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Characteristics of Gifted and Talented Students

The following characteristics are not a complete list. Gifted and Talented students may excel in one or many areas.


  • Has an advanced vocabulary far beyond a child his/her age.
  • Has an excellent memory and performs complex mental tasks.
  • Is curious, investigative and observant.
  • Learns rapidly and easily.
  • Possesses a storehouse of information on a variety of topics.
  • Has perseverance and the capacity for self-direction.
  • Thinks clearly, reasons well, and uses higher level thinking skills.
  • Is an avid reader reading above grade level.
  • Shows concern for world problems above that expected of age level.
  • Transfers previous learning to new learning situations.
  • Is an independent learner.
  • Demonstrates a wide variety of interests.
  • Has a good sense of humor.
  • Has an interest in cause/effect relationships.
  • Displays a great curiosity and is anxious to learn new things.
  • Asks many questions of a provocative nature.
  • Reveals originality in oral and written expression.
  • Enjoys solving puzzles and problems.
  • Processes new information quickly when compared to peers.
  • Does in depth investigations.
  • Sees beyond the obvious.
  • Thrives on new and complex ideas.
  • Manipulates information. 
Creative Thinking
  • Tolerates ambiguity and uncertainty.
  • Is curious about many things, and has a wide variety of interests.
  • Asks many questions.
  • Is adventuresome.
  • Generates many ideas or solutions to problem solving, prefers to impose own structure on situation, learning.
  • Develops creative and original ideas
  • Is non-conforming and not afraid to be different.
  • Can elaborate upon the ideas of others.
  • Is a flexible thinker.
  • Sees humor in situations where others don't.
  • Likes to fantasize and imagine.
  • Demonstrates a high degree of concentration and persistence in creative tasks.
  • Makes unusual associations between ideas.
  • Effectively uses visual imagery.
  • Incorporates creative efforts into academic and recreational activities.
  • Has a vivid imagination.
  • Has many ideas/projects going on at one time.
  • Improvises and sees unique possibilities.
  • Risk taker.
  • Accepts responsibility well.
  • Appears to be well liked by classmates.
  • Is dependable.
  • Is self confident with peers and adults.
  • Is cooperative.
  • Creates positive feelings in a group.
  • Expresses self well, and can articulate group problems.
  • Easily adapts to new situations.
  • Enjoys socializing with other people.
  • Assumes leadership roles in a natural manner.
  • Participates in most school social activities.
  • Demonstrates character and integrity.
  • Is fair and honest.
  • Is chosen or elected to leadership position by peers.
  • Is emotionally secure and sensitive to the needs of others.
  • Sought out by others to provide assistance.
  • Can organize and lead groups.
  • Tolerant and flexible with peers.
  • High expectations for self and others.
  • Foresees consequences and complications of decisions.
  • Follows through on a plan.



  • Early reading skills developed rapidly once begun.
  • Chooses to read material well above grade level.
  • Demonstrates advanced comprehension of material read.
  • Comfortable with advanced vocabulary; infers meaning from context.
  • Reads widely and intensely for information and enjoyment.
        Creative/Expository Writing
  • Possesses and uses a writing vocabulary well above grade level.
  • Organizes writing to be clear and concise.
  • Uses descriptive words and phrases to add color, emotion and beauty.
  • Uses more complex sentence structure than typical for grade level (but not may always be able to punctuate it).
  • Frequently chooses writing to communicate ideas through forms such as journals, poetry, stories, reports, etc.
  • Masters typical content more quickly and at an earlier age than classmates.
  • More willing and capable of doing problems abstractly; may prefer not to use concrete aids.
  • Often skips steps in problem solving; may solve in unexpected ways.
  • Looks for patterns and relationships and attempts to explain them.
  • See relationships between new problems and those previously solved; may pose own problems.
  • Has exceptional mathematical reasoning ability and memory.
  • Enjoys challenge of mathematical puzzles and games.
  • Can communicate math information verbally and in written form.
        Social Studies
  • Asks questions, probes for understanding of current events.
  • Has a wide range of knowledge about an area of social studies such as geography, history, politics, etc.
  • Is concerned/worried about problems in the community or world; may seek solutions.
  • Has pursued reading or projects in the social sciences on own time.
  • Has spent extra time on projects because of avid interest in content.
  • Communication skills relating to academic area; can verbalize and communicate social studies known in written formats.
  • Asks provocative, in-depth questions about why things happen or how things work.
  • Easily grasps concepts of science; thinks logically, perceives relationship and generalizes appropriately.
  • Has a wide range of scientific knowledge for age.
  • Has an avid interest in one or more science topics.
  • Has pursued science oriented reading or projects on own time.
  • Communication skills: can verbalize and communicate science knowledge in written forms.
  • Unwilling to accept explanations without proof.
Artistic/Visual Arts
  • Exhibits creativity, imagination and expressiveness.
  • Responds to environmental observations.
  • Superior skill development in drawing, painting, clay, etc.
  • Has natural ability beyond age level.
  • Possesses well developed visual memory, quicker, more accurate in tasks of cognitive, verbal, visual matching.
  • Persistence and perseverance about problem solving and creating.
  • Uses leisure time for artistic activities.
  • High motivated and interested in art experiences.
  • Sense for spatial distribution and organization.
  • Shows complexity, detail and embellishment in artwork.
  • Can be self-critical and evaluative.

Artistic/Performing Arts


  • Shows a sustained interest in music.
  • Eagerly and successfully participates in musical activities.
  • Discriminates among and/or responds to variations in rhythm, melody, harmony, tone, pitch and style.
  • Has an ability to compose tunes and/or lyrics.
  • Has an ability to understand musical symbols and relationships.
  • Has a total feeling of joy with music.
  • Has ability to use music to express emotions and experiences.
  • Can be self-critical and evaluative.


  • Has the ability to shift easily into the role of another character.
  • Effectively uses facial expressions and gestures to communicate.
  • Is adept at role playing, improvising, and acting out situations.
  • Creates original plays or makes up plays from stories.
  • Can imitate and mimic the actions of others.
  • Is able to incorporate directors' suggestions into performance.
  • Contributes worthwhile suggestions to improve acting or characterization.
  • Has the ability to recognize effective timing and anticipate audience response.
  • Shows originality.
  • Expresses emotions, attitudes, ideas and experience for self and/or in performances.
  • Has muscular coordination and reflexes attuned to rhythmic response.
  • Is sensitive to rhythm, melody, tone, harmony, pitch or style of music.
  • Has the ability to choreograph his/her dances.

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