Gifted and Talented (GT or GAT) 101: A (Basic) Definition

When people say someone is “talented” or “gifted” they usually mean that person has exceptional and highly developed abilities in arts or sport, music, singing, dancing, drawing or painting, running, jumping, pitching, and so on. The word “talented” in everyday language is rarely connected with someone’s intellectual abilities.

In the world of education, though, the definition of “gifted and talented (GT or GAT)” is connected to the Intelligence Quotient (IQ).

The average IQ as measured by standardized tests is around 100. Majority of people (statistically, 68.27% of the population) would score somewhere between 85 and 115, or again, “statistically” within one standard deviation from the mean. And most people (95% of the population) would score between 70 and 130 — within two standard deviations from the mean.

Those who are visual and who like graphs can see that on the IQ bell curve:

I also like the standard deviation graph, showing the percentages corresponding with the scores.

Those scoring more than two standard deviations from the mean, below 70 or above 130, are highly unusual—people in each group make up only about 2.5% of the population.

Mensa, a society “for bright people” grants membership only to those who score above the 98 percentile on standardized tests of intelligence. Statistically, from among a hundred of one’s acquaintances, only two would qualify to be Mensa members.

It’s lonely at the end of the bell curve.