New Jersey Department of Education

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Does a school district have to use a standardized process, or can it rely on teacher identification? 
  2. Does the gifted identification have to be based on academic achievement?  
  3. Can a student be considered gifted based on exceptional abilities in a specific course or program of study (i.e. visual and performing arts, health and physical education, career and technical education (CTE), etc.)? 
  4. Is there a general guideline about the frequency with which students should be identified as “gifted?” For example, should the designation generally be limited to a certain percentage of students, with limited exceptions as needed?   
  5. Can a student with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan be identified as gifted?  
  6. If I am moving to New Jersey from another state, how can I find out what programs are offered in a specific school or district? 
  7. Since standardized assessments are not administered until grade three (3), how can we identify students in grades K-2? 
  8. If a student is enrolled in an advanced level course or in an advanced school within the district, do they need to be considered for gifted identification?
  9. Can honors, Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses be used to satisfy the law's requirement for school districts to provide gifted educational services at the high school level? 
  10. Must gifted services be offered during the school day?
  11. What professional development must be provided by the LEA that is related to gifted and talented education? 
  1. Does a school district have to use a standardized process, or can it rely on teacher identification? 

Identification policies and procedures are determined at the district level. Because no two students are alike, it is important to collect information on both the student’s performance and potential through a combination of objective (quantifiably measured) and subjective (personally observed) identification instruments in order to identify a gifted and talented student.  Districts typically follow a systematic, multi-phased process for identifying gifted students to find students who need services beyond the general program. Please review the NAGC’s Sample Identification Instruments.

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  1. Does the gifted identification have to be based on academic achievement?  

No. Students may exhibit giftedness or exceptionalities in a variety of subjects.

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  1. Can a student be considered gifted based on exceptional abilities in a specific course or program of study (i.e. visual and performing arts, health and physical education, career and technical education (CTE), etc.)? 

Yes. There are content-specific exceptionalities that educators can observe. Some students who achieve average scores on conventional academic measures may exhibit exceptional talents in specialized courses that their districts are able to observe and identify.

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  1. Is there a general guideline about the frequency with which students should be identified as “gifted?” For example, should the designation generally be limited to a certain percentage of students, with limited exceptions as needed?   

The Strengthening Gifted and Talented Education Act states, “boards of education shall make provisions for an ongoing kindergarten through grade 12 identification process for gifted and talented students that includes multiple measures”. 

Identification needs to occur over time, with multiple opportunities to exhibit giftedness. Because giftedness is dynamic and not static, one test at a specific point in time should not dictate whether a student is identified as gifted.

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  1. Can a student with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan be identified as gifted?  

Yes. Students with IEPs may also be identified as "twice-exceptional". These students may require different identification methods and program modifications to reach their full academic potential.  Learn more about  Supporting Twice-Exceptional (2E) Students.   

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  1. If I am moving to New Jersey from another state, how can I find out what programs are offered in a specific school or district? 

All public school districts in New Jersey are required to identify gifted and talented students and provide services. The law requires that each district share information on its website about identification procedures and timelines, as well as the continuum of services offered, and a complaint process.  The types of services may differ from district to district. For information regarding services available in a particular district, please contact the district or check its website. Contact information for schools and district administrators is also available in the NJDOE school directory.  

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  1. Since standardized assessments are not administered until grade three (3), how can we identify students in grades K-2? 

The Strengthening Gifted and Talented Education Act does not require the use of standardized tests as part of the identification process; therefore, local districts should use multiple measures to identify students who are gifted and talented. Evidence of mastery of grade level skills and benchmarks in advance of instruction or acquiring the skills more rapidly (less repetition) may indicate the need to provide gifted education modifications for students.

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  1. If a student is enrolled in an advanced level course or in an advanced school within the district, do they need to be considered for gifted identification?

Yes, according to the law, the “identification process shall include consideration of all students.” However, please note that being conventionally high achieving is not synonymous with giftedness. The definition of a “Gifted and talented student” is a student who possesses or demonstrates a high level of ability in one or more content areas when compared to their chronological peers in the school district.” For example, a teacher may identify one or two students who are beyond the others in class and recommend them for an instructional adaptation where they can participate in, benefit from and/or demonstrate knowledge and application of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS).  

Therefore, every school district must have an identification process in place and students who are identified as gifted and talented must be provided modifications of their educational program. Students may be identified as exceptional in one or two subject matter areas; including content-specific exceptionalities that schools providing specialized programs can observe.

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  1. Can honors, Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses be used to satisfy the law's requirement for school districts to provide gifted educational services at the high school level? 

Though honors, Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) classes typically move at a faster rate than other classes and tend to have more advanced content, enrollment in an IB, AP or honors class does not automatically demonstrate that a gifted student's level of learning is being addressed. Whether a specific honors, AP or IB course meets the needs of a student who has been identified as gifted in a school district should be based on the student's unique needs and interests.  Specifics about the requirements for participation or eligibility for these advanced courses are available on district websites.

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  1. Must gifted services be offered during the school day?

The Strengthening Gifted and Talented Education Act  requires that district boards of education provide appropriate K-12 services for students identified as gifted and talented. This includes appropriate curricular and instructional modifications indicating content, process, products, and/or learning environments. After-school programs or clubs may provide exciting opportunities for students who are identified as gifted and talented but do not fulfill the expectations set  forth in the law. 

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  1. What professional development must be provided by the LEA that is related to gifted and talented education?  

The Strengthening Gifted and Talented Education Act states, “an LEA must actively assist and support professional development for teachers, educational services staff, and school leaders in the area of gifted and talented instruction.”  

The following organizations offer free resources related to gifted and twice-exceptional professional development: 

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