FAQs - Glossary

Section 504 is the part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that guarantees specific rights in federally funded programs amd activities to people who qualify as disabled.  The term "504 plan" might be used in place of IEP. 

Moving at a faster pace through academic content.  May be grade level or subject level specific.

School Districts, BOCES or Charter School Institute that are responsible for local educational services.

A program developed by the College Board where high schools offer courses that meet criteria established by institutions of higher education. In many instances, college credit may be earned with the successful completion of an AP exam in specific content areas.

The social and emotional considerations of an individual.

Local groups that provide support and programming for anyone interested.  Affiliates are associated with CAGT and included in CAGT membership.


Advanced Learning Plans are designed to provide an individual plan to meet the academic needs of an identified gifted student.

Intellectual, chronological, and developmental ages are not the same in a gifted child. This unevenness is often referred to as asynchronous development, which describes a difference between the levels at which a child is functioning in the different realms (such as cognitive, social, emotional, or motor).

A model to teach students to become independent, self-directed learners.


Adequate Yearly Progress has been developed as a measurement to ensure that all students are making a year’s growth in a years time.

Developed in 1956 by Benjamin Bloom, the taxonomy is often used to develop curriculum for gifted children. There are six levels within the taxonomy that move from basic to high levels of thinking. These include knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

Board of Cooperative Services are regional educational service providers, especially common in rural areas.  BOCES are designated service areas and provide centralized services for school districts within that area.

Colorado Association for Gifted and Talent, a non-profit (501c(3)) organization that advocates for the needs of gifted children.

Compression of top scores on a test. For example, if a group IQ test can only measure reliably to 130, then a student with an IQ of 160 (if measured by some other test) may only score 130 due to the ceiling effect of the group test. Group intelligence tests often have low ceilings, so a relatively low IQ score, perhaps 115, could be accepted as evidence of potential giftedness.

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. 

Instruction entails reduced amounts of introductory activities, drill, and practice. Instructional experiences may also be based on relatively fewer instructional objectives compared to the general curriculum. The time gained may be used for more advanced content instruction or to participate in enrichment activities. Instructional goals should be selected on the basis of careful analyses for their roles in the content and hierarchies of curricula. The parsing of activities and goals should be based on pre-instructional assessment. (Definition from A Nation Deceived, volume 2, page 14.)

A school district may allow a student to take college, career or technical courses that earn both high school and college credit while the student is still in high school.

Research by Dabrowski showing how the gifted were extremely sensitive in five areas (a stimulus-response difference from the norms) such that a gifted person reacts more strongly than normal, for a longer period than normal, to a stimulus that may be very small. It involves not just psychological factors but central nervous system sensitivity. The five areas are:

  • Psychomotor - The person needs lots of movement and athletic activity, or has trouble smoothing out the mind's activities for sleeping, and has lots of physical energy and movement, fast talking, lots of gestures, sometimes nervous tics
  • Sensual - The "cut the label out of the shirt" demand, a love for sensory things -- textures, smells, tastes etc. or a powerful reaction to negative sensory input such as bad smells, loud sounds, etc., aesthetic awareness -- awed to breathlessness at the sight of a beautiful sunset or cries hearing Mozart, etc.
  • Imaginational - Person is a day dreamer, strong visual thinker, reacts strongly to dreams
  • Intellectual - Person with strong academics, logical thinking, complex reasoning, good at cognitive games
  • Emotional - Intensity of emotion, broad range of emotions, need for deep connections with other people or animals, inventing imaginary friends, deep empathy and compassion, susceptibility to depression.


Highly gifted people tend to have all 5, but different people lead with different OE's (e.g. engineer leads with Intellectual, poets with Emotional and Imaginational, etc.). Variations in the levels of the individual OE's explain a great deal about temperamental differences. These five OE’s describe the unusual intensity of the gifted as well as the many ways in which they look and behave "oddly" when compared to norms. (From Stephanie Tolan’s definition of OE’s found on www.hoagiesgifted.org.)

Modifying curriculum and instruction according to content, pacing, and/or product to meet unique student needs in the classroom. 

High-tech alternative to correspondence courses, these classes are offered via satellite or internet. 

Enrollment in two levels of schooling simultaneously; application of credits varies. Commonly used for high school students who concurrently take college courses, for at least high school credit.

Allowing Highly Advanced Gifted Children ages 4 or 5 to access educational services (Kindergarten or First Grade) early.  Participation in this program is determined by individual Administrative Units.

Entrance to any program before the regularly scheduled time. This may be entrance to Kindergarten at age 4 or 4.5, 1st grade at regular kindergarten age 5, or entrance to any other school level or college early.

Colorado’s Exceptional Children’s Education Act is the statute that governs gifted education.  CRS 22-20-103 and Rule Section 12.01 (8).

Educational Program for Gifted Youth. Distance learning K-8 and advanced math program, developed by Stanford. This program is currently available through Stanford, and through Johns Hopkins as a part of its Math Tutorials program.

An instructional strategy where students are grouped together to receive appropriately challenging instruction. True flexible grouping permits students to move in and out of various grouping patterns, depending on the course content. Grouping can be determined by ability, size, and/or interest.

Gifted Education Regional Consultants serve each region in Colorado by proving assistance to districts, facilitating networking meetings and providing training for the region.

The Colorado State Advisory Committee for Gifted Education was founded in 1984 to provide advice and make recommendations to the Colorado State Board of Education.  Members of the committee represent congressional districts.  Membership is available by application and then appointment by the State Board of Education.

Definitions are dependent on the IQ test administered, but these are the generally accepted terms.

  • Children with IQs in the 130-140 range will need differentiation to the standard curriculum to meet their advanced abilities. Social and emotional difficulties are uncommon as there is a large enough pool of children with similar abilities that legitimate friendships can be formed.
  • Children with IQs in the 140-160 range will need intensive modification of curriculum, best found in self-contained classes for the gifted. Also, age-mates may offer little social sustenance as the children will prefer -- and need -- the company of older children/adults.
  • Children with IQs above 160 have academic and intellectual needs that are so unique that typical school resources will be unable to provide fully for their education. A team of professionals (including a teacher, gifted expert, parents, and a psychologist) should be convened. Intellectually, socially, and emotionally, these profoundly gifted children are more at risk than others if their level of giftedness is not addressed directly.


                                  Delisle, James R. (2006). Parenting Gifted Kids. Waco, Texas: Prufrock Press.


                                  Jackson Gilman, Barbara (2008). Academic Advocacy for Gifted Children: A Parent's Complete Guide. Scottsdale, Arizona: Great Potential Press.

More detailed information can be found in the book, Five Levels of Giftedness by Dr. Deborah L. Ruf, Ph.D., published by Great Potential Press.

Individual Career and Academic Plan, might start as early as eighth grade and then continue throughout high school.  These plans should be designed to assist students and their parents or guardians in exploring postsecondary career and educational opportunieis available to a student, aligning course work and curriculum, applying to postsecondary education institutions, securing finanical aid and ultimately entering the workforce.


Individualized Education Program (Plan), this is a legal document that states what special educational services your child will receive and why.  The individualized part of an IEP means that the plan has to be tailored specifically to your child's special needs, not to the needs of the teacher, school or district.  This plan would be appropriate for a child who is twice-exceptional.

A numerical representation of intelligence. IQ is derived from dividing mental age (result from an intelligence test) by the chronological age times 100. Traditionally, an average IQ is considered to be 100.

A demanding pre-university program that students can complete to earn college credit. IB emphasizes critical thinking and understanding of other cultures or points of view. A diploma is awarded at the completion of the IB program which allows graduates access to universities worldwide.

"Mental age predicts the amount of knowledge (a child) has mastered, the rate at which the child learns, sophistication of play, age of true peers, maturity of the child's sense of humor, ethical judgment, and awareness of the world. In contrast, chronological age predicts the child's height, physical coordination, handwriting speed, emotional needs, and social skills." 

- Academic Advocacy for Gifted Children, Barbara Jackson Gilman, p. 41.

A Massive Open Online Course provides digital access to an open participatory course which promotes networked life-long learning.  For a list of course possibilities, see Resources--Resource Articles--Online Courses.

National Association for Gifted Children. National nonprofit organization addressing 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. Website provides excellent information for parents of gifted.

Percentiles are not the same as percent correct! Percentile is an age-based or grade-based rank indicating the percent of the norm group of students tested who scored less than the student. 85th percentile means only that 85 percent of students tested scored lower than the subject, not that the subject got 85% of the questions correct. Percentile scores are easily correlated to standard or IQ scores: 97th percentile is the same as standard or IQ score of 130 or above. For large populations, percentiles are an easy way to compare one child to age / grade peers. Note: a side effect of percentile scoring is that as more and more of the population being tested answer all the questions correctly on the test or any sub-test, the lower their percentile scores will become. This is particularly obvious in a small population sample such as the local percentiles, which may compare your child only to others in the same school and grade.

Bell curve


(For complete information on testing terminology and assessment, see www.hoagiesgifted.org and read “What Do the Tests Tell Us?”)

The desire to execute tasks flawlessly. Gifted children may develop perfectionism after entering school, as they perform better than their classmates. Later, such perfectionism may lead to avoiding challenges so as not to appear imperfect. See “A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children”, by Dr. James Webb et al, for a full discussion of social/emotional issues of the gifted.

A program which takes a student out of the regular classroom during the school day for special programming. 


Response to intervention is an academic intervention to provide early, systematic assistance to students who are having difficulty learning.

Gifted and talented students may have affective needs that include heightened or unusual sensitivity to self-awareness, emotions, and expectations of themselves or others, and a sense of justice, moral judgment, or altruism. Counselors working in this area may address issues such as perfectionism, depression, underachievement, or career planning.

Instruction that entails less time than is normal (e. g., completing a one year course in one semester, or three years of middle school in two). Telescoping differs from curriculum compacting in that time saved from telescoping always results in advanced grade placement. (From A Nation Deceived, volume 2, page 14.)

The Colorado Academy of Educators for the Gifted, Talented, and Creative (CAEGTC) is a professional association of educators who specialize in the education of exceptionally able children in schools and school districts across Colorado.

A term used to describe a student that is both gifted and learning disabled. These students may also be referred to as having dual exceptionalities or as being 2e.

A term used to describe the discrepancy between a student’s performance and their potential, or ability to perform at a much higher level.

Someone who thinks in pictures and visualizes the whole concept instead of thinking sequentially.



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