News/research from teacher-journalist Robert J. Ballantyne

How is giftedness identified?

There are three widely accepted psychological assessments to determine giftedness in students in Canadian schools.

Gifted learners are often identified at an early age, displaying precocity, advanced insight, and/or creativity when compared to peers of the same age. In order to receive special accommodation, schools typically require a cognitive assessment. The age in which assessments are given or are needed in school depends on the school district and programs offered.

There are three widely accepted psychological assessments to determine giftedness in students in Canadian schools:

  • Canadian Cognitive Abilities Test (CCAT)
  • Wechsler Intelligence Scale
  • Stanford-Binet

All three tests generate an IQ, measuring intelligence in areas including vocabulary, visual spatial processing and mathematical reasoning. A score of 130 or higher indicates giftedness, but depending on the school division, scores may need to fall within 97 percent or higher of the comparison group.

Many psychologists are critical of intelligence tests because they measure academic giftedness, but aren’t a holistic representation of the spectrum of exceptional talent and creativity:

IQ tests measure learned ability, not potential ability. At best they are keys that open particular doors of understanding, and must never be used to lock the door of possibility.

Mary-Elaine Jacobsen

Reference

Jacobsen, M. (1999). The gifted adult: a revolution guide for liberating everyday genius. [Kindle version]. Toronto: Random House, Inc.

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