Characteristics of Gifted Learners

The New Jersey Department of Education defines gifted students as: "Those students who possess or demonstrate high levels of ability, in one or more content areas, when compared to their chronological peers in the local district and who require modification of their educational program if they are to achieve in accordance with their capabilities."

There are many different characteristics of gifted learners.  These characteristics are for students in the general education setting as well as the twice-exceptional students.  Unfortunately, gifted abilities can be "hidden" or go unnoticed if a student has a physical or learning disability.  A gifted student should exhibit some of the following characteristics:
  • be an abstract thinker with the ability to analyze and solve complex problems.
  • is able to "think outside of the box."
  • be an advanced reader, performing above their grade level.
  • be an advanced writer that performs above their grade level.
  • has asynchronous development.
  • is able to understand the new curriculum quickly and with ease.
  • will asks higher-order questions taking a topic to the next level.
  • is able to be an inventor, plan out and create a new design.
  • is very observant.
  • is able to dissect and manipulate information to come up with a complex solution as well as explain its process and reasoning.
  • is often a leader in the classroom.
  • is very creative.
There is a difference between a "bright student" and a gifted learner.  A student that is "bright" will usually have the following characteristics:
  • usually enjoys school.
  • eagerly raises their hand to participate in class.
  • knows the answer the teacher is looking for.
  • is in the top group in the class.
  • has well-thought-out ideas.
  • works hard and is eager to help others.
  • is curious and asks questions.
  • is a very hard worker.
  • understands, can memorize, and absorb information in a few attempts.
  • performs on target/grade level.

ELL students are identified in different ways.  The ELL teacher is the best resource when it comes to discovering a gifted ELL student.  The ELL teacher can consider if the student:

  • has advanced math skills.
  • has a creative ability.
  • is rapidly learning English.
  • is able to understand words and phrases and the association in their native language as well as English.
  • can problem solve.
  •  has the ability to communicate with the teacher or peers in English.
    is often eager to learn the language.
  • is a leader amongst their peers in the ELL group setting.
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