Gifted and Talented Policy

Berowra Public School fully endorses the NSW Department of Education and Communities Gifted and Talent Policy (2004a) and its adoption of Francois Gagné's Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent (DMGT) (Gagné, 1985) as its definition of giftedness. This definition of giftedness is the foundation upon which Berowra Public School has developed its policy, identification processes and subsequent programs.

The NSW Department of Education and Communities Gifted and Talent Policy states that:

  • Gifted students are found in all populations regardless of ethnic, cultural or socio-economic backgrounds.
  • Gifted students may be underachieving and or have learning disabilities.

Gagné's  Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent (DMGT)(1985)

  • Differentiates between giftedness and talent.
  • Giftedness is "competence distinctly above average in one or more domains of ability" (p. 108).
  • Talent is defined as "performance which is distinctly above average in one or more fields of human performance" (p. 108). 
  • Students can be gifted in a particular domain but various circumstances or catalysts such as learning difficulties, personal traits or environmental factors, such as low SES or ESL could impact upon whether giftedness transforms into talent.

Since underachievement is accounted for within Gagne's definition, it must be meaningfully sought within the identification process (Chaffey, Bailey & Vine, 2003). Berowra Public School is sensitive to the existence of these catalysts during the identification process and their potential hindrance to the development of students' talents. Special measures may need to be implemented to identify learners whose talents have been impeded by these catalysts (New South Wales Department of Education and Training, 2006; Wellisch & Brown, 2012).

Berowra Public School's Gifted and Talented policy reflects a commitment to the statements above and is:

  • School wide – actively identifying students from Kindergarten to Year 6 by seeking input from teachers, parents and students.
  • Uses multiple criteria such as formal testing, parent and teacher questionnaires. No one method is able to successfully identify all types of gifted learners (National Association for Gifted Children, 2008; New South Wales Department of Education and Training, 2004b; Pfeiffer, Kumtepe & Rosado, 2006). When the advantages and disadvantages to each method are evaluated, it is clear that a multiple-criteria approach captures a more diversified pool of gifted students by minimizing bias within the identification process. This opens the door to a more appropriate curriculum for learners who may not ordinarily be identified (Borland, 2004; Miller & Gentry, 2010).
  • Inclusive of all students regardless of ethnic, cultural or socio-economic backgrounds. Since the methods used to identify intellectual giftedness in students from cultural and low socioeconomic backgrounds tend to underestimate their potential (Chaffey et al., 2003), care must be taken to choose appropriate instruments.
  • Culturally fair – History has shown that ethnic minority and low SES students are underrepresented in gifted programs. The use of traditional forms of assessment are often cited as one possible cause (Barlow & Dunbar, 2010; Borland, 2004; Chaffey et al., 2003; Peters and Gentry, 2010; Sarauphim, 2001). The use of traditional and non-traditional methods of identification reduces the effect of discrimination within the assessment (Borland, 2004; Joseph & Ford, 2006).
  • Allows for students who are underachieving. There may be many reasons for a student to underachieve such as family pressures, a mismatch with the curriculum, a desire to be accepted by one's peers, cultural difficulties such as language or value differences (Reis & McCoach, 2000; Whitmore, 1997) or the presence of a learning difficulty (Bailey & Rose, 2011). Invisible underachievers are those that underperform both in the classroom and in standardized testing (Chaffey & Bailey, 2004; Chaffey et al., 2003) due to cultural bias' within tests and differences in learning styles. This results in minority ethnic groups being underrepresented in gifted programs (Ford, 1998). Therefore it is important to choose appropriate identification methods that are culturally sensitive in order to undercover the invisible underachiever (Chaffey & Bailey, 2004).
  • Dynamic and continuous – this policy should be reviewed annually to accommodate changes school populations and resources.
  • Ensures that all domains and degrees of giftedness and talent are identified. Gagné's model is multifaceted in its design (Gagné, 1998) allowing for degrees of giftedness and inhibitors to talent across multiple domains; Intellectual, Creative, Socioaffective and sensoriMotor (Gagné, 1985). Students who show gifts in different domains and sub-domains require different types of enrichment. Students showing different degrees of giftedness will require different levels of enrichment (Gagné, 2007; Lohman, 2005).

 

References

Bailey, C.L. & Rose, V.C. (2011). Examining teachers' perceptions of twice exceptional students: Overview of a qualitative exploration. Retrieved from http://counselingoutfitters.com/vistas/vistas11/Article_07.pdf on 8 September 2011.

Barlow, K. & Dunbar, E. (2010). Race, class, and whiteness in gifted and talented identification: A case study. Berkeley Review of Education, 1(1), 63 – 85 Retrieved from http://escholarship.org/uc/item/247908gb on 19 September 2012.

Borland, J.H. (2004). Issues and practices in the identification and education of gifted students from under-represented groups. National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. Retrieved from http://www.gifted.uconn.edu/nrcgt/reports/rm04186/rm04186.pdf on 16 September 2012.

Chaffey, G.W. & Bailey, S.B. (2004). The use of dynamic testing to reveal high academic potential and underachievement in a culturally different population. Gifted Education International 18(2), 124 – 138. doi:10.1177/026142940301800203.

Chaffey, G.W., Bailey, S.B. & Vine, K.W. (2003). Identifying high academic potential in Australian Aboriginal children using dynamic testing. Australasian Journal of Gifted Education, 12(1), 42 - 55.

Ford, D.Y. (1998). The underrepresentation of minority students in gifted education: Problems and promises in recruitment and retention. The Journal of Special Education, 32(1), 4 – 14. doi:10.1177/002246699803200102.