Shari Lovenheim: A Look at Giftedness

Based out of Anthony Wayne Middle School in Wayne, New Jersey, Shari Lovenheim assists students, teachers, and parents as a school psychologist. With the facility since 2006, Lovenheim handles diagnostic screenings for its Gifted and Talented Programs.

Difficult to define, giftedness possesses different meanings to different people, cultures, and countries. While giftedness indicates exceptional qualities, many disagree about how to determine this factor. Some prefer intelligent quotient tests to measure aptitude while others recognize that this aspect may not be quantitative. The definition itself is the subject of controversy, and organizations such as the National Association for Gifted Children, the federal government, every state, and academic scholars have formed their own descriptions of the adjective.

The attention given to giftedness starts back in the mid-19th century. In 1868 and 1869, researchers in Missouri and Britain investigated the presence of “genius” in youths. However, the first special school for gifted children was not opened until 1901 in Worcester, Massachusetts. The creation of intelligence tests several years later further increased the attention given to remarkable students. It was Lewis Terman, deemed the father of the gifted education movement, who holds the greatest recognition for promoting this concept to America. He developed the Stanford-Binet test in 1916; completed a landmark study of 1,500 gifted children in 1921; and printed the first volume of Genetic Studies of Genius in 1925, which would continue to be supplemented over the next 40 years.

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