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Gifted education (also known as Gifted and Talented Education (GATE), Talented and Gifted (TAG), or G/T) is a broad term for special practices, procedures, and theories used in the education of children who have been identified as gifted or talented.
The main approaches to gifted education are enrichment and acceleration. An enrichment program teaches additional, related material, but keeps the student progressing through the curriculum at the same rate. For example, after the gifted students have completed the normal work in the curriculum, an enrichment program might provide them with additional details about a subject in the curriculum. An acceleration program advances the student through the standard curriculum faster than normal. When gifted students have completed the normal work, they move on to the next subject in the curriculum, even though the rest of the class is still working on the first subject.
There is no standard global definition of what a gifted student is. Multiple definitions of giftedness are used by different groups. Most of these definitions select the students who are the most skilled or talented in a given area, e.g., the students with the most skill or talent in music, language, logical reasoning, or mathematics. The percentage of students selected varies, generally with 10% or fewer being selected for gifted education programs. However, since students vary in their aptitudes and achievements, a student who is not gifted in one area, such as music, may be considered gifted in another, such as language. Consequently, even if all programs agreed to include only the top 5% of students in their area, more than just 5% of students would be identified as gifted.
Gifted and talented education dates back thousands of years. Plato (c. 427–c. 347 BCE) advocated providing specialized education for intellectually gifted young men and women. In China's Tang Dynasty (580-618 CE), child prodigies were summoned to the imperial court for specialized education. Throughout the Renaissance, those who exhibited creative talent in art, architecture, and literature were supported by both the government and private patronage.
One of the earliest Western studies of human abilities was conducted by Sir Francis Galton, who between 1888 and 1894 developed and compiled measurements of over 7,500 individuals to gauge their natural intellectual abilities. In his studies he determined that if a parent deviates from the norm, so will the child, but to a lesser extent, one of the earliest observed examples of regression toward the mean. Galton believed that individuals could be improved through interventions in heredity, a movement he named eugenics. He categorized people into gifted, capable, average, or degenerate and recommended breeding between the first two categories, and forced abstinence for the latter two. His term for the most intelligent and talented people was "eminent," and after studying England's most prominent families, concluded that one's eminence was directly related to his direct hereditary line.
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