5 Domains of Giftedness, 3 Cautions, and 1 Essential Reminder

There are five areas of gifted education:

General Intellectual – This identification is based on aptitude. Students are identified by scores they receive on intelligence tests such as The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) and The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC). Common characteristics include:

  • Formulates abstractionsGI
  • Processes information in complex ways
  • Observant
  • Excited about new ideas
  • Enjoys hypothesizing
  • Learns rapidly
  • Uses a large vocabulary
  • Inquisitive
  • Self-starter

Specific Academic – This identification is based on achievement. Students are identified by scores they receive on assessments such as Measure of Academic Performance (MAP), or sections of the Screening Assessment for Gifted Elementary Students (SAGES). Common characteristics include:

  • Good memorization abilitySA
  • Advanced comprehension
  • Acquires basic skill knowledge quickly
  • Widely read in special interest area
  • High academic success in special interest area
  • Pursues special interest with enthusiasm and vigor

Creativity – This identification should not be confused with artistically gifted. These students are our creative thinkers. They are identified by creativity screeners, nominations by teachers and parents, classroom evidence, and assessments such as The Torrance Test of Creative Thinking. Common characteristics include:

  • Independent thinker                                  Craetivity
  • Exhibits original thinking in oral and written expression
  • Comes up with several solutions to a given problem
  • Possesses a sense of humor
  • Creates and invents
  • Challenged by creative tasks
  • Improvises often
  • Does not mind being different from the crowd

Visual/Performing Arts – This identification includes our gifted artists, musicians, and actors. Their identification is performance based, and they are identified by the experts in their field (art, drama, and music teachers). Common characteristics include:

  • Outstanding in sense of spatial relationshipsVP Arts
  • Unusual ability in expressing self, feeling, moods, etc., through dance, drama, music, etc.
  • Good motor coordination
  • Exhibits creative expression
  • Desire for producing “own product” (not content with mere copying)
  • Observant

Leadership – This identification is based on observation of leadership skills in the school and classroom. Students may be nominated by teachers, parents, or they may nominate themselves. Common characteristics include:

  • Assumes responsibility
  • High expectations for self and others
  • Fluent, concise self expressionleadership
  • Foresees consequences and implications of decisions
  • Good judgment in decision making
  • Likes structure
  • Well-liked by peers
  • Self-confident
  • Organized

Three Cautions:

  1. Identification , in and of itself, means nothing. What matters is what happens as a result of the identification. These students need to be appropriately challenged so that they have the opportunity to grow. The gifted student needs different work, not the work everyone is doing and then a few extensions or challenges added on. Teachers need to include these children in the planning of their curriculum. In a time when personalized learning is all the rage, these students are ready to drive their learning.
  2. Being gifted does not mean these children already know everything.  It means they have the capacity to learn deeper, wider, and more quickly. They do not need as many repetitions of the material to reach mastery. But they still need and deserve some time being instructed and/or guided by the teacher. They should not be left on their own to learn everything independently. It is not fair to them. Gifted children do not want preferential treatment. They just want what they deserve.
  3. Three of the GT domains have nothing to do with academic achievement.  Identification as gifted in Creativity, Visual/Performing Arts, and/or Leadership have nothing to do with scores received on academic assessments. A child can be struggling in math or reading and still be gifted in one of these three areas. Teachers need to know and understand the specific area(s) the gifted children in their classrooms have been identified in. Only then will they be able to provide the appropriate challenges these children need and deserve.

One Essential Reminder:

If you’ve met one gifted child, you have met one gifted child! These children are an extremely diverse group of individuals. One size does not fit all. In order to best serve these children, teachers need to get to know and understand each of them for who they are. The same is true for all students in the classroom. The gifted are no exception.



Lists of Characteristics from : National Society for the Gifted and Talented

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