Emirates Scholar Research Center - Research Publishing & Indexing Center

Identifying Gifted Students for the 21st Century Context

Authors: Prof. C. June Maker

Conference: 2nd World Giftedness Center International Conference

Keywords:  Developmentally appropriate methods, Educational experimentation, Research in education


The world we live in is very different from the 20th Century; the world of the future, in which our
students will live, is unknown. Why, then, do we continue to use IQ tests created for the world of the
past? We need to assess the 21st Century Skills of creativity, critical thinking, cooperation, and
communication (4 Cs) rather than simple knowledge.
Knowledge can be accessed easily by everyone, but the ability to use it in creative, innovative ways is
more important than simply possessing it. For the past 40 years, I have been experimenting with various
methods to identify children and youth with the greatest potential for the world of the future. Following
the important principles of engaging, developmentally appropriate, and potential to elicit important
problem-solving behaviors in targeted areas, we have field tested, applied, and evaluated the success of
performance-based assessments of the four Cs and ten talent areas for different ages and developmental
Using these methods, in countries as diverse as the USA, UK, Chile, Mexico, France, Lebanon, UAE,
and Canada, we have achieved equity across cultures, language groups, nations, and economic groups
in identification of giftedness. We also have found that engaging students in solving real problems is
an effective way to identify hidden talents in the 21st Century Skills. I will give examples, share
important experiences, review relevant research, and give reasons why performance assessments are
more successful than those relying on written or verbal responses.

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