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Criteria for Gifted Programme Admission

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: When a school for the gifted ask for the WISC-IV test and is looking for more than the full scale score, what other score are they looking at for their decision as to the giftedness of the child. I haven't applied at the school yet, but they say it's more than the full scale score. Here are my son's scores: Full scale-127, verbal comp-l28, perceptual reas-108, working memory-129, process speed-123, vocab-99%, similaritis-98%, comprehension-63%, block design-91%, matrix reasoning-63%, picture concept-37%, digit span-98%, letter-number seq-91%, symbol search-95%-coding-84%.

With the full scale score I know that he is above average but my question is; What is the other score that some gifted schools look at in the mix? And is it a subject that my son scored high in or was is the lower scored subject? Thank you very much for your time in reading this and I do hope that you help me with an answer. 

A: It is indeed very hard to tell what a school looks for in gifted programs. Schools are generally guided by established research and to a certain extent, some level of trial and error to determine students who may best benefit from such a program. In addition, different programs (there are various kinds; clustered, pull-out, condensed, early entrance, etc.) look for different type of talent. However, grades appear to be a major criterion for admission.

Your son's scores is above average but it is not known here what the program is seeking. A combination of factors is usually the best way to determine a good mix of student. Based on the NAGC guideline, a framework of requisite or minimal standards is adapted which describe nominal requirements for satisfactory programs. The exemplary, or visionary, levels of performance represent excellence in gifted education programming. These standards may serves as:

  1. Benchmarks for measuring the effectiveness of programming;

  2. Criteria for program evaluation;

  3. Guidelines for program development; and

  4. Recommendations for minimal requirements for high-quality gifted education programming.

You may want to read more on this at NAGC.

If you son did not gain admission into such a program, it does not mean that he is any less talented that students who do, it is merely because based on the evaluation, the school/selection committee believe that he may not benefit from the program or another different program may cater better to his needs.


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