Definition of Giftedness
According to the NewJersey Administrative Code, gifted and talented students are defined 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 school district and who require modifications of their educational program if they are to achieve in accordance with their capabilities."
N.J.A.C. 6A:8-1.3 & 6A:8-3.1
Characteristics of Giftedness
Research on creative-productive people has consistently shown that although no single criterion can be used to determine giftedness, persons who have achieved recognition because of their unique accomplishments and creative contributions possess a relatively well-defined set of three inter-locking clusters of traits. These clusters consist of above average, though not necessarily superior, ability, task commitment, and creativity (see Figure A). It is important to point out that no single cluster "makes giftedness." Rather, it is the interaction among the three clusters that research has shown to be the necessary ingredient for creative-productive accomplishment. The shaded portion of Figure A represents this interaction. It is also important to point out that each cluster plays an important role in contributing to the display of gifted behaviors.
The following list further describes the characteristics of each of the three giftedness clusters.
Above Average Ability
- High levels of abstract thinking, verbal and numerical reasoning, spatial relations, memory, and word fluency.
- Adaptation to the shaping of novel situations encountered in the external environment.
- The automatization of information processing; rapid accurate, and selective retrieval of information.
- The application of various combinations of the above abilities to one or more specialized areas of knowledge or areas of human performance (e.g., the arts, leadership, administration).
- The capacity for acquiring and making appropriate use of advanced amounts of formal knowledge, tacit knowledge, technique, logistics, and strategy in the pursuit of particular problems or the manifestation of specialized areas of performance.
- The capacity to sort out relevant and irrelevant information associated with a particular problem or areas of study or performance.
- The capacity for high levels of interest, enthusiasm, fascination, and involvement in a particular problem, area of study, or form of human expression.
- The capacity for perseverance, endurance, determination, hard work, and dedicated practice. Self-confidence, a strong ego and a belief in one's ability to carry out important work, freedom from inferiority feelings, drive to achieve.
- The ability to identify significant problems within specialized reason; the ability to tune in to major channels of communication and new developments within given fields. Setting high standards for one's work; maintaining an openness to self and external criticism; developing an aesthetic sense of taste, quality, and excellence about one's own work and the work of others.
- Fluency, flexibility, and originality of thought.
- Openness to experience; receptive to that which is new and different (even irrational) in thoughts, actions, and products of oneself and others.
- Curious, speculative, adventurous, and "mentally playful" willing to take risks in thought and action, even to the point of being uninhibited.
- Sensitive to detail, aesthetic characteristics of ideas and things; willing to act on and react to external stimulation and one's own ideas and feelings.