Each week we receive several calls from parents asking whether we are able to conduct a “gifted test” or an “IQ test” for children to determine if they are indeed gifted students who would meet criteria for admission into “gifted programs”. The definition of giftedness according to the Ministry of Education is “an unusually advanced degree of general intellectual ability that requires differentiated learning experiences of a depth and breadth beyond those normally provided in the regular school program to satisfy the level of educational potential indicated.” Looking at this definition, we can see why early identification is critical for many gifted students.
It is not always the case that children whose intellectual functioning falls in the gifted range will just continue to do exceptionally well without enrichment. At times, gifted children who have not been identified may find themselves bored with regular curriculum and feel unchallenged by their workload. Some may continue to achieve good grades, but are still working below their potential. Other gifted students who have not been identified may simply start to disengage academically due to their boredom. Academic programming for gifted students acknowledges their need for ongoing intellectual stimulation and provides a broad range of academic experiences which allow students to work at full potential. Formal identification of gifted testing serves to open to the door to various placements and programs that may better meet the student’s learning style and intellectual level. That being said, it is also important to consider more than simply intellectual ability when determining the right academic placement for a gifted student. Often factors related to social functioning and emotional functioning can play a role in the overall success of a student in gifted or enrichment programming. Any psychoeducational testing or gifted assessment should also screen for these factors and consider these factors when determining a student’s suitability for the specific academic programming.