A Gift for Giftedness

As a parent of gifted kids, as an educator who has taught gifted children, and as a doctoral student who focuses on gifted students, Critical Issues and Practices in Gifted Education: A Survey of Current Research on Giftedness and Talent Development, edited by Jonathan Plucker and Carolyn Callahan, is a gift that keeps on giving.

Organized alphabetically, from A (for Academic Acceleration) to W (for Writing and the Gifted Learner), with stops along the way for Bullying, Career Decisions, Differentiated Instruction, Homeschooling, Identification, Science Education, Social and Emotional Issues, Technology, and Twice-Exceptionality, forty chapters in all, this is the one-stop book for anyone involved with giftedness and neurodiversity. Each chapter, written by leaders in the fields, include definitions of terms, best practices, essential questions about the topic, practical policy implications, “Defensible Conclusions from the Empirical Research,” “Common Conclusions That Are Not Defensible,” and credible resources for further investigation.

The purpose of this comprehensive, yet concise, approach to the available thinking about giftedness, according to the editors, “is to provide a quick and useful reference for practitioners looking for easily understood guidance in key areas of decision making.” For those of us trying to wrap our minds around everything—and there is a lot—out there, Plucker and Callahan have put as much emphasis on steering “educators and parents away from practices not supported by evidence.” If not a one-stop encyclopedia, this book is a first-stop atlas that keeps you from getting lost in the wilderness.

The first chapter on Academic Acceleration (Assouline, Lupkowski-Shoplik, Colangelo) asks...


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