Identification of Gifted Students in the United States Today: A Look at State Definitions, Policies, and Practices
MARY-CATHERINE McCLAIN and STEVEN PFEIFFER
Definitions of what constitute students who are gifted and talented as well as policies and procedures to identify these high-ability stu- dents play a critical role in determining which individuals actually receive gifted services. This article reports on a national survey of how state policies and practices define giftedness, identify gifted stu- dents, and accommodate for gifted minority group students. Results indicate substantial changes in definitions and categories of gift- edness over the past decade. Results also reveal variability in iden- tification methods, with a majority of states using a 3–5% cutscore for demarcating giftedness while endorsing a multiple cutoff or averaging approach to gifted decision making. Most noteworthy is the fact that at present, no state advocates using a single-score decision-making model for gifted classification. The authors discuss the implications for school psychology.