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Seven tips for supporting high performers at school

The Guardian – Nicola Slawson

“Is giftedness a case of nature or nurture? Opinion is divided. While one school of thought says that some children have an innate ability to achieve higher than their peers, others will argue that most people can reach standards of performance associated with being gifted and talented. In our recent Q&A, experts discussed the latest thinking on how people become high performers and what teachers and parents can do to help young people excel in their chosen areas. Here’s a summary of their thoughts: .”(more)

Are Kids Missing Out By Not Skipping A Grade?

KQED News Mind/Shift – Linda Flanagan

“Saxon Scott was 5 years old when her parents decided she could do without kindergarten. She’d sailed through a series of tests that measured her acumen, and moved directly to first grade once preschool ended. Now she’s 15 and a high school junior, and Scott thinks nothing of her relative youth. She continues to shine in the classroom, is friendly with students in her grade, and only briefly laments the fact that she won’t be driving until the end of her freshman year in college. “As someone who skipped kindergarten, I can say it wasn’t a big deal,” Scott said. Skipping grades used to be a common strategy to keep gifted or very bright children engaged in learning; it was a simple intervention that worked well when schools were smaller, more flexible and lacking enrichment programs. But today, according to a recent report by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, just 1 percent of students jumps a grade level.”(more)

Schools turn to universal screening to increase equity in gifted programs

Education Dive – Tara García Mathewson

“Like many districts nationwide, the Orlando-based Orange County Public Schools long identified gifted students through a referral process. Parents or teachers who suspected children of being gifted would recommend them for screening, and the district would assign services accordingly. During the 2012-13 school year, however, the Orange County Public Schools began a shift to universal screening. It started in its high-poverty schools, where students had historically been underrepresented in gifted programs. That first year, the portion of students being identified as gifted grew 7% from the year before. The next year, it grew another 5.6%.”(more)

Do your schools have more gifted students than you thought?

District Administration – Ryan Lacey

“A leading gifted-and-talented expert once believed the number of students who performed above grade level was between 5 and 15 percent. But a new study shows the number is much higher, says the expert, James Plucker, a National Association for Gifted Children board member. The analysis, conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, revealed that between 25 and 45 percent of students in three states performed above grade level in English and math.”(more)

Getting Restless At The Head Of The Class

NPR – Anya Kamenetz

“They read a book quietly under their desks, pester the teacher for extra credit, or, perhaps, they simply check out and act up. Every classroom has a few overachievers who perform above their grade level and don’t feel challenged by the status quo. A new report suggests they are surprisingly common — in some cases, nearly half of all students in a given grade. “The start of this was a little embarrassing,” says Matthew Makel, who researches academically gifted children for Duke University’s Talent Identification Program.”(more)

How pushy should parents be?

The Guardian – Emine Saner

““I don’t want to be an ordinary kid,” says 10-year-old Rhea, in the TV show Child Genius. And it’s clear she’s not. She knows how to spell “eleemosynary” – the answer to the question that earned her the title of Child Genius 2016. The runner-up, nine-year-old Saffy, is also clearly not ordinary. This week, in the Channel 4 programme – essentially a show that poses graduate-level questions to mostly primary school-age children – her specialist subject was “The premiership of Margaret Thatcher: monetary policy and tax reform, 1979-1990.” Saffy wants to be prime minister. Apart from being astounded that people who are so small that they need to stand on boxes to reach the podium know obscure answers to questions about spider mimicry or Russian ballet, and can do mental arithmetic within seconds, it was a fascinating glimpse into the families who raise gifted children, and what it takes to get them into a competition such as this. About five or six hours’ work a day, says Rhea.”(more)