Gilbert A. Clark
Important issues and practices relative to identification of gifted and talented students in the visual arts are introduced in this paper. As many of the issues and practices discussed are complex and often misunderstood or misapplied, they are examined critically in terms of their research implications and applications. Problems of definition, identification, and recommended practices are addressed based on past and current research about education of artistically gifted and talented students.
Issues are discussed relative to the apparent lack of agreement upon definition of talent in the arts and the role of culture, student characteristics, creativity, skills, cognitive abilities, affective abilities, interest and motivation, potential and processes contrasted with performance and products, art specializations, and distribution of arts talents in the general school population. Each issue is examined in light of complexities that have confounded definitions of talent in the arts and practices used in identification programs.
Issues relative to identification of gifted and talented students in the arts are then examined in relation to the use of outcomes derived from standardized art, intelligence, achievement and creativity tests, factors of students’ backgrounds, personalities, values, ages, and use of multiple criteria identification systems. Various aspects of these issues are discussed in regard to their uses and misuses in current gifted and talented visual arts programs in relation to identification procedures.
Examination of current practices and critical reviews of their advantages and disadvantages, based on issues of definition and identification of art talent, are reported in regard to non-structured nominations, structured nominations, group IQ, achievement tests, academic records, standardized arts and creativity tests, informal art instruments, portfolio and performance reviews, interviews, and observations. These practices are hierarchically arranged as steps in an identification program and in terms of their most appropriate age/grade applications.
Conclusions are drawn about future applications of issues and practices that are critiqued. Multiple criteria identification systems are recommended and future research about definition and identification of gifted and talented students in the visual arts is strongly encouraged.
Issues and Practices Related to Identification of Gifted and Talented Students in the Visual Arts
Gilbert A. Clark
- The term artistically gifted and talented is recommended for purposes of research and practices relative to the identification and education of students with high ability in the visual arts.
- Art talent, like intelligence, should be conceived of as normally distributed with students with highly developed art abilities at one end of the distribution and students with poorly developed art abilities at the lower end of the distribution.
- Caution should be exercised in using creativity tests as a means of identifying artistically gifted and talented students.
- Identification of artistically gifted and talented students should be based upon attention to student potential and work in progress, as well as final performance and products.
- Currently available standardized art tests should not be used to identify students with high abilities in the visual arts.
- Students’ backgrounds, personalities, values, and age need to be studied as factors in identification of art talent.
- Use of multiple criteria systems is recommended in all identification programs for artistically gifted and talented students.