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Although there is no easy formula for identifying a gifted child, certain characteristics appear to differentiate the gifted child from his/her classmates, such as:
Note: High grades in classes and/or high scores on standardized achievement tests are not necessarily indicators that a student is gifted. Further evaluation is necessary for accurate identification.
If a child exhibits a majority of these characteristics, parents may wish to have the child assessed by an experienced examiner to find out if the child is gifted. Firstborn children tend to be recognized more often than their siblings. When one child in the family is gifted, it is quite possible that others may also be gifted.
Early identification is recommended (ages 3 through 8) because it permits early intervention, as important for gifted as for any other children with special needs.
Knows the answers
Has good ideas
Answers the questions
Listens with interest
Learns with ease
6-8 repetitions for mastery
Grasps the meaning
Good at memorization
Enjoys straightforward sequential presentation
Is pleased with own learning
Asks the questions
Is highly curious
Is mentally and physically involved
Has wild, silly ideas
Plays around, yet tests well
Discusses in detail, elaborates
Beyond the group
Shows strong feelings and opinions
1-2 repetitions for mastery
Creates a new design
Thrives on complexity
Is keenly observant
Is highly self-critical
Hoagies' Gifted Resource Site updates its Gifted 101 page often and is an excellent resource for parents of newly identified gifted children and for those parents who need a refresher or are seeking more information. View the Gifted 101 resource.
This article from the National Association of Elementary School Principals publication Principal highlights the characteristics of gifted students, documents the identification process and addresses common myths about gifted students. It is called "Best Practices for Identifying Gifted Students" by Susan K. Johnsen, who is currently a Professor Emeritus at Baylor University with multiple publications on Gifted Education.