Yesterday we looked at some observable differences between gifted kids and bright kids. Today, let's look at something more quantifiable. How about a chart that shows you where are all kids tend to fall, normatively within their own age groups. . .
You have heard people toss around terms like standard deviations, normal bell curve, and percentiles. . . Let's explain some of those, and define them as related to giftedness. Take a look at the graph below (I didn't make this; I just copied it from a website because it is very readable).
This is a normal bell curve distribution. You can tell that from its bell shape along the x and y axes. All children fall somewhere on this bell curve when compared to their age level peers. Where they fall is determined by their intelligence level. This is commonly referred to as their IQ.
When we are talking about the average population, you can see they fall between 85-115 in terms of their IQ scores. This is considered one standard deviation's difference, because we move one step away from the middle of 100. This is 70% of the kids at any age level. And there is nothing wrong with that! How could there be, when so many kids are there? This is the level that determines developmental stages, state standards, and normal cognitive development. Most doctors and teachers are directing their attentions to this popular 70%- and are reaching mostly everyone.
But what about the rest?
We are not going to talk about the children to the left. Those are the special needs students and there are many programs and websites that address those kiddoes. I am not saying they don't have advocacy needs; that is just not my particular area of expertise. For our purposes, we are addressing the gifted. To do that, we need to travel right on our bell curve.
If we go right, again, one standard deviation we will fall into the IQ range of 115-130. This is considered a 2 standard deviation difference. Look at how the population drops off. This is only the 13.6th percentile of the population tested. This is considered highly intelligent, or moderately gifted. These people have a higher IQ than roughly 83% of the population. The low end of this spectrum is where most bright kids fall in terms of IQ, and the highest end of this spectrum may qualify for a gifted program or possibly be gifted in one area.
Let's look at the last two standard deviations to the right. These are the top 2-3 percentile of IQ scores and are considered highly to profoundly gifted. Their IQ's are 130 or higher. On a giftedness test, they are scoring in the 97-99th percentile. If you have had your child tested for a gifted program and they score a composite of 97 or 99, that doesn't mean that they got a 97% or a 99%. That means that they scored higher than 99% of all the other students who took the test at their age level. Whoa.
Doesn't that put it into a bit more perspective? Your child did not simply ace a test. Your child has a higher level of intelligence than 95-99% of all other children their age. They think differently than those 95-99% of other kids their age as well! That right there is why it is so important that we learn about and help these special little kiddoes. They are not like their age level peers- clearly! The bell curve doesn't lie. Because these gifted kids are different, they have different needs than bright or average children. That is what this website is all about- helping you help your child as a guide and an advocate.