Definition In the state of Texas a gifted and talented student is defined as “a child or youth who performs at or shows the potential for performing at a remarkably high level of accomplishment when compared to others of the same age, experience, or environment and who: exhibits high performance capability in an intellectual creative, or artistic area; possesses an unusual capacity for leadership; or excels in an academic field.
Program Purpose The purpose of the Texas Gifted and Talented program is to identify those students performing at the highest levels, and to provide services for them to continue to achieve at these levels. The gifted and talented program was enacted to help gifted learners develop a challenging body of knowledge that will take them farther than just the bare minimum.
Program Requirements All school districts must have policies and procedures regarding the assessment process and programs provided in their specific G/T programs. These policies should include:
identification of students,
assessment of students in K-12,
and provisions for those with special needs in the program.
Assessments Students are nominated and screened each year. Must be made up of multiple sources from each area of giftedness served by the district. The State of Texas mandates that at least three areas of giftedness must be addressed. Final selection of students is made from at least three (3) members from each district who have been trained in gifted and talented education.
Implementation To implement such a program it requires steps such as:
Form a team to develop a plan for a G/T program.
The team will research gifted education, state rules and regulations, and develop a strategic plan.
Team will present plan to school board.
The district will hopefully implement the plan.
The program will be evaluated on the effectiveness of the new G/T program and will recommend changes.
Texas Regulations The Texas SBEC has listed and explained seven standards that a gifted and talented teacher should prepare for and fulfill:
Standard I The teacher of gifted and talented students understands and applies knowledge of the historical, legal, and conceptual foundations of gifted education.
Standard II The teacher of gifted and talented students has comprehensive knowledge of the cognitive, social, and emotional characteristics and needs of these students.
Standard III The teacher of gifted and talented students understands and applies knowledge of assessment issues relevant to gifted and talented students, including identification, diagnosis, and evaluation.
Standard IV The teacher of gifted and talented students understands and applies knowledge of systematic program and curriculum design.
Standard V The teacher of gifted and talented students creates a learning environment that reflects research-supported instructional practices.
Standard VI The teacher of gifted and talented students collaborates and communicates with students and parents/guardians; colleagues and administrators; professionals in business, industry, and universities; and the public to support the education of gifted and talented students.
Standard VII The teacher of gifted and talented students fulfills professional roles and responsibilities and understands legal and ethical issues relevant to the education of these students.
Analyzing G/T Programs There are three program levels:
Acceptable – consists of instructional requirements that reflect a minimum requirement by state law or rule.
Recognized – includes the same requirements as the “acceptable” level with more comprehensive services added in.
Exemplary – includes the state minimums of “acceptable” and additional comprehensive services of “recognized”, but goes further to expect the highest levels of performance and product innovation from its students
Conclusion School districts must provide a variety of learning experiences that will challenge qualified students in grades 1 through 12, among the four core academic areas. Through these learning experiences, students are expected to produce a product or performance that is at a more advanced level than their peers. Services to gifted and talented students must also be a part of district and campus improvement plans (TEA, 2000, p. 7).