To ensure the rights of school-aged children who are gifted, Pennsylvania has adopted regulations relating to Special Education for Gifted Students found at 22 Pa. Code, Chapter 16.
The following definition is provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Education in Guidelines for Gifted Education, “Mentally gifted is defined as outstanding intellectual and creative ability the development of which requires specially designed programs or support services, or both, not ordinarily provided in the regular education program. (22 Pa. Code §16.1)”
Your child may be eligible for gifted education if your child:
- Is a year or more above grade achievement level for the typical age group in one or more subjects
- Demonstrates an observed or measured rate of acquisition retention of new academic content or skills that reflects gifted ability (i.e., how quickly your child learns new concepts or information, and how long he or she remembers it)
- Demonstrates achievement, performance, or expertise in one or more academic areas
- Shows early and measured use of high level thinking skills, academic creativity, leadership skills, intense academic interest areas, communication skills, foreign language aptitude, or technology expertise
- Has documented, observed, validated, or assessed evidence that intervening factors such as English as a second language, disability, gender, race bias, or socio/cultural deprivation are masking gifted ability
The school is responsible for identifying all “children with exceptionalities”. No one test or type of test may be used as the only measure to determine giftedness. Multiple criteria is required for determining eligibility for gifted services for all students. For example: IQ scores may not be the only measure for students with limited English proficiency, or for students with racial-, linguistic-, or ethnic-minority background. This ensures the testing and evaluation will be fair to children of different races and cultures, as well as children with learning or physical disabilities (See §16.22(g)(3)(i)).
Programs for gifted children fit into the array of special programs available for all exceptional children. These programs reflect individual differences, equal educational opportunity and desire for the optimal development of each child. Programs that are based on sound philosophical, theoretical and empirical foundations are those most likely to benefit gifted students.
To learn more about Gifted Education, the evaluation process, information about the development of a Gifted Individualized Education Program (GIEP), dispute resolution procedures and more, please contact the Special Education ConsultLine at 1-800-879-2301. The new Understanding Gifted Special Education Due Process Hearings: A Guide for Parents is now available online here.