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Is the Child a Gifted Student? Does High IQ Equal Giftedness? Definition of Gifted Children | Understanding Giftedness | HKAGE

When we mention "gifted children" or "gifted students”, many people still tend to immediately associate them with academically outstanding students, the top achievers within their school classes. Alternatively, some may believe that children with an IQ above 130 will be automatically qualified as gifted.

In reality, neither of these scenarios serves as the criteria used by the Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education (HKAGE) to evaluate "giftedness" or determine the admission of gifted students. Some parents of gifted children have shared that they had never anticipated that their children would have been admitted by the Academy because their children's academic performance was just average at school.

What is Gifted?

Regarding the definition of Gifted Children, we have referred to the information provided in the website of the Education Bureau of the Government of HKSAR which employs a broad definition of giftedness according to the Education Commission Report No. 4 (1990). Children who demonstrate exceptional achievement or potential in one or more of the following areas or domains are considered as gifted,

  • The level of measured intelligence;
  • Specific academic aptitude in a subject area;
  • Creative thinking - high ability to invent and elaborate novel ideas precisely;
  • Remarkable talent in visual and performing arts such as painting, drama, dance, music, etc;
  • Leadership among peers - high ability to motivate others to achieve common goals;
  • Outstanding performance or ingenuity in athletics, mechanical skills or sensorimotor coordination.

Is the Child a Gifted Student? Definition of Gifted Children

Further Reading:  Dispelling the 5 Common Myths about Giftedness
Further Reading:  Nurturing the Emotional and Social Development of Gifted Students: Affective Education


Furthermore, when considering the definition of gifted children, we can also refer to the theory of "Multiple Intelligences" coined by Dr Howard Gardner, a Professor at Harvard University in the United States. This theory identifies eight different intelligences, namely:

  1. Verbal/Linguistic
  2. Logical/Mathematical
  3. Visual/Spatial
  4. Musical/Rhythmic
  5. Bodily/Kinesthetic
  6. Intra-personal/Introspective
  7. Inter-personal/Social
  8. Naturalist

Gifted children may possess exceptional talents in one or more specific areas, rather than excelling in all areas.

How to assess gifted children?

The Hong Kong-normed WISC IV (for children from 6 to 16 years old) is the instrument commonly used to compare children’s abilities. However, we would not recommend children to assess their giftedness by IQ test because it might not provide comprehensive information to identify non-tested strengths of the children such as their creativity, leadership ability, etc.

The selection of applications for HKAGE members is based on Dr Joseph Renzulli’s Three-Ring Conception of Giftedness, taking into consideration whether the student aged 10 to 18 could benefit from the HKAGE programme provision.

The 3 criteria for the selection of applications

1) Above Average Abilities:

  • General abilities: processing information, integrating experiences, and abstract thinking.
  • Specific abilities: the capacity to acquire knowledge and perform in an activity.

2) Creativity:

  • Fluency, flexibility, and originality of thought, openness to experience, sensitivity to stimulations, and a willingness to take risks.

3) Task Commitment:

  • Perseverance, endurance, hard work, self-confidence, perceptiveness, and a special fascination with a special subject.

Is My Child Gifted? Defining Gifted Children

Further Reading:  Nurturing Gifted Students: How do Parents Get Along with Their Gifted Children?
Related information:  Parent Education Programme/Workshop/Other Support


How should parents cultivate gifted children?

Cognitive development is a dynamic process – a result of interaction between the natural gift and experience. In other words, a lack of encouragement and opportunities for gifted children could lead to underdevelopment of gifted abilities or underachievement. On the contrary, if a child's gifted traits are identified early on and nurtured appropriately, it will help the child fully unleash his/her talents.

Besides providing gifted programmes to gifted students, the HKAGE also encourage parents of gifted children to read up or attend seminars on understanding giftedness and how to nurture gifted children, so that they could provide good support to their children at home.

Is the Child a Gifted Student? Definition of Gifted Children

Further Reading:  Nurturing the Potential of Gifted Students (Part 1): Academic Potential - Mathematics, Chinese, Science, High-level Intelligence
Further Reading:  Nurturing the Potential of Gifted Students (Part 2): Non-academic Potential - Visual and Performing Arts, Leadership, Physical Fitness

We frequently receive inquiries from parents who have identified their children as gifted but who are not yet within the eligible age range (10 to 18 years old) to enroll in the Academy. They are seeking guidance on how to proceed in such circumstances.

The Academy recommends that parents take an active role in nurturing their children's reading habits, enabling them to improve their reading skills and explore a wide range of knowledge on their own.

Furthermore, parents can reach out to the following institutions for more information about the available courses and the registration process.