Screening, Identification and Assessment: Identifying gifted students for success

Athletic programs can do it, so why can’t we?

Marjorie Gestring: At just 13 years old, Gestring is youngest person to ever win an Olympic gold medal.

Wayne Gretzky: One of the greatest hockey players of all time, Gretzky began skating at the age of three and was playing hockey by age six.

Identifying gifted students Madison Keys: At the age of 14, she beat Serena Williams to become one of the youngest women to ever win a Women’s Tennis Association Tour match.

Nyjah Huston: The skateboarder appeared in his first X Games competition at age 11. The youngest competitor in X Game history.

Lucy Li: An 11-year-old California girl who became the youngest person to ever qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open.

These are just a few of the athletic superstars who were identified and developed at an early age, but there are thousands of other stories like theirs.

Athletic programs around the globe excel when it comes to identifying athletic ability and talent at a young age. But what about our academic all-stars? Are we doing our very best to make sure we are identifying gifted students at a young age in our schools?

If you can’t answer that question with a resounding “yes”, don’t despair. In the 6-hour course, “Screen, Identification and Assessment,” Joyce Juntune, Ph.D. provides the tools you need in your schools and districts to identify gifted students early enough that they too can experience the same kind of success as their athletic counterparts.

Dr. Juntune is a renowned consultant, trainer, professor, and lecturer with more than 45 years of experience in the field of education. She is an instructional associate professor at Texas A&M University where she teaches graduate-level courses in her expert areas of intelligence, child and adolescent development, educational psychology, giftedness, and creativity.

Check out this course sample, or read more below:

Becoming an academic talent scout

There is a lot of money in sport. So, it’s no surprise that athletic talent scouts have become very good at what they do.

Like their athletic counterparts, teachers, coordinators, and administrators need to develop the abilities and tools to:

  • Identify the characteristics necessary for greatness
  • Assess current abilities
  • Recognize future potential

Dr. Juntune trains teacher on how to become academic talent scouts by drawing a distinction between screening and identification, and then offering concrete strategies for screening for giftedness.

Are you fishing with a wide net or a single pole?

Identifying gifted students An athletic talent scout has to screen thousands of candidates each year to identify a much smaller group that will be assessed as viable candidates for a handful of spots.

As educators, our method should be similar, says Dr. Juntune.

Assessment is the wide net we should be casting to help identify gifted students. “What I find is most problematic in schools today is that we don’t give teachers the tools for the screening,” says Dr. Juntune.

The wide net means we are watching and looking for signs of giftedness, rather than simply sending students for testing at parental request or when their GPA is high enough. Here are a few of the tools Dr. Juntune suggest to improve screening:

  • Free association list
  • The Silverman checklist
  • The “Jot Down” tool
  • Purposeful observation
  • Not every all-star can hit a homerun

Not every all-star can hit a homerun

As we cast our net wider, we also need to improve the tools we use in identifying gifted students. A written exam isn’t always going to cut it.

Just as not every baseball player can hit a homerun, not every gifted student will excel using traditional identification and assessment tools. Dr. Juntune outlines many tools for assessment, outlining the strengths and weaknesses of each.

What happens when students fall through the cracks?

Identifying gifted students If there is a perfect tool for identifying gifted students, I haven’t found it yet. Our districts and gifted program coordinators do their very best to develop the tools needed to identify our gifted and talented students, but they don’t work 100 percent of the time.

Sometimes even using wide-net screening, students who clearly show signs of giftedness will be missed in the assessment process. The most important tools Dr. Juntune provides in this course, are those necessary to appeal on behalf of those students.

Is the next academic Tiger Woods in your classroom?

Athletic programs are extremely important for the benefit of those involved. Identifying gifted students and then nurturing them isn’t just important, it’s urgent. The gifted students of today will be our world-changers tomorrow.

Take this 6-hour course, “Screening, Identification, and Assessment,” so you can begin scouting out the talent sitting your classroom today.

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Delivering Quality Training – No Matter Where You Are

Mobile ready professional development for gifted teachersDid you know that this course is mobile ready? That means you can complete the course on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer, or any other mobile device!

Images courtesy of Flickr via Tatiana, Scott Ableman via Compfight cc