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EiC definition
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Thinking skills

Identification Methods for Gifted & Talented Children

The following table is taken from QCA documentation.




National Curriculum Tests Judged against school curriculum.
Measure of longitudinal progress.
Easy Transferable data across schools & LEAs.
Based on clear criteria
High levels of achievement dependent on access to appropriate curriculum opportunities.
Unit of measurement can be too broad,
particularly with the youngest children
Baseline Breadth of assessment issues
Can involve qualitative and quantitative data
Can vary across the country
Some schemes lack experience
Ability Profile Tests
(eg. CATs)
Useful screening procedure.
Objective evaluation of performance on certain skills in comparison with others of similar age.
Relatively inexpensive.
Can be useful in identifying able children who are under-achieving.
Only able to give information on the limited range of skills measured.
Usually limited to measuring analytic skills and do not reward divergent thinking.
May not identify pupils with different cultural/linguistic backgrounds or dyslexic pupils.
Format may be daunting for some pupils.
Less robust at the extremes of the range.
Less reliable for younger pupils.
National Curriculum
Teacher Assessment
Based on clear criteria.
Linked to the school curriculum.
High levels of achievement dependent on access to appropriate curriculum opportunities.
Open to interpretation.
Teacher Nomination Makes use of teacher’s ongoing assessments of pupils.
Closely linked to provision.
Facilitates recognition of pupils’ responses to teaching, levels of initiative and interest, lateral thinking and extent of high level problem solving.
Subjective if not undertaken against agreed criteria.
Clearly linked to generality of practice.
Relies on teaching approaches which are confident, challenging and flexible.
Can be disrupted by teacher changes or supply issues.

Classroom Observation



May help to confirm other assessments through systematic data collection based on agreed criteria.
Assesses child in familiar context doing familiar tasks.
Time consuming if done in addition to normal
classroom practice.
Can be subjective if not undertaken rigorously and on a series of occasions (including variety of teaching contexts).
Examination of Pupil Work Good measure of written outcomes.
Helps refine teacher expectations through analysis of high quality work.
Can allow children with specific learning disabilities (e.g. dyslexic children) opportunity to demonstrate ability in other subject areas
Can be subjective if not undertaken rigorously.
Only measures achievement not potential.
High performance reliant on good opportunities and high teacher expectation.
Over reliance on written work can hide wider
potential, especially for younger children.
Subject Specific Checklists Useful in assisting teachers to explore ability in their subject and thereby recognise those with high ability.
Discussion generated in departments can serve to facilitate curriculum design.
Checklists cannot be relevant for each individual.
Extensive lists can be unwieldy to manage and time-consuming to administer.
Generic Checklists Easily accessible.
Simple to handle.
Can run the risk of creating stereotypes.
Too general to be useful in curriculum terms.
Validity remains questionable.
Reading Tests Easy to administer.
Reading competence gives some indication of likely exam performance.
Some schools have access to some standardised score which allows for ‘Summer born’ factor to be considered.
Reading is a skill rather than an ability and high scores on reading tests are not a reliable indicator of cognitive ability.
Creativity Tests Measures ability not normally assessed as part of school assessment.
Offers divergent thinkers a chance to display their ability.
Time-consuming to administer.
Validity remains questionable.
Educational Psychologists Invaluable in identifying high ability linked to complex issues e.g. areas of SEN. Time-consuming and expensive.
Unnecessary for most gifted pupils.
Parents and Peers Intimate knowledge of the individual.
Takes account of performance outside school.
Subjective, based on own experience and knowledge.
Difficult to give clear criteria.
Using Community Resources May be the only source of information concerning talents e.g. sports academies, theatre groups.
Offers a dimension that may not be possible within a school context (e.g. playing for a national team).
Specific channels of communication need to be established, which may not be reliable.
Identification through
Helps pupils develop a desire to learn and sustain the personal drive required to fulfil their potential.
Key to addressing underachievement.
Demanding in terms of teacher time and resources.

      *i.e. provision of rich opportunities for all children to demonstrate their abilities through open-ended / differentiated
        challenges. Involves a combination of enrichment, extension and acceleration, with opportunities for independent 
        learning and learning  beyond  the classroom. This is an important element in current DCSF policy on provision for G&T.


DCSF documentation (2007) suggests the key principles in the identification of gifted and talented pupils are that:

      Emphasis should be on providing an appropriate, challenging and supportive environment rather than on labelling any particular child;

      There should be open communication between educators, pupils and parents/carers as part of the identification process - parents know their children best and should be engaged as partners in their child's learning;

      Parents/carers should be made aware that being on the gifted and talented register does not automatically guarantee academic success;

      Identification is a continuous process. Some pupils will be easy to identify at a very early age, while some will emerge later;

      Identification should be systemised within the school so that it is continuous, rather than a battery of specific tests at a set time of year;

      Schools need to be particularly vigilant for the 'hidden gifted' or under-represented groups, such as underachievers, those for whom English is not their first language, those with learning or physical disabilities or those from different cultural or socio-economic groups;

      Identification should be based on a portfolio approach, utilising a range of both qualitative, quantitative and value-added measures;

      The identified group should broadly represent the school's population;

      Teachers should be continually 'talent spotting'.