Gifted and Talented Glossary

Ability – A characteristic indicating the level of an individual on a particular trait or competence in a particular area.  Often this term is used interchangeably with aptitude, although aptitude actually refers to one’s potential to learn or to develop a proficiency in a particular area.

Ability Test – The use of standardized tests to evaluate the current performance of a person in some defined domain of cognitive function.

Academically Gifted – An individual who has a specific talent in an academic area, but not necessarily all areas. An example is a student who excels in mathematics, but may not do well in language.

Acceleration – Moving at a faster pace through academic content in one subject area or by skipping a whole grade. Students study material that is part of the normal curriculum for older students. Acceleration is not just skipping grades; there are as many as 16 different forms of acceleration, including subject and whole grade acceleration, early entrance, telescoping, and more.

Achievement Test – Test designed to measure achievement in specific subject areas.  Though an achievement test may give standard scores, these are not comparable to IQ scores.

Affective – The social and emotional aspects of an individual.

Assessment – Standardized or informal methods to determine mastery or prior knowledge of skill or content.

Cluster Grouping – A grouping assignment for gifted students in the regular heterogeneous classroom.  Typically, five or six gifted students with similar needs, abilities, or interests are “clustered” in the same classroom, which allows the teacher to more efficiently differentiate assignments for a group of advanced learners rather than just one or two students.

Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) – Test used to assess students’ abilities in reasoning and problem solving using verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal (spatial) symbols.  The test measures both general and specific academic cognitive abilities.

Cognitive Skills – Refers to the processes of acquiring knowledge through, for example, thinking, reasoning and analogies.

Collaboration – The process of a team of people working together to make decisions about a student’s needs – may include student, parent, teacher, counselor, psychologist and/or administrator.

Creativity – A characteristic, which relates to a person’s ability to produce original, novel and unique ideas or products.

Convergent thinking – Thinking which results in conventional solutions and answers or conformity in one shape or another. Contrast this term with divergent thinking when it comes to education.

Curriculum Compacting  – An instructional strategy in which a student’s grasp of a subject area is frequently reassessed by the instructor.  Following demonstration of mastery of the subject, the student is allowed to progress to the next level or is given more in-depth work in the same subject area.

Differentiation – The modification of curriculum and instruction based on a student’s academic need and intellectual ability.

Divergent thinking – This is the type of thinking that results in unique, novel, and/or creative solutions or answers to problems at hand. This type of thinking is one that oftentimes is accelerated in the TAG child the point of which observers are amazed.

Enrichment – The process of covering a subject in greater depth than is usual, or tackling subjects not usually covered. Enrichment is frequently offered as an alternative to acceleration in accommodating gifted students.

Gifted – 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 service beyond those normally provided by the regular school program in order to realize their contribution to self and society.
(Marland Definition, 1972)

Grade Acceleration – Also called grade skipping. Student takes entire grade level with older students, and continues educational progress with that class.  This is a commonly used educational strategy for exceptionally and profoundly gifted students.

Higher Order Thinking Skills – Questioning in discussions or providing activities based on processing that require analysis, synthesis, evaluation or other critical thinking skills.

Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS) – A survey (not a test) that takes into consideration a child’s existing test scores, plus many factors from size & age to school and parent support for acceleration, and determines the child’s candidacy for full grade acceleration.

Kingore Observation Inventory (KOI) – An instrument used to assist educators in identifying and serving students with gifted potentials.  KOI provides a structure to guide observation of behaviors that gifted students typically exhibit and encourages establishing enriched learning environments.

Personalized Education Plan (PEP) – A formal and written plan developed for each student identified for gifted education outlining special programming needs and individual goals for an academic year.

Personal Goal Setting – Teaching students to identify personal goals and how to prioritize time and activities to reach those goals.

Significantly Discrepant Student—A student who has needs that are substantially higher then their grade level peers as it relates to the core curriculum.

Single Subject Acceleration – Student takes individual subject instruction at a higher-grade level, either with the higher grade, or by independent study or distance education. This is often used for students with a single area of strength, or as a pre-cursor to full grade acceleration.

Talent Development – Provision of experiences for an individual student with demonstrated high performance or potential in a specific area either through individual work or with a group of students with like talent.

Talent Search Programs – Provision of highly challenging, accelerated learning experiences, usually on a college campus in a specific talents area (math, writing, science, etc.) for highly talented students.

Twice Exceptional – A student identified with gifted behaviors as well as a physical and/or a learning disability.