Identifying Strengths in Students

Identifying Giftedness:

“Children and youth with outstanding talent who perform or show the potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared with others of their age, experience, or environment.” – US Department of Education, 1993.
The Gifted Child

-Not everyone processes information and sensory inputs in the same way,
nor does everyone develop along the same expected timeline to the same endpoint


Gifted students usually have unusual talent in one or occasionally two areas. Below are six areas where we will find giftedness. No child will be gifted in all six, but some may be in more than one area. Within specific academic ability, students again usually have one or two subjects that they are best in and passionate about.



Leadership assumes responsibility, has high expectations for self and others, fluent, with concise self expression, foresees consequences and implications of decisions, exercises good judgement in decision making, likes structure, well-liked by peers, self – confident and organized.


Creative Thinking

Creative Thinking Independent thinker exhibits original thinking in oral and written expression, proposes several solutions to a given problem, possesses a sense of humor, creates and invents, challenged by creative tasks, improvises often and does not mind being different from the crowd.


Psychomotor Specific

Challenged by difficult athletic activities, exhibits precision in movement, enjoys participation in various athletic opportunities, excels in motor skills, well coordinated, good manipulative skills and high energy level


Visual/ Perf. Arts

Outstanding in sense of spatial relationships, unusual ability in expressing self, feeling, moods, etc., through dance, drama, music, etc., good motor coordination, exhibits creative expression, a desire for producing “own product” (not content with mere copying) and observant.


General Intellectual

General Intellectual Ability formulates abstractions, processes information in complex ways, observant, excited about new ideas, enjoys hypothesizing, learns rapidly, uses a large vocabulary, inquisitive and a self – starter.


Academic Ability

Good memorization ability, advanced comprehension, acquires basic skill knowledge quickly, widely read in special interest area, high academic success in special interest area and pursues special interest with enthusiasm and vigor.

The Next Step for the Gifted Child: Problem Based Learning Experience (PBL)

Aside from the obvious motivational characteristics of working with authentic problems in an environment that nurtures independence, self-selection of topics, and an emphasis on professional products, gifted students exhibit qualities often associated with expert problem solvers, making PBL a natural methodology for them.

1. Expert problem solvers have broad knowledge bases; gifted students acquire information quickly.
2. Experts look for the deep structure of a problem; gifted students demonstrate this kind of conceptual learning at an early age.
3. Experts have many skills in their repertoire and use them flexibly; gifted students learn to carefully select problem-solving strategies.
4. Expert problem solvers monitor their problem-solving processes while gifted students spontaneously use meta-cognitive skills.

In addition to the skills of problem solving, PBL also appeals to gifted students because the content is conceptual, the pace is appropriate because so much of it is self-directed, and they can regroup within the larger group with students who want to pursue similar aspects of the overall problem.