What Is The Gifted Program?

Gifted program Inspiration Learning Center

With the tests occurring twice yearly, many parents are interested in the gifted program. It is a fantastic opportunity for “advanced students” who do not want to be limited by their “age grade”.

In order to help simplify the process, here is a list of the most commonly asked questions on the subject. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our team and we can connect you to an education consultant.

What is the gifted program?

What is Gifted program?

The gifted program is a specialized education format that caters to students with exceptional skills. This comes into effect when the student is identified as potentially gifted, being subject to the testing described below. Like other types of “independent learning plans”, the gifted stream meets students where they are, giving them material that is reflective of their ability. In other words, this is the best way to help “progidies”, or students whose performance far exceeds their age. This does not mean that all “gifted” students should be in the “gifted program”, with some preferring to be mainstreamed with some additional support. That way they get to keep their keeps while (also) getting exposed to advanced material and opportunities.

How are gifted students identified?

Gifted student

The curriculum is based on the average student within a specific age cohort. For example, if research shows that the average student needs 15 minutes to complete an assignment, some students will complete it within 5 minutes and others will take over an hour. Both are outliers, needing different materials and support. Assuming that the work is completed perfectly, the first student would be flagged for the gifted program, especially after a trend is developed.

What percentage of students are gifted?

Gifted students constitute 5 percent of the population, with 1-3 percent making up the top performers. 

How are the gifted program teachers different?

Once the school board–or Identification Placement and Review Committee (IPRC)–has made their evaluation, they are connected to educators that best suit their needs. The teachers often have specialized training working with gifted students, combined with advanced degrees in both subject matter (eg. English or Math) and pedagogy. When these two skills are used in tandem, the student becomes both intellectually stimulated and motivated.

What qualifies a student as gifted?

While no students are identical, here are some hints that your child is gifted.

If you are looking for a professional evaluation, please reach out to us and we can guide you through the process.

  • Advanced vocabulary

  • Work is too easy

  • Social skills issues

  • Bored in class

  • Understands complex “adult” concepts

  • Has an interest in the betterment of humanity

  • Able to see long into the future

  • What does twice-gifted mean?

Every student is unique with some activities coming easier than others. For example, a student may do very well at testing but have issues with social situations (think group work). Other students may be on the Autism Spectrum, needing specialized attention to make education both accessible and effective. It is important that the homeroom teacher makes quality notes, connecting students with professions where appropriate.

Do all schools offer the gifted program?

Since gifted students only make up 5 percent of the population–and the fact they need smaller, more specialized classrooms–school boards tend to have gifted programs only at a few, designated schools. This can vary drastically in the private sector with some schools specialising just in enrichment programs, with subject matter that caters to ability and not ages.

In the Toronto area, who offers the gifted program?

Here are 3 schools that offer the gifted program in each of the public and private sectors.

  1. Public

  1. Private

What is the gifted screen process like?

System-wide screening for the identification of Gifted YRDSB students takes place each year in late November to early December. This screening involves a two-stage process: Stage One involves the administration of a group test of cognitive abilities, the Canadian Cognitive Abilities Test (CCAT) to all grade three students. If a student meets the CCAT criterion, they will be referred for Stage Two in the process, a standardized cognitive screening measure with a member of the YRDSB Psychological Services department. Those students who meet the YRDSB intellectual criterion of a score at, or above the 98th percentile rank on the General Ability Index of the intellectual screening measure (WISC V) will be considered by the IPRC (Identification Placement Review Committee).

Gifted screening

The psychological assessment must:

  • be completed by a psychologist or psychological associate who is registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario.

  • be completed when the child’s age was chronologically appropriate for grade three or later, or when the child was at least 8 years old.

  • Contain at a minimum:

    • A measure of intellectual functioning (IQ test)

    • A full academic assessment (must include, at minimum, an assessment of core academic skills, including reading, spelling, writing, reading comprehension, and mathematics)

    • A review of school-based functioning.

Parents/guardians must sign a consent form to allow the Coordinator of Psychological Services in the area to review the assessment.

What are the benefits of the gifted program?

The gifted program gives advanced students the chance to realize their potential, climbing up the ladder without being limited based on age. Here are some common benefits of the program.

  1. More work, more challenges, more interesting material.

  2. Being taught by specialized teachers.

  3. Develop a greater “in-depth” knowledge.

  4. Universities consider “gifted graduates” very positively.

  5. Can lead to opportunities, scholarships, and “unleashed potential”.

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