“If you hit every time, the target is too near or too big.” Tom Hirshfield
The term “gifted,” like most labels applied to children or adults, is a catchall of complexity. Usually, giftedness implies a very specific and extraordinary talent. But that talent may lie in music, sports, writing, language learning, vocabulary, math – really in any domain in which we can recognize unusually accomplished performance.
Parents and teachers often worry about two things when considering how best to support their gifted students.
- How to help them continue to develop their unique talents, and
- How to help them integrate that talent with other skills needed to enhance that talent and ensure balance, addressing the attention and other behavioral issues which sometimes come with exceptional ability.
Qualifying for Gifted Programs
Many school districts use tests like the CogAT or other intelligence tests to qualify students for gifted programs. It is important to understand that such tests usually measure “developed cognitive ability,” not the potential of a child to develop those cognitive abilities. In fact, just about any individual can develop his or her cognitive skills beyond wherever they are starting from.
A school district in South Carolina identified a need in some elementary schools to support students in improving their developed cognitive abilities to increase the number of students qualifying for the gifted program based on performance on the CogAT test. Over the past three years, 557 students in the district have used BrainWare SAFARI and taken the CogAT before and after.
- 95% of the students improved on at least one section of the CogAT.
- 12% of the students qualified for the gifted program or for the opportunity to complete further testing to qualify.
Average improvement on the CogAT (percentile rankings) have been very consistent over the three years with the following gains documented in the 2010-2011 school year:
|CogAT Subtest||Average Percentile Point Gain|
BrainWare SAFARI and Gifted Students
BrainWare SAFARI is designed so that each individual proceeds at his or her own pace, and the level of challenge becomes quite high in many areas of cognitive skill development. Thus, the program can be used both in a way that challenges high-potential students, as well as to help integrate their skills with areas that may not be as strong.
Gifted in Knowledge Center
Product Studied: BrainWare SAFARI Subjects 64 students, all 2nd grade students, low SES, Conway Elementary, Horry County Schools, Conway, SC Usage 2-3 sessions
Product Studied: BrainWare SAFARI Subjects 257 students, all 2nd grade students in 3 schools, low SES, Horry County Schools, Conway, SC Usage 2-3
Sometimes when I talk to an educator or a parent about BrainWare Safari and cognitive skills, he or she will assume that the program is only for struggling learners or