Programming Standards Glossary of Terms

2019 NAGC Pre-K-Grade 12 Gifted Programming Standards

 

Ability/Abilities. Capacity to develop competence in an area of human endeavor; also referred to as ‘potential’. Abilities can be developed through appropriate formal and informal education experiences and typically are assessed by measures such as intelligence and aptitude tests.

Above-Grade-Level. Students with gifts and talents are often performing or are ready to learn content beyond the typical age-based grade level. Identifying readiness to learn beyond a student’s grade level can be assessed through performance measures and above-grade-level testing, which is also called off-grade testing, out-of-level testing, above-level testing, and off-level testing. Above-grade-level testing is the practice of administering a test that was designed for and normed on an older population to a younger, advanced/gifted student (Warne, 2012). Widely used in Talent Search programs, it is used to increase the test’s ceiling and thus provide an accurate picture of the relative ability level of students whose abilities exceed those that can be measured using on-grade level instruments (Matthews, 2008).

Acceleration. Acceleration encourages students to learn at a rate commensurate with their abilities. It is a strategy of progressing through education at rates faster or ages younger than the norm through grade-based or content-based acceleration. Grade-based acceleration includes options that reduce the number of years spent in school such as grade skipping, telescoping, and early admissions; whereas, content-based acceleration is domain specific and students receive grade-level instruction within their own class or in an advanced grade at an accelerated pace such as cross-grade grouping, single subject acceleration, and continuous progress. (Assouline, Colangelo, VanTassel-Baska, & Lupkowski-Shoplik, 2015; Colangelo, Assouline, & Gross, 2004; Rogers, 2007, 2015; Worrell, Subotnik, Olszewski-Kubilius, & Dixson, 2019).

Achievement. Accomplishment or performance demonstrating learned knowledge and skills. Achievement typically is assessed using standardized achievement tests, curriculum-based assessments, portfolios, and products.

Aptitude. Ability to learn material at advanced rates and levels of understanding in a specific area (e.g., humanities, mathematics, science). Measured by verbal, quantitative, or nonverbal reasoning tests. (Davis, Rimm, & Siegle, 2011; Reis & Housand, 2008).

Assessment. Process of gathering information or using instruments for a specific purpose, typically to determine an individual’s status with respect to a characteristic or behavior. Assessment is a broad term that includes identification, instruction, and evaluation.

Bias. A tendency or prejudice toward or against something or someone. Bias is frequently based stereotypes involving race, ethnicity, culture, language, age, (dis)abilities, family status/composition, gender identity and expression, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religious and spiritual values, geographic location, and country of origin. Bias related to gifted education can result in under identification of students and unequal access to gifted programming and services (Council for Exceptional Children, 2019; National Association for Gifted Children, n.d.; Plucker, 2018).

Cluster grouping. The intentional placement of a small group of students identified as gifted and talented or high achieving in a heterogeneous classroom with a teacher who has received professional learning in gifted education and will modify the pace, instruction, and curriculum for these students (Brulles & Winebrenner, 2011; Gentry, 1996, 2015, 2016).

Cognitive growth/development. The development of thought, reasoning, and intellect as a result of maturation, experiences, and environment.

Collaboration. A style of interaction between individuals engaged in shared decision-making as they work toward a common goal. Individuals who collaborate have equally valued personal or professional resources to contribute and they share decision-making authority and accountability for outcomes (e.g., educators responsible for G/T and ELL education together planning instruction for English language learners with gifts and talents)(Council of Chief State School Officers, 2013)

Communication competence. Skills and dispositions to effectively express ideas, thoughts, and needs and to understand those of others through one or more medium and one or more language (Smutny, 2008).

Comprehensiveness. Comprehensive programming and services should include an array of services that match students’ interests, strengths, and needs and include a variety of approaches including acceleration (grade-based and/or content-based), enrichment, forms of grouping (cluster grouping, resource rooms, special classes, special schools), individualized learning (independent study, mentorships, online courses, internships), and access to appropriate resources and technology (Johnsen, 2012).

Continuum of services. Gifted programming that addresses students with gifts and talents’ needs in all settings and across all grade levels. Continuum of services should include alignment of curriculum, instruction, and activities in a cohesive sequence within grade levels and across specific grades, courses, classes, or programming and services (Johnsen, 2012; NAGC, 2014).

Coordinated services. A shared commitment and continuous collaboration among educators within and across different content areas or concentrations (general education, gifted education, special education, counseling, administration, and others) and families to support learners with gifts and talents (NAGC, 2014).

Creativity. “A product or idea that is novel (or original, unique, or unusual) and useful (or has value, or fits, or is appropriate) within a specific social context” (Plucker, 2017, p. 5).

Creative Thinking. Thinking in divergent ways; includes a variety of open-ended thinking processes (e.g., generating novel ideas, elaborating on or modifying a concept, thinking analogically or flexibly). Strategies such as ideation, analogous and lateral thinking, visualization, problem-solving promote creative thinking (Sumners, 2015).

Critical thinking. The evaluative thinking process that requires judgment made through critical examination; components of critical thinking may include discerning purpose, evaluating argument, weighing evidence appraising data and sources for accuracy or bias, using data to support inferences, examining multiple perspectives, and determining implications and consequences.

Cultural competence. Having awareness of one’s own cultural identity and views about difference and the ability to learn about and build on the varying cultural and community norms of others (NEA, n.d.). When individuals (or organizations) are culturally competent, they acknowledge and incorporate at all levels the importance of culture, the assessment of cross-cultural relations, the expansion of cultural knowledge, and the adaptation of services to meet cultural development needs (Cross, 1988; Cross, Bazron, Dennis, & Jacobs, 1989; Ford, 2013).

Culturally responsive curriculum. The curriculum (a) ensures that all students are interested and engaged; (b) connects to what culturally different students want to learn, (c) presents a balanced, comprehensive, and multidimensional view of the topic, issue or event; (d) presents multiple viewpoints; and addresses stereotypes, distortions, and omissions (Banks, 2008; Ford, 2010).

Culturally responsive teaching. Uses the cultural knowledge, prior experiences, and frames of reference of diverse students to make learning more relevant and effective (Griner & Stewart, 2012). This pedagogy recognizes the importance of including students’ cultural references in all aspects of learning (Ladson-Billings, 1994). Teachers who are culturally responsive build on students’ personal and cultural strengths and “work proactively and assertively to understand, respect, and meet the needs of students from cultural backgrounds that are different from their own” (Ford & Kea, 2009, p. 1).

Curriculum compacting. An instructional technique that involves three steps: assessing students’ academic strengths, eliminating content that students have already mastered, and replacing the work that has been eliminated with more challenging and enriching alternatives, some of which are based on students’ interests (Renzulli & Reis, 1998).

Curriculum planning. The process of identifying learning goals, objectives, instructional strategies, activities, materials and resources, assessments, and learning progressions based on the major concepts, processes, and standards of the discipline, and the assessment of student differences related to students’ readiness, cultural background, abilities, achievements, and subject matter interest (Hockett, 2009).

Differentiated assessment. Differentiated assessments are used to determine the effectiveness of the differentiated curriculum and instruction and to plan for future differentiated learning activities. Differentiated assessments for students with gifts and talents may include above level tests to measure advanced knowledge and skills, open-ended assessments that focus on problem solving and creativity, portfolios showing student growth over time, and performance and product-based rubrics (Johnsen, 2008b; VanTassel-Baska & Hubbard, 2018; VanTassel-Baska & Zuo, 2011).

Differentiated curricula. Differentiation of the curriculum includes “the use of acceleration and advanced materials; the use of complexity to focus on multiple higher level skills, concepts, and resources simultaneously; the use of depth to focus gifted learning in the form of projects and research and the use of creativity to provide the skills and habits of mind that support innovation” (VanTassel-Baska, 2014, p. 380).

Differentiate instruction. When educators differentiate instruction they make “adaptations in content, process, product, affect and learning environment in response to student readiness, interests, and learning profile to ensure appropriate challenge and support for the full range of learners in a classroom” (Tomlinson, 2014, p. 198).

Diversity. Understanding and valuing the range and variety of characteristics and beliefs of individuals who demonstrate a wide range of characteristics. Diversity includes race, ethnicity, culture, language, age, (dis)abilities, family status/composition, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religious and spiritual values, geographic location, and country of origin (Council for Exceptional Children, 2019).

Educators. Educators include all professionals involved with the education of students with gifts and talents. Educators include but are not limited to central office administrators, principals, general educators, special educators, educators of the gifted, instructional and curriculum specialists, counselors, psychologists and other support personnel (see National Association for Gifted Children Programming Standard 6: Professional Learning).

Enrichment. “Strategies that supplement or go beyond standard grade-level work, but do not result in advanced placement or potential credit” (Davis, Rimm, & Siegle, 2011, p. 127). Gubbins (2014) identified the following categories of enrichment: enrichment in curricular units that expose students to topics or concepts not included in the standard curriculum, enrichment as an extension to the curriculum, and enrichment as a technique for differentiating the curriculum.

Ethics. Professional special educators are guided by ethical principles, practice standards, and professional policies in ways that respect the diverse characteristics and needs of individuals with exceptionalities and their families (CEC, 2015). These principles include maintaining challenging expectations and a high level of professional competence, practicing collegiality with others, developing relationships with families based on mutual respect, using research to inform practice, protecting and supporting physical and psychological safety of students, not tolerating or engaging in any practice that harms students, practicing within professional standards and policies, upholding laws and regulations, advocating for professional conditions and resources, participating in the improvement of the profession and the growth and dissemination of professional knowledge and skills.

Evaluation of programming. Evaluation of programming systematically examines (a) how the programming components are aligned to standards, (b) the degree to which the components are fully implemented, and (c) if the full implementation of the components is having the desired effects on student outcomes. It includes describing specific goals for the evaluation, determining evaluation questions, identifying sources of information, collecting data, analyzing data, and using the data to make decisions (Callahan, 2015).

Evidence-based.  Effective educational strategies supported by evidence and research. As defined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), evidence-based means an activity, strategy or intervention that demonstrates a statistically significant effect on improving student outcomes (Every Student Succeeds Act [ESSA], United States Congress, 2015). ESSA delineates “evidence-based” actions according to four categories reflecting the strength of the evidence.  These categories include (a) strong evidence supported by one or more well-designed and well-implemented randomized control experimental studies (Tier 1), (b) moderate evidence supported by one or more well-designed and well-implemented quasi-experimental studies (Tier 2), (c) promising evidence supported by one or more well-designed and well-implemented correlational studies with statistical controls for selection bias (Tier 3), and (d) demonstrates a rationale, which are practices that have a well-defined logic model or theory of action, are informed by research or evaluation, and have some effort underway by an SEA, LEA, or outside research organization to determine their effectiveness (Tier 4). (U.S. Department of Education, 2016).

Formative assessment. A process used by teachers and students during instruction that provides feedback to adjust ongoing teaching and learning to improve students’ achievement of intended instructional outcomes” (State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards, 2008, p. 3) Used to determine student readiness, monitor student progress, and inform educator of needed instructional changes.

Learning progressions. “Learning progressions define a coherent and continuous pathway along which students move incrementally through states of increasing competence. Every incremental state builds on and integrates the previous one as students accrue new levels of expertise with each successive step in the progression” (Renaissance Learning, 2019). Learning progressions can be used to design, differentiate, or modify instruction.

Identification. The process of finding students who have needs for or would benefit from advanced programming or services to develop their gifts and talents. Students with gifts and talents exhibit different characteristics, traits, and ways to express their giftedness; therefore, identifying students’ abilities and talents are essential to meeting their unique needs. The identification process moves from screening to placement (Matthews & Shaunessy, 2010) and involves the use of multiple measures to assess high-level ability, aptitude, achievement, or other constructs of interest in one or more areas or domains of learning (Johnsen, 2008a).

Inclusive learning environment. Inclusive learning environments are welcoming and accepting of each and every learner including those who are vulnerable to marginalization and exclusion and those who traditionally have been left out or excluded from appropriate educational and learning opportunities. Inclusion speaks to (dis)ability, race, ethnicity, culture, language, age, family status/composition, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religious and spiritual values, geographic location, and country of origin (Council for Exceptional Children, 2019; Council of Chief State School Officers, 2013). 

Instructional strategies. Teaching and learning methods that meet the needs, interests, and abilities of students with gifts and talents. Appropriate instructional strategies would include those engaging students in inquiry, creative and critical thinking, and metacognition at a pace and level commensurate with the students’ abilities. Understanding by Design (UBD), also known as a ‘backward design,’ is often employed as an instructional strategy. UBD reflects a three-stage design process that delays the planning of classroom activities until goals have been clarified and assessments designed.

Intervention. A specific program, strategy, or set of teaching procedures used with students to help them learn.

Leadership. Ability to influence others (Reis & Housand, 2008) in a discipline (e.g., intellectual or creative leadership) or in the community (e.g., to address societal needs and problems).

Learning progress and outcomes. Learning outcomes identify what the learner will know and be able to do by the end of a unit of study or course. Progress is assessed through an evaluation of a student’s development (e.g., cognitive, psychosocial, and social and emotional growth) and tangible documentation of performance.

Lifelong learners. Individuals who seek to expand their experiences, knowledge, skills, and perspectives beyond the formal education years and continuously across the lifespan.

Local Norms. Comparing students’ performance on assessments with other students in their local educational setting (e.g., school or district) with the rationale that if gifted programming is aimed at identifying students who are in need of advanced instruction because they are not being challenged in their current educational setting, national comparisons are not helpful. (Plucker & Peters, 2016).

Mentorship/Internship. Connecting students with experts in a field of interest and domain of talent to work on authentic problems or tasks that allow them to authentically acquire advanced content knowledge and skills in the domain (Stephens, 2018).

Models of Inquiry. An instructional model that centers learning on solving a particular problem or answering a central question. There are several different inquiry-based learning models, but most have several general elements in common: (a) learning focuses around a meaningful, ill-structured problem that demands consideration of diverse perspectives (b) academic content-learning occurs as a natural part of the process as students work towards finding solutions (c) learners, working collaboratively, assume an active role in the learning process (d) teachers provide learners with learning supports and rich multiple media sources of information to assist students in successfully finding solutions, and (e) learners share and defend solutions publicly in some manner (Heik, 2019).

Ongoing assessment. An aspect of formative assessment.  Regular/frequent assessment used to monitor learner progress, identify ways to help learners develop the knowledge and skills to achieve their goals, and identify any barriers to achievement (Tomlinson & Moon, 2013).

Performance-based assessment. Requires students to complete tasks or generate their own responses as a way to measure their ability to apply skills and knowledge learned from a unit of study. Sound performance-based assessments share some features with curricula for students with gifts and talents, such as focusing on open-ended questions, higher order thinking, meta-cognitive thinking and problem solving. Multiple approaches in oral and written forms are preferred for assessing students’ performance. Portfolios, for example, serve better as formative, rather than summative assessment (VanTassel-Baska, 2013).

Product-based assessment. Product-based assessment is considered a form of performance-based assessment (VanTassel-Baska, 2013). Different from process-oriented assessment in which skills may or may not be observable, product-based assessment evaluates the outcome of a task or assignment that is observable and measurable.

Policies and procedures. Policies and procedures translate state and federal laws, rules, and regulations into operational guidelines, protocols, and expectations of programming and services at the local level.

Professional learning plan. A professional learning plan is a working document in which an educator identifies strengths and needs for growth in relation to improving his or her practices and student outcomes.

Professional learning. Educators continuously develop their knowledge, skills, practices, and dispositions with an aim to increase their effectiveness and student outcomes (Learning Forward, 2011). Effective professional learning activities were found to have focused on teaching strategies related to specific subjects, promoted educators’ active engagement in learning, created collaboration opportunities, sustained over time, and provided educators with models, coaching, and expert support (Darling-Hammond, Hyler, & Gardner, 2017).

Programming and services. Formally structured, regularly scheduled, ongoing services provided to students with gifts and talents in school or community settings (e.g., museum, laboratory, or university). Programming includes goals, student outcomes, strategies to accomplish them, and procedures for assessing and evaluating these over time, whereas services refer to educational and related interventions that may be one-time-only, annual, or ongoing, and may be provided even in the absence of formal gifted programming. Examples may include counseling, tutoring, and mentoring. Programming is understood as a comprehensive continuum of services that addresses the needs of students with gifts and talents. The Professional Standards Committee prefers the term “programming” because it indicates the ongoing nature of these services, while “program” could refer to a one-time event.

Psychosocial. The term describes “the intersection and interaction of social, cultural, and environmental influences on the mind and behavior” (American Psychological Association, n.d.). In the framework of talent development, intrinsic motivation and persistence are two basic psychosocial skills that one needs to transform abilities into creative productivity (Subotnik, 2015).

Qualitative assessment information. Assessments that use primarily words rather than numbers to describe or investigate student, teacher, parent, or other stakeholders’ reactions to or perceptions of strengths or weaknesses of gifted programming and related phenomena. Interviews and portfolios (Johnsen, 2008b) are two commonly used types of qualitative instruments.

Quantitative assessment information. Numerical data (Johnsen, 2008b) used to describe performance in relation to others (e.g., norm referenced intelligence tests) or in relation to a standard of performance (e.g., criterion referenced achievement tests).

Resources. Human, physical, and administrative assets used to support effective teaching and learning of students with gifts and talents. Resources may include instructional personnel such as teachers, mentors, and community members as well as physical resources such as curriculum materials of any media, and facilities within and outside of the school setting. Resources also include administrative assets, such as fiscal and capital expenditures.

Self-efficacy. An individual's belief in their innate ability to achieve goals. Recent research reveals that academic and racial identity, self-efficacy, and self-esteem predict self-determined motivation and goals and have been determined to be strong predictors of academic pursuits (Byars-Winston, Diestelmann, Savoy, & Hoyt, 2017).

Self-Understanding. A process of recognizing one’s interests, strengths, and needs and in one’s intellectual, academic, creative, leadership, and artistic abilities (domain of talent). The process results in self-knowledge with respect to one’s identity, psychosocial and social-emotional development, and the influences of one’s beliefs, traditions, and values on learning and behavior.

Social and emotional. Those factors from a psychological perspective that assert an affective influence on an individual’s self-image, behavior, and motivation; issues such as but not limited to peer relationships, emotional adjustment, stress management, perfectionism, and sensitivity (Moon, 2003).

Social competence. The ability to interact effectively with others. Component skills include creating and maintaining positive interpersonal relationships and peer relations, asserting, and adapting oneself in social settings. Related dispositions include appreciation of human diversity, commitment to social justice, and high ethical standards (Devine, White, Ensor, & Hughes, 2016; Lee, Olszewski-Kubilius, & Thomson, 2012; Moon, 2008).   

Sources of assessments. Sources of assessments include quantitative information such as standardized tests and qualitative information from teachers, administrators, counselors, families, peers, the student and those who have information related to the student’s behavior. Multiple sources of assessments provide a more comprehensive view of student behavior across different settings and different time periods (Johnsen, 2018).

Special Education. In a handful of states, gifted education is included within special education (NAGC & CSDPG, 2015) and teachers of students with gifts and talents in these states are special educators. In many other locations, state law does not consider gifted education to be a part of special education and teachers of students with gifts and talents are not considered special education staff but still provide differentiated education for students.

Students with gifts and talents. This phrasing is currently preferred over “gifted and talented students” because it uses person first language and is consistent with usage in the field of special education. The focus is on the individual’s characteristics rather than the individual’s label. Individuals with gifts and talents includes ‘gifted and talented students,’ ‘high ability students,’ ‘academically advanced students,’ ‘gifted students with potential’ and so on.

Talent development. In gifted education, talent development involves identifying the domain-specific abilities of all students and developing the talents of those who show exceptional abilities in response to instruction and coaching (Olszewski-Kubilius, Subotnik, Worrell, & Thomson, 2018).  Talent development is a long-term process in which parents, school personnel, and students work collaboratively to facilitate the development of students’ talents (Feldhusen, 2001). Talent Development is also a conceptual framework for gifted education.

Technically adequate. This term refers to the psychometric properties of an assessment instrument. Instruments which are technically adequate demonstrate validity for the identified purpose, reliability in providing consistent results, minimal bias, and have been normed on a population matching the census data (Johnsen, 2008).

Twice exceptional. Also referred to as “2e,”, twice exceptional is the term used to describe students with gifts and talents who also give evidence of one or more disabilities as defined by federal or state eligibility criteria (e.g., specific learning disabilities (SpLD), speech and language disorders, emotional/behavioral disorders, physical disabilities, autism spectrum, etc.) (NAGC website)

Underachieving. This term refers to students who demonstrate a discrepancy between ability and performance (Reis & Housand, 2008). Underachieving students exhibit a severe discrepancy between expected achievement as measured by standardized assessments and actual achievement as measured by class grades or teacher evaluations (McCoach & Siegle, 2003). The discrepancy must persist over time and must not be the direct result of a diagnosed learning disability.

Universal Screening. The tests or processes used to identify talented students are administered to an entire population (e.g., entire grade level) as opposed to only a select group of students based on an earlier screening phase or nomination procedure (Plucker & Peters, 2016).

Variety of programming. This term refers to the instructional and support options available to learners with gifts and talents, which should include a varied menu or continuum of services matching their needs. Group as well as individual options, offered both in and outside of schools, may include but should not be limited to early entrance, grade acceleration, appropriate grouping, acceleration, enrichment, dual enrollment, online courses, curriculum compacting, apprenticeships, independent study, special classes, special schools, summer programs, and guidance and counseling services (Adams, Mursky, & Kielty, 2012).

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