New Initiative to Identify School Talent

New Initiative  to Identify School Talent
New Initiative  to Identify School Talent

Annually, 23,000 talented students should be separated from regular classrooms, ideally before the completion of elementary schooling,  and receive special attention in exceptional schools, says Hossein Shojaei, head of the National Organization for Development of Exceptional Talents (NODET).

However, this criterion has not been met in recent years.

The plan for classifying gifted students was first implemented in 1976, when a group of students was selected for the first time to continue their education in NODET schools; however the initial plan had some flaws, ISNA quoted him as saying.

‘Shahab’ plan, developed later by the organization, is a new initiative to identify top talent in schools.

Last year (ended March 20) the plan was implemented in one district in each province as a pilot project. The plan covered all provinces and 128,000 gifted students from the fourth grade in school were selected by teachers.

In the new school year (starts September 23), the project will cover more districts as well as one higher grade; therefore students in the fifth grade will also be evaluated by teachers.

This year the number of teachers to assess and identify gifted students will go up three-fold. The number of districts to be covered will also increase to 64 from the current 32 (two districts per province).

 Evaluation System

Talent identification will be conducted by trained teachers in eight different fields including verbal, mathematical, artistic, spatial, motor, social, religious and cultural.

“We are planning to improve our evaluation system. Talented and gifted students in any part of the country including disadvantaged areas shouldn’t remain anonymous. Ideally, 22,000 to 23,000 students should be identified per year,” he said.

Prior to implementation of Shahab, admission to NODET schools was based on a comprehensive nationwide entrance examination. But many students avoided the test and therefore were not identified. A four-hour exam is not an appropriate assessment tool as many gifted students may fail due to exam anxiety or other reasons, Shojaei said.

Gifted students need guidance from well-trained teachers who challenge and support them to fully develop their abilities.

 Many gifted students may be far ahead and have more knowledge of their school curriculum than their peers. Boredom and frustration among such students can lead to despondency; therefore the role of teachers is crucial in spotting and nurturing talent.