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Identifying Non-traditional Gifted Students

Gifted students are defined as those who excel in academic subjects such as reading, science, or math. Some students do exceptionally well in visual art or playing musical instruments, while others exhibit strong leadership qualities. All of these are defined in the America’s School Act of 1994.
The term “gifted and talented” when used in respect to students, children or youth means students, children or youth who give evidence of high performance capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who require services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop such capabilities (Ryser, McConnell, 2004).
Gifted children are sometimes called “asynchronous” due to their physical/emotional growth not corresponding to their intellectual growth. Traditionally, gifted students have been under-served or go unidentified due to schools being unable to provide advanced placement or the lack of curriculum for these students. If a student shows signs of boredom, lack of interest or diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, the score of such student may not have reflected their true potential. Times have not changed in regard to this type of students. Many of these students are still in regular classrooms without the opportunity of advanced placement, specific gifted classrooms or additional discovery classes to service their needs. The Federal No Child Left Behind Act has left little room for helping these students attain their full academic and/or talent goals. Combining these factors with the gifted children who are not identified due to not being able to perform well on standardized tests, or a low socioeconomic culture and those with learning disabilities that accompany their giftedness presents a dilemma for most school districts (Lardner, 2004). However, the first step for developing curriculum for schools is the identification process.
1. Problem statement This paper is meant to examine the problems and research that has been done in the area of identifying the students that may show extreme giftedness in one subject and perform low in another, those who may be overlooked due to cultural, linguistic or ethically diverse backgrounds and those students who may not score well on standardized tests; to include twice exceptional students.
Identification and low representation of culturally, linguistically, and ethnically diverse (CLED) students have been a concern with researchers and educators in our country: (Lohman, 2005), (Pierce et al., 2007). Considering the changing demographics within schools and pressure from the government and funding issues, educators must examine “how to change identification procedures and services to adequately recognize and develop these students’ talents” (Briggs, 2008). Even though cultural diversity has become more prominent in in education, CLED students are more identified in the remedial classes and underrepresented in gifted and talented programs (Briggs, 2008).
National surveys show that only 10% of those students performing at their highest level are CLED students even though they represent 33% of the school population (Gallagher, 2002). The issues of identifying and assessing such students are highly important due to various reasons, but first of all because the absence of proper educational approach and environment hinder the development and future success of a great number of people, which undermines the very mission of education. Researching methods and approaching for identification and assessment of nontraditional gifted students will help to address this deficiency of our educational system.
2. Literature review on identification and assessment of nontraditional gifted students Assessing the nontraditional gifted student has become a growing problem in school districts across America. While doing a review of existing literature on the problem of identification of gifted students, one can outline 3 major types of nontraditional gifted students. Each type of such students, its identification and relevant research will be described below.
2.1. Gifted students missed by testing Various identification methods are used to identify gifted learners. There are those who still believe that IQ tests can be the way to measure intelligence; Schroth and Helfer (2008) refer to Gottfredson who states that “proponents of traditional instruments for measuring IQ believe that such tests are not biased against blacks, other ethnic minority groups who are English speaking, or other native born people in the United States predicting well for all subgroups”.
Schroth and Helfer (2008) reference Ford (2003) who believes that the same groups along with low-SES students are discriminated against by standard tests because such tests are “biased against process that is “color blind or culture blind, Eurocentric, monolithic and narrow” (Schroth

Principles of Democratic Education

What are the principles of democratic education? How are these principles and values in tension/contradiction with our social construction of children and youth? For example, what assumptions do we make about teaching, learning and youth that democratic schools challenge? How does “one size fits all” centralized curriculum contribute to what Apple called the “de-skilling of teachers”? What is lost when this approach is adapted, especially when it is combined with the “intensification” of teaching? Explore the contradictions between what we say we want our students to be when they are finished their schooling (engaged, critical thinkers, active contributors and problem solvers) and how we are often educating young people. How does democratic education address this? What are some of the challenges educators who want to introduce democratic principles into their schools face? What are some of the potential rewards? How does democratic education address the notion that all education, even that which claims to be value-centered, is political? Explain the relationship that concepts like voice and agency have to democratic principles in Education.
Answer Democratic Education All beings are created as individuals and have different habits and intelligence. Ayers (2009) says that every human being is capable of infinite and incalculable valve. All of us have an exclusive intellectual, emotional, physical, spiritual, moral and creative force. Each person is born free and is equal in dignity and right. Each endows with reason and conscience. Every individual is deserves a community and sense of brotherhood and sisterhood, recognition and respect. This core value must express itself explicitly and implicitly in education as in every other aspect of associative living.
Amy Gutmann (1999) defines democratic education as a worldwide movement towards greater decision-making power for students in the running of their own schools. There is no generally agreed definition of the term, but at the IDEC: International Democratic Education Conference (2010) in 2005 the participants agreed that, in any educational setting, young people have the right:
to decide individually how, when, what, where and with whom they learn
To have an equal share in the decision-making in the running of their school and determining the rules and sanctions, if any, are necessary.
IDEC (2010) supports schools which uphold respect and trust for children. They believe in shared responsibility and freedom of choice of activity. IDEC is open to schools which follow equality of status of children and adult and democratic governance by children and staff together. They do not believe in any superior guide and system.
Principles of Democratic Education There are two pillars of democratic education:
Self-determined learning
A learning community based on equality and mutual respect
Apple (1995) discusses that democratic education means that children and teachers engage in collaborative planning, reaching decisions that are in the interest of both their aspirations and desires. Those involved in democratic schools prize diversity. They consider themselves participants of communities of learning. Such communities include people representing a broad spectrum of age, culture, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic class and abilities. However, these differences do not create stereotype; instead they enrich the community.
Democracy means by definition means “by the people, for the people”. Therefore, it gives the community a shared purpose and allows people to set aside their self-interests and work for the greater good. Common goal is the central idea of democracy. Beane

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