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TAG FAQs and Myths

What is meant by "talented and gifted"?
Though all students have unique strengths, talents and gifts, the TAG program identifies students who are intellectually gifted and/or academically talented in reading and math.

Define "intellectually gifted".
Students who score at or above the 97th percentile on a cognitive abilities test such as the CogAT in second grade, or an individually administered test with supporting evidence qualify as intellectually gifted. These students are "thinkers", and may or may not have advanced academic skills.

Define "academically talented".
Students who excel in reading and/or math, and who score at or above the 97th percentile on standardized subject area tests with supporting evidence qualify as academically talented. These students often require an advanced level of instruction and accelerated pace.

What is used to identify a TAG student?
Standardized tests, teacher and parent rating scales, anecdotal information, and work samples are used for identification. Information is gathered and an identification team meets to screen each candidate for possible identification.

What about my straight-A student? Why isn't she identified as a TAG student?
Some excellent, bright students excel in school but don't meet the state standards of 97th percentile or better on more than one standardized test. The official roster of TAG students includes those who have met the criteria, with their verbal and quantitative achievement, skills, and reasoning abilities.

Gifted kids are like cream that rises to the top in a classroom.
Not necessarily. Gifted children can have hidden learning disabilities that go undiscovered because they can easily compensate for them in the early years. As time goes on though, it becomes harder and harder for them to excel, which can lead to behavior problems and depression.

Gifted kids are so smart they do fine with or without special programs.
They may appear to do fine on their own, but without proper challenge they can become bored and unruly. As the years go by they may find it harder and harder as work does become more challenging, since they never faced challenge before.

Gifted and Talented means the same thing.
Again, not necessarily. there is no rule that states that a child who is capable of scoring to the high ninety percentiles on group achievement testing must be considerd gifted. We must remember that achievement tests like the Metropolitan Achievement Tests are "Grade Level Testing". Such a child is most definitely Academically Talented. But further individualized IQ and out of level academic testing must be gtiven before we can define that child as "Gifted". At the same time, there is no rule that states a child identified as gifted should be achieving to high standards in the classroom. This type of stereotyping can do serious and irreversible damage to both groups. ANY child can benefit from enrichment. Academically talented children can benefit from honors (grade level) classes. Intellectually gifted children need a differentiated curriculum and possibley even a different environment.

They need to go through school with their own age-mates.
Where it's true that children need to play and interact socially with other children their age, they do not need to learn with them. Consider the case of a highly gifted child who may have a chronological age of 6 and a mental age of 11 who has been reading since 2. To put that child in a reading class with other six year olds who are just learning to read is frustrating for that child.

Giftedness is something to be jealous about.
This is perhaps the most damaging myth. More often than not, gifted children can feel isolated and misunderstood. They have more adult tastes in music, clothing, reading material and food. These differences to other children can cause them to be shunned and even abused verbally or physically by other children. Experts in the field of gifted education are beginning to address the higher incidences of ADHD and spelling/handwriting disabilities in the gifted population versus those in the much larger normal population.