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What is Academic Giftedness?

There are many different definitions and interpretations of the term “gifted.” Most include advanced development in the following areas: intellectual ability, creativity, memory, motivation, physical dexterity, leadership, and sensitivity to the arts. With respect to educational services for the gifted in the State of Arizona, the definition of giftedness is limited to academic giftedness, or a student's potential for future success in school. Gifted education is mandated in Arizona for students in K– 12th grade. According to State statute, a “gifted pupil” is a child who is of lawful school age and who demonstrates superior intellect or advanced learning ability or both (ARS 15-779.02). This is determined by scores at or above the 97th percentile on nationally normed ability or intelligence tests in one or more of three areas - verbal, quantitative, or nonverbal reasoning. An ability or intelligence test is different from an achievement test such as the AIMS, in that achievement tests measure what a student has learned with respect to their grade level standards, while ability or intellectual tests measure more innate or natural problem solving skills. Most school districts provide ability testing for children who are suspected of being gifted. However, the measures used are typically a timed paper and pencil test (e.g., the COGAT), are administered in a group setting, and are administered by a teacher who specializes in gifted instruction. Because not all children respond well to this type of testing scenario, an individual test of intelligence (IQ test) given by a psychologist trained in intellectual assessment of children might provide a more fair, balanced and comprehensive assessment of a child's true intellectual ability. At Arizona Child Psychology, PLLC,we offer individualized intelligence / gifted evaluations that can be used by a child’s school in determining appropriate academic placement.