The definition of giftedness comes from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Special Education Rules and Regulations, Chapter 16, which states that a student who is mentally gifted demonstrates 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. This includes a person who has an IQ of 130 or higher or when multiple criteria, as set forth in Chapter 16 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 a full assessment by a certified school psychologist in accordance with Chapter 16. Five general categories of multiple criteria are used to create a screening matrix for consideration for gifted programming: ability/aptitude standardized test scores, performance or achievement test results, teacher ratings, QPA (grades 6-12), and results of individual intelligence tests (WISC IV or Stanford-Binet V).
Once a student meets the requirements outlined through the matrix, a Gifted Multidisciplinary Evaluation (GMDE) is conducted and a Gifted Written Report (GWR) is generated. The GWR includes information provided by the parents, results of testing, academic functioning, learning strengths, and educational needs. Recommendations are made that are considered by the GMDE Team in the development of the Gifted Individualized Education Plan (GIEP). At the conclusion of the GIEP meeting, a Notice of Recommended Assignment (NORA) is issued.