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June 2021 Question of the Month: Should I Have My Child Tested for "Giftedness"?

06/27/2021 7:15 PM | Anonymous

Should I have My Child Tested for "Giftedness"?

A frequent question asked by parents of primary school children is, “Should I have my child tested for giftedness?” 

Parents are a child’s first teachers, and often the first to recognize signs of advanced ability such as early literacy, creative approaches to mathematical problem solving, or sophisticated vocabulary. It is natural that these parents may wonder if they are nurturing a child with outstanding talent or abilities. They may ask, "What additional parent responsibilities, opportunities, or concerns may be on the horizon when raising a child with advanced abilities or unusual talents?" In order to find out what needs a child may have, a test may seem like a natural first step.

However, when considering whether to assess a child for “giftedness” outside of school or through a district-sponsored assessment process, it is important to recognize that no single assessment exists to determine this. Multiple measures beyond standardized testing, including subjective data such as interviews and observations may provide valuable information to determine a child’s abilities and talents. 

 Moreover, there are many definitions of “giftedness,” and whether a child is considered “gifted” likely depends upon the school, district, or organization who set identification criteria to determine eligibility for advanced or enriched educational programs. If a determination of “giftedness” is needed to place a child in a given program through which he or she may benefit, then testing a child for “giftedness” pursuant to those criteria makes sense.

For parents considering testing their child for giftedness outside of their child’s school/district, the following questions may be helpful:

  • What different enrichment activities or learning experiences would I provide for my child should he/she be found to be “gifted?” Would they differ from the kinds of enrichment activities that I provide based upon my child’s current interest, readiness, and preferences?

  • Does my child show emotional/academic readiness to engage in the assessment process? 

  • Is my child engaged in learning, happy, and motivated in school and/or home learning activities?

  • Are there concerns about special needs or learning disabilities that an assessment would help to identify and/or address?

The National Association for Gifted Children’sTip Sheet, “Assessments,” by Kathy Nilles offers additional guidance for parents who are considering whether to assess their child for giftedness. (Ms. Nilles will be a presenter at the Illinois Association for Gifted Children’s Parent Saturday Forum, which will be held virtually on October 16, 2021.)

Assessments play a role to support parents of children on this journey when they help to match programming to children’s advanced learning needs. However, regardless of whether a child is identified as "gifted, parents should seek enrichment experiences through school, community, and online channels to develop their child’s unique skills and talents. 


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