Gifted and Talented Identification
There are five important elements to the identification
- The use of tests
- Parent feedback
- Pupil feedback
- Teacher identification
- Establishing a formal
The Use of Tests
Objective test results can be useful in identifying gifted and
talented pupils, although the results need to be used carefully. A
'high' mark, for example, can indicate that a particular pupil is 'gifted'
or 'talented' but a low mark would not necessarily imply that a pupil
was not 'gifted' or 'talented.' Pupils can under perform in tests,
particularly those who are under-achieving and disaffected.
Some schools have found it useful to use ability
based tests such as NFER Cognitive Ability Tests (CATs). These tests
aim to measure verbal, quantative and non-verbal reasoning skills.
The information can be used alongside Key Stage test results and teacher
Whilst testing does have a role to play in the identification
of gifted and talented pupils it should usually only ever be one element
in a wider identification process.
It can sometimes happen that pupils develop interests and hobbies
outside of school which teachers are not aware of. In some cases the
development of such hobbies and interests can be an indicator that
a particular pupil may well be gifted and talented. A pupil might develop
an interest in local history and thereby develop sophisticated skills
of historical investigation and research. Communicating with parents
to find out about pupils' interests and experiences outside of school
can therefore provide important information to help identify gifted
and talented pupils.
Allowing pupils the opportunity to contribute observations about
their own strengths and weaknesses, and also those of their peer
group, can be an effective way of involving them in the identification
process. It can also provide useful insights which can help in the
identification of underachieving gifted and talented pupils.
Teachers have an important part to play in the identification of gifted and
talented pupils, because a class teacher or subject teacher is usually particularly
well placed to identify those pupils who are gifted and talented in relation
to their peer group.
Teachers often have a shrewd idea about the relative
strengths and abilities of many of their pupils, but research has shown
that 'quieter' pupils, or those who do not so readily manifest their
abilities, are sometimes less likely to be identified as gifted and
The process of discussing and drawing up a school's own checklist of
qualities which gifted and talented pupils might be expected to exhibit can
be an extremely effective way of ensuring that staff are clear and
consistent in their understanding of the concepts, and application,
of the notion of 'gifted and talented'.
Establishing a Formal
In order to ensure clarity and equity in the identification
process it is important to establish a formal identification process
which occurs each year and leads to the recording of the pupils identified
as gifted and talented. In order to ensure that changes to a particular
pupil cohort are recognised in the identification process, it can be
particularly helpful to review the identification each year.
Many schools have found it particularly helpful to
set aside a formal identification week each year. During that week
teachers formally observe their pupils, and using their checklists
to inform their judgements, feed back specific nominations, often in
a formal meeting held at the end of the identification week. Nominations
can then be considered by the teacher responsible for gifted and talented
pupils, in the light of parent feedback, exam results and any feedback
from pupils that there might be.