Gifted and Talented


The mission of the BCSD Gifted Education Program is to maximize the potential of gifted and talented students by providing learning opportunities and experiences that match the unique characteristics and needs of these students.


  • Gifted and talented students have a right to an appropriate education, one grounded in the recognition of individual differences and unique learning needs.

  • Gifted and talented students need a curriculum responsive to their individual learning rates, styles, and complexity.

  • Gifted and talented students learn best in an instructional environment that encourages and nurtures inquiry, flexibility, critical and creative thinking.

  • Curriculum for gifted and talented learners must be founded on South Carolina academic standards and must allow for both acceleration and enrichment.

Gifted and talented students may be found within any racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic group; within any nationality; within both genders; and within populations with disabilities. Identification is a multi-step process, which consists of referral, screening, and assessment of eligibility by a district evaluation and placement team. The state of South Carolina has established three dimensions (Dimension A, Dimension B and Dimension C) of giftedness as criteria for placement in the academically gifted program. In order to qualify for placement in gifted/talented programs, a student must meet the eligibility criteria in two of the following three dimensions. The only exception is those students meeting certain scores under Dimension A which can then be used as the sole criterion for placement.

Please download the Gifted and Talented Identification Process flow chart.

The following description of the identification process reflects the South Carolina definition of gifted and talented and is in keeping with the National Excellence Report (1995) which states:

“Children and youth with outstanding talent perform or show the potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared with others of their age, experience, or environment. [They] exhibit high performance capability in intellectual, creative and/or artistic areas, possess an unusual leadership capacity, or excel in specific academic fields. They require services or activities not ordinarily provided by the schools. Outstanding talents are present in children and youth from all cultural groups, across all economic strata, and in all areas of human endeavor.”

Gifted and talented students are those who are identified in grades one through twelve as demonstrating high performance ability or potential in academic and/or artistic areas and therefore require educational programming beyond that normally provided by the general school programming in order to achieve their potential.

Gifted and Talented abilities include:

  • Academic and Intellectual Ability: Students who have the academic and/or intellectual potential to function at a high level in one or more academic areas.

  • Visual and Performing Arts: Students who have the artistic potential to function at a high performance level in one or more of the fine arts (dance, music, theater, and visual arts)


  • Learns easily and rapidly

  • Thinks clearly, recognizes implied relationships, comprehends meanings

  • Reads on the average of two years above grade level

  • Retains what she/he has heard or read without appearing to need much rote or drill

  • Possesses a large vocabulary

  • Exhibits independence, individualism, and self-sufficiency

  • Demonstrates a curious and investigative nature

  • Asks penetrating, searching questions

  • Focuses intently on areas of interest

  • Produces original products or ideas

  • Prefers complex ideas

The purposes of the identification process are (1) to find students who display characteristics of the gifted and talented (i.e., ability or potential for high performance in academic areas); (2) to assess the aptitudes, attributes, and behaviors of each student; (3) to evaluate each student for the purpose of placement; and (4) to provide appropriate academic programs and experiences to meet their needs.

Dimension A – Aptitude State Screening/Assessment
Students must obtain a composite score or a subtest score at or above the 93rd national age percentile on a nationally-normed aptitude test (Cognitive Abilities Test - CogAT). Students who receive a composite score of 96% or higher are immediately identified as Gifted without having to qualify under Dimension B. A composite score of 96% or higher is acceptable as the sole criterion for identification as Gifted/Talented. This assessment is administered in late October or early November to all second grade students in the District.  Scores may be considered for GT Identification if they are no more than two years old.

Dimension B – Achievement
Students must score at or above the 94th national percentile on a nationally-normed achievement test (Iowa Tests of Basic Skills - ITBS or Measures of Academic Progress - MAP) in reading comprehension and/or mathematical concepts and problem solving or achieve a qualifying score on English/Language Arts and/or Math on the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS) administered in May. The ITBS will be administered in late October to early November, and the initial assessment of MAP of the current school year will be used. The most recent ITBS and PASS scores are used.

Dimension C - Academic Performance
Second- and fourth-grade students meeting the criteria in Dimension A or B, but not both, take Performance Tasks. Students in third- or fifth-grade meeting the criteria in Dimension A or B, but not both, take Performance Tasks if they did not take them in the second or fourth grade. Students may take the Performance Tasks once at the Primary Level and once at the Intermediate Level. The performance standard for the Primary Level is sixteen on either the verbal or nonverbal assessments for placement in third grade and eighteen on either the verbal or nonverbal assessments for placement in fourth grade. The performance standard for the Intermediate Level is sixteen on the verbal or twenty-two on the nonverbal for placement in fifth grade and eighteen on the verbal or twenty-five on the nonverbal for placement in sixth grade. The Performance Tasks are administered in February to early March. For placement in grades six and above, an end of year grade point average of 3.75 or higher on a 4.0 scale in math, language arts, science, and social studies.

*No private testing will be accepted for eligibility, but the results may be considered for referral purposes.

Parent notification letters will be mailed for students who are eligible or ineligible upon completion of the screening process by the Evaluation and Placement Committee. Parent notification will begin in February after CogAT, and MAP screening and will continue through June. Performance Tasks and PASS results will be reviewed as soon as received.

Nominations are not necessary for rising third graders since every student is tested and screened in second grade. Parents of rising fourth through eighth grade students who have demonstrated ability or potential for high performance in academic areas may refer their child for screening by completing a referral form available in the school office. 

Programming for Beaufort County’s gifted and talented includes a variety of options, including acceleration, enrichment, in-depth work in selected areas of study, and opportunities for community-based and “beyond the classroom” learning through mentorships, and summer and weekend programs. Teachers who work with these learners are carefully selected and trained in gifted education used in the curriculum and provide specific, constructive feedback about growth and areas for further development.

Curriculum for gifted and talented learners is designed to be rigorous due to its level of depth and complexity Instructional services are delivered in an environment that honors diversity in thinking, fosters inquiry, and engenders positive attitudes toward learning. Assessment strategies for gifted and talented students match the instructional approaches

In addition to differentiated programming, curriculum, and assessment, gifted and talented students have access to guidance and counseling services responsive to their unique needs. These services should address issues especially pertinent to gifted populations such as coping with being different, perfectionism, underachievement, and dealing with uneven abilities.

Special Classes – Language Arts and/or Math
Special classes in grades three through seven deliver services to identified students through rigorous and accelerated language arts and/or math classes. In addition, opportunities are available to students in grades six through eight for advanced classes in math, science and social studies. Students in grades eight through twelve are served through Honors , Advanced Placement and/or International Baccalaureate classes.