Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and Answers about Giftedness and Gifted and Talented Education

  • How can I request my child be referred for the gifted program?

Please contact your child’s school or the Coordinator of Gifted or Advanced Programs in your local school system.

  • Can students who have learning difficulties or are designated as special education students also be identified as gifted?

Yes. We usually classify these students as “twice-exceptional” (2e). Students who are identified as twice-exceptional may have learning disabilities that mask or overshadow their giftedness. These students may require different identification methods and program modifications to reach their full potential. Do not assume that students with disabilities cannot participate in gifted education programs. For more information, please visit The Council for Exceptional Children – The Association for the Gifted. You are also advised to contact your child’s school counselor, your child’s special education teacher, or the Coordinator of Gifted or Advanced Programs for your local school system.

  • Can students who are English learners (EL) be identified as gifted?

Yes. Many students do not speak English as their first language but may exhibit traits of giftedness in different ways. For these students, the traits may not seem apparent, especially academic traits because the teachers or others are concentrating on English-language proficiency. For more information, please visit Hoagies’ Gifted Education, or speak with your child’s school Counselor, EL teacher, or the Coordinator of Gifted or Advanced Programs in your local school system.

  • Is “Gifted and Talented” defined by federal and state laws or regulations?

Yes. In Maryland, a gifted and talented student is identified as “having outstanding talent and performing, or showing the potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared with other students” (Maryland Annotated Code §8-201). Each state has its own laws and regulations regarding gifted and talented education. Please visit the Policy page dedicated to the laws and policies for all U.S. states and territories as well as the federal legislation defining and protecting the rights of gifted and talented students.

  • Are there different types of gifts and talents?

Yes. Some gifted students have a general intellectual ability to think and analyze. Others may have a specific academic ability in mathematics or science. Still others are creative thinkers who produce unique ideas and products or are highly skilled in the visual and performing arts. There are potentially gifted leaders who early in life exhibit the abilities to influence and organize others.

  • Do gifted and talented students think and learn differently?

Yes. These students learn rapidly in areas of interest, have excellent memories, and make unique connections among facts and ideas. They are curious and ask the “big,” hard-to-answer questions. They can concentrate for long periods to explore an area of interest. They like to solve problems and may be sensitive beyond their years to moral and ethical issues.

  • How can gifts and talented be identified?

Ability and achievement test scores are typically used, but teacher and parent observations of students’ learning behaviors are also important. The Maryland State Department of Education has created the Primary Talent Development: Early Learning Program, which  helps teachers systematically observe and document gifted learning behaviors in all pre-K- 2 students. Examples of student work, such as a science experiment, model, painting, or poem, may provide evidence of advanced capabilities. Many Maryland local school systems use this program to add an extra data point to their identification process.

  • Are there different programs and services available for gifted and talented students?

Yes. Maryland public schools offer a variety of acceleration and enrichment opportunities that include early entrance to kindergarten, advanced reading or math groups, gifted and talented curriculum units, pull-out enrichment classes, single-subject or whole-grade acceleration, special magnet programs, Advanced Placement (AP) courses, original research, mentorships, or dual enrollment in college. Check with your local school system to see which are offered in your area.

  • Are extra- or co-curricular activities helpful for gifted and talented students?

Yes. Extra- and co-curricular activities are known to have a substantial impact on talent development and benefit all students, especially gifted and talented students. Many activities are designed to support students through learning and socialization. The National Association for Gifted Children published Turning Theory into Practice #7 – Extra-Curricular Activities that Can Boost Talent Development that presents suggestions of possible programs. More information can be found by viewing Extracurricular Enrichment for Gifted Students.

  • Are special training, specialized certificates, or degree programs in gifted and talented education available for educators?

Yes. MSDE and the Maryland Educators for Gifted Students (MEGS) sponsor the annual Maryland State Conference on Gifted and Talented Education in October of each year. Visit MEGS for more information or to register. Local colleges and universities also offer graduate courses, and the Maryland State Department of Education offers several online courses for teachers.

  • How can parental support help gifted and talented students?

Educate yourself and help to educate others about the special needs of gifted and talented students. Become active in your local school’s PTA. Some school systems also have gifted and talented parent groups. The Maryland Coalition for Gifted and Talented Education (MCGATE) holds an annual conference for parents and educators and can help you start a local advocacy group.

  • Where can I get more information about gifted and talented education, students, programs, etc.?

Your child’s school principal can answer questions about local programs and procedures. Each school system in Maryland has a central office staff person who coordinates gifted and talented education. Contacts can be found on the GT Discover page Local Contact Information. National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) is an excellent resource. Hoagies’ Gifted Education also has resources for parents and activities for students.

  • Where can I find information on standards/frameworks for various subjects?

Maryland Content Standards can be found on the following page: MSDE – Division of Curriculum, Instructional Improvement and Professional Learning.