Definition of Mentally Gifted
Mentally gifted is defined as outstanding intellectual and creative ability the development of which requires specially designed programs or support services, or both, not ordinarily provided in the regular education program. (22 Pa. Code §16.1)
Intellectual ability is not equated with an IQ score alone. Intellectual ability is and should be a reflection of a range of assessments including a student’s performance and potential.
IQ 130 or more
The term “mentally gifted” includes a person who has an IQ of 130 or higher, when multiple criteria as set forth in Department Guidelines indicate gifted ability. Determination of gifted ability will not be based on IQ score alone. The determination shall include an assessment by a certified school psychologist. (22 Pa. Code §16.21(d))
No one test or measure is sufficient to determine giftedness, and the evaluation and testing literature recognizes that there is a margin for error in any standardized testing. The standard error of measurement also applies when reporting IQ.
IQ Lower than 130
Each school district shall establish procedures to determine whether a student is mentally gifted. This term includes a person who has an IQ of 130 or higher or when multiple criteria as set forth in this chapter and in Department Guidelines indicate gifted ability. Determination of gifted ability will not be based on IQ score alone. Deficits in memory or processing speed, as indicated by testing, cannot be the sole basis upon which a student is determined to be ineligible for gifted special education. A person with an IQ score lower than 130 may be admitted to gifted programs when other educational criteria in the profile of the person strongly indicate gifted ability. Determination of mentally gifted must include an assessment by a certified school psychologist.
If a student’s IQ is less than 130, other factors, such as academic performance, demonstrated achievement or other observed skills must strongly indicate gifted ability in order for that student to be identified as gifted and admitted to a gifted program. Because disabilities and bias factors may mask gifted abilities, districts are required to examine discrepancies between ability assessment results and academic achievement or demonstrated skills, and discrepancies among ability subtests.
Criteria, other than IQ score, which indicate gifted ability include but are not limited to: Achievement, Rate of Acquisition/Retention, Demonstrated Achievement, Early Skill Development and Intervening Factors Masking Giftedness.