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Gifted & Creative Education: Developing Talents of Children in Schools (March 2018): Home

By Stephen T. Schroth and Kimberly McCormick


This essay first appeared in the March 2018 issue of Choice (volume 55 | issue 7)


“Gifted and creative education” is an inclusive term that references theories and practices used with children identified as gifted, creative, or talented and special services offered by schools. No single method or procedure exists for the identification of these children, nor is there any consensus regarding the best way to serve them. Indeed, in many jurisdictions there is no mandate that any services be provided to gifted, creative, or talented children. But where they are available, enrichment or acceleration services or both have been provided. The field has received criticism in certain quarters for failing to adequately serve certain populations of children, including children of color, English learners, and students from low socioeconomic status homes. Despite this, gifted and creative education remains popular with parents, a priority for school administrators, and an area of interest for teachers. A rich and varied group of materials explores characteristics of gifted learners, conceptions of giftedness, identification tools and processes, programming options, curriculum and instruction, and evaluation for gifted learners.

This essay suggests books that have been, for the most part, published since 1990, and it focuses on works published in the US. The authors chose 1990 because it is the year of the founding of The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented (NRC/GT) at the University of Connecticut, University of Virginia, University of Georgia, and Yale University. The federally funded NRC/GT established a research base for gifted and creative education that had been largely lacking, which resulted in a swell of interest in materials related to these topics. A handful of works published before this time will be examined, as will works that represent the spectrum of viewpoints and perspectives common in the field. 

Stephen T. Schroth is professor of early childhood education and graduate programs director at Towson University. He is the author of multiple monographs, book chapters, and articles related to gifted and creative children. His forthcoming book, due in the spring of 2018, is Developing Diversity in Early Childhood and Elementary Education: The REACH Project Approach (written with Jason Helfer).

Kimberly McCormick is assistant professor of early childhood education at Towson University. She received a PhD in learning and developmental sciences from Indiana University, before which she began her career as a technology coordinator at a science and technology magnet school in Indiana and then taught first and fourth grade. Her research focuses on connecting student engagement to the academic and social needs of gifted and talented students and fostering cognitive engagement through formative assessment.