Common Terms Related to Gifted Education

This glossary, developed by the California Association for the Gifted (CAG), has been designed to present the commonly accepted meaning of each term and an interpretation of its importance to gifted education.

Ability Grouping
A classroom and/or administrative strategy for grouping students by need, interest or ability. Groups can be formed and reformed to meet varied instructional purposes. Ability grouping is not synonymous with “tracking.”
Academic Excellence
The expectation that each student work at an appropriately high level to meet or exceed academic standards as defined by the state, district, and/or school. Learning and performing for each student should be at a level of challenge commensurate with each student’s skills and developed abilities.
Acceleration/Accelerated Learning
A strategy for pacing students through the curriculum at a rate commensurate with their advanced ability. The pace should allow them to go as far and as fast as their interests and abilities permit. In certain cases, GATE students may be eligible for acceleration into classes or grades more advanced than those of their chronological age group. For example, a 5th-grade student may take mathematics at the middle school, or an 8th grader may take geometry at the high school but remain with the regular class for the rest of the day. Sometimes a student may be so advanced in all areas that full-time promotion to the next grade level is warranted.
Demonstration that students, teachers, administrators, and other personnel in schools, districts, and states are meeting their educational responsibilities. This includes meeting agreed-to standards of student performance, curricular and program goals, fiscal expenditures, and other stated educational goals and objectives.
Advanced Placement (AP)
A national program that permits high schools to offer courses that meet criteria established by higher education institutions. Secondary students may gain college credit and/or advanced college placement by successfully passing a nationally given and scored Advanced Placement examination. The classes are more demanding than regular high school courses and equivalent to those offered at the college level. Many colleges and universities award college credit and/or waive freshman courses for AP courses successfully completed, allowing the student to proceed to the next level. Students sometimes choose to take the AP class without taking the culminating national examination.
Affective Learning
The development of social and emotional skills that occurs in the classroom as a result of including in the curriculum issues such as the study of values, attitudes, and knowledge and appreciation of self and others.
Alternative Assessment
A process of evaluating student learning using portfolios, student products, performances, and in –class observations to replace or supplement the commonly used written assignments or tests. Alternative assessment allows students to be evaluated with regard to their individuality and creativity.
A term for the uneven rates of cognitive, emotional, and physical development often found in gifted children. As advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine, inner experiences and awareness are created within the gifted student that are qualitatively different from the norm. Developmental differences increase as the level of asynchrony increases.
A designation for students who show indications that they may underachieve or drop out of school. Unmet economic, physical, emotional, linguistic, and/or academic needs may inhibit a student’s ability to learn, value education, and/or attend school.
Authentic Assessment
A form of alternative assessment that attempts to use tools and practices of evaluation that are as much like the real world conditions as possible. For example, assessing the teaching ability of students learning to become elementary classroom teachers by evaluating their skills while they are instructing a class of elementary students; or assessing the singing ability of students by auditioning them and judging the singing performance while they are singing.
Block Grant Funding
The legislative provision for combining funds for numerous approved educational programs together as one funding source. Such co-mingling of program funds allows the administration of the district or state to decide the amount of funds to be spent on any given program included in the block according to its perceived priority of need.
Bloom’s Taxonomy
A term that refers to the first of two handbooks written as a set of standard classifications of the goals of the American educational system. The Taxonomy of educational Objectives Handbook I.- Cognitive Domain was written by a committee of college and university examiners chaired by Benjamin S. Bloom. The term cognitive is used to include activities such as remembering and recalling knowledge, thinking, problem solving, and creating. The taxonomy identifies six levels of goals or outcomes in the cognitive area and presents them in a hierarchical order; from lowest to highest they are knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Use of the cognitive taxonomy can help teachers gain perspective on the emphasis given to the levels of outcomes in their curriculum planning and encourage more use of the higher levels, especially appropriate for gifted students. The second handbook, written by Krathwohl, Bloom, and Masia, classifies educational goals in the affective domain that emphasizes feeling tones and emotions, and varies from simple attention to qualities of character and conscience.
Categorical Program
Special-purpose programs funded with grants from the state and/or federal government. Funds from the grants must be spent for the specific goals and purposes defined in statutes by the state and/or federal government.
Cluster Grouping
A method for organizing a heterogeneous classroom to provide more effective learning by assigning a group of students with similar needs, interests, and/or abilities to the same classroom. where they form an instructional group. When cluster grouping is used as a provision for the GATE program, the GATE identified students form a cluster within the regular class and the regular classroom teacher is responsible for providing appropriate instruction.
Cognitive Learning
The act or process of knowing that includes awareness, remembering and recalling knowledge, thinking, problem solving, creating, and judging that can be expressed or acquired by linear or spatial means. Linear cognition may include analysis, synthesis, and/or critical thinking; spatial cognition may include patterns, gestalts, and/or visual thinking. Cognitive learning is the focus of schooling in general and, at high levels, of most gifted programs.
Collaborative Learning
A teaching strategy whereby a group of students is expected to share expertise and effort in order to create a common project or product.
Competency Testing
Evaluation procedures that measure a student’s acquisition of the knowledge and/or skills that have been identified as necessary to the understanding of a lesson, unit, or area of study. Competencies are the standards or goals that have been established by a teacher, school, district, or state that identify the requisite abilities or information a student must have to accomplish a task or master a discipline.
The quality or process of thinking that combines many ideas or parts to develop complicated and interrelated wholes. A common characteristic of gifted students is to seek complexity in their thinking and to understand complex concepts and generalizations at a sophisticated level. Instruction that makes connections with other ideas, show the relationship between concepts, and introduces understandings from perspectives other than the student’s own can meet this need. Such experiences require students to find multiple solutions across the disciplines, over time, and from different perspectives.
A theory of learning based on the premise that all learners understand or construct their worlds by synthesizing new experiences with what they already know and have previously experienced. Abstract concepts are best learned by students through exploration, reasoning, and discussion. In this way, students create as well as consume knowledge. A teacher using the theory of constructivism poses meaningful, open-ended questions; uses rich, primary-source materials; and demands quality evidence of student learning. In a constructivist classroom, students are encouraged to explore, collaborate, problem solve, and learn autonomously with work that is personally relevant.
Elements of curriculum, wherein content is the knowledge or skills to be learned, process is the way content is learned, and product is the outcome of learning such as written reports, illustrations, performances, or debates.
Cooperative Learning
A learning strategy that combines teamwork with individual and group accountability. A common task and/or project is assigned to a group of students who have varying ability levels. The purpose of such grouping is to prepare students to live in a democratic society; to help them understand group membership and group dynamics; and to allow them to practice both leadership and follower skills. On occasion, students who have similar ability levels are grouped together to work cooperatively.
Coordinated Compliance Review (CCR)
A review conducted by the California Department of Education of the planning, implementation, and assessment procedures used in district programs to determine their effectiveness and ensure that the legislated requirements are being met. For gifted and talented education (GATE) programs this includes the standards adopted by the state Board of Education. For example: (1) the program must have equitable access and opportunity for participation regardless of socioeconomic, linguistic or cultural background, and/or disabilities; (2) districts must provide all gifted students a comprehensive continuum of services and program options responsive to their needs, interests, and abilities, based on philosophical, theoretical, and empirical support; and (3) the curriculum provided must be differentiated and include instructional models and strategies that are aligned with and meet or exceed the state academic content standards and requirements of the state curriculum frameworks.
Core Curriculum
The content or subject areas specified by the California State Department of Education as basic for all students in: reading, writing, mathematics, history/social studies, and science. The core curriculum is sequentially based. The state frameworks provide guidance to local districts in deciding the common knowledge and skills to be learned by all students of a particular grade.
The process of combining what exists into something new. The something new could be a procedure, an idea, or a product. By federal and state definition, creativity is a component of giftedness.
Criterion-Referenced Assessment
An assessment strategy that measures student performance related to the body of knowledge or skills on which the student is being evaluated rather than to the performance of other students. For example, a student can be said to have mastered 85% of the math skills designated for students in that subject area. The focus is on the domain of content being represented by the test.
Critical Thinking
The use of analytical thinking for purposes of decision-making. This includes the development of specific attitudes and skills such as analyzing arguments and points of view, understanding different perspectives, and reaching sound conclusions.
Curriculum Compacting
A strategy used to give students validation for what they already know rather than repeating material already learned. It allows students who demonstrate mastery of skills and concepts to omit portions of assigned curriculum, or to move more quickly through curriculum than would be typical. By demonstrating a high level of proficiency in the basic curriculum the student can then be allowed to use instructional time to engage in more appropriate and challenging learning experiences.
A process of thought that seeks to understand concepts and generalizations through the analysis of the rules and principles that support the larger idea. A common need of gifted students is to be able to explore a subject at a higher level of understanding by finding the principles and facts that make up its generalizations and concepts. Meeting this need for depth in thinking allows gifted learners to discover details and identify patterns and trends that lead to the formulation of unanswered questions and the understanding of overarching ideas.
The modification of the curriculum to meet the unique needs of learners. It may include modifications in complexity, depth, pacing, and selecting among, rather than covering all, of the curriculum areas. The modification is dependent on the individual needs of the students.
Direct Instruction
An educational model wherein the teacher provides concepts or demonstrates skills that the students are expected to learn. The lecture method and individual or small group tutorials are examples of direct instruction.
Often believed to be the selection and treatment of people as superior in some way and therefore favored. This connotation engenders negative feelings toward those selected. However, when defined as the selection and treatment of people who show evidence of unusual ability (e.g., athletic prowess, musical talent, or academic aptitude) and who with additional opportunities could become truly outstanding, elitism becomes a positive term.
Activities that supplement the core curriculum, such as field trips, special speakers or demonstrations, special projects, and community involvement. Such activities are generally not specified in the curriculum and are selected by the teacher and/or students in a given classroom. In this type of program, GATE identified students are assigned to regular classrooms, but leave periodically for enrichment activities with other GATE students. This could be for a short period each day, or for an extended period once a week. This type of program is usually seen at the elementary school level where special day classes are not offered and is often referred to as a resource room program.
Equal, fair, and impartial learning opportunities and access to good teaching for all students. Equal opportunities do not mean the same opportunities. In order to meet educational needs at all levels of development, these opportunities should begin at the student’s level of development and encourage and enable all students to develop to their fullest potential. For the gifted student that would involve identification as a learner with different educational needs and participation in programs that can meet such needs, such as GATE programs.
Flexible grouping
A variety of grouping patterns that allows students to work in many configurations, sometimes alone, sometimes in pairs, sometimes in small or large groups. The choice the teacher makes for organizing the type of grouping to be used may be based on the task, the need or level of the student, or the outcome desired. A student may work most effectively in different levels of grouping in different subjects. For example, the student may need to be in a high group for math but a lower group for reading depending on the student’s academic needs.
The organization of a body of knowledge basic to the understanding of disciplines into levels of study that identify what the student should know and be able to do at each grade level. California has established curriculum frameworks to guide teachers in the instruction of students to ensure coverage of all concepts and materials required in the core curriculum.
Gifted and Talented Students
A label given to identify students who because of their unique and advanced abilities need special educational services to ensure their academic, social, and emotional growth and development. The only reason to identify gifted students is to provide appropriate placement and services.

As defined by California Education Code 52201: “Gifted and talented child, means a child enrolled in a public elementary or secondary school of this state who is identified as possessing demonstrated or potential abilities that give evidence of high performance capability as defined pursuant to Section 52202.” Section 52202 states: “For the purposes of this chapter, the demonstrated or potential abilities that give evidence of high performance capability shall be defined by each school district governing board in accordance with regulations established by the State Board of Education. Each district shall use one or more of the following categories in defining such capability: intellectual, creative, specific academic, or leadership ability; performing and visual arts talent; or any other criteria which meets the standards set forth by the State Board of Education (pursuant to Section 52203). Each governing board shall also consider identifying as gifted or talented any student who has transferred from a district in which he or she was identified as a gifted and talented child.” Thus, each district establishes its own identification standards to meet the needs of its student population.

“’Highly gifted pupil’ means a gifted and talented pupil who has achieved a measured intelligence quotient of 150 or more points on an assessment of intelligence administered by qualified personnel or has demonstrated extraordinary aptitude and achievement in language arts, mathematics, science, or other academic subjects, as evaluated and confirmed by both the pupil’s teacher and principal. Highly gifted pupils shall generally constitute not more than I percent of the pupil population” (pursuant to Section 5220 1).

Federal legislation refers to gifted and talented when used in respect to students, children, or youth as “those who give evidence of high performance capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who require services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop such capabilities” (P.L. 103-382, Title XIV, P. 388).

A range of giftedness is recognized including moderately, highly, and profoundly gifted students.

Gifted and Talented Education (GATE)
A California state categorical program that permits but does not require services to gifted students. Funding is allowed to districts that apply to “provide a comprehensive continuum of services and program options responsive to the needs, interests, and abilities of gifted students and is based on philosophical, theoretical, and empirical support” (California Standards for Gifted Programs).
The evaluation of student work by teachers that is usually recorded in letter grades, numbers, percentages, and or teacher comments.
Graphic Organizer
A visual format for the organization and representation of information and ideas. Flow charts, concept maps, and webs are examples of graphic organizers.
Heterogeneous and Homogeneous Grouping
Two strategies for grouping students in the classroom to facilitate ]earnings Heterogeneous grouping refers to grouping students by age with no regard to demonstrated ability or level of knowledge. Homogeneous grouping refers to grouping by the demonstrated need, ability, or interest of the students.
Honors Class
A secondary level course specifically designed to be advanced in content, process, and product. Traditionally, students who meet prerequisite criteria are accepted into these courses.
Independent or Self-Directed Study
A strategy to allow students to follow individual or self-selected areas of interest and specific aptitude by designing and implementing their own study plans. Close monitoring by teachers or mentors is an essential component of independent study. Independent study can be implemented through correspondence with a recognized program such as those offered by Stanford and Johns Hopkins Universities.
Individual Educational Plan (IEP)
A document that details customized goals, structures, environments, and activities that meet the educational needs of a particular special-needs student. The IEP is typically created by a multi-disciplinary team of professionals, in conjunction with parents and the student, and is based on assessments, observations, performance benchmarks, social adjustment, and level of progress. The IEP is mandated for special education students but can also be used successfully with gifted students.
A strategy that provides a specific program to meet the particular needs, interests, and/or abilities of an individual student for some part of his or her educational experience. It does not mean, however, that every child is working in isolation on a different level or a different subject at all times. It does mean that students are working with appropriate materials on levels of learning commensurate with their assessed ability, needs, and/or interests in groups or individually.
The aggregate of an individual’s cognitive, affective, physical, and intuitive brain functioning. It is enhanced or inhibited by the interaction between the genetic pattern of individuals and the opportunities provided by the environment for individuals throughout their life spans. High levels of intelligence may be expressed in a variety of ways such as academic aptitude, insight, and innovation, creative behavior, leadership, personal or interpersonal skills, visual and performing arts, or any combination of such abilities.
Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
The result of a measure of ability or aptitude at a given point in time, comparing children of the same chronological age. Standardized tests resulting in an IQ (e.g., Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC)) must be individually administered by trained psychologists to preserve the tests’ validity and reliability. The IQ was originally computed by dividing the mental age (defined by the level of tasks completed successfully on an intelligence test) by the chronological age times I00. These scores are now determined statistically as tests are developed. An average IQ at any age is I00. The beginning of the upper 2% on the Stanford- Binet Intelligence Scale is an IQ of 132. Originally the IQ was considered to be the sole way of measuring student intelligence. Current thinking now accepts the intelligence test with the resulting IQ as one of the many ways to measure reasoning ability and predict a student’s academic ability on school-related tasks.
Interdisciplinary Curriculum
A method for structuring the curriculum to study a topic or concept by gathering and relating information and ideas from multiple subject areas.
International Baccalaureate (IB)
A rigorous international pre-university course of study comprised of a comprehensive classics curriculum (languages, sciences, mathematics, and humanities) that emphasizes critical thinking, intercultural understanding, and exposure to a variety of points of view. The Diploma program is designed for highly motivated secondary school students aged 16 to 19. Its graduates fulfill education requirements of various nations and have access to the world’s leading universities. Only schools approved by the IB organization may offer the program. IB programs are also offered for students of ages II to 16 years (Middle Year Program) and students of ages 3 to 12 years (Primary Years Program). The IB program and the examinations given upon completion of individual courses are internationally standardized. Many major colleges and universities throughout the world grant advanced standing to students who have earned IB Diplomas. Some institutions also recognize the successful completion of individual IB courses, in much the same way as they recognize successful Advanced Placement course completions. Few public high schools currently offer IB programs due to their rigorous academic demands and the financial cost required to establish them.
Modifying curriculum, varying assignments, or providing special services to students who are not meeting expectations.
Learning Styles
A theory regarding the learning mode and/or learning environment most favored by individual students. For example, students may be primarily auditory learners rather than visual or kinesthetic learners. Some students are more successful in a structured environment, while others work best in an independent learning situation.
Magnet School or Magnet Program
A public school program that offers particular programs or services at selected individual school sites. Some magnet programs focus on specific learning areas such as math, science, or performing arts. Others are designed to serve a specific student population such as highly gifted students. Since space is usually limited, special entrance requirements may apply.
Mandated Program
A program required by law. In California, special education programs are mandated; programs for gifted students are not.
A member of the community who is matched with a student to provide expertise and/or advice in a field of study Mentors may also serve as role models.
Multiple Intelligences
The theory first suggested by Guilford in his Structure of Intelligence model that intelligence can be expressed in a variety of ways and is not limited to the rational linear mode. The current theory, commonly associated with Howard Gardner, identifies at least eight intelligences: linguistic, musical, spatial, logical mathematical, bodily kinesthetic, inter-personal, intrapersonal, and natural.
A process for referring students for assessment to participate in a specialized or categorical program such as the GATE program. The nomination process is the first step toward identifying students for the GATE program.
Non-Traditional Identification
Alternative methods of identification that use instruments and procedures to assess students and provide types of information unavailable though the more traditional non-n-referenced and standardized tests.
Norm-Referenced Assessment or Standardized Tests
Tests used to determine an individual’s status when compared to the performance of other individuals on the same test. Tests are standardized by the use of a “norm” group. Such a group is comprised of a large number of individuals who take a particular test and whose scores then form the basis for establishing the average score and standard deviation of that test. Such a standardized test is considered to be highly reliable when used with similar populations of individuals. The norms may be set with national, state, or local populations. In addition to being sure the norm group is similar to the population that is being tested, it is necessary to match the intent of the test with the purpose for which that test is being used. Lack of attention to these issues is considered to be the greatest misuse of standardized tests. Examples of standardized tests are the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), and the California Achievement Test.
The state or process of being new, unusual, or unique. A common characteristic of gifted students is the need to incorporate original interpretations of existing information by utilizing their personal views and interests. Meeting this need allows gifted students to construct unique and individualized meaning of the structures or concepts allowing innovations and re-creations of old systems and ideas.
Open-Ended Questions
Questions used to provide opportunities for more than one solution or answer. Student response is judged by the logic used to explain or defend the solution or answer. Students must be able to recognize tasks without a label, draw upon prior knowledge, generate relevant approaches on their own, and articulate their reasoning.
Outcome-Based Education (OBE)
A theory of structured learning in which decisions about curriculum and instruction are based on desired competencies students should demonstrate at the end of their formal education. The outcomes may include not only grades or scores on reports or tests, but student demonstrated performance of real-life abilities such as planning and design, creation and production, leadership, and organization.
Parallel Curriculum
A curriculum planning model that incorporates four parallel or concurrent tracks of development: the Core or Basic Curriculum – outlines the knowledge base or basic skills of the discipline; the Curriculum of Connections – extends the information from the core to allow interactions in various settings, circumstances, and time elements; the Curriculum of Practice – gives opportunities for students to function as professionals in a discipline; and the Curriculum of Identity – creates experiences in which students can increase their awareness of self and their connections with the discipline under study and increase their expertise in the field.
Part-time grouping
An administrative structure that permits districts or schools to group students during a part of the school day according to abilities, needs, or interests. This provision makes classroom instruction more appropriate for the student and therefore more effective. Part-time grouping occurs when GATE identified students are enrolled in regular classes but a] so attend classes or seminars with other GATE identified students for part of the day. For example, in elementary schools students may be grouped by ability for reading. A typical part-time grouping at the middle school level might place gifted students together for math and language arts, but have them participate in heterogeneous grouping for the rest of the school day. At the high school level, classes appropriate for GATE students are generally called honors, Advanced Placement (AP), or International Baccalaureate (IB).
Peer Grouping
A grouping practice that indicates voluntary or assigned matching of students by shared characteristics such as age, ability, need, and/or interest to make teaching and learning more effective.
Portfolio Assessment
A collection of student products used to measure student progress and achievement and to determine or evaluate the appropriateness of placement in a program. This practice allows students to demonstrate a wide variety of abilities and talents that traditionally are not measured well by standardized tests. Selection of material for a portfolio is usually based on criteria set by the teacher alone or in cooperation with students.
Post-Secondary Education Opportunities
Some GATE high school students may complete their requirements for graduation early or finish all the courses a high school has to offer in a particular field a year or two before graduation. In that event, it may be possible for the student to enroll concurrently in the high school and a local junior college, 4-year college, or university. Many universities provide programs for early entrance to the university courses by advanced high school age students through special enrollment either on a full or part time basis. These are forms of acceleration that meet a need for particular gifted students.
Problem-Based Curriculum
An instructional model that enables learners to solve meaningful problems using knowledge and skills across the disciplines. It enables gifted students to practice critical and creative thinking while researching information and organizing ideas to solve real-world problems.
A guide or scale for scoring products or outcomes during the assessment process. Each interval along this assessment scale represents a specific level of learning from minimal to exemplary. The levels of learning are accompanied by specific descriptors of the type and quality of work expected in attaining the level of learning described.
An instructional strategy that provides carefully structured and sequenced support for learning new and increasingly more difficult tasks. This approach places the teacher in a collaborative, interactive role with students. Emphasis is on teacher modeling, extending, rephrasing, questioning, praising, and correcting, rather than on the teacher as the evaluator.
School Improvement Program (SIP)
A K- 12 categorical program funded by the State of California. Funds are used for staff and curriculum development purposes, improvement in school climate and culture, management and leadership training, and direct classroom support.
School of Choice
A legal provision that allows opportunities for parents and students to select a school of attendance. California law permits all parents to choose which public schools they wish their children to attend given certain parameters including: space must be available (neighborhood children have priority), transportation must be provided by parents, and equal access must be assured.
Site-Based Management (in California, Site-Based Coordinated Program (SBCP)
A current school restructuring model, also known as school-based management, that gives local autonomy to schools for planning and decision making. A team of educators and community members assumes responsibility and accountability for all education programs in the school, striving to assist all students to reach their fullest potential. Under SBCP, categorical funds MUST be used to supplement, not supplant services to special needs students.
Social-Emotional Needs
The affective needs of learners that include social relations, personal adjustment, motivation, emotional expression, values, and moral reasoning. Gifted students often experience unusual sensitivity to expectations and feelings of others, heightened self-awareness, early development of idealism and a sense of justice, emotional intensity, high expectations of self and others sometimes leading to perfectionism, advanced levels of moral judgment and profound level of altruism and global concerns. These and other areas of advanced or asynchronous social and emotional development can result in at-risk behaviors such as underachievement, symptoms of depression, and can create needs that inhibit cognitive growth and contribute to feelings of insecurity and isolation.
Special Day Class
A program structure that provides a homogeneous setting for the school day for students with common needs and/or abilities whose needs are not being met in the regular classroom. The class can include students of multiple grades or ages and can be offered at any level from kindergarten through high school. When used with gifted students, this structure is sometimes referred to as a self-contained GATE class. Special day classes are often placed at central locations with qualified students drawn from the surrounding schools or throughout the district. A few districts offer magnet schools for gifted, highly gifted, or talented students in which the entire student body is identified as gifted or talented.

By law, such a class must be designed to meet the academic needs of GATE students with enriched or advanced instruction and be appropriately differentiated. It must be taught by a teacher who has specific preparation, experience, personal attributes, and competencies in the teaching of gifted children. (Article 2 3840)

Common categories and definitions for standards used in California:
Content standards refer to the specific academic knowledge, skills, and abilities that all public schools in this state are expected to teach and all pupils are expected to learn in each of the core curriculum areas at each grade level. The teacher can determine specific and/or additional content standards for each lesson or course of study, preferably with the collaboration of the students.

Performance standards communicate the ways by which the content standards can be met or the evidence that can be used to show mastery of the content or skill being learned. The delineation of the levels upon which student’s work may be assessed is sometimes referred to as Performance Standards. Opportunities need to be given for students to have choice and input into the ways in which the outcomes of learning can be communicated and assessed. Product standards or rubrics define and detail the criteria for and the way in which the learner can meet each level of competence or mastery for the curriculum content or skills for which content standards have been established. These standards allow a more precise evaluation of the degree to which a student has met the content standards. Program standards define the goals, design, implementation, and assessment of educational programs.

A legislative term indicating the stated procedure and date of review for continuation or termination of a categorical program.
Talent Development
The deliberate and planned effort to provide children with an enriched and responsive learning environment both at home and at school. This ensures that all of their talents and abilities will have the opportunity to develop to maximum levels.
Thematic Curriculum
Learning experiences that focus on the study of a specific topic, such as “animals or global concept, such as “change.” The theme is used in an interdisciplinary manner as an organizing element to provide continuity and knowledge of interrelationships in learning.
Tiered Assignments
The practice, of providing a variety of assignments to match the varying levels of student knowledge of the content or skill in the core curriculum being taught in a given classroom. While all students within the classroom work toward a common goal, tiered assignments allow each student to work at a level of difficulty, complexity, or depth appropriate to his or her understanding.
An organizational practice that forms fixed groups of students that are rigidly maintained over time.
Twice Exceptional
A term that identifies students with more than one area of exceptionality such as gifted, physically disabled, hearing impaired, visually impaired, learning disabled, or behaviorally disordered An example would be a gifted student who is also diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, a form of learning disability.
A discrepancy between recognized ability and actual academic performance. The causes of underachievement may be social, emotional, physical, and/or academic and may originate at home or at school.


This Glossary was developed by the Publication Committee of the California Association for the Gifted, 2003

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