Alberta Education describes giftedness as exceptional performance and/or potential in learning rate, depth of knowledge, reasoning and problem-solving abilities when compared with others of their age, experience and environment. It may appear across a wide range of abilities: general intellectual, specific academic, creative thinking, social, musical, artistic, kinesthetic. (Alberta Education, 2004).
Having the potential for high levels of achievement does not necessarily mean it will be demonstrated or recognized by others. It is also important to realize these are complex students who manifest giftedness in a variety of ways. For more information: The Journey, a handbook for parents of children who are gifted and talented.
In the CBE, to be identified with the special education designation Gifted and Talented, the following conditions must be met:
- The student is identified as intellectually gifted with Very Superior/Extremely High cognitive ability (Full Scale IQ of 130+) as determined by a registered psychologist who administers an individual standardized psychological assessment.
- Adjustments in programming are required to address the needs giftedness presents. Social and emotional characteristics, typical of many gifted learners, impact these needs.
The student receives individualized support to address these needs. Some, but not all, of these learner needs may be addressed in the student’s Individual Program Plan (IPP).
In Alberta, educating students with special education needs in inclusive settings is the first placement option to be considered. Inclusion refers to setting as well as to specially designed instruction and support for students with special education needs in regular classrooms and neighbourhood schools.
Effective differentiation of learning task design and assessment are foundations for personalizing the learning experiences of our gifted students, as it is for all students.
Programming is provided in accordance with the following initiatives and policy documents:
- Standards of Special Education, June 2004
- CBE Administrative Regulation 3003: Special Education Programming
Within CBE there are many programs available that address the exceptional interests and skills of gifted learners. For more information, please follow this link to Program Options.
Sometimes the needs of a gifted student are best met in specialized classes. The Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Program for CBE students in grades 4-12 is the one most often associated with meeting the needs of gifted learners.