A call for greater attention to the needs of gifted middle school students

Two of the nation’s leading education groups are calling for schools, teachers, and parents to assure that all middle school youngsters are in classrooms where “both equity and excellence are persistent goals for each learner.” National Middle School Association (NMSA) and the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) have issued a joint position statement and call for action to meet the needs of high-ability and high-potential learners between 10 and 15 years of age.
The statement, entitled “Meeting the Needs of High-Ability and High-Potential Learners in the Middle Grades,” is being sent to education and government leaders throughout the United States. “Our challenge is to assure that every learner has access to the highest possible quality education and the opportunities to maximize his or her learning potential,” said Carol Tomlinson, past president, NAGC. “Today’s middle level schools must provide strong academic programs for all young adolescents, including advanced learners,” said Sue Swaim, executive director, NMSA. “Yet, these opportunities must be presented in a developmentally responsive manner for students whose development differs at a given time.”
NMSA and NACG are urging schools to implement appropriate identification, assessment, and curriculum and instruction programs for students with advanced abilities and/or advanced potential. Additionally, schools should build partnerships with all adults key to these students’ development, and focus on the affective development of these youngsters. Finally, the position statement calls for increased pre-service and in-service staff development for middle level teachers dealing with gifted students. The position statement includes a “call to action” to ensure equity and excellence for all learners, including those of advanced performance or potential. It suggests specific steps for district and school leaders; teachers, gifted education specialists, and support personnel; and parents to take.
The position statement can be downloaded at