Skip to main content

Twelve Cost Effective Educational Options for Serving Gifted Students

Gifted Resources

This article provides steps that schools and educators can take to help gifted children stay focused and achieve at higher levels. In addition, these steps can be taken by schools that want their students to excel, even when funding may not be available.

At present, nearly half of all gifted students are underachievers. There is no federal legislation that mandates gifted education nor are there cohesive infrastructures in place that help parents recognize – and take advantage of – resources to effectively advocate for gifted children. The absence of such practices stifles the development of highly intelligent youth, a population the Davidson Institute asserts is one of the most under-served populations in American schools today, and poses significant concerns regarding the development of future advances and inventions in all fields of study.

What can schools do to help these students when they really care, but don’t have the funds?

1. Some gifted students may be candidates for early entrance to kindergarten, or possibly first grade if they are already reading.

2. Pre-assess gifted students before a unit or a course for mastery of the subject matter and offer a more advanced unit or course.

3. Self-contained classes for gifted students, particularly in core curriculum classes, help them move on to more advanced subjects.

4. Multi-age, self-contained gifted classes are even more effective. Learning with intellectual peers encourages gifted students to achieve.

5. Subject acceleration is appropriate when a student is proficient in a particular subject.

6. Consider grade acceleration when a student demonstrates proficiency at a particular grade level. Use the Iowa Acceleration Scale to evaluate this and other options.

7. Dual enrollment in middle or high school, or high school and college, offers challenging opportunities for gifted students.

8. Offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) programs for gifted students.

9. Provide counselors who are trained to counsel gifted students, including advising them of talent development opportunities.

10. Advise students of Academic Talent Searches, scholarships and academic competitions and give students credit for the advanced courses they take in academic summer programs.

11. Create a school culture that values intellectual discovery and achievements, where students encourage one another to accomplish more than they would on their own.

12. Encourage administrators and teachers to educate themselves on the wide range of exceptional abilities among bright students and increase flexibility in addressing the individual learning needs of gifted students.


Gifted achievers and underachievers: A comparison of patterns found in school files” by Peterson, J.S. & Colangelo, N. (1996)

Handbook of Gifted Education, p. 424, edited by Colangelo, N. & Davis, G. (2003)

Templeton Report on Acceleration – A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students by Colangelo, N.,Assouline, S. & Gross, M. (2004)

Re-Forming Gifted Education by Rogers, K. (2001)

Developing Mathematical Talent by Assouline, S. Lupkowski-Shoplik, A. (2003)

Iowa Acceleration Scale by Assouline, S., Colangelo, N., Lupkowski-Shoplik, A., Lipscomb, J. & Forstadt, L. (2002)

An analysis of the research on ability grouping by Kulik, J. (1993)

A best-evidence synthesis of research on acceleration options for gifted students by Rogers, K. (1991)


Peggy Evans

I live in Forest Grove Oregon Forest Grove School district 97116, and my daughter is talented and gifted, as of 2019 fifth grade at Tom McCall Middle School there she received guidance from a designated tag teacher or that was trained in working with text students however she goes to Neil Armstrong Middle School they do not have a tag teacher or guidance person at this school to help her develop her skills and is having a really difficult time in this school How could I reach out I've called the school district I've called the school just looking for advice on how to access information to better guide her for the rest of this school year Thank you sincerely Paige Evans 503-547-7944

Add a comment

Please note, the Davidson Institute is a non-profit serving families with highly gifted children. We will not post comments that are considered soliciting, mention illicit topics, or share highly personal information.

Related Articles

Gifted Resources

2023 Davidson Fellows – Leveraging Science & Engineering Innovation to Better the Environment

The Fellows Scholarship awards $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 scholarships to extraordinary young people, 18 and under, who have completed a significant piece…

Gifted Parenting and Strategies

Parenting tips on educational advocacy

This Davidson Institute blog post offers parents tried-and-true strategies they can use to optimize their chances of changing the attitudes…

Gifted Resources

Tips for Parents: Seeds of Mindfulness: Creating the Conditions for the Flourishing of Your Gifted Child . . . and Yourself

The following article shares highlights and insights from one of our Expert Series events, which are exclusive for Young Scholars and their…

Highlights from Expert Series

Tips for Students: Eat Your Way Through History

The following article shares highlights and insights from one of our Expert Series events, which are exclusive for Young Scholars and their…