The issue of identification and assessment of twice-exceptional students



Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference ICERI2021 Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Education

Keywords special educational needs; specific learning disabilities; giftedness; identification; response to intervention; twice-exceptionality
Description Within the school population there is a group of students with special educational needs. The definition of this group varies in every country. Even though these students are mostly recognized based on their deficits or disabilities, special educational needs do not only represent the need of support based on the weakened areas but also the need of support and enrichment in areas that are developed exceptionally. The most common type of special educational needs worldwide are specific learning disabilities. Those can be defined as an inability of a child with at least average intelligence to learn how to read, write or count when common teaching methods are used. Similarly, as different types of disabilities can occur in various combinations within one individual, specific learning disabilities can also occur in an individual, who is highly intellectually gifted. The simultaneous co-occurrence of high giftedness and disability, for example the combination of high intellectual giftedness and specific learning disabilities is referred to as twice-exceptionality. The phenomenon of the twice-exceptionality is mostly discussed in American environment. The most pressing issue concerning the group of twice-exceptional students is the process of identification and assessment, which is the precondition for offering adequate support. In order to explore this area, systematic review of international studies concerning identification and assessment of twice-exceptionality was conducted. The research studies included in systematic review were published in electronic database SCOPUS. From total of 671 studies, only studies published in years 2009-2019 that focused on identification and assessment of highly intellectually gifted students with specific learning disabilities in compulsory schooling were selected. Total of 10 studies that met the requirements were included in the systematic review. Included studies were analysed based on the process of identification of twice-exceptionality and used assessment tools. The results of the systematic review indicate that assessment of twice-exceptionality is not only unstandardized, but also not uniform in terms of selected assessment tools and established assessment criteria. The absence of unified assessment criteria results in unreliable identification of twice-exceptional students and therefore eliminate the possibility of offering the support that would address the needs of this target group. The situation in the Czech educational environment is not any different. Even thought for the assessment of specific learning disabilities standardized tools are used, the identification of gifted students is not sufficient. Based on the information from Czech school Inspectorate report for the academic year 2019/2020, from estimated 2% of exceptionally gifted students, only 0,1% are identified and there is no statistical data on twice-exceptional students. In order to address the needs of twice-exceptional students, more attention needs to be paid to the improvement of the process of identification and assessment of this target group.

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