It almost sounds ambiguous . Is it possible to have gifted bilingual students? Assuredly, it is possible and we do have many gifted bilingual students not only in Tarrant county but across the state of Texas and America. Gifted bilingual students have been often over-looked in the area of gifted education. When we look at our world at large, then it becomes easy to acknowledge the existence of gifted bilingual students because giftedness can be found in all ethnic, cultural, linguistic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Historically, minority students, especially bilingual Hispanic children have been under-represented in gifted and talented programs. Closely examining how giftedness can be assessed and developed among bilingual Hispanic children, who have historically been underrepresented in programs for the gifted student, Esther Kogan in her book Gifted Bilingual Students: A Paradox? describes gifted bilingual education in the United States and ways for gifted bilingual students to be assessed and developed. She examines how to identify gifted children among bilingual populations and suggests that varying levels of English proficiency and cultural and linguistic differences among bilingual students often confound educators’ judgments about actual ability. Kogan asserts that identification of bilingual gifted students must be based on potential and not performance. Use of IQ tests with bilingual populations should be used cautiously unless the IQ tests are used to include rather than exclude bilingual students from gifted programs.
There should be a variety of measures that complement each other to locate diverse indicators of potential in a bilingual gifted student rather than focusing on a single measure that does not give a total picture of potential for a bilingual gifted student. Successful districts that have been able to identify a large number of bilingual gifted students have used a non-traditional process utilized by Project Synergy, a federally funded project that includes observations, group enrichment activities, draw-a-person activities, teacher nominations, information from parents, standardized tests, literature-based activities, and a child interview.
Meeting the educational needs of gifted bilingual students should be the same as any other gifted and talented students. This should be based on the individual assessments of students in the program and consistently giving the students opportunities to be who they are- gifted, unique and different. The major factor that determines the overall success of bilingual gifted students and students in general is parental involvement. It becomes essential to develop strong programs of support for bilingual parents of all socio-economic levels to get involved in the education of their children. It must be a partnership and not a sole propriety.