What Is Gifted Education? The Informative Guide

Gifted education refers to the practice of identifying and providing opportunities to gifted students. In this post, you will read about various approaches to gifted education and how to recognize gifted students.

Gifted education is not a subject on its own, but rather a term used to describe the practice of providing an educational environment for children or young people who are highly intelligent or talented.

Schools and parents provide a special program to gifted children to foster their confidence and desire to learn more, regardless of their age or background.

Beyond that, however, there are many different approaches to gifted education. Just how different these approaches take some explaining.

I will discuss what gifted education is in this blog post, why it matters, and how it impacts school settings.

What Is Gifted Education?

Gifted education is when students who demonstrate higher cognitive ability attend and receive appropriate educational services suited to their unique needs.

Gifted education is an educational approach that has existed for centuries. Its goal is to provide all talented students with the means of reaching their highest potential (academic, developmental, or social).

Although school districts, provinces, and states have varying gifted education programs, there are some common approaches.

What Are Some Approaches to Gifted Education? 

The variety of approaches to gifted education ranges from the utterly nonselective to the highly selective.

The fact is that giftedness can manifest itself in many different talents or skills. Thus, a single approach to gifted education can never hope to encompass all aspects of a learner’s abilities.

All gifted students share certain key characteristics and interests, and advanced intellectual abilities, high levels of achievement, and certain key interests.

1. The Acceleration Approach

Acceleration is a gifted education approach in which a student is provided with a specialized curriculum in a more advanced area of study.

The purpose of acceleration is to provide a challenging educational environment that stimulates gifted children intellectually and keeps them engaged in their studies. 

A component of acceleration is subject acceleration. Subject acceleration is the acceleration of content in a particular lesson, particular unit, or particular course. It occurs when children qualify as being gifted.

The impetus behind the acceleration is that it will allow that child to take more advanced content in a subject or curriculum without forcing that child into an outside the regular classroom environment.

This practice aims to provide an accelerated curriculum and schedule for students to develop the skills they need to excel.

2. The Enrichment Programs Approach

Enrichment programs in gifted education aim to allow you to engage in higher-level activities while still maintaining the base curriculum.

The programs focus not only on your academic abilities but also on your non-academic abilities and talents.

An enrichment program is a specialized program for gifted and talented students.

Students develop their gifts and talents through programs like debates, spelling bees, science olympiad, Brain Bowl, science fairs, or creative problem-solving programs. You can offer enrichment programs in schools or after-school programs.

3. The Self-Pacing Approach

Self-pacing is a powerful concept used primarily in the gifted education curriculum.

Teachers facilitate the learning process by allowing students to move from one instructional level to another based on their rate of progress. 

In self-paced classes, gifted students can work ahead, skip lessons entirely or repeat lessons if they need reinforcement. Students with average abilities can also use self-pacing to accelerate their learning rates.

4. The Homeschooling Approach

It involves the teaching of gifted students at home by parents, tutors, or other caregivers. One method of educating gifted children is through homeschooling.

Homeschooling can help your children with advanced skills get the advanced curriculum they need to develop their intellect and talents.

5. The Pull-Out Approach

An instructional strategy that takes place outside of a regular classroom is the pull-out approach.

A team of educators helps pull you from class and serves your gifted educational needs within a different context for a while. Despite isolation from mainstream education, the student interacts with peers with similar gifts.

It refers to a form of gifted education where students with talents get removed from the general classroom and are placed in a separate group for a specific period. Your classes take place in different classrooms with similar-level students.

Pull-out programs offer a variety of creative exercises, critical thinking tasks, and areas not covered in the traditional curriculum. Some of these exercises may include reasoning skills, math, or philosophy.

6. The Compact Approach

Condensing school material is part of this approach. Teachers use the compacted material to evaluate you to determine which abilities and information you fully understand.

You take pretests weekly or daily to complete challenging assignments on a worksheet and eliminate the others completed correctly.

Once you record a sufficient degree of competency, additional repetitious exercises get avoided. This minimizes tiredness and enables the student to focus on more difficult topics.

7. The Cluster Grouping Approach

The most commonly used grouping process in gifted education is cluster grouping. Cluster grouping is a systematic way to help gifted learners that work well in a small classroom.

One classroom, or cluster, will be designated to be used for the gifted students during certain days or certain activities. 

Cluster grouping, a way to organize a classroom set up for gifted learners, recognizes that gifted kids learn differently from their peers.

In fact, it takes advantage of this by arranging for students to work at their own pace and encouraging one another to learn because they can work with others at their level.

8. The Summer Enrichment Programs Approach

Summer Enrichment Programs are gifted education programs that provide challenging learning environments for gifted students.

The ultimate goal of all gifted programs is to continue the intellectual development of gifted students while they are on break from their regular school programs by providing enrichment, guided inquiry, acceleration, preferred grouping, or mentored study.

Gifted students are provided with a wide range of learning opportunities during the summer months to help them advance academically. These programs are typically summer camps, and entrance fees are often required.

9. The Full-Time Schools or Classes for the Gifted Approach

Full-time schools or classes in gifted education offer curricula and academic levels that are accelerated and/or differentiated from those of the general population.

They allow you to pursue curricula that are at your level of understanding for a longer period than that which is typically possible within a traditional school environment. These programs often emphasize interdisciplinary and inquiry-based learning and sometimes include access to tutors, mentors, and mentorships.

How Do You Identify Gifted Children?

The identification of gifted children is not easy, but several techniques can provide a reliable assessment. 

When assessing your potential for giftedness, you have a few options. Also, your IQ score is often a good measure of how well you will excel in a gifted education program.

Watch your child’s listening skills. Is your child easier to engage through visual information rather than auditory information? Does your child have an internal locus of control? Is your child able to look ahead and spot errors in their thinking?

Some identification methods require you to demonstrate advanced academic standing on individualized achievement tests. Others include a psychometric test or IQ testing to figure out your intellectual functioning.

What Are the Advantages of Gifted Education?

Gifted education comes with benefits that you might not realize. If your child is gifted, the early detection of the talent will help your child excel at a young age. They can score well on tests and also on real-life issues.

Gifted children develop their creativity and create a positive impact on society.

Once you understand the idea of gifted education, it’s easy to see why so many advocates support this type of schooling. It can create a brighter future for gifted children and provide them with valuable lessons about the world and their role in it. 

Supporters say that this form of education can also help by meeting each child at their own pace.

Often, gifted students feel bored when given information in a way that is too simple, and not challenging enough. That may be an excellent option over other types of schooling that may prove more difficult.


How do gifted children differ from children with special needs?

A gifted child has academic abilities that far exceed those of his peers. However, special needs children often face significant challenges in terms of social/emotional, fine and gross motor, or a combination thereof. This condition is either with academic advancement or not.

Both gifted and special education students can struggle in school. But talented students’ struggles usually revolve around their intelligence and academic performance, whereas special needs students deal more with disabilities such as autism or ADD/ADHD. 

How do gifted children impact society?

Gifted children often grow up to become the next generation of innovators and thought leaders who solve some of the most complicated problems all humans face.

In many instances, geniuses, innovators, and other heroes have recognized that their abilities made them different from other people at a very young age.   

Does gifted education work for adults?

Yes, gifted education programs do work in adults. Gifted education develops and nurtures high cognitive thinking and problem-solving skills in adults while encouraging their passions and interests. 


Gifted students require special instruction and education to help them reach their greatest potential through various methods.

Through these various methods, gifted students can be taught in a variety of ways. Both public and private programs focus on gifted education within the United States. 

If you can develop rapidly and need constant changes in your curriculum, you may also need gifted education. Modern-day gifted programs may be few or many hours per day, even for after-school programs. 

In addition to formalized instruction, gifted education entails various enrichment opportunities that leverage your extraordinary abilities.

Finally, there are many gifted programs, but the ones that specifically focus on academic achievement are usually based on teaching complex subject matter to high-achieving students who have an IQ of 130 or above.

When teaching gifted children, cognitive learning comes into play, as it focuses on maximizing the brain’s potential. Check out this article on cognitive learning for more information. 

I hope you found this post helpful. Thanks for reading.