NAGC Position Statements & White Papers

The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) periodically issues position statements and posts white papers that deal with issues, policies, and practices that have an impact on the education of gifted and talented students.

When a need for clarification arises on a particular issue, policy, or practice, NAGC assembles a task force of experts. They collaborate to craft a position paper to represent the official convictions of the organization and provide guidance for individuals working with gifted children.

All position statements are approved by the NAGC Board of Directors and remain consistent with the organization's position that education in a democracy must respect the uniqueness of all individuals, the broad range of cultural diversity present in our society, and the similarities and differences in learning characteristics that can be found within any group of students.

To inform the conversation and the knowledge base about gifted and talented issues, NAGC also invites the development of white papers by groups or individuals with expertise on a specific topic.

For specific guidelines on the development of white papers and position papers, access the templates below.
Position Statement Template
White Paper Template

Most recent Position Statements?
Approved in July 2014: Arts Education and Gifted and Talented Students and Accountability for Gifted and Talented Student Learning.

Position Statements

Acceleration

Educational acceleration is one of the cornerstones of exemplary gifted education practices, with more research supporting this intervention than any other in the literature on gifted individuals. The practice of educational acceleration has long been used to match high level student general ability and specific talent with optimal learning opportunities.
Accountability  NAGC believes that schools, districts, and states should be accountable for the learning gains of all students, including gifted and talented learners from all socio-economic, racial, and ethnic subgroups.
(Affective Needs) Nurturing Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children

Gifted students have the same developmental tasks as their less able age peers do (related, for example, to identity, sense of competence, career direction, peer relationships, differentiation, autonomy). However, because of characteristics associated with giftedness in clinical and research literature (e.g., sensitivity, intensity, perceptiveness, overexcitabilites, divergent thinking, precocious talent development, advanced moral development), their needs, concerns, and how they experience development may be quite different. Rapid information-processing in itself may contribute to intense emotional responses to environmental stimuli. The characteristics just mentioned may even contribute to difficulties with developmental tasks. In general, it is important that parents, educators, counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists be informed about affective development of gifted children and adolescents and apply their knowledge in their relationships with this population.

Arts Education NAGC believes that arts education is fundamental to an appropriate education for gifted and talented learners and should be addressed through domain-specific opportunities and authentic integration across the curriculum.
The Role of Assessments in the Identification of Gifted Students

Assessments can be used for a variety of purposes, including identifying students for gifted programs; providing ongoing feedback to guide the instructional process; and to determine to what extent students have obtained intended goals (e.g., academic, affective) within a gifted program. The purpose of this position paper is to provide parents, teachers, and other advocates of gifted students with best practices endorsed by NAGC related to the first purpose--the role of assessments in identifying students for gifted programs.

Collaboration Among All Educators to Meet the Needs of Gifted Learners Collaboration among gifted, general, special education and related services professionals is essential to meet the varied needs of today’s diverse student population. Through a shared vision and passion for meeting the needs of all learners, specialized educators share their expertise and insights to plan for their students across programs and services.

Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards for Gifted and Talented Students

While supporting the effort to promote rigorous content standards for all learners, the National Association for Gifted Children also calls for attention to the specific needs of gifted learners in the implementation of the national content standards and their corresponding assessments.

Comprehensive Assessment to Ensure Gifted Students with Disabilities Receive Appropriate Services 

Like all other students with disabilities in America’s schools, gifted students with co-existing disabilities—the Twice-Exceptional (2e)—have the right to a free, appropriate, public education. However, due to challenges inherent in accurately evaluating a student’s learning strengths and weaknesses, and special education identification processes that focus on below grade-level achievement, many 2e students are going unidentified. NAGC recommends five strategies that will increase the probability that gifted students with disabilities are identified and that their advanced abilities and disabilities are simultaneously addressed and supported.
Differentiating Curriculum and Instruction for Gifted and Talented Students Most gifted children in the United States spend the majority of their school time in regular classroom settings, grouped with age peers who have a wide range of academic achievement and potential. This expansive range of needs in every classroom underscores the importance of assessing all students appropriately and providing differentiated curriculum and instruction that will promote their learning.
Early Childhood This position paper, initiated by the Early Childhood Division of NAGC, focuses on creating optimal environments for recognizing, developing, and nurturing the strengths and talents of young gifted children, age 3 through 8.
Appropriate Education for Gifted GLBT Students Many educational groups, at the national, state, and local levels, are concerned about how best to meet the particular needs of students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (GLBT). NAGC, which has an organizational policy of non-discrimination toward GLBT persons, supports practices of equitable and sensitive treatment of GLBT youth and recommends that educators demonstrate understanding and equity toward gifted GLBT students in their schools.
Standards for Teacher Preparation Programs in Gifted Education Teacher Preparation Standards in Gifted Education have been approved by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).   NAGC worked with the Council for Exceptional Children to revise the standards used by college and university teacher preparation programs in gifted education.  Click here to learn more.
Grouping

Grouping gifted children is one of the foundations of exemplary gifted education practice. The research on the many grouping strategies available to educators of these children is long, consistent, and overwhelmingly positive (Rogers, 2006; Tieso, 2003). Nonetheless, the "press" from general educators, both teachers and administrators, has been consistently less supportive. Myths abound that grouping these children damages the self-esteem of struggling learners, creates an "elite" group who may think too highly of themselves, and is actually undemocratic and, at times, racist. None of these papers have any founding in actual research, but the arguments continue decade after decade (Fiedler, Lange, & Winebrenner, 2002). This position paper is intended for school board members, school administrators, teachers, parents of gifted children, and other community members with an interest in education.

Growth in Achievement of Advanced Students (Growth Models)

The Association for the Gifted (TAG) believes that growth models should replace status models so that all students’ progress can be measured over time. Further, CEC-TAG believes that on-going assessment is necessary in planning instruction for individual students. While schools should examine a wide range of group differences to determine if students are receiving opportunities to learn such as socioeconomic status, gender, race or ethnicity, disability, or English language status, this position paper pertains to students who perform at the advanced level and the necessity for growth models that take their educational needs into account.

Identifying and Serving Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Gifted Students As the nation becomes more and more diverse, gifted education programs should reflect changing U.S. demographics.  Equitably identified gifted students represent cultural and linguistic diversity as well as a wide range of socioeconomic groups and geographic areas, yet these populations are too often overlooked.  Reversing the underrepresentation of culturally and linguistically diverse students (CLD) in gifted education will require that educators have a thorough understanding of the reasons that CLD students have traditionally been excluded from participation in gifted programs.

Mandated Services for Gifted and Talented Students

NAGC supports mandating services to meet the unique needs of gifted and talented children.
NAGC-NMSA Joint Position Statement  

The National Association for Gifted Children and the National Middle School Association share a commitment to developing schools and classrooms in which both equity and excellence are persistent goals for each learner. Equity refers to the opportunity of every learner to have supported access to the highest possible quality education. Excellence refers to the need of every learner for opportunities and adult support necessary to maximize his or her learning potential.

Preservice Teacher Education Programs In many classrooms, one-size-fits-all instruction is pervasive. At the same time, student populations are becoming more academically diverse and classroom teachers are being asked to be primary service providers for this full range of academic diversity -- including students who are advanced well beyond their age peers. The role of preservice education programs in preparing educators to work effectively in academically diverse classrooms is critical to the success of public education, and to its capacity to maximize the potential of all learners.

Redefining Giftedness for a New Century: Shifting the Paradigm

When a need for clarification arises on a particular issue, policy, or practice, NAGC assembles a task force of experts, which in this case was the Gifted Terminology Task Force. This task force collaborated to craft a position paper to represent the official convictions of the organization and provide guidance for individuals working with gifted children.

Use of the WISC-IV for Gifted Identification School districts use multi-faceted approaches to identify gifted students. Some states and districts employ comprehensive individual IQ tests as one of several identifiers. The most popular of these is the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fourth Edition (WISC-IV) (Lubin, Wallis & Paine, 1971). Even in districts where IQ tests are not used in student selection, the WISC-IV is often administered when the parents appeal the decision to deny a child services. Also, for twice exceptional children, the WISC-IV plays an important role in documenting the child’s giftedness and learning deficits, as well as revealing the giftedness of children with expressive, physical, or other disabilities. In prior versions of the Wechsler scales, the child’s Full Scale IQ score has been the primary determining factor in placement. However, the Full Scale IQ score of the WISC-IV often does not represent a child’s intellectual abilities as well as the General Ability Index. Therefore, some guidelines for test interpretation are necessary.http://nagc.org.442elmp01.blackmesh.com/get-involved/advocate-high-ability-learners/advocate-your-child

White Papers

Response to Intervention (RtI) The Association for the Gifted, a division of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC-TAG) recognizes the importance and the impact of the Response to Intervention (RTI) method of identifying and serving students with diverse educational needs. The inclusion of students who are twice exceptional within the RTI framework provided a starting point for addressing students who are gifted.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

The fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) are critical to our economy, our national security, and our global leadership in innovation and research. Our key resource lies in students with mathematical and scientific promise, including students who traditionally have been identified as gifted, talented, bright, or precocious in mathematics or science as well as those students with potential who may have missed out on the rich opportunities that have accompanied this recognition. We cannot afford to waste the talents of students with the greatest potential to lead us to creative and productive futures in mathematics, science, technology, and engineering. 

Read the Executive Summary.
Twice Exceptionality Psychologists who work in the area of special education sometimes refer to students with two disabilities as having a dual diagnosis, which may be considered to be twice-exceptional. In the field of gifted education, the more commonly used term for a gifted student with a co-occurring disability is “twice-exceptional learner”. This simple definition belies the complexity that underlies the multiple issues associated with twice-exceptionality.