Educational Planning for Highly to Profoundly Gifted Children
Abandon all suppositions (“ye who enter here”) about the highly gifted (HG, 145-159 IQ), exceptionally gifted (EG, 160-174 IQ), and profoundly gifted (PG, 175+ IQ). Such students thrive when provided flexible choices, meaningful work, moderate to radical acceleration (3 years), and teachers they respect. Extremely asynchronous, they possess enhanced characteristics of giftedness and overexcitabilities. Most prefer bright older friends, and even teachers, to same-aged, nongifted classmates. Many value learning to satisfy their own curiosity; they may not earn the highest grades. Successful school placements require flexibility to adjust curricula and instruction to meet unique needs. Full-time gifted schools may be a good base of operations; homeschooling offers the most flexible options.
The child’s level of giftedness is pivotal in program planning. Group IQ tests do not distinguish students in the higher ranges. Therefore, quality individual assessment is the first step in meeting the needs of HG, EG and PG children. Our examiners have tested over 1,000 exceptionally and profoundly gifted children from around the world. We take the time necessary to build rapport, and let children reflect, sort through their vast knowledge base and respond precisely to questions. We move quickly between tasks when they need greater speed to maintain interest. We enjoy their intelligence, their successes and their wit.
We understand important nuances in assessing HG, EG and PG children. We carefully select appropriate tests and subtests. We provided research to develop extended norms for the WISC-IV, and know when to use them. We report when a child never reaches a subtest discontinue criterion, indicating that the score may be an underestimate. Many testers consider the single Full Scale IQ score the best indicator of a child’s intelligence. Sometimes it is not. We derive the General Ability Index (GAI) when the child’s composite scores are too discrepant. We offer the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale (Form L-M), when the WISC-IV significantly underestimates the child’s abilities due to inadequate item difficulty.
The combination of a comprehensive individual IQ test and an achievement test offers schools documentation of extraordinary ability and a measure of current academic progress. Individual achievement tests measure achievement at all grade levels, an advantage over grade-based tests for highly advanced or asynchronous learners. The rate of academic progress can be inferred from the age of the child, allowing more appropriate placement decisions to be made. When armed with such information, educators are more willing to provide flexible programming and placements.
The heart of our work is fashioning a rich, fast-paced learning environment for these students. Would curriculum compacting or telescoping help? Can pre-testing be done to exempt the child from material already learned? Can independent research/projects in areas of interest be done in the time saved? Acceleration is a frequent consideration: when to accelerate, how much, the social-emotional aspects, and why NOT accelerating may be more dangerous than accelerating. Miraca Gross’ longitudinal study of children with IQs of 160+ found that exceptionally and profoundly gifted children fared best with 3 or more years of acceleration K-12. The accelerated students attained higher degrees and were more successful in their careers, and the non-accelerated students had high risk of depression and underemployment. The greatest benefit was social; acceleration allowed these students to be with others with whom they had common interests.
The Gifted Development Center is world-renowned for its experience with HG, EG, and PG students. We can help you choose or create supportive learning environments in which to develop your child’s strengths, meet unusual needs, and protect emotional health and self-esteem.