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Gifted Terms and What They Mean

From "2e" to "radical acceleration," our GT education glossary is the perfect resource for navigating the world of giftedness.

Gifted Terms and What They Mean

It’s all Greek to me! Many parents I speak with feel a little inundated after being introduced to the world of giftedness. It’s likely you landed here because you’re searching for answers to help your child. That’s natural: Every parent wants to better understand how their child experiences the world and how to best meet their child’s individual needs.

You’ve probably been told that your child is “gifted” or “very smart” or even “not normal — but in a good way!” You may have a test score but no idea what it means, other than it identifies your child as “gifted.” As a parent, you might be experiencing a range of emotions, maybe even a little fear. This is all perfectly normal! And you’ve come to the right place.

You will soon realize that the world of being gifted comes with its own unique language, and if you don’t understand what terms mean, it’s easy to get lost without a guide. The good news is, this language is much simpler to learn than Greek!

As you go searching for answers, this is the perfect place to start your journey. And while our list is not complete — we’re continually adding new terms and phrases — it includes the most common terms and ones you will likely encounter immediately. I encourage you to bookmark this page and come back when you come across a term you might not be familiar with.

We want you to know you’re not alone. And we are here to help.

Gifted Education Glossary

Short for twice exceptional. This means that a person is both gifted and has a learning disability diagnosis of some type.

504 Plan
This plan ensures that a child who has a disability identified under the law receives accommodations to assist their academic success. The 504 Plan is covered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Moving through education at a faster rate than “normal”

Achievement Test
Content area tests, usually, that measure what has been learned; not an IQ test

The American College Test is a standardized test used to evaluate students’ educational development and whether they can complete college-level work. The test covers four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning.

Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are developmental disorders; chronic conditions including attention difficulties, hyperactivity, impulsiveness; requires a medical diagnosis

AE Age Equivalent Score
A comparison of a child’s performance relative to age groups with average scores in the range.

AP or Advanced Placement
Students in high school can take courses through the College Board and earn college credit and placement while still enrolled in high school.

AS or Aspie
Asperger Syndrome and a nickname for someone with the syndrome, now called Autism Spectrum Disorder

Short for cognitive behavioral therapy. Talk therapy (psychotherapy) can help you become aware of negative thinking so you can re-train your thinking to respond more effectively.

Charter school
An independently run public school. The “charter” is a performance contract that describes school aspects such as the mission, instructional program, governance, personnel, etc., as well as how these are measured. Learn more about charter school structure at the National Charter School Resource Center.

Chronological age (CA)
The age of a child according to date of birth

Cluster Grouping
Intentionally placing groups of kids with similar gifts and talents in the same mixed-ability classroom

Adjusted curriculum based on determining what a student has already mastered. Time gained by not doing introductory, practice, and drill materials is able to be spent diving deeper into content via project or assignment.

Refers to the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, a nonprofit world leader in gifted education, which offers summer, online, international, and family programs.

Refers to the five “overexcitabilities” identified by Polish psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski

Davidson (Young Scholars)
The Davidson Institute’s Young Scholars program nurtures the development of the profoundly gifted between ages 5 and 18.

Dear Daughter / Dear Son (commonly used in online forums)

Gifted Daughter / Gifted Son (commonly used in online forums)

Profoundly Gifted Daughter / Profoundly Gifted Son (commonly used in online forums)

Meeting students’ needs by modifying, enriching, and/or compacting the curriculum being taught

Dually Identified or Twice Exceptional
Identified as both gifted and having a learning disability of some kind

Programs or education that add to or go beyond the curriculum; can be done in a pull-out program or in the classroom

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.

Flipped Classroom
Students learn at home from technology-based platforms the lessons that would be taught during the day. This leaves class time open for more work on the application of the topic because the foundation was learned at home the night before.

Gifted and talented education

Grade Acceleration
When a child skips a grade in a subject and studies with a higher class than what his or her same-age peers are in

Placing groups of students together based on ability for a subject, often short term

GT or G/T
Gifted and talented

The Individual with Disabilities Education Act is “a law that makes available a free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities throughout the nation and ensures special education and related services to those children.”

Short for individual education plan. Used with special education students, this is an individual modification plan of the regular classroom and any additional programs or services the child will need to be successful. In some states, giftedness is considered special education, and all gifted students will have a GIEP.

IQ or Intelligence Quotient
Number used to represent intelligence

Intelligence Test
Assigns a score to your ability to process information

Learning disability or learning disabled

Magnet School
Public school program that focuses on one area of learning such as math; usually pulls kids from a large geographical area into the program. There are gifted magnet schools.

The National Association for Gifted Children supports “those who enhance the growth and development of gifted and talented children through education, advocacy, community building, and research.”

Not affected with a developmental disorder, particularly autism spectrum disorder; exhibiting or characteristic of typical neurological development neurotypical students

Pull out
Pulling a student out of regular learning for special programming

Radical Acceleration
Skipping three or more of the K-12 grades

Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted is a nonprofit organization that “empowers families and communities to guide gifted and talented individuals to reach their goals: intellectually, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.”

Special education

Science, technology, engineering, art, math

Science, technology, engineering, math

Talented and gifted — another way of saying gifted and talented

Talent Search
Uses out-of-level testing (such as the SAT or ACT) to find high-potential students and allow them to participate in a variety of out-of-school activities

Covering material in a shorter amount of time. This is different from compacting because it always ends in grade-level advancement. Doing three years of work in one year is an example.

Twice Exceptional
Person who is both gifted and has a learning disability diagnosis of some type

The ability to perform at a much higher rate than currently demonstrated
Jamie Uphold headshot
Jamie Uphold

Jamie, American Mensa’s Gifted Youth Programs Manager, has been a state-licensed teacher for more than 15 years. She received her Gifted Education certification in 2016. She was recognized as the 2008 Teacher of the Year at Bowie Middle School in Amarillo, Texas, and was a finalist for the 2011 Texas Speech Communication Association’s Teacher of the Year.