Assessing Suitability of a School for Gifted and Talented Learners

One of the many challenges facing parents of a child who is gifted is determining if a school can meet the learning needs of the child. To determine if a program or school is suitable for the job, you need to be aware of your child’s characteristics, areas of giftedness, levels of giftedness, learning style, special interests, strengths, and challenges. This will help you better determine if a particular program is a good match for your child.

Dr. Donald Treffinger, President of the Center for Creative Learning, Inc. and an internationally known researcher, writer, teacher, and presenter in the area of gifted and talented education, has identified “25 tough questions that are more important than ‘Is my child in the Gifted Program?'”.

He provides a list of questions parents should ask, such as “How does my child learn best? How does your school program take into account students’ personal characteristics and learning styles?” The complete article is here (Creative Learning – Dear School).

Chapter 4 of  “The Journey: A Handbook for parents of children who are gifted and talented” also presents a list of questions that parents can use to gather information to determine if a current/potential school program or placement will be a good fit.

3 girls sitting on stairs using laptops

Treffinger’s Tough Questions

  • Review process of student needs for Optimal Learning
  • Specific Abilities
  • Provision for Talent Development
  • Pace Accommodations
  • Interaction with Ability Peers
  • Opportunities for Self Awareness
  • Career Awareness Counselling
  • Advanced Content
  • Enrichment vs. differentiated cirriculum
  • Creative Thinking
  • Destination Imagination
  • Research Opportunities
  • Sharing of Products
  • Beyond the Regular Curriculum
  • Self-Directed Learning
  • Building Self-Confidence
  • Exciting and Original Learning
  • Challenge
  • Higher-Order Thinking
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Parent Involvement