School psychologists in today's schools have the unique opportunity—and responsibility—to guide identification for gifted programs. "Who is gifted?" remains a perennial question in the gifted education literature, not answered by group intelligence screeners that purportedly level the playing field for all. As the student body grows more diverse, there is increasing necessity to ensure that all students have equal access to gifted programs. Failure to identify and develop the advanced abilities of gifted children who are culturally diverse, economically deprived, highly gifted, or twice exceptional is justifiably viewed as a civil rights violation. The National Association for Gifted Children's 2018 position statement, "Use of the WISC‐V for Gifted and Twice Exceptional Identification," offers important considerations for identifying the gifted. Based on a national research study of 390 gifted children on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fifth Edition (WISC‐V), the statement recommends that the traditional practice of mandating Full Scale intelligence quotient scores be abandoned. Instead, it embraces the use of any one of six expanded index scores that are better measures of abstract reasoning for selecting students for gifted provisions. As gifted children are oftentimes asynchronous, alternate index scores are less biased and better able to document the strengths of all gifted children. What is learned from the WISC‐V can be applied by school psychologists to improve the choice of comprehensive individual intelligence tests, brief intelligence tests, and the body of evidence gifted children must exhibit.
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The history of testing mental abilities has seen the dominance of two contrasting approaches, psychometrics and neuropsychology. These two traditions have different theories and methodologies, but overlap considerably in the tests they use. Historically, psychometrics has emphasized the primacy of a general factor, while neuropsychology has emphasized specific abilities that are dissociable. This issue about the nature of human mental abilities is important for many practical concerns. Questions such as gender, ethnic, and age-related differences in mental abilities are relatively easy to address if they are due to a single dominant trait. Presumably such a trait can be measured with any collection of complex cognitive tests. If there are many specific mental abilities, these would be much harder to measure and associated social issues would be more difficult to resolve. The relative importance of general and specific abilities also has implications for educational practices. This book includes the diverse opinions of experts from several fields including psychometrics, neuropsychology, speech language and hearing, and applied psychology.