Diagnostic methods of gifted children giftedness is an intellectual ability significantly higher than average. It is a characteristic of children, variously defined, that motivates differences in school programming.
It is thought to persist as a trait into adult life, with various consequences studied in longitudinal studies of giftedness over the last century. The various definitions of intellectual giftedness include either general high ability or specific abilities. For example, by some definitions an intellectually gifted person may have a striking talent for mathematics without equally strong language skills. The identification of giftedness first emerged after the development of IQ tests for school placement. Because of the key role that gifted education programs in schools play in the identification of gifted individuals, both children and adults, it is worthwhile to examine how schools define the term “gifted”.
For many years, psychometricians and psychologists, following in the footsteps of Lewis Terman in 1916, equated giftedness with high IQ. This “legacy” survives to the present day, in that giftedness and high IQ continue to be equated in some conceptions of giftedness. Research conducted in the 1980s and 1990s has provided data which support notions of multiple components to intelligence. The many different conceptions of giftedness presented, although distinct, are interrelated in several ways.