Different Ways to Spot Gifted Children in the Classroom

Defining what a gifted student is can be difficult. Some say that a gifted child is one that tests over 130 on an intelligence test or in the top two and one half percent. Others saya that gifted children work above their grade level by at least two levels.

Sidney P. Marland, Jr., the former United States Commissioner of Education defined gifted children as “identified by professionally qualified persons who by virtue of outstanding abilities are capable of high performance. These are children who require differentiated educational programs and/or services beyond those normally provided by the regular school program in order to realize their contribution to self and society.”

Educators to need to be aware of identifying these students so these students can have a quality education.

The of Education at the University of Connecticut uses three standards to tell if a student is gifted: ability, task commitment and creativity. They display an interest in many things but may not willingly work in areas that do not interest them.


Children that are identified as being gifted generally use higher thinking and reasoning skills as well as having the ability to think in an abstract manner. They also adapt to situations well both in and out of the classroom.

They have good memories and are able to process material rapidly. While learning material they can also sort out the relevant material from that that is less important.


Gifted children are, generally, original thinkers. They seem to be able to come up with ideas easily and are flexible about the process. This also leads to interests in a variety of areas.

These students are naturally curious and like adventures. They also enjoy stretching their mental abilities. They are reactive to stimulation either from themselves or from others and they pay close attention to details.


Gifted students are enthusiast and like to be involved in problems, or studies of interest to them. They are not afraid of hard work and are willing to dedicate time to practice when it is needed, however, they do not always enjoy repeating information that they feel they have already mastered.

Along with these items comes a certain self-confidence as they learn they can complete important work, which then leads to a need to achieve more.

The gifted children can also find problems by honing in on communication and developments in specific area. This is partly from the high standards they set for any work they do.

There are different types of gifts that students may possess. While working on his theory of multiple intelligences, Howard Gardner realized that children’s gifts come across in many different ways. In addition to their gift, or talent, these children can also have difficulties with learning. They may do very well in mathematics but need assistance in another subject. Quite often when a students comes by with a learning difficulty but are still gifted, they are overlooked because of uncertainty in how to help them. This can lead to these children developing low self-esteem.

No matter what the skill or gift, every child deserves the best education available. In order to provide this, educators need to be aware of how to identify the gifted children.