Selection criteria should match program goals
There is no such thing as a universally useful tool for identifying students for a gifted program. To be useful, identification practices must closely match the skills required to succeed in the specific program. When there is a mismatch, both the student and the program are set up for failure.
Skills in different academic domains can be as varied as skills in different athletic domains. Soccer and basketball coaches use different criteria to decide who should make their teams. By matching tryout criteria to the skills necessary to excel in their sport, coaches are better able to identify players who will thrive on the team. Gifted identification should be no different. Identification criteria need to match what the gifted program services will offer. For example, math performance is probably not relevant to placement in an advanced reading or writing program. At the same time, if a program will require advanced verbal reasoning, language skills should play a part in identification.
Without a close match between gifted identification practices and gifted services, there is a greater chance that students identified will not have their educational needs met and lessen the chance for success in the program.
Parents: Ask about the connection between identification practices and program services. If you see required identification criteria that do not align with program services, ask for information on how that criteria helps identify students who will benefit from the program.
Educators: Be sure to identify which skills are relevant to student success in the program, and use assessments of those skills as the guidelines for selecting participants.