For students in kindergarten through grade twelve, Alberta Education defines Gifted And Talented as "exceptional potential and/or performance across a wide range of abilities in one or more of the following areas: general intellectual ability, specific academic, creative thinking, social, musical, artistic, & kinesthetic." In order to assess the intellectual and academic aspects of this definition, specialized testing is required which includes an individually administered intelligence test and academic testing. Depending on the age of your child, the test of intellectual ability used is the WPPSI-IV, WISC-V, or WAIS-IV. The test of achievement used is the WIAT-III. Giftedness is relatively rare in the general population, with only approximately 2% of the general population having an IQ high enough to be considered intellectually gifted.
A thorough gifted assessment involves both intellectual and academic testing, which paints a comprehensive picture of your child's learning aptitudes and achievement in the core academic areas of reading, writing, and mathematics. The information gathered on your child's cognitive and academic development is valuable in helping you understand how your child learns best and identifies areas of need, which in turn helps you optimally support your child's academic growth.
While most intellectually gifted students are provided enrichment in the context of their regular school programs, many parents are interested in applying for special programs. For applicants to the Gifted and Talented Education Program (GATE), an assessment of intellectual and academic functioning is required. Please note that for parents specifically interested in applying for their child to attend Westmount Charter School, only an assessment of cognitive functioning ($960) is required as part of their application process.
It is possible for children to be twice exceptional and be both intellectually gifted and have a learning disability (e.g., dyslexia or dysgraphia). This occurs because of asynchronicity between your child's high level of reasoning abilities and other cognitive processes (e.g. phonological awareness, memory, speed of processing, etc.) which can make reading, writing, or math quite challenging despite their strong intellect. If you suspect that your child is particularly bright, but is struggling with grade level academics, a comprehensive psychoeducational assessment is recommended to determine the root cause of their academic difficulties and develop a plan to support their development.