Important update: At this time, we are not enrolling in students in our gifted endorsement program. We will update this webpage if/when enrollment resumes.
The Department of Special Education will continue to offer a TN employment standard in gifted education for those who live in Tennessee. Please visit the Gifted Endorsement FAQs section to learn about the difference between the employment standard and the endorsement.
The Department of Special Education offers an endorsement program in gifted education. Students currently enrolled in a teaching licensure program as well as those who already hold a teaching license may be eligible for the gifted endorsement. Enrollment in a master’s program is not required. The add-on endorsement is aligned with the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)/ National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) standards.
Students who successfully complete the gifted endorsement program will gain experience in the following:
- Recognizing the characteristics and identification needs of gifted students from different racial and economic backgrounds
- Developing strategies that support their social and emotional development
- Consulting/collaborating and advocating for gifted learners to a variety of stakeholders
- Designing curriculum and applying instructional strategies that enhance gifted students’ learning
- Understanding system-wide programs that support the needs of the gifted
The term "gifted" encompasses students, pre-kindergarten through grade 12, who are dually exceptional, come from diverse ethnic backgrounds, are of poverty, and are of varying levels of giftedness (mild, moderate, profound).
Students are required to take the following four courses and a practicum:
SPED 2720/3720: Introduction to the Gifted Learner: Conceptions, Characteristics, and Assessment
Examines issues and trends in gifted education with a focus on the specific needs and characteristics of gifted students. Outlines theoretical conceptions of giftedness and evidence-supported practices in identification and assessment - including those who may not be typically identified, such as twice-exceptional, low-income, and culturally diverse students.
SPED 2730/3730: Psychology of the Gifted Learner
Highlights internal and external factors impacting the psychological development of gifted students. Focuses on theoretical frameworks and practical strategies for the provision services, including consultation, collaboration with schools and families, counseling supports, behavioral models, and collaboration with community agencies.
SPED 2740/3740: Educating Gifted Students: Adaptations of Curriculum and Instruction
Focuses on theoretical conceptions of curriculum development and instructional modifications for mild, moderate, and highly gifted students. Includes curriculum design theoretical frameworks, differentiation strategies, and how to measure the effects of adaptations to match gifted student learning needs.
SPED 2750/3750: Organizational Structures and Planning of Gifted Programs
Focuses on theoretical frameworks for organizing and implementing evidence supported programs for the gifted; service delivery models, program evaluation, data collection, supervision models, and systemic development of programming and support structures. Attention is also devoted to poverty and cultural differences.
SPED 2760/3760: Practicum in Gifted Education
Focuses on field study, action research, or practical application of course content for providing leadership, curriculum adaptions, and program planning for a variety of gifted learners including underrepresented populations and mild, moderate, and highly gifted individuals – requires a minimum of 120 hours of onsite work, plus attendance at seminars, and completed projects.
Once the course work and practicum are complete, students will take the Praxis exam in gifted education.
Donna Ford, Ph.D., Co-Program Chair
Professor; Dept of Special Education and Teaching and Learning
Tamra Stambaugh, Ph.D., Co-Program Chair
Executive Director; Research Assistant Professor, Department of Special Education / Programs for Talented Youth
For more information, contact Kim Brazil.
To learn more about the application process, qualifications, and other logistical information, please see our Frequently Asked Questions section.