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Gifted Education in Korea. Meesook Kim, Ph.D Director National Research Center for Gifted and Talented Education Korean Educational Development Institute September 23, 2010 Ko ç Univertisy, Istanbul. CONTENTS. I. Overview of Korean Education II. Understanding Gifted Education in Korea

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Gifted Education in Korea

Meesook Kim, Ph.D


National Research Center for Gifted and Talented Education

Korean Educational Development Institute

September 23, 2010

KoçUnivertisy, Istanbul


I. Overview of Korean Education

II. Understanding Gifted Education in Korea

III. The Development of Gifted Education in Korea

IV. The Present Situation of Gifted Education in Korea

V. Problems & Future Direction

VI. Sample Practices


the current government policy

National policy making

Supporting the gifted in science

Supporting the gifted

in arts

Other: promotion of gifted education

The current government policy

One of the 100 National Priorities (#75)

Establish a solid system for supporting the gifted

  • Effective system for gifted education
  • Systemic identification of the gifted in science
  • Continuity of gifted education to higher education
  • Extending gifted education to the areas of arts
the purpose of gifted education
The purpose of gifted education

Contributing to the

nation’s development

Full development of GS’s abilities

and self-actualization

Offering education customized to the abilities and

psychological characteristics of gifted students


definitions and concepts of giftedness
Definitions and concepts of giftedness

Includes various elements: intelligence, creativity, specific talents, school achievements, motivation, leadership, etc.

No single definition internationally agreed upon

Different depending upon the society and culture as well as the generation

The proportion of children who receive gifted education differs across the countries, too, depending upon the educational conditions as well as the educational philosophy of the country.



What is gifted education in Korea?

What is GE?

Gifted Classes

Gifted Education Centers

Gifted Schools

Teaching & Learning Materials

Higher Education Programs

Identification Tools

Gifted Education Promotion Act (2000) Article 2

  • Gifted Child: a person who possesses extraordinary innate abilities or
  • visible talents requiring special education to nurture them
  • Gifted Education: providing education with the contents and the methods
  • tailored to the characteristics and the needs of a gifted child






Law, Professional Development

Educational System, Networking, etc.


Gifted education system

Tertiary Education



Specialized Areas,

Focus on Creativity

Special High School

Gifted Schools

16 Local Offices

of Education

Identification &


of Giftedness


Gifted Classes

Gifted Education


3-12 grade

Law, Review Committee, Research Centers


gifted education institutes 3 types
Gifted education institutes: 3 types
  • Gifted Schools
  • Ministry operated
  • Specialized in Science
  • Gifted Education Centers
  • Operated by local
  • offices of education or by universities
  • Gifted Classes
  • School-based
  • Sometimes combining neighborhood schools



Gifted students (70,205 as of 2009, 1%)

30,567 Students in 967 Gifted Classes

548 Students in 2Gifted Schools

39,090 Students in 555 Gifted Education Centers





observation of stars
Observation of stars

Programs & Activities

Presentation of what they found


visit to research institutes labs
Visit to research institutes & labs

Special lectures

by invited scientists


leadership program
Leadership program

Taking tests without supervision


infra structure law supporting organizations

Infra Structure: Law & Supporting Organizations

  • Gifted Education Promotion Act (2000, revised in 2005)
  • Enforcement Ordinance for GEPA (2002, revised in 2006)
  • Comprehensive Plans for Promotion of Gifted Education (2003, 2008)


primary roles of nrcgte
Primary Roles of NRCGTE

In close partnership with MEST and 16 City & Provincial Offices of Education


& Practice







Int’l Symposium


Leadership Camps

Youth Conference

About 150 Research Reports

Law & Nat’l Plan

About 500 T&L Materials

Gifted Education Database

Nat’l Training Institute

korean educators used to
Korean educators used to
  • Take one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Emphasize equality and sameness as very important societal values to keep so that treating students differently is a taboo.
  • Believe in efforts more than abilities of students.
  • Think it unnecessary and impossible to provide educational service tailored individual child’s needs and ability, especially in classrooms.
  • Assume that learning is knowing the contents rather than thinking or creating new knowledge.
  • Think that able teachers are those who know what to teach rather than how to teach.
which resulted in
Which resulted in
  • Same type of school (high school equalization law in 1974)
  • Same teaching methods to all students such as teacher-centered lectures
  • Ignoring the existence of gifted children in the classroom, and thus no explicit gifted education
  • But small voices concerning individual differences in children and new educational values for the 21st century began to be heard since 1980’s.
new changes in korean education
New Changes in Korean Education


Gyeonggi Science High School (1983)

The Office of Gifted Education at KEDI (1987)


The Korean Society for the Gifted (1990)

Presidential Report by Education Reform Review Council (1995)

The Center for Gifted Education at KEDI (1996)




  • Gifted Education Promotion Act (2000)
  • National Research Center for Gifted and Talented Education (NRCGTE) (2002)
  • Comprehensive Plan I for 2003-2007 (2002)
  • Gifted Education Centers and Gifted Classes (2003)
  • Korea Science Academy (2003)
  • Comprehensive Plan II for 2008-2012 (2007)



The Past and the Present of Korean GE

2008 - 2012

2003 - 2007

  • Gradual Expansion
  • More gifted schools
  • More coverage of the areas of subject matters in GE
  • Identification based on teachers’observations and recommendations
  • Increase of GE to 2%
  • Actualization of other policy measures related to GE
  • Initial Development
  • Establishing law (’02)
  • NRCGTE (’02)
  • GE started in public education (’03)
  • Korean Science Academy (’03)
  • 46,000 students(’07)
multiple stages of identification

Multiple stages of identification

1st Stage: Teachers’ Observation,

GPA, Portfolio, etc.

2nd Stage: Paper & Pencil Tests,

Group Tests

3rd Stage: Performance,

Audition, Camp, Interview

4th Stage: Selection

and Placement


new policy measures for identification
New policy measures for identification
  • Identification method changed from relying on paper & pencil test scores to emphasizing teachers’ observations and recommendations.
  • All students who have potentials are provided gifted education.
  • Policy focus is changed from identification to provision of gifted education.
  • The number of students who receive gifted education is continually increased.
identification of gifted students

Identification of gifted students



Test Scores

Checklists & Recommendations

Knowledge, Rote Memory

Application, Critical Thinking

Intelligence, Creativity, Motivation


Observation, Products, etc.

Paper & Pencil Tests

Group Evaluation

One Time Evaluation

Single Indicator (school

achievement or IQ)

Multiple Indicators


identification process 3 posts
Identification Process (3 Posts)

1. Teacher



2. School



3. Institute




Gifted Education Center

Gifted Class

  • developed a nation-wide
  • on-line computerized system
  • of identification process
  • on Gifted Education
  • Database (GED)

Nation-wide Test of

Giftedness developed


  • Team evaluation with multiple criteria
  • Emphasis on potential for future growth
  • Comprehensive consideration of students’
  • interests, family background, etc.

Gifted Education Database (GED)

teachers professional development
Teachers’ Professional Development

About 6,200 out of about 30,000 teachers trained in gifted education were trained by NRCGTE

(Total 8% of Korean teachers have a training in GE.)

Training Programs at NRCGTE

  • Basic Training Course (60 hrs.)
  • Advanced Training Course (120 hrs.)
  • Intensive Training Course (90 hrs.)
  • Training Program for Administrators (30 hrs.)
  • Overseas Training Course ( 2-4 wks.)


teachers professional development37
Teachers’ Professional Development

On subject matters of gifted education such as

  • Math and Science, IT
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Leadership
  • Music & Fine Arts

Or theme-based intensive courses such as

  • Instructional Strategies (Pedagogy)
  • Identification Based on Teacher Recommendation
  • Educational Evaluation for the Gifted
  • Teaching the Gifted from Disadvantaged Groups


satisfaction survey resu lts
Satisfaction Survey Results
  • Kim, M. & Seo, H. A. (2005)
  • Overall Satisfaction with Gifted Education:

Mean 3.61 point on 5-point Likert scale

(cf. for general school education: 2.8-3.2 points)

    • Gifted Students: 3.66
    • Gifted Students’ Parents: 3.63
    • Teachers: 3.49
  • Areas of Satisfaction: Contents of program, Teaching & Evaluation methods


satisfaction survey results kim seo 2005
Satisfaction Survey Results (Kim & Seo, 2005)
  • The Effects of Gifted Education:
  • Significant increase of interest & knowledge in the relevant areas of study
  • Enhancement of logical reasoning, creative problem-solving skills, & motivation
  • Development of collaborative ability & leadership



Validity of identification tools and methods

Quality control of programs

Preference for preparation of the college entrance exam distorting the purpose of gifted education

Limited focus on specific areas of study (82.6% for math & science)

Discontinuity of gifted education

Shortage of competent teachers with expertise

Lack of networking and effective collaboration among relevant government ministries



2010Policy Direction (MEST)

Enlarging the beneficiaries of GE and upgrading the quality

  • More gifted schools (4 schools by 2011)
  • Increase of the beneficiaries of GE to 2% by 2012
  • Ultimately, all students who have potentials are provided
  • gifted education.
  • Identification method changed from relying on paper &
  • pencil test scores to emphasizing teachers’ observations
  • and recommendations.
  • More coverage of the areas of subject matters in GE (Arts,
  • literature, leadership, integrated curriculum)

Other Suggestions for Future Direction

  • Specialization of Gifted Institutions
    • Gifted Schools, Gifted Classes and Gifted Education Centers Specialized by School Levels, the Foci of the Programs, and by Local Areas
  • Upgrading the Quality of Gifted Education
    • Upgrading the Curriculum & Operation Efficiency
    • Providing the teachers with consulting service in addition to training



Other Suggestions for Future Direction

  • Developing the Continuity of Gifted Education
    • Improving the Identification System
    • Promoting Social Integration
    • Developing the Gifted Program for Post-secondary Education
  • Enriching the Experience of Gifted Teachers
    • Recruiting High Quality Teachers
    • Developing Systematic Approach to Training & Distributing Teachers
    • Recommending Teachers to Undergo Training


other suggestions for future direction
Other Suggestions for Future Direction
  • Improving Support Systems
    • Amending Existing Policies & Laws
    • Strengthening the Think-Tank Function of NRCGTE
    • Nurturing Existing Networks through Workshops, Forums and Symposiums on a Regular Basis



Teşekkür ederim!

Thank you!