This study examined a national sample of classroom teachers, teachers of the gifted, administrators, and consultants from rural, suburban, and urban areas regarding their assumptions about the gifted identification process. Respondents indicated the degree to which they agreed or disagreed with 20 items that reflected guidelines for a comprehensive identification system. Five factors were derived from 20 items. Respondents favored the use of individual expression criteria, ongoing assessment, multiple criteria for identification, and consideration of contextual factors. Teachers of the gifted and respondents from urban areas were more likely to favor these strategies. The sample opposed restricting identification to the sole use of achievement or IQ scores.
PUTTING THE RESEARCH TO USE:
Discrepancies exist between the beliefs expressed by educators in this study and the identification practices documented by other researches in recent years. The challenge for practitioners is to bring beliefs and practices together. To achieve this, the following strategies are suggested for use in case studies: biographical and autobiographical data; products or portfolio reviews; performance assessment; and self-, peer, or parent nominations. A flexible approach that is oriented toward developing gifted behaviors, rather than an absolutist view of “the gifted,” should be considered along with an ongoing review of student progress that encourages talent development.