504 – Section 504 is the part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that guarantees specific rights in federally funded programs and activities to people who qualify as disabled. A 504 Plan is developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives accommodations that will ensure their academic success and access to the learning environment.

Acceleration – A strategy of progressing through education at rates faster or ages younger than the norm. This can occur through grade skipping or subject acceleration (e.g., a fifth-grade student taking sixth-grade math).

Achievement Tests – Tests designed to measure what students have already learned, mostly in specific content areas. An example of an achievement test is the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS).

Advanced Placement – 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 (as this credit varies between colleges and universities, it is suggested that questions about this process be forwarded to the college or university of the student’s choice). The Pre-AP program is offered to younger students as preparation for the upper-level courses. Offering AP courses is not equivalent to offering a gifted program.

Affective (Curriculum/Goals) – Curriculum/goals that focus on person/social awareness and adjustment, and includes the study of values, attitudes, and self. Sometimes referred to as social-emotional.

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

ALP – The Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) is a legal document [22-20-R-12.00, C.R.S.] outlining programming for identified gifted students and is used as a guide for educational planning and decision-making.  The Exceptional Children’s Educational Act (ECEA) Rules defines “Advanced Learning Plan” as: A written record of a gifted student’s strengths, academic and affective learning goals and the resulting programming utilized with each gifted child and considered in educational planning and decision making.  12.01(2)

Asynchronous Development – 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).

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

Authentic Assessment – Evaluating student learning through the use of student portfolios, performance, or observations in place of or in conjunction with more traditional measures of performance such as tests and written assignments. The process allows students to be evaluated using assessments that more closely resemble real-world tasks.

BOCES – 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. Each BOCES has a GT coordinator, but many are part time.

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

CDE – Colorado Department of Education

Ceiling Effect – 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.

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.

Compacting – 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.)

Concurrent or Dual Enrollment – Most often refers to high school students taking college courses, often for college credit. Dual enrollment is viewed as providing high school students benefits such as greater access to a wider range of rigorous academic and technical courses, savings in time and money on a college degree, promoting efficiency of learning, and enhancing admission to and retention in college. The terms may also be used to refer to middle grade students taking high school courses and earning credit toward graduation.

Criterion-Referenced Testing – An assessment that compares a student’s test performance to his or her mastery of a body of knowledge or specific skill rather than relating scores to the performance of other students.

Culturally and LInguistically Diverse Students (CLD) – Students from diverse backgrounds, including those of black, Hispanic, and Asian descent, those learning English as a second language, and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Often, these students are considered as being underrepresented in gifted programming. Can sometimes be referred to as culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse (CLED) students.

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

Distance Learning – When a student takes a course remotely (most commonly over the Internet) from a school or teacher different from his or her local/home district. These can come in the form of online high schools, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), courses for dual credit through universities, or courses offered by Talent Search programs.

Early Access – The early entrance into kindergarten at age 4 or early entrance into first grade at age 5 for highly advanced gifted children who are placed in a grade level above other same aged peers. Participation in this program is determined by individual districts.

Exceptional Children’s Education Act – Defines “gifted” children as:

Those persons between the ages of four and twenty-one whose aptitude or competence in abilities, talents, and potential for accomplishment in one or more domains are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational programming needs. Gifted children are hereafter referred to as gifted students. Children under five who are gifted may also be provided with early childhood special educational services. Gifted students include gifted students with disabilities (i.e. twice exceptional) and students with exceptional abilities or potential from all socio-economic, ethnic, and cultural populations. Gifted students are capable of high performance, exceptional production, or exceptional learning behavior by virtue of any or a combination of these areas of giftedness:

  • General or specific intellectual ability
  • Specific academic aptitude
  • Creative or productive thinking
  • Leadership abilities
  • Visual arts, performing arts, musical or psychomotor abilities 12.01(16)

Enrichment – Activities that add or go beyond the existing curriculum. They may occur in the classroom or in a separate setting such as a pull-out program.

Executive Function – A set of processes that all have to do with managing oneself and one’s resources in order to achieve a goal. It is an umbrella term for the neurologically-based skills involving mental control and self-regulation.

Flexible Grouping – 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.

GE-SAC – The Colorado State Advisory Committee for Gifted Education provides advice and makes 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.

Gifted and Talented Students – The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act defines gifted and talented students as “Students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.” [Title IX, Part A, Definition 22. (2002)] Many states and districts follow the federal definition.

Heterogeneous Grouping – Grouping students by mixed ability or readiness levels. A heterogeneous classroom is one in which a teacher is expected to meet a broad range of student needs or readiness levels. Also referred to as inclusion or inclusive classrooms.

Homogeneous Grouping – Grouping students by need, ability, or interest. Although variations between students exist in a homogeneous classroom, the intent of this grouping pattern is to restrict the range of student readiness or needs that a teacher must address.

Identification – The process of determining students qualified for gifted or advanced programming, identification most commonly occurs through the use of intelligence or other testing. Many researchers place emphasis on using multiple pathways for identification, adding teacher, parent, or peer nominations or authentic assessments such as portfolios of student work to the process.

IEP – 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.

Independent Study – A self-directed learning strategy where the teacher acts as a guide or facilitator and the student plays a more active role in designing and managing his or her own learning, often on a topic of special interest to the student.

Intelligence – The ability to learn, reason, and problem solve. Debate revolves around the nature of intelligence as to whether it is an innate quality or something that is developed as a result of interacting with the environment. Many researchers believe that it is a combination of the two.

Intelligence Quotient (IQ) – 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.

International Baccalaureate Program (IB) – 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. The IB program now includes Middle Years and Primary Years programs.

Learning Styles/Preferences – Preferred way(s) in which individuals interact or process new information across the three domains of learning identified in the taxonomy of education objectives: cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (attitude). An individual’s learning preference/learning style is how he or she learns best.

Magnet School – A public school program that focuses on a specific learning area such as math, science, technology, or the performing arts. Some districts have magnet schools that have been established to meet the specific learning needs of the gifted.

Mentor – A community member who shares his or her expertise with a student of similar career or field of study aspirations.

Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) – MTSS is a framework applied at the state, district, and school level that uses implementation science to create one integrated system. This system is designed to support the needs of all students. MTSS is defined as a prevention-based framework of team-driven data-based problem solving for improving the outcomes of every student through family, school, and community partnering and a layered continuum of evidence-based practices applied at the classroom, school, district, region, and state level.

NAGC – 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. Their website provides excellent information for parents of gifted children.

Norm-Referenced Testing – An assessment that compares an individual’s results with a large group of individuals who have taken the same assessment (who are referred to as the “norming group”). Examples include the SAT and Iowa Tests of Basic Skills.

Overexcitability – A theory proposed by Kazimierz Dąbrowski, a Polish psychologist, psychiatrist, and physician, that suggests that some individuals have heightened sensitivities, awareness, and intensity in one or more of five areas: psychomotor, sensual, intellectual, imaginational, and emotional.

Percentile Rank – 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.

Perfectionism – 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.

Portfolios – An alternative or supplement to traditional measures of giftedness, portfolios offer a collection of student work over time that can help to determine achievement and progress. Many of the elements found in portfolios cannot be captured by a standardized test.

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) – A curriculum and instruction model that asks students to solve real-world, complex, or open-ended problems by using research, decision-making, creative and critical thinking, and other 21st-century skills.

Pull-Out Program – A program that takes a student out of the regular classroom during the school day for special programming.

Rubric – A rubric is a chart composed of criteria for evaluation and levels of fulfillment of those criteria. A rubric allows for standardized evaluation according to specified criteria, making grading simpler and more transparent.

Social-Emotional Needs – 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, low self-concept, bullying, or underachievement.

STEM – An acronym for the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Providing STEM curriculum is encouraged as a way to grow students’ interests and potentials in these areas. Some researchers lump the arts (STEAM) into this category of instruction.

Talent Development – Programs, curricula, and services for gifted and talented students that can best meet their needs, promote their achievements in life, and contribute to the enhancement of our society when schools identify students’ specific talent strengths and focus educational services on these talents.

Talent Search – A special program that uses out-of-level testing (commonly the SAT or ACT) to identify high-potential students and allow them to participate in a variety of out-of-school activities. These may occur in the form of Saturday or summer courses or distance learning programs. There are four major talent searches in the U.S.: Duke University’s Talent Identification Program (TIP), Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development (CTD), Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth (CTY), and the Center for Bright Kids (formerly Rocky Mountain Talent Search) right here in Denver, CO.

Telescoping – 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 Academy – The Colorado Academy of Educators for the Gifted, Talented, and Creative (CAEGTC) is a professional educational association for the purpose of recognizing, stimulating, strengthening, and nurturing professional excellence in the development and delivery of educational services to the widespread population of gifted, talented, and creative children and youth in schools and districts in Colorado.

Twice-Exceptional (2e) – A term used to describe a student who is both gifted and disabled. These students may also be referred to as having dual exceptionalities or as being gifted with learning disabilities (GT/LD). This also applies to students who are gifted with ADHD or gifted with autism.

Underachievement – A term used to describe the discrepancy between a student’s performance and his or her potential or ability to perform at a much higher level.