Identification of the gifted: An overview
The federal government has been slow to respond to the needs of the gifted in our country. While a mandate for the identification of disabled students exists at the federal level, the lack of a federal mandate for the gifted leaves the responsibility for identifying and serving these students to the discretion of each state. Currently, only 26 states have a mandate for identifying gifted learners. Inevitably, the inconsistency in identification procedures and educational services for the gifted across states and even among districts within the same state, creates an environment for disputes between parents and schools to arise. When parents and schools cannot resolve issues pertaining to the identification of gifted students and/or admission process into specialized programs for the gifted, it is recommended that the steps of dispute resolution be employed. The focus of this chapter is to review these steps and to provide information on selected due process hearings and court cases that have occurred addressing the identification and/or admission processes for gifted learners.