In the school district where I work, all 2nd graders take the Otis-Lennon School Achievement Test (OLSAT). Students with high enough scores are referred for gifted identification. But students who do not meet the OLSAT's criteria can be identified as "gifted/talented" if they frequently or consistently display:
1)Strong powers of reasoning, ability to make comparisons and generalizations, and ability to see cause-and-effect relationships.
2)Ability to concentrate, to become totally submerged and absorbed in an assignment, project, or activity.
3)Approaches tasks in unexpected, unusual, and original ways.
4)Ability to use humor to make a point, to change a situation to gain an advantage, or to connect diverse knowledge.
5)Displays keen powers of perception and observation that can frequently detect fallacies and inconsistencies.
6)Thinks of and asks questions which involve logical-thinking processes.
7)Shows fluency in his/her native language; uses expressive speech, extensive vocabulary, and natural communication skills.
8)Improvises with commonplace materials and objects.
9)Shows a "street sense" and is recognized by others as a person who has the ability to "make it" in the dominant society.
10)Uses body language and gestures expressively; has ability to interpret body language.
11)Displays inner conflicts about academic achievement.
12)Enjoys group activities and problem solving; relates well to peers and is respected by them and is seen as a leader (may be perceived as leading in a negative way).
13)Uses richness of imagery in informal language.
14)Is sensitive and empathetic to the feelings of others but is impatient with illogical, careless, or disorganized thinking.
15)Possesses a sense of justice and fairness, intuitively understands why certain behavior is positive and another is negative.
16)Is highly sensitive to social and moral issues, particularly those in which the student's sense of reason seems to be violated.
17)Likes flexibility in scheduling and experience; is resistant to routine drill.
18)Demonstrates high-level social skills and leadership qualities. Enjoys competition but also works in cooperation with others.
Teachers mark students on a scale of 1 through 5, 1 being "no opportunity to observe," 2 being "seldom," 3 being "occasionally," 4 being "frequently," and 5 being "consistently."
When I was in 5th grade in Central California, I took a test, was identified "gifted," and was accepted at a magnet for gifted and talented children. I was so excited to attend a special school.
Because I started the school (a 2nd-6th grade school) in 6th grade, I was the new kid with no friends. On top of that, I had three hours of homework each night. I was miserable. So my mother removed me from the school.
My parents had raised me in a way that encouraged reasoning, creativity, humor, and so on, and so every time I look at this checklist, I see these traits as habits, trainable, the result of nurture. While a child may be predisposed to being highly intelligent - as Charlotte Mason said -
Education is an atmosphere.