Identifying Gifted and Talented Students

Identifying gifted and talented is a particular challenge for international schools where there is a high proportion of English as an additional language (EAL) students.

Often a student’s literacy level becomes the key factor in judging their overall potential but it is important to be able to measure a student’s cognitive ability level across different areas, not just the verbal component. This is particularly important for students with a spatial bias, who are capable of excelling in science, technology and maths (STEM subjects) but whose ability may have gone undetected.

Equally it is important to identify to what extent a student is being held back and how much literacy support they require to reach their full potential.

Top tips for identifying ‘hard to spot’ and 'gifted and talented' students

  • Use cognitive ability tests to uncover potential that can be masked because of poor literacy 
  • Work hard to uncover strengths and weaknesses students may be hiding by engaging them every day
  • Increase the questioning of students in the classroom on a particular topic to test knowledge before moving on to the next
  • Assess student attitudes: address reasons why a student may be disengaged
  • Use student assessment data which is well tailored and regularly reviewed to pick up patterns of learning

Uncovering Potential - Hong Kong

With the CAT4 Cognitive Abilities Test my teachers have a profound insight into every child’s academic ability, beneath and beyond the veneer of what is, for the majority of our cohort, a significant EAL barrier. This data is, more often than not, a liberating force, unleashing the potential of young learners for whom English really is the only obstacle.
Matthew Savage, International Community School, Amman

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