Gifted Education

Regulations for gifted education are contained in Title 22, Chapter 16 of the Pennsylvania Code. In Pennsylvania, the designation of gifted DOES NOT include students who are gifted or talented solely in the arts.

Highlights from Chapter 16

Gifted education must be:
  • Conducted in an instructional setting
  • Provided in an instructional or skill area
  • Provided at no cost to parents
  • Provided under the authority of a school district, directly, by referral or contract
  • Individualized to meet the needs of the student
  • Reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress
  • Provided in conformity with a GIEP (gifted individualized education program)
  • Outlined in the school district's strategic plan


To be classified as gifted, a student must meet the definition of "mentally gifted" - 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.

A student is considered gifted when he/she:
  • Is found to have an IQ above 130
  • Is found to have an IQ below 130 but displays other criteria that strongly indicate gifted ability:
    • Is working a year or more above grade achievement level for the normal age group in one or more subjects as measured by nationally normed and validated achievement tests able to accurately reflect gifted performance. Subject results shall yield academic instruction levels in all academic subject areas.
    • Displays an observed or measured rate of acquisition/retention of new academic content or skills that reflect gifted ability.
    • Demonstrates achievement, performance, or expertise in one or more academic areas as evidenced by excellence of products, portfolio or research, as well as criterion-referenced team judgment.
    • Demonstrates early and measured use of high level thinking skills, academic creativity, leadership skills, intense academic interest areas, communication skills, foreign language aptitude or technology expertise.

Finally, there must be documented, observed, validated or assessed evidence that intervening factors such as English as a second language, learning disability, physical impairment, emotional disability, gender or race bias, or socio/cultural deprivation are masking gifted abilities.


The Ohio Department of Education has released documents to aid school personnel in identifying students who are gifted in the arts. Because Pennsylvania's definition of gifted does not include students gifted or talented solely in the arts, these documents are provided for informational purposes only.

Dance ID Handbook
Music ID Handbook
Theatre ID Handbook
Visual Arts ID Handbook