NAGC now using term High Learning Potential rather than Gifted

(63 Posts)
Niceweather Wed 31-Oct-12 20:40:19

Thought it might be of interest:

Why is NAGC now using the term High Learning Potential?

Over the years, NAGC has observed that in the UK, there is a definite social stigma attached to the word 'gifted' and that parents, teachers and children themselves feel that the word is limiting, exclusive and at times unnecessary to bestow upon a child who has as yet to fulfil their true potential.

Niceweather Fri 02-Nov-12 11:34:39

If you Google High Achiever vs Gifted Learner or High Achiever, Gifted Learner, Creative Thinker you can see that there are differences.

ouryve Fri 02-Nov-12 11:55:11

For the difference between the effect of a good education and true exceptionality, I think you need to look no further than some of our current Commons front bench.

On reading about this change, my thought was that the NAGC must be needing to change its name, then. It looks like it will be - the NAGC website identifies as Potential Plus UK on my browser tab.

richmal Fri 02-Nov-12 13:16:24

What if a child does not fit the list of HLP characteristics, but is still in the top 5%?

It must mean that a child who is not HLP has the potential to learn as much as a child who is HLP.

mummytime Belgium Fri 02-Nov-12 13:38:22

The top 5% of what? SATs? GCSEs? A'levels? Degree? Entrepreneurship? Lifetime achievement?

richmal Fri 02-Nov-12 14:04:45

I was thinking of levels at school.

richmal Fri 02-Nov-12 14:17:21

Actually, looking further ahead than school, if the top percent are going to persue accademic careers such as doctors, teachers or judges, one characteristic I would think important would be empathy with others, which is not on the list.

Niceweather Fri 02-Nov-12 15:08:16

The school levels for writing are not necessarily testing originality, creativity or a flair for language. My understanding is that they are mostly testing punctuation and grammar. Agatha Christie, Hans Christian Andersen and Edgar Alan Poe would not have had high levels. I imagine though that the water is less muddy when it comes to maths.

I have encountered several doctors that lack empathy! Surely anybody can have or not have empathy. There is a local lady who I am guessing is not HLP but she gives food to the homeless every night.

mummytime Belgium Fri 02-Nov-12 16:03:06

HLP is not about school levels. It is about trying to help those individuals who are especially "gifted", have really quick and intuitive minds who could if nurtured do the forward and innovative thinking.
Even if all individuals identified as HLP were positively neglected, and were guaranteed to under perform; there would still be a top 5%. Its just these individuals would just be those who had achieved the highest grades at school.

Doctors can be empathetic, or can be totally lacking in empathy. But I wouldn't say the brightest and best should all become Doctors, Judges and teachers.
In fact I don't know many who do, because unless you are House, those careers don't provide the intellectual challenges that those of the really bright I have known tend to look for. Most end up in academia, although I did know one who started his own Hedgefund (because it involves very complex Maths), other talented in other areas become Musicians, Actors or writers. In fact the one I knew who was an amazing all rounder, and could have become a top commercial lawyer, in the end works for the government as he find the challenges far more fulfilling.

richmal Fri 02-Nov-12 17:01:32

Do I take it then that an individuals potential to learn is set at birth and cannot be altered by the education they do or do not receive?
I would say that teaching a child gives them potential to learn more. Again the term HLP presupposes that intellect is entirely down to nature rather than nurture. IMO it is a mixture of both.

IME people look at exam results as proof of a person's ability to learn. Children who both do and do not fall into the list can acheive high exam results.

Niceweather Fri 02-Nov-12 17:28:20

Good education can make a huge difference but as has been said before, there's only so far it can push you. There must be a limit to how highly a person can achieve. There is no way I could get a PhD in Mathematics from Cambridge, no matter what you did to me!

richmal Fri 02-Nov-12 17:45:03

It is however supprising that a diproportionate number of people from private schools do manage to get into Cambridge. If good education can push you into Cambridge it must be of advantage in learning potential.

Niceweather Fri 02-Nov-12 18:14:15

I have stolen this quote from a thread on Secondary Education:

As for the idea that you would be wasting private education on a child with a lacksadaisical streak - IME that is what private education is best at: compensating for, or making up for, or 'supporting the child through' any academic mediocrity! Not meaning to be horrid in any way, that is EXACTLY what private ed did for me!

richmal Fri 02-Nov-12 18:37:15

Are you then agreeing that education does make a difference to learning poltential?

mummytime Belgium Fri 02-Nov-12 18:48:33

From Oxford, the kids from private schools who get there tend to come from the most academically selective schools. Also about a third of those pupils (it might be higher I'm relying on memory of the article) who come from homes below the free school meal threshold of earnings who go to Oxford, actually went to private schools on scholarships. So its not just private schools teach better and get you into Oxford, but those that get a good number into Oxford have already selected on ability.

Education doesn't make a difference to learning potential it makes a difference to academic attainment. By definition nothing can change potential it can only change how that is expressed. Of course any assessment of learning potential is a snap shot taken at a specific point in time, and it is possible due to life events a different assessment would be taken at a different point (someone could receive a traumatic brain injury for example).

Another fact is that we all fail to totally fullfil our potential.

Niceweather Fri 02-Nov-12 19:00:56

Education can make a difference but only up to a certain point. Not everyone is capable of high achievement. I would think that IQ would be of major importance. Someone with an IQ of 60 is not going to Cambridge. Someone with an IQ of 160 is in with a good chance but will need good qualifications behind them, along with commitment and desire. Someone with an IQ of 160 who doesn't have good qualifications, commitment or desire won't be going to Cambridge either. Actually, someone told me that you need to be top 1% for Oxbridge. I guess that means top 1% in IQ terms.

I've forgotten what we mean by learning potential? Is good education the same as good qualifications? Do we need to consider whether or not IQ can be raised by education? I think that perhaps it can be raised a bit but not to extreme heights.

I aint no expert in any of this!

richmal Fri 02-Nov-12 19:34:32

It seems then that potential cannot be measured as it is only a possibility of what could be. Only ability could be measured. Ability is determined by potential and teaching. In ther words, both nature and nurture. Even by the time a child starts school, I would say it is impossible to tell the two apart.

I was looking at the statistics taking into account the overall numbers going to private school. I find it hard to believe that the number of children on 100% scholarships account for the increased numbers from private school going to Oxford.

Niceweather Fri 02-Nov-12 20:04:39

"Even by the time a child starts school, I would say it is impossible to tell the two apart."

What about the things that cannot be taught? The things in the list? I would think that the difference would be obvious between the child who is an "original thinker who has excellent problem solving skills and who learns quickly and with less practice and repetition etc" from one who has had a good pre-school education but lacks these abilities. You cannot teach someone to learn quickly with no need for repetition. You cannot teach someone to have a passionate love for solving number problems. Etc etc.

Sorry I cannot paste link but here is an interesting article in Guardian about admissions to Cambridge:

richmal Fri 02-Nov-12 21:01:34

I would be annoyed if schools were using such a list to determine which children had the potential to learn and therefore put on the HLP list. Thankfully IME schools just seem to look at which are farthest ahead.

lljkk Netherlands Fri 02-Nov-12 21:05:27

HIP just sounds like gobbledigook to me, until I read a definition. Same as the G-word. So no preference for either.

Niceweather Sat 03-Nov-12 09:20:23

As well as the easily identifiable ones who are ahead, they should keep an open mind regarding the less obvious ones. I think they are more likely to do this at secondary school than at junior school.

LeBFG Sat 03-Nov-12 09:52:51

IQ and HLP/gifted are linked but not sure they are the same thing. The NAGC use an IQ test as part of the identification of HLP children. IQ is about 70% heritable, to give posters an idea about how much education may blur the line a bit between high achievers and HLPs.

My question is more about what do we know about the trajectory of learning potential over the childhood years?

I knew of a gifted girl (in our day this term wasn't used of course) - the only one to be put forward for the 11+. She also had early periods, was taller and more mature than the rest of us girls. By 18 she had only mediocre achievement at A-level. I suppose she could have been inappropriately stimulated etc but it has always been my gut instinct that she was just physically more advanced than the rest of us for her age. Not with any special gift for learning. But at 11, she appeared to have a higher potential than the rest of us, which time did not bear out.

Clearly many people are born and live their lives at higher planes than the rest of us and probably, on average, gifted adults were children with HLP. I just wonder how true this is of all gifted adults? This stems also from my suspicion of 'diagnosing' a 7yo when so much can change in the brain between 7 and 16/18.

Niceweather Sat 03-Nov-12 10:00:27

Here is a thread on the same subject LeBFG:

My most successful friend has one CSE!

lljkk Netherlands Sat 03-Nov-12 10:33:45

How old are you, LeBFG? I was labeled "gifted" in 1975. By family standards I turned into a high achiever, too, although perhaps quite mediocre by MN standards wink.

LeBFG Sat 03-Nov-12 11:04:18

I was born in 1977 so...but went to very progressive secondary school. All the gifted sorts were at the Grammars so the word was never bandied about.

Have had a quick read thanks Niceweather. Lots of bright kids and different life outcomes. To me the over riding message is one of development and finding things in life as an adult that are satisfying and bring happiness.

It just prompts me to really ask what is the goal of this labelling business? Kids do well, others don't, some struggle to engage, to settle into class routines etc... I know some people are dead keen to get DC into Oxbridge so maybe want to their DC to have max stretching at school. But I think most people would be happy if their DC just achieve well, go to a good uni and find their feet in the world.

After browsing the NAGC website it becomes even more murky for me. Lots on emotional support etc. It seems to me many kids have social, fitting-in type problems. These are the problems that need addressing. I can see a AS label can help the child because there are classic, well-identified characteristics posing barriers to social integration. Not sure that a HLP label would be very informative in the same way?

lljkk Netherlands Sat 03-Nov-12 11:37:24

I imagine (am not defending this) the point of labelling is "accountability". There will be paperwork to establish that

* a clever child was identified as having additional needs,
* efforts were made to specify & meet that child's needs,
* what steps were taken to implement the plan to meet that child's needs and help them achieve their potential.
* shows that that child has been monitored & reassessed regularly, and
* what concerns were raised if child not meeting promise of early potential.

PAPERWORK! Covering one's arse. We live in an age where more time is spent producing paperwork to show the right thing was done, than time is spent actually doing the right thing.

DD is my definition of gifted (good all rounder). Or maybe just very lucky. Part of that is she's very socially adept.

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