Gifted Assessment and Testing

Giftedness is a general intellectual or cognitive ability significantly higher than the average.

What is giftedness?

Gifted assessments are required for enrollment in special gifted programs within the public school system, or in private schools offering a gifted curriculum.

These assessments determine whether a child is functioning above the age expectation in their ability to reason logically and solve problems.

Among experts in the field, “giftedness” is a debated concept. Conservative definitions base identification on IQ scores and academic achievement alone, while more liberal interpretations may also recognize unique advanced abilities in subjective areas such as acting, leadership, art, and music. One point on which all sides agree is that unusual intelligence is the product of both environmental and genetic factors working together to influence brain development.

Why is it helpful?

Gifted testing is required for placement in special gifted programs. These programs typically have a cut-off rate of 98th percentile, which represents IQ 133 or higher. Regardless of the result, the assessment provides a map of a child’s complex set of cognitive abilities and potentials, the information that helps parents navigate both present and future needs. Gifted testing can uncover critical information about a child. It removes some of the guesswork from parenting by providing a framework for making important decisions about a child’s future. Results can offer answers to questions such as the following:

  • Is my child gifted and, if so, in what areas?
  • How does my child learn new information?
  • What classroom setting is optimum for my child?
  • In what extracurricular interests should I invest?
  • Why is my child struggling and how can I help?

How is an assessment usually run?

A giftedness assessment is usually conducted in stages and can include:

1. An initial interview with a psychologist: gathering comprehensive background information through interviews with the person and in the case of a child this may be interviews and information from parents and schoolteachers as well.

2. Test administration: by a registered and trained psychologist.

3. Results & feedback: to explain findings, provide recommendations and opportunities to discuss any questions you may have with the psychologist. You will also receive a formal report with this information.

Something to consider:

Testing for giftedness in children can open doors by helping a child develop those gifts into talents. But timing is important. Testing can be inaccurate before the age of 6, and it is unlikely parents could do anything differently if their child indeed tested as gifted. Parents of all children, gifted or not, should provide the opportunity for young children to explore their interests and learn.