All About? ERIC Digest [Online]. Accessed 11/27/02: http://ericec.org/digests/e476.html Quoting from this 1990 article:

Former U. S. Commissioner of Education Sidney P. Marland, Jr., in his August 1971 report to Congress, stated,
"Gifted and talented children are those identified by professionally qualified persons who by virtue of outstanding abilities are capable of high performance. These are children who require differentiated educational programs and/or services beyond those normally provided by the regular school program in order to realize their contribution to self and society" (Marland, 1972).

The same report continued:

"Children capable of high performance include those with demonstrated achievement and/or potential ability in any of the following areas, singly or in combination:
  1. general intellectual ability
  2. specific academic aptitude
  3. creative or productive thinking
  4. leadership ability
  5. visual or performing arts
  6. psychomotor ability."

Using a broad definition of giftedness, a school system could expect to identify 10% to 15% or more of its student population as gifted and talented. A brief description of each area of giftedness or talent as defined by the Office of Gifted and Talented will help you understand this definition.

General intellectual ability or talent. Laypersons and educators alike usually define this in terms of a high intelligence test score--usually two standard deviations above the mean--on individual or group measures. Parents and teachers often recognize students with general intellectual talent by their wide-ranging fund of general information and high levels of vocabulary, memory, abstract word knowledge, and abstract reasoning.

Specific academic aptitude or talent. Students with specific academic aptitudes are identified by their outstanding performance on an achievement or aptitude test in one area such as mathematics or language arts. The organizers of talent searches sponsored by a number of universities and colleges identify students with specific academic aptitude who score at the 97th percentile or higher on standard achievement tests and then give these students the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Remarkably large numbers of students score at these high levels.

Creative and productive thinking. This is the ability to produce new ideas by bringing together elements usually thought of as independent or dissimilar and the aptitude for developing new meanings that have social value. Characteristics of creative and productive students include openness to experience, setting personal standards for evaluation, ability to play with ideas, willingness to take risks, preference for complexity, tolerance for ambiguity, positive self-image, and the ability to become submerged in a task. Creative and productive students are identified through the use of tests such as the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking or through demonstrated creative performance.

Leadership ability. Leadership can be defined as the ability to direct individuals or groups to a common decision or action. Students who demonstrate giftedness in leadership ability use group skills and negotiate in difficult situations. Many teachers recognize leadership through a student's keen interest and skill in problem solving. Leadership characteristics include self-confidence, responsibility, cooperation, a tendency to dominate, and the ability to adapt readily to new situations. These students can be identified through instruments such as the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation Behavior (FIRO-B).

Visual and performing arts. Gifted students with talent in the arts demonstrate special talents in visual art, music, dance, drama, or other related studies. These students can be identified by using task descriptions such as the Creative Products Scales, which were developed for the Detroit Public Schools by Patrick Byrons and Beverly Ness Parke of Wayne State University.

Psychomotor ability. This involves kinesthetic motor abilities such as practical, spatial, mechanical, and physical skills. It is seldom used as a criterion in gifted programs.

International/National Resources for Gifted Education. ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education. Accessed 11/27/02: http://ericec.org/fact/gt-asso.html.

This Website contains links to a number of national and international professional societies that focus on the needs of gifted children.

Internet Resources for Homeschooling Gifted Students [Online]. Accessed 11/19/01: http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/

This is a Website of resources complied by Kathi Kearney, Instructor, Talented & Gifted Education, N-103 Lagomarcino Hall Department of Curriculum & Instruction, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 5001.

Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program [Oline]. Accessed 11/27/021: http://www.ed.gov/offices/OESE/Javits/ Quoting from the Website:

Students with talent are found in all cultural groups, across all economic strata, and in all areas of human endeavor. To support the development of talent in the United States, the U.S. Congress passed the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act of 1994. This legislation authorizes the U.S. Department of Education to fund grants, provide leadership, and sponsor a national research center on the education of gifted and talented students. The program is administered by the Department's Office of Educational Research and Improvement.

The Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program awards grants to state and local education agencies, institutions of higher education, and other public and private agencies and organizations. These grants help talented students in elementary and secondary schools develop their abilities and reach high levels of achievement.

Since 1989, the Javits Program has funded almost 125 grants that supported model programs and practices for educating talented students nationwide. Depending upon available funds, grant awards range from $185,000 to $215,000 per year for 3 years.

Karnes, Frances A. and Marquardt, Ronald . Know Your Legal Rights in Gifted Education. Accessed 11/30/02: http://www.kidsource.com/kidsource/content4/
legal.rights.gifted.ed.html. Quoting from the Website:

Parents, educators, and other concerned adults involved with gifted children should know the legal framework in which the education and related services are set forth. The Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Act of 1994 was not established by Congress to protect the legal rights of gifted children, but rather to provide for model programs and projects. In contrast, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 does give extensive legal rights to persons with disabilities.

Without a federal law to protect the legal rights of gifted children, the responsibility for such mandates rests with the states. Approximately 30 states have a mandate to serve gifted children, while the remaining ones have permissive legislation (Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted, 1994). The National Association for Gifted Children has written a position paper supporting the concept that each state should mandate by law educational opportunities for gifted children.

KidSource Online [Online]. Accessed 11/27/02: http://www.kidsource.com/kidsource/

Contains links to a number of Websites that support parents of gifted and talented children. Quoting from the Website:
At Gifted & Talented World, we strive to provide a warm, comfortable, yet challenging environment in which to explore intellectual giftedness and the issues which surround it. These include parenting and advocating for our children, teaching them how to advocate for themselves, the experience of growing up gifted, obtaining an appropriate education, helping gifted kids with learning disabilities, and the wide range of other issues which tend to be flavored strongly by the our children's "difference". To this end, we provide a number of ways for community members to get together.

National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) [Online]. Accessed 11/27/02: http://www.nagc.org/. Quoting from the Website:

The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that receives no government funding. We are supported solely by membership dues, our annual convention, sale of publications and donations.

The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) is an organization of parents, teachers, educators, other professionals and community leaders who unite to address the unique needs of children and youth with demonstrated gifts and talents as well as those children who may be able to develop their talent potential with appropriate educational experiences. We support and develop policies and practices that encourage and respond to the diverse expressions of gifts and talents in children and youth from all cultures, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic groups. NAGC supports and engages in research and development, staff development, advocacy, communication, and collaboration with other organizations and agencies who strive to improve the quality of education for all students.

National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented [Online]. Accessed 111/27/02: http://www.gifted.uconn.edu/nrcgt.html. Quoting from the Website:

The work of The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented (NRC/GT) is guided by emerging research about the broadened conception of human potential and the need to develop "high-end learning" opportunities for all of America's students. Programs and services designed to challenge the highest levels of learning and creativity; to promote high expectations, rigorous standards, and greater engagement with subject matter should be an integral part of every school's overall program. We believe that the nation's largest reservoir of untapped talent can be found among those young people who, by reason of economic circumstances and all of the problems that surround poverty in America, have not been given equal opportunity and encouragement to develop their potentials to the fullest. Accordingly, our orientation and related research has been to apply the strategies of high-end learning to total school improvement and to focus our research on developing gifts and talents in young people based on a broad array of both traditional and emerging indicators of potential for high performance.

The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented is funded by the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act. We are a nationwide cooperative of researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and other persons and groups that have a stake in developing the performance and potentials of young people from preschool through postsecondary levels.

Odyssey of the Mind [Online]. Accessed 11/27/02: http://www.odysseyofthemind.com/. Quoting from the Website:

The Odyssey of the Mind School Program fosters creative thinking and problem-solving skills among participating students from kindergarten through college. It features an annual competition component at local through international levels. Students solve problems in a variety of areas, from building mechanical devices such as spring-driven vehicles to giving their own interpretation of literary classics. Through solving problems, students learn lifelong skills such as working with others as a team, evaluating ideas, making decisions, and creating solutions while also developing self-confidence from their experiences.

Creative Competitions also develops activities to integrate these skills into regular classroom curricula.

The Odyssey of the Mind competition is worldwide in which over one million participate.

Office of Special Education, Oregon Department of Education [Online]. Accessed 11/27/02: http://www.ode.state.or.us/sped/index.htm. Quoting from the Website:

Welcome to the Office of Special Education Website! The OSE is responsible to ensure that students with disabilities and those who are talented and gifted benefit from an enhanced education system - the Oregon Advantage. We partner with parents, educators, and others committed to the relentless pursuit of success for each child. We support programs that enhance student achievements and maximize graduation rates for all students.

Olympiad. Many TAG students participate in the various "Olympiad" contests. Search under this term using a Search Engine such as Google.

Oregon Association for Talented and Gifted [Online]. Accessed 11/27/02: http://www.oatag.org/. Quoting from the Website:

The Oregon Association for Talented and Gifted (OATAG) is a non-profit, non-discriminatory, statewide organization of educators and parents interested in promoting growth opportunities for talented and gifted children in Oregon.

OATAG's goal is to promote quality education for all students and especially for talented and gifted students. This goal is met through a variety of activities and services which include:

  • Workshops, inservices and forums tailored to individual school districts, parent groups or communities.
  • Quarterly issues of the OATAG newsletter, A Different Drummer.
  • Legislative Updates on issues related to gifted education.
  • Development and production of publications on education of the talented and gifted.

Open Directory Project: K through 12: Gifted Education. Accessed 11/29/02: http://dmoz.org/Reference/Education/K_through_12/

The Open Directory Project in an indexing project run mainly by volunteers. The Gifted Education component contains a number of categories of websites, such as Ability Grouping, Acceleration, Curriculum Differentiation, Gifted and Talented Compacting, and so on.

Oregon Talented and Gifted Education Mandate [Online]. Accessed 11/27/02: http://www.ode.state.or.us/sped/spedareas/




Identification of Academically Talented and Intellectually Gifted Students

Each school district shall have local district policies and procedures for the identification of talented and gifted students as defined in ORS 343.395(7)(a) and (b): …

Portland (Oregon) Public Schools TAG [Online]. Accessed 11/27/02: http://www.pps.k12.or.us/district/depts/tag/. Quoting from the Website:

Welcome to the Portland Public Schools' Talented and Gifted Program. In compliance with the Oregon TAG Mandate for gifted education, Portland's program focuses on meeting the student's instructional level and rate of learning every day in the classroom across the curriculum. Classroom teachers assess a student's level and rate in all subject areas and modify the instruction to provide appropriate content challenge and instructional pacing.

To facilitate this approach each school has a TAG Coordinator whose duties include: liaison to the District TAG Office, oversee the identification process, arrange staff development and parent meetings, and act as an on-site resource for gifted education in the school. From the District Office, TAG Consultants (two elementary, one middle school, and one high school) work with the building Coordinators and their teachers. TAG Office Consultants assist in budget planning, identification procedures, alternative program options, parent meetings, and instructional planning to meet students' needs. In addition, the District TAG Office also provides regular newsletters, staff development, gifted education resources, and other sources of support for teachers and coordinators.

Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) [Online]. Accessed 11/27/02: http://www.gifted.uconn.edu/sempage.html. Quoting from the Executive Summary:

The Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) is a detailed blueprint for total school improvement that allows each school the flexibility to allow each school to develop its own unique programs based on local resources, student demographics, and school dynamics as well as faculty strengths and creativity. Although this research-based model is based on highly successful practices that originated in special programs for the gifted and talented students, its major goal is to promote both challenging and enjoyable high-end learning across a wide range of school types, levels and demographic differences. The idea is to create a repertoire of services that can be integrated in such a way to create "a rising tide lifts all ships" approach. This approach allows schools to develop a collaborative school culture that takes advantage of resources and appropriate decision-making opportunities to create meaningful, high-level and potentially creative opportunities for students to develop their talents. SEM suggests that educators should examine ways to make schools more inviting, friendly, and enjoyable places that encourage the full development of the learner instead of seeing students as a repository for information that will be assessed with the next round of standardized tests. Not only has this model been successful in addressing the problem of students who have been under-challenged but it also provides additional important learning paths for students who find success in more traditional learning environments.

Oregon TAG Mandate: Southern Oregon University: Extended Campus Programs Accessed 11/27/02: http://www.sou.edu/ecp/teachers/tag_mandate.html.

This site contains an extensive amount of materials of value to preservice and inservice teachers.

Saturday Academy. Accessed 11/27/02: http://www.ogi.edu/satacad/index.html.

There is a relatively extensive Saturday Academy program in Oregon. Quoting from the Website:
Saturday Academy offers all students exceptional opportunities for enriched learning by enlisting community professionals to share facilities, equipment and expertise through hands-on classes, workshops and internships. Since 1983, Saturday Academy has provided instruction to more than 99,000 students and teachers in urban, suburban and rural communities.

Special emphasis is placed on the sciences, math and technology. Students from groups under-represented in these fields are actively recruited and supported. Tuition assistance is provided for any student who needs it. All students are welcome.

Saturday Academy programs are in alignment with the objectives of Goals 2000: "Educate America" Act and the Oregon Education Act for the 21st Century. Seven National Science Foundation grants have been awarded to develop and disseminate model projects in community-based science education.

TAG Contact People in Oregon School Districts. Accessed 11/27/02: http://www.ode.state.or.us/sped/

This extensive list is maintained by the Oregon Department of Education.

Talent Search. Use the term "Talent Search" in a search engine and you will find a number of Websites that focus on identifying talented students in a number of different disciplines.

Youth Enrichment and TAG Programs at the University of Oregon. Accessed 11/27/02: http://interact.uoregon.edu/tag/. Quoting from the Website:

Youth Enrichment and Talented and Gifted Programs and Services (YETAG) is a service unit of the Institute for the Development of Educational Achievement (IDEA), the research and outreach arm of the University of Oregon's College of Education. YETAG serves pre-collegiate youth and their families throughout the state of Oregon, with special focus on those residing in Lane County.

The focus of Youth Enrichment and Talented & Gifted Programs is to provide summer and academic year learning experiences to children and youth and their families. These programs increase the college's and university's leadership role and capacity to respond to the needs of children and youth by providing services that support and enhance the regular K-12 school program.

World Council for Gifted and Talented Children Accessed 11/27/02: http://www.worldgifted.org/xindex.htm.

This site includes sections on:
  • International Organizations and Resources
  • General Resources
  • Kid's Resources
  • Magazines That Publish Children's Works
  • Parent Resources
  • Publications
  • Publishers of Gifted Resources
  • International Travel
  • WEB Search Engines

Youth Enrichment and TAG Programs at the University of Oregon [Online]. Accessed 11/27/02: http://interact.uoregon.edu/tag/. Quoting from the Website:

Youth Enrichment and Talented and Gifted Programs provides a wide variety of educational opportunities for students, parents, and educators in the Lane County area and beyond. We offer enrichment classes during the school-year, summer day-camps, a two-week residential summer program, mentorships for girls interested in the sciences, special conferences designed to address issues of gender inequity and more.

============ Work in progress ======

Giftedness and the Gifted: What's it All About? ED 321 481 1990 ERIC DIGEST #E476 http://www.millville.cache.k12.ut.us/tag/giftedness.htm

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