Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Selecting Gifted Students for Advanced Placement in Higher Education

Advanced intelligence is often associated with what society calls gifted thinking that leads to new ideas and ground breaking research that tackles problems in novel ways. Such problem solving is often based in multiple standpoints and cognitive leaps that seam to reach towards logical intuition. The term gifted is often misunderstood and has a lot of cultural mysticism conceptually blended with it. To some it means genius and to others it could mean peculiar. The selection and enhancement of the gifted can lead to greater development of society. Moving beyond standard assessment occurs when we consider the thinking patterns of this population and find better methods of selecting them. Colleges that can discover gifted intelligence and place them into advance programs not only do themselves a favor but contribute to the development of society through contributions to intellectual capital.

Let's try and understand what gifted intelligence and thinking patterns mean. While there are lots of physiological advantages (a few disadvantages) to being gifted, it is an inherently different way of existing that is specifically unique to that population. Some of the biggest difference is in the way in which the gifted experience their environment, make decisions, and solve problems based fundamentally on the increased intake of the senses. The biological difference in sensory perception creates fundamental shifts in deep seated thinking patterns that push for constant redevelopment throughout the course of one's life. Understanding the underlining structure of thinking and the meta-cognitive ability of this population is helpful as an identification tool.

Does Selection and Enhancement Help Society?

First, we kind of need to know why they should be identified and whether or not it has any real beneficial. The world is a difficult place that doesn't do well accepting differences in people. There are racial, religious, national, educational, income, and a umpteen differences between people. In some cases these are profound differences while in most cases these are only superficial perceptions. The gifted are physiologically and often psychologically differentiated from their peers in a way that can make it awkward interacting with some people. This is likely why they seem to push societal norms.

Without proper guidance their skills are wasted and buried under the inaccurate expectations of culturally anchored ideas of "success". Minority gifted are minorities of minorities while even wealthy gifted may feel like "fish out of water". Most of this population think about issues differently and often "out of step" with friends and family. Being outside the bell curve means they have little positive validation of their experiences through others. Selecting them, even when they hide their talents, is helpful for encouraging them toward constructive activities that can have beneficial effects on society.

First, let us understand the meaning of advanced intelligence. Spelling, long prose, math problems, etc... are only data points that could indicate advanced intelligence. They are not the sole measurements in and of themselves. A person who has little education could have advanced intelligence as highlighted by the gathering of wisdom and knowledge throughout their lives to create new integrated selves that can be applied to complex problem solving. They just didn't have access to education and resources that make them "sound smart" on an IQ test. Being educated at an Ivy league school, or your local community college, or trade also does not indicate intelligence. It often simply indicates access to resources and social class.

We may want to delve deeper into how information is processed and how it comes to its own conclusions.....

Giftedness and Metacognition:

Outward behavior is a sign of inward thinking. Understanding how the Gifted think further increases the chance they will be discovered and guided to constructive paths.  Dr. Steinberg from Yale believed that metacognition was a better approach of assessment versus psychometric assessments. The way in which a person thinks is a clearer indication of high intelligence when compared to other models and measures ofbunderstanding (Sternberg, 1981). Their thinking depth and pattern reflects their neural networks and root understandings about life.

To make an assessment we will need to delve deep into the way the gifted think from an elemental level. Metacognition, or thinking about thinking, is one sign that a person's perspective and reflective abilities are high enough to create the potential for advanced thinking. It is a method of viewing problems by creating broad strategies based on the category of problem. They can then mix and match strategy to category. Unlike, normal people who use existing methods the gifted often reach to the end of that thinking and then make a cognitive leap to the next platform of understanding by expanding those thinking structures.

The Structure of Gifted Thinking:

A measure of general intelligence is based on a Triarchic Theory that states that highly developed people can use practical, creative and analytical approaches to solve problems. This population is unique and can switch through different modes of thinking to view problems from multiple angles and methods. Perspective changing allows them to see a problem from radically different vantage points to select those strategies that seem to make the most sense.

Underneath all cognition are elemental components that compose basic structure of thinking. Metacomponents allow us to plan, monitor and evaluate information (Vinney, 2019). It is an overriding ability to master one's environment through accurateordering of very root knowledge components (Intelligence, nd). These components can be adjusted, reconnected, disconnected and applied to solve a problems.

We learn these components throughout our lives. Some of us learn faster than others but almost all of us continue to learn. An overriding framework impacts our way of processing information and reacting to stimuli in our environment. Most of what they do is likely to be subconscious as it is the core of more complex thought processes. As an adaptive species the way in which these components help create thought and action that makes a big difference in survival.

Can You Select Advanced Thinking Students?

It is very possible to select advanced thinking students based on how they interpret information and solve problems. The strategies they employ to tackle problems, cross checking multiple perspectives, and the utilization of innovative flow. Specifically one may want to look for people who make cognitive leaps and find new ways of solving problems that may be unique but still logically supported.

There is no reason why they can't be selected online in much the same was as they are selected on the ground. Similar skill sets will apply to problem solving in a number of different physical and virtual environments. The difference being that in the online world there is a higher data foot print now that the Internet is part of our daily lives. Online schools, assessments, and activities can highlight the potentiality for advanced thinking.

From an educational standpoint, it is entirely possible to create problems and activities that require new and unique solutions. Those that provide similar previously learned answers when compared to those who provide new answers will be of importance. Isn't even so much who wrote the best report or who has the most colors in the display. It is that they created a logically supported new way of resolving a business problem (or any problem).

While it is difficult to say where the future of Higher Education will go it is likely that there will be many more self-reflective assessments that develop the whole person. Some of these are going to indicated advanced potential. It is up to the higher education institution to start these previously undiscovered and underperforming candidates for advanced education that lets them master their gift(s).

Heylighen, F. (ND). Gifted People and their Problems.

Intelligence (nd). State University. Retrieved December 17,2019

Shore, B. M., & Dover, A. C. (1987). Metacognition, Intelligence and Giftedness. Gifted Child Quarterly, 31(1), 37. Retrieved from

Sternberg, R. J. (1981). A Componential Theory of Intellectual Giftedness. Gifted Child Quarterly25(2), 86–93.

Vinney, C. (2019). Understanding the Triarchic Theory of Intelligence. Thought Co

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