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What is a gifted student?

A gifted student is more than just a student whose scores on tests are higher than others. Consistently high test scores are certainly an indication of exceptional ability, but there are other aspects to giftedness that must also be taken into account. These include creativity, adaptability, persistence, curiosity, and motivation as well as communication and leadership skills. While not all gifted students demonstrate all of these characteristics, they are common signs to be aware of.

What is a gifted and talented maths student?

A student who is gifted at maths is likely to score highly on standardised tests such as PAT and e-asTTle, though many gifted maths students underperform on these tests due to a lack of interest or motivation. Just as importantly, they are also likely to demonstrate attributes from this list described by Richard Miller (1990):

  1. An unusually keen awareness of and intense curiosity about numeric information.
  2. An unusual quickness in learning, understanding, and applying mathematical ideas.
  3. A high ability to think and work abstractly and the ability to see mathematical patterns and relationships.
  4. An unusual ability to think and work with mathematical problems in flexible, creative ways rather than in a stereotypic fashion.
  5. An unusual ability to transfer learning to new, untaught mathematical situations.

                         Discovering Mathematical Talent. ERIC Digest #E482.

Some mathematics programmes, and many mathematics assessments, place a heavy emphasis on computational or procedural approaches. Gifted students may go unnoticed in this environment, with their flexible reasoning and creative thinking overlooked.

Identifying gifted and talented students 

Providing support for gifted and talented students