What are some of the traits of a gifted and talented child?
A gifted student often, but not always:
Has advanced math skills and/or oral and/or written language skills; uses expressive language
Learns a second language quickly
Makes unique connections; understands systems; sees the "big picture"
Asks many questions; seeks in-depth information
Is nonconforming; risk-taking; independent
Has broad, varied and often intense and sustained interests, which are, at times, simultaneous
Is resourceful at finding solutions
Exhibits keen powers of observation
Is highly sensitive and insightful
Exhibits a moral concern early on; is empathetic
Makes nontraditional responses and/or products
May reach, or have reached from infancy, normal developmental milestones earlier than other students
Research has found that parents are usually good at identifying giftedness in their children. For more comprehensive lists, visit our LINKS.
Why is TAG education important?
Children are not all the same: every child has unique needs and strengths. Gifted students are special-needs students but they have the same right to learn as all other students. Inappropriate classroom instruction harms them in many ways. Failure to provide appropriate instruction causes these students to lose interest in school or in learning, unnecessarily reduces their achievement, often leads students to become depressed or frustrated, and undermines their trust in adults. Access to appropriate curriculum and instruction is a right, not a reward. When students are taught at an appropriate level, they become engaged in learning
What is the benefit of being identified by an Oregon school as talented and gifted?
Identifying a student as gifted alerts the school to the need to make appropriate changes to meet the student’s accelerated rate and advanced level of learning. This allows for the development of their academic and personal potential. Research has found that TAG students make greater gains in achievement when instruction is adapted to their needs. On the other hand, when the needs of gifted students are overlooked, they often become disengaged from school.
How does Oregon define TAG students?
Talented and gifted education in Oregon is a needs-based program. Not every student requires accelerated learning and more depth and complexity in instruction. TAG is designed to meet the intellectual and academic needs of a specific population of high ability learners. In 1987, the Oregon Talented and Gifted Education Act was passed, requiring Oregon public school districts to identify and to serve students who demonstrate evidence of high intellectual ability or academic talent. This Act defines TAG students as follows: "Talented and gifted children" means those children who require special educational programs or services, or both, beyond those normally provided by the regular school program in order to realize their contribution to self and society and who demonstrate outstanding ability or potential in one or more of the following areas:
General intellectual ability as commonly measured by measures of intelligence and aptitude.
Unusual academic ability in one or more academic areas.
Creative ability in using original or nontraditional methods in thinking and producing.
Leadership ability in motivating the performance of others either in educational or non-educational settings.
Ability in the visual or performing arts, such as dance, music or art.
How does a student "apply" for TAG identification?
There are many ways a student may be identified as needing assessment to determine if they are Talented and Gifted. Teachers and parents may refer students or students they may refer themselves. In addition, they may be identified through standardized state test scores. Parents must consent to any student testing that is administered in addition to the state tests.
What grade do students have to be in to be TAG identified?
TAG in Oregon is a K-12 program. Students may be identified at any grade level.
What tests do students take?
According to state law, students qualify for TAG by demonstrating either exceptional aptitude or exceptional achievement in math or reading as measured on a nationally standardized test. In addition, there must be at least one additional source of information about the student.
Nationally standardized tests of aptitude include, but are not limited to the:
Naglieri Nonverbal Abilities Test (NNAT or Naglieri)
Raven’s Progressive Matrices (RPM)
Cognitive Achievement Test (CogAT)
Stanford-Binet aptitude test
Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC)
Nationally normed achievement tests include the:
Aprenda 3 (in Spanish)
Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)
Supera (in Spanish)
Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT)
Woodcock-Johnson Achievement Test
Some tests may be administered to groups while others are given to individual students. Districts choose the tests that are given but they must offer both achievement and aptitude testing. The cost of administering some tests may be an obstacle to identification. The scores from the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) may also be used. Districts should consult the TAG Specialist at the Department of Education when choosing tests.
Should children be assessed by someone outside of the school district?
Gifted children are complex individuals and an outside assessment may be worth the investment. A thorough assessment of an individual student’s intellectual ability, academic achievement level, learning strengths and weaknesses, personality, and social skills may be helpful whether or not a student is identified as TAG by the school district. An individualized assessment should include an explanation of all the tests used and the significance for the child’s development. Testing outside of the school district can be costly. It may or may not be covered by insurance. Not all professionals have experience with gifted individuals. Testing should be conducted by a clinician who is knowledgeable about gifted children since some of the characteristics of high ability may be mistaken for or hide other disorders. A guide for choosing a professional is available from Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG). For more information, visit our LINKS.
What score is needed to qualify as "gifted"?
Districts must identify students who score in the 97th percentile on a nationally standardized test of math, reading, or intellectual ability. They must use an entire math or reading battery, not a subsection. In addition, districts must identify students who have the potential to perform at the 97th percentile according to criteria established by each district. However, one single score is not sufficient for a student to qualify as TAG. In addition to the test, there must be at least one additional piece of information about the student that indicates high performance or ability.
Who determines if a student is TAG?
State law requires that a team of educators at the building level review all information to determine if a student qualifies for TAG. This team, working with the student's parents, teacher, TAG coordinator, and principal, makes the final determination based on test scores, work samples, behavioral traits, and other factors.
How long does the qualification process take?
Testing and data collection can take 4-6 weeks. The Oregon Department of Education considers "best practices" to be no more than 30 working days or six weeks. Some districts have established procedures and timelines for identification to accommodate the number of students referred for assessment
What is the difference between percentage and percentile
Percentage refers to a fraction of a whole that is expressed as parts per hundred. For example, a student who correctly answered 5 out of 10 questions on a test would have fifty percent correct. Percentile refers to a student's rank in comparison to other students when their scores are arranged in ascending order from lowest to highest. For example, a child who scores at the 42nd percentile is doing as well as, or better than, 42 percent of the students who took the same test.
A student seems very gifted, but he/she was not identified as TAG. Why not?
There are many possible reasons.
A student may simply not have been nominated for TAG.
Students may hide their true abilities.
Testing may not reveal the full extent of a given student's ability.
A student may have a bad day or misunderstand the test.
A given test may be a poor match for the student's specific skills or knowledge.
Some students have learning disabilities that make it more difficult to see their abilities.
Some students are harder to identify because they change schools frequently or speak languages other than English. Special efforts are needed to ensure that these students are adequately tested and assessed.
Parents must be notified that they have a right to appeal the decision not to identify a student.
How can I learn more about what the test results mean?
If a child has been tested by the school district, you should find out what test was used and what the results were. If you have questions about the test, consult the school TAG coordinator or the person who administered the test. If your child was tested privately, the person who gave the test should give you written information about the child’s performance. Aptitude tests show that a student is good at learning but they don’t necessarily give explicit guidance about academic placement or curriculum. Achievement tests show that a student is in the 97th percentile of students, but that may not show precisely how far ahead of grade level a given student may be. For this reason, schools must also carry out an assessment process to decide what services are most appropriate for a specific student. It is important for families to share any information they may have about a student’s needs, interests and performance level with the school and not assume that a test score provides all the relevant information.
Once a child is identified as TAG, what happens next?
Oregon Administrative Rules state that once students are identified as TAG, they must be assessed for their instructional needs. The assessment process includes the information the school team used to identify the student. It may also include: the student’s academic history, formal tests, informal assessments by teachers, interviews about student interests and learning preferences, and any other information the district deems relevant to developing an appropriate program for the student.
Must schools provide a written plan for TAG students?
State law does not require a written individual student plan, but some districts do provide them. Whether or not written plans are required, OATAG recommends parent-teacher consultations whenever needed. Parents should also document any unusual learning activities that their child engages in, so they have this information for other teachers down the road.
How do schools meet the needs of TAG students?
Services that address a student’s rate of learning may include:
Services that address a student’s level of learning may include:
content acceleration in one or more subjects
Other services that may address both and/or that may support the social needs of gifted children include
Gifted students are gifted all day long, every day. Part-time or occasional services don't fully address their needs in the areas where they are gifted. Fortunately, there are many cost-effective and simple ways to enhance services for gifted students. The problem-solving approach is tailored to individual student’s learning needs. When children are not responding to effective curriculum, then individualized adaptations are made.
What about Grade Skipping?
Districts make acceleration decisions based on the individual needs of the student. After collecting information about the student, many districts use theIowa Acceleration Scale to guide their decisions. Parents have a right to give input about all programs and services provided to their child.
If a child is identified as TAG, what rights do parents have?
Parents have a right to be consulted about the services that will be provided for their child and to give input. If parents or other district residents do not believe their school or school district is providing the services mandated by Oregon law, they have a right to appeal under their district's complaint procedure. If they are unable to reach an agreement with their district within 90 days of initiating the complaint, they may appeal to the Oregon Department of Public Instruction. For information on parents’ rights, please see the ODE TAG Parent and Student Resources page (available through our LINKS).
What are TAG students like in the classroom?
TAG students may:
Already know the information being presented by the teacher.
Instantly grasp new concepts, being able to apply them, but also extrapolate and expand on them, taking them to more advanced levels very quickly and easily.
Assimilate information very rapidly, well beyond the learning capacity of most students.
Demonstrate unusual talents or abilities.
Ask a lot of questions or challenge the teacher's information
Cause mischief or seem withdrawn when their learning needs are not being met.
Hide their ability in order to fit in with the other students or to avoid being given additional work that is merely more of the same work that they have already mastered.
Have learning disabilities that mask their actual cognitive ability.
Show uneven abilities being very advanced in some areas and at or below the level of age peers in other areas.
Are all TAG students similar?
No. Every child is different. Some TAG students are well-behaved, well-adjusted and high-achieving. Some are social and/or popular; others are shy or quiet. Some are athletic; others prefer to read or be creative. Some are happy; others are depressed. TAG students do not all have the same level of ability. Some researchers identify several levels of giftedness based on IQ scores. A higher degree of ability may require more modifications in school and at home than is necessary for more moderately gifted children.
Because of their extraordinary learning abilities, TAG students face a number of unique challenges. Their vocabulary or thought patterns may make it difficult for other children of the same age to understand them. When they are not sufficiently challenged, TAG students may withdraw or become troublemakers. TAG students may be the target of bullies or resentful peers. Teachers may inappropriately expect these students to become teachers' helpers, which can add to the problems they face with peers.
Some TAG students experience additional challenges such as specific learning disabilities, behavioral issues, autism, family problems, poverty or psychological disorders. They may come from households that do not speak English or that move frequently, disrupting their learning. They may be living in foster homes or be homeless. They may simply be immature. Some educators believe that all gifted students will be well-behaved, well- adjusted or high-achieving in every area and incorrectly assume that students who don't live up to this ideal can't be gifted.
Why don't TAG students always receive services?
There may be numerous reasons. Sometimes, educators assume that since TAG students are “smart”, they shouldn't need attention. State and federal rules that require all students to meet minimum standards may force schools to focus on students who are struggling to meet these standards at the expense of those who have already reached them. Some teachers who are already feeling overwhelmed by all the responsibilities and requirements they handle every day may resist requests to do anything further. School administrators may fail to support parents and teachers of gifted children. Educators may believe some of the common myths about gifted students.
What are common myths about TAG Students?
The National Association for Gifted Children provides the following list of common Gifted Education Myths:
Gifted students don't need help; they'll do fine on their own
That student can't be gifted; he's receiving poor grades
Teachers challenge all the students, so gifted kids will be fine in the regular classroom
Gifted students are happy, popular, and well-adjusted in school
Gifted students make everyone else in the class smarter by providing a role model or a challenge
This child can't be gifted; he has a disability
All children are gifted
Our district has a gifted and talented program because we have AP courses.
Acceleration placement options are socially harmful for gifted students
Gifted education requires an abundance of resources
Gifted education programs are elitist
None of these myths are true on their face. For more information, visit the NAGC website, accessible through out LINKS.
How many TAG students are there in Oregon?
Oregon has approximately 40,000 TAG students. For comparison, Oregon has 60,000 ELL students and 80,000 Special Education students. Some students are in more than one category. Oregon has about 580,000 K-12 students in all.
What funding is provided for TAG programs and services?
There is no Federal mandate and no Federal funding for TAG. Although Oregon law requires TAG identification and services, Oregon’s school districts receive no direct funding for TAG. Oregon has allocated $350,000 per biennium for one full-time TAG Specialist and one half-time administrative support position at the Department of Education. The fund also supports the responsibilities of the TAG specialist such as office expenses, travel to districts, TAG corrective action monitoring and support, and response to parent and district requests for information. Many districts in Oregon also allocate funds out of their own budgets to provide state-mandated TAG services.
What are districts doing about TAG?
Districts are required to identify and to serve TAG students. Oregon state law requires every district to have a plan to provide TAG programs and services. As of July 1, 2011, districts must provide a copy of their written plans for programs and services to the Oregon Department of Education.
Where can I go for help?
OATAG recommends that parents first consult with their child's classroom teacher and/or their school’s TAG coordinator and principal and make every effort to resolve any problems informally. Parents should familiarize themselves with their district’s TAG plan.
For more information, parents can go to the Oregon Department of Education website at http://www.ode.state.or.us/go/TAG If parents need more assistance, they can contact the Oregon TAG Specialist, Angela Allen: Oregon Department of Education, 255 Capitol Street NE Salem, OR 97310-0203, (503) 947-5931 email@example.com or contact OATAG through this website. Parents can find more information about gifted children through organizations, books, articles, websites, and discussion lists or groups. See the Resources section of the OATAG website for more information.
What can I do to help TAG students in my school?
Volunteer in your child’s classroom, on field trips, or in the school to free up the teachers’ time to work with TAG students on special projects.
Offer to mentor TAG students or participate in career fairs.
Volunteer to support or coach after-school enrichment programs such as Odyssey of the Mind, Destination Imagination, Junior Great Books, Mathletics, or Math Club, Chess for Success, Future Problem Solving, or any other after-school program that serves the intellectual needs of high-ability learners.
Participate in school committees to provide a voice for advanced students.
Write thank-you notes to teachers and administrators who have helped your child.
OATAG advocates for the needs of talented and gifted children, serves as a resource for families, educators, and communities, and provides direction for excellence in education. Web Master: firstname.lastname@example.org