Gifted Learners

Tukuna kia rere

Methods of identification

To identify gifted learners, schools should use a range of tools, including standardised assessment data, and employ a multi-method approach to identify different areas of ability. This approach means that a kura/school/ECE setting/Kāhui Ako can be responsive to the strengths and needs of all gifted learners, including those whose cultural background differs from the dominant culture of their setting.

A multi-method approach means consulting with a range of people who know the student in different situations, to give insights into many different contexts. It recognises that gifts and talents that may not be apparent in the classroom may be more visible on the sports field, in outdoor settings, on the stage, on social media, at church, on the marae, on the farm, at home or in products such as film, art and musical compositions. It incorporates a continuum of methods, from the formal (including the collection and systematic analysis of a range of kura/school/ECE setting/Kāhui Ako-wide data) to the informal, such as learning conversations with learners, parents, whānau and other community members.


"I’m a proud New Zealander, and I represent Paralympics New Zealand. I love what I do, and I do it because I love it. The passion is unbelievable in every race I do. I have the ambition to change things outside the pool, too."

Sophie Pascoe


"I’m an actor. That’s what I’m gifted at. It’s what makes me breathe."

Samantha Morton


"When I look back over my life it’s almost as if there was a plan laid out for me – from the little girl who was so passionate about animals who longed to go to Africa and whose family couldn’t afford to put her through college. Everyone laughed at my dreams. I was supposed to be a secretary in Bournemouth."

Jane Goodall

Some methods of identification, such as screening checklists, can be used for all learners. The collated information allows gifted learners to be identified and their needs addressed as early as possible. They do not require specialist knowledge, they are relatively easy for a classroom teacher to complete and they provide a useful way of identifying learners who need more in-depth assessment. Such screening checklists also help to accustom teachers to thinking about potentially gifted learners. They provide a foundation or first step for developing an identification routine within the kura/school/ECE setting/Kāhui Ako.

Identification data collection template.

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