Leading Assessment for Gifted and Talented Students: The Pursuit of Mediocrity of Excellence?

  • Shelleyann ScottEmail author
  • Donald E. Scott
  • Leanne Longmire
Part of the The Enabling Power of Assessment book series (EPAS, volume 3)


This chapter highlights the socio-political egalitarian versus meritocratic tensions that overtly or covertly underpin educational policies and educator philosophies for gifted education. We provide theoretical and pragmatic information, and guidance to inform the inclusive leadership practices of principals and district leaders in relation to meeting the special needs of the gifted and talented. We explore issues for gifted and talented (G&T) students in terms of conceptualising giftedness and talents, identification, and the values and philosophies that influence policies, provisions, and practices across the international context. We present a case study from Australia and explore the implications in terms of educators, parents and family, and programmes. We examine features of differentiated instruction and assessment, characteristics of the “right teacher” for the gifted class, partnerships with external agencies/supports and advocacy for the gifted, and other leadership implications. We emphasise that meeting the needs of G&T students is a fundamental issue of social justice as opposed to elitism, and we advocate for equity not equality. Throughout the chapter we highlight the need for leaders to interrogate prevailing assumptions about the capacity of G&T students to be successful without specialised programming and instruction. Leaders must take action within their sphere of influence to more effectively support these at-risk individuals, otherwise leaders risk reinforcing the pursuit of mediocrity rather than equity.


Gifted and talented Equity Equality Differentiated instruction Differentiated assessment Excellence or mediocrity Gifted and talented programmes Leadership Inclusion Policy District leaders Principals G&T teachers Advocacy Ethic of care 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shelleyann Scott
    • 1
    Email author
  • Donald E. Scott
    • 1
  • Leanne Longmire
    • 2
  1. 1.Werklund School of EducationUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Department of Education Western AustraliaPerthAustralia

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