GT-World Definitions of Terms

This list is a somewhat oversimplified quick guide to the terms which are used in GT-World mailing lists or the GT-MOO from time to time, to help you follow along.

Families who have "twice special" children, who face learning disabilities in addition to giftedness, may wish to check our GT Special Acronyms List to make sense of the alphabet soup which peppers discussions of these kids!

If you have any suggestions for additions or alterations to the terms then please feel free to send e-mail to our webmaster.

Commonly referred to ranges of giftedness

MG - Moderately Gifted (IQ 130 - 145) (2 standard deviations from the mean)

HG - Highly Gifted = (IQ 145 - 160) (3 standard deviations from the mean)

EG - Extremely Gifted = (IQ 160 - 180) (4 standard deviations from the mean)

PG - Profoundly Gifted = (IQ 180+) (5 or more standard deviations from the mean)

Although many assume IQ is distributed along a "normal" Gaussian distribution, new research suggests that there are more individuals at the high and low ends of the IQ distribution than the normal curve would predict. Despite the high level of controversy surrounding IQ and its measurement, it is used frequently in discussion of gifted kids because there are strong clinical correlations between IQ levels as measured by the instruments we have available today and certain characteristics, including appetite for and speed of processing "input", and sensitivity to physical and emotional environment.

On a clinical (or classroom!) level, differences in IQ scores are predictive of the degree to which significant differences in learning needs exist. These differences explain the observation that EG and PG kids find their needs unmet in gifted programs designed for children who are MG - HG. The learning needs of an EG child are as different from those of an MG child as an MG child's needs are from those of an average child.

Other common terms which may be encountered

Advanced Placement - College-level courses for high school students.

CA - Chronological Age

Cluster Classes - Placing gifted and talented students in a special class or together in a group in one regular class.

Compacted Courses - Individual accommodation in which a student's demonstrated mastery of the subject unit at hand excuses him or her from repetitive work designed to develop that mastery in those who don't yet have it. Championed by Joseph Renzulli and Linda H. Smith, compacting allows students to "buy back" time the teacher had planned to spend on one thing and invest it in an area of interest mutually acceptable to teacher and student.

Continuous Progress - Students progress in the curriculum according to ability rather than grade level.

Correspondence Courses - Courses offered by correspondence, usually for geographical reasons.

Distance Learning - A high-tech alternative to correspondence courses, these classes are offered via satellite or internet.

Dual Enrollment - Students take courses part time at college in addition to attending classes at their regular school.

Early Entrance - Early entrance into school before the usual entrance age or date.

Early Graduation - Student achieves his or her diploma ahead of the usual age or date.

Enrichment - The process of covering a subject in greater depth than is usual, or tackling subjects not usually covered. Frequently offered as an alternative to acceleration in accommodating gifted students.

EPGY, CTY, CTD, TIP - Well-regarded programs for gifted students run by top U.S. universities. Further information on these programs is available from the GT-World Links page

Grade Skipping (also called Grade Acceleration) - Advancing or accelerating gifted and talented students through grades ahead of the usual age or date.

Home Schooling - Removing a student from school-based instruction and teaching him or her at home. Once a strategy used primarily by religious communities to preserve their value systems, home schooling is increasingly used by families of gifted children when efforts to accommodate student learning needs within the school system have met with failure.

IQ - Intelligence Quotient. The ratio of mental age to chronological age. (IQ=MA/CA*100)

MA - Mental Age

Magnet Schools - A public school accommodating students over a wide geographical area, often organized around a particular teaching philosophy or discipline. Montessori and Performing Arts magnets are two examples. Gifted and Talented Magnets also exist in some communities.

Mentorships - Students are linked with a specific person (teacher, parent or older student).

Pull-out - Students are "pulled" from classes for an hour or more each week for extension or enrichment study.

Stanford-Binet - The Stanford-Binet test is predominantly a verbal test, developed in 1910. It was the as the first widely used intelligence test. It is, with the Wechsler tests, considered to be a standard test used by psychologists and schools. It provides multiple I.Q. scores (S.A.S.'s). It scores verbal, nonverbal, mathematical reasoning and short term memory (for a far more detailed and understanding of tests and the statistics involved, please visit Our GT Testing Information page or other sites listed on our GT Links Collection Page).

Subject Acceleration - Allowing a student to take one or more classes with the children in the grades ahead of him or her. A second-grader with strong mathematics talent might be subject accelerated into the fourth grade math class.

WISC III - Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children III. The universal standard which psychologists often use. It is standardized for children from age 6 to 16. The test is divided into two main sections. The Verbal Scale which measures children's ability to express themselves verbally and how well they are able to understand what is being said to them; and The Performance Scale measures the nonverbal areas such as spatial relationships. Other Wechsler Scales include The Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scales of Intelligence; The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale; The Slosson Intelligence Test; The Test of Nonverbal Intelligence Test and The Leiter International Performance Scale.

WPPSI-R - Weschler Preschool Primary Scale of Intelligence - Revised (approximate ages 4-6)

Some 'Emoticons' and abbreviations for expressing tone (highly recommended!)

:-) I'm happy
(-: I'm a lefty
;-) I'm winking
:-( I'm sad
:-| I'm frowning
:-o I'm shouting
:-$ Money talks
:-P I'm sticking out my tongue
:-{} I have a big mouth
8-) I wear glasses
:'-( I'm crying
(-:|:-)  We're siamese twins 
| -) I'm sleepy 
>:-) I'm in a devilish mood
LOL Laughing out loud
ROFL Rolling on floor laughing
ROFLOLBF Rolling on floor laughing out loud and breaking furniture
IME In my experience
IMO In my opinion
IMHO In my humble opinion
IMNSHO In my not so humble opinion
IOHO In our humble opinion
<g> Grin
<b> Blush
<s> Smile
<tic> Tongue in cheek
BTW By the way
DYK Did you know
FWIW For what it's worth
IAE In any event
OTOH On the other hand
ISTM It seems to me
NRN No reply necessary
TIA Thanks in advance
IKITBIRIH I know it's true because I read it here !


This page last updated on February 19, 1998 by Rod Fee
and again on May 23, 2007 by Valerie Bock