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Gifted Education

Frequently Asked Questions about Gifted Education | download this page

How are children identified as gifted in the state of New Mexico?

New Mexico has guidelines that determine the need for services beyond the regular
classroom curriculum. Students must be assessed in intellectual ability and qualify in one other
area: academic achievement, creativity, and/or critical thinking. The specific regulations that
dictate eligibility can be found on the Public Education Department website at:
http://www.ped.state.nm.us/Humanities/Gifted/index.html , then click on the Technical
Assistance Manual for Gifted Education in New Mexico and go to pages 123-124.

My child’s three-year re-evaluation is coming. Does my child need to have a new IQ test?

No, once the student’s intellectual ability, Intelligence Quotient (IQ), is determined, no
further testing is needed in that area. Typically the re-evaluation looks at informal assessments
which determine growth in the goal areas of the student’s IEP as well as future goal areas.

Why do students who are gifted need services?

Whether or not a student needs services is a determination that is made by the IEP team
after the student has been evaluated and met the established criteria. Many gifted students
demonstrate need because they are not challenged by the curriculum that is offered at their grade
level. The IEP team determines what services are needed, where they will be delivered and by

What are the requirements for the use of the Alternative Protocols?

Alternative protocols are appropriate tools for the identification and evaluation process.
They are often implemented with students who have been determined to have socioeconomic
disadvantages, disabilities, cultural differences, or language barriers that would interfere with
their ability to perform on individually administered tests. Currently two alternative protocols
are often used: the DISCOVER assessment and the Frasier Talent Assessment Profile (FTAP).

How long should it take for my child to be identified and receive services for gifted

The Special Education regulations that speak to the length of time that should transpire
between referral, testing, identification and the beginning of service should be “reasonable.” The
specifics of that timeline may be spelled out in the district policies. Whatever policies the
district implements as a timeline for the determination of eligibility should be uniform for all
referrals to special education.

Why address the social/emotional needs of students who are gifted?

Child development is often not a level process for many children. For children who are
gifted, the difference between their intellectual ability and their emotional development may be
significant. If the student is demonstrating difficulty that may be attributed to his or her
social/emotional needs, those needs should be assessed and addressed. The IEP team may
request a psychological evaluation, and write IEP goals and objectives that will address the need.

At what age should my child be tested?

The regulations state that a continuum of services must be available for Kindergarten
through 12th grade. When your child should be referred and possibly tested is a determination
made by the school and the parent.

Is a student who is gifted a straight “A” student?

Not necessarily. There are gifted students whose academic achievement crosses all areas (language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science). There are many who may excel in only one or two areas. There are students that are gifted and have qualified as a result of non-academic achievements and abilities. These students may not have any particular scholastic aptitude, but use their intellectual ability in other ways. They may display exceptional abilities in the visual or performing arts or have critical thinking skills that they demonstrate through problem solving opportunities. Another type of student who qualifies for gifted services may also have a disability that interferes with performance in certain curricular areas.

What’s the difference between a high achiever and being gifted?

Generally speaking, students who are high achievers are typically good students, who work hard, do what is expected of them, are attentive to their teachers, and like school. Again, generally speaking, gifted students can sometimes be more of a challenge to teachers. They may question what is being offered and show less inclination to do what is asked of them. They may display different styles when approaching tasks or assignments. They may know answers, but not know the steps to get them.

What is the least restrictive environment for a student who is gifted?

A continuum of placements is required in each district. This means that services may be provided solely in the regular education classroom with appropriate aids and services, short-duration pull-out programs, resource rooms for specialized supports, or in highly differentiated environments, such as alternate classrooms for specific subjects, or in a full day self-contained classroom. The individual student needs must dictate how, where and by whom the services are provided.

There is research that supports the idea that the students who are gifted need to be grouped for contact with others of like ability during a portion of their time in school.
Grouping provides an opportunity for gifted students to share ideas and interests that may be different or more in-depth than their general education classmates. When students need more accelerated learning opportunities, they may spend more time in environments with similarly skilled students.

What kinds of services are available for students who are gifted?

The services that a gifted student needs will be a determination of the IEP team as they write the IEP. Some of the most common ways to serve gifted students are compacting and telescoping curriculum, pull-out programs that address academic strengths, enrichment, acceleration, grade-skipping, mentorship, and concurrent enrollment. In some cases, acceleration means content acceleration, which brings more complex material to the student at his or her current grade level. In other cases, acceleration means student acceleration, which brings the student to the material by shifting placement.

Is there any funding to serve gifted students?

Gifted students in New Mexico are under the special education umbrella and are funded according to their level of service. The only difference between funding for students with disabilities and funding for students who are gifted is that a portion of the funds for students with disabilities comes from the federal government. As with all special education students, gifted students are funded first as regular education students and then additional funds are provided depending on the level of service that is required to meet their identified needs. The total add-on funding allocated to the district is the same for all students who have been identified for special education services.

How many Gifted Advisory Committees do we need to have in our district? Where can I find the statute?

The statute requires a minimum of one gifted advisory committee per district that offers gifted programs. There is also a provision to allow for as many committees as there are high schools in the district. The committee membership should be made up of parents, community members, students, and school staff members. Membership should reflect the cultural diversity of students served. Here’s the statute location: NMSA 22-13-6.1. Gifted children; determination.

Are there requirements for Case Managers of gifted students?

Although regular education teachers can be case managers for students who are receiving services as gifted, specialized skills and knowledge are needed to select and provide appropriate services for gifted students.

Can teachers of the gifted teach other subjects?

The caseload of the teacher determines how much time is allotted to these students or to other classes. If a teacher works as a 1.0 FTE (full-time equivalent) in special education, gifted services, he or she should not be teaching students other than those who have been identified as gifted. A teacher may teach any area in which he or she meets licensure criteria. If, for example, a teacher works as a .5 FTE for special education, gifted services, he or she can also work a .5 FTE in regular education. It is expected that half of his or her time will be spent in each area.

How can I find the latest Gifted Education Teacher Competencies and Endorsement requirements?

The information is found in the New Mexico Register/Volume XXI, Number 2, January 29, 2010 and can be accessed at http://www.nmcpr.state.nm.us/nmregister/xxi/xxi02/6.64.18.pdf .

Submit other questions for posting on this site to: carolyn.brownrigg@state.nm.us





Carolyn Brownrigg
Humanities Bureau
Gifted Education