United States federal definition of gifted and talented students:
The term "gifted and talented" when used in respect to students, 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." (P.L. 103–382, Title XIV, p. 388)
The major characteristics
♦ The diversity of areas in which performance may be exhibited (e.g., intellectual,
creative, artistic, leadership, academic)
♦ The comparison with other groups (e.g., those in general education classrooms
or of the same age, experience, or environment)
♦ The use of terms that imply a need for development of the gift (e.g., capability
In general gifted individuals learn more quickly, deeply, and broadly than their peers. Gifted students may learn to read early. The gifted tend to demonstrate high reasoning ability, creativity, curiosity, a large vocabulary, and an excellent memory. They often can master concepts with few repetitions. They sometimes perceive teachers and authority figures as their peers or even as inferior to themselves.
Giftedness is frequently not evenly distributed throughout all intellectual spheres: a student may excel in solving logic problems and yet be a poor speller; another gifted individual may be able to read and write at a far above average level and yet have trouble with mathematics. Gifted student's advanced cognitive abilities, social isolation, sensitivity, and uneven development may cause them to face some challenging social and emotional issues.
Isolation - This one of the main challenges faced by gifted individuals, especially those with no social network of gifted peers. Hoping to gain popularity, gifted children will often try to hide their abilities to win social approval.
Underachievement - Many gifted students will continually do well on achievement tests, but will fail to participate in class. These students will feel alienated to the educational process.
Perfectionism – This is encouraged by the fact that gifted students are usually successful in all of what they do because their abilities have not been challenged, and consequently they try to avoid failure.