Expert panel says gifted students must be challenged

Wendy Owen, The Oregonian
For gifted children to succeed, they must be challenged, according to a panel of experts. Nearly 200 parents and educators filled the auditorium at Westview High School Thursday night to learn about the unique characteristics, best practices and identification methods for Talented and Gifted (TAG) students.
Gifted children lose their motivation when the work is too easy. Having never been challenged, they will lack the tools to deal with difficult work in the future, said Jean Gubbins, associate director of The National Research on the Gifted and Talented at the University of Connecticut. Beaverton, Hillsboro and Forest Grove school districts sponsored the panel as part of an ongoing review of their own TAG programs.
The panelists also stressed the importance of grouping gifted students in middle school, at least during some lessons. “They need time with like-ability peers,” said Hilda Rosselli, dean of the College of Education, Western Oregon State University. Educators should also seek out TAG students among English language learners, students from poverty and other under-served children, who are often overlooked as gifted, the panel said.

4 thoughts on “Expert panel says gifted students must be challenged”

  1. From what I’ve learned about changes in Honors (nee TAG) programming at East, this is precisely what the plan is: group all the “honors” students and thoroughly include ELL and under-served students, including special ed. Easier said than done, I think, but the goal is laudable.

  2. It is of utmost importance to support the gifted, the brightest of our country for it’s upliftment and future. What might have happened if Barack Obama wasn’t educated as he was and what he is offering back now. He could be having a much easier life out of public life. Support our brightest with resources and creativity. I had to put my older son (who is now on a full scholarship at Stanford for graduate school) in a private school to meet his gifted needs. I wish it weren’t so, but he wouldn’t have thrived well enough in elementary and middle school in a public school. Cara Hoffert

  3. Madison should incorporate “gifted” programs in its schedule..Odyssey of the Mind and/or other like programs for the talented and gifted students. These programs should be run by TEACHERS.

  4. We have no gifted and talented program in Madison public schools. There simply is none. We have a TAG department (laughably small – 1 resource teacher for 8-9 elementary schools), but no official programming. And having no real TAG programming is against state law. But more significant are the losses to society and to the quality of individual’s futures.
    Take for example the genius chemist Percy Julian. The barriers to his being able to go to college weren’t only because he was black nor because he was poor. When he was accepted to De Pauw University, he was accepted as a “sub freshman” because he hadn’t had a challenging education prior to this so he didn’t have enough knowledge or skills to really be a college student. His brilliance did not automatically make him an excellent student. He was way behind and had to do a lot of catching up. Eventually, because of his own perseverence, and against the odds, he did catch up and became one of the world’s most brilliant scientists, inventing progesterone, cortisone, and more.
    My reason for writing about Percy Julian’s schooling is that it shows that “gifted” people, without the appropriately rigorous education, are not necessarily “talented”. The idea that smart kids will do fine no matter what is a myth that is well documented.
    I encourage anyone interested in gifted education issues to check out the Madison parent group “Madison United for Academic Excellence”. The website is
    You’ll find like minded friends on their listserv, and lots of good research articles on the topic.

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