A Gifted Identification Kit for the United Arab Emirates


Identifying and Developing High Potentials

Researchers acknowledge the importance of supporting individual talents in every society. Yet findings indicate that the talents of young individuals regularly go undetected and that societies often fail at helping them transform recognized talents and strengths into high achievements and excellence. Individuals and societies pay a high price for this lost potential. Over the next three years (1 April 2015–31 March 2018), the UAE Gifted Identification Kit project will develop, test, and introduce a Gifted Identification Kit (GIK) for the United Arab Emirates to help avoid such undesirable outcomes.

To optimally support children with high potentials, researchers at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, the University of Regensburg, and King Faisal University, Al-Hassa, Saudi Arabia, are developing the UAE GIK to identify gifted students and offer recommendations about ideal forms of gifted education for selected pupils. Their work is being funded by the Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performance (Dubai) with a grant of more than € 1,000,000.

The UAE GIK’s theoretical basis is the actiotope model of giftedness (Ziegler, 2005), which conceptualizes domain-specific achievement excellence as the long-term result of a successful, interdependent adaptation process—a coevolution—involving various components that exist both within individuals and in their material and social environments. The UAE GIK consists of a three-step identification process in accordance with the model. In the screening stage, teachers nominate their most talented students with the help of a specifically developed checklist. In the narrowing stage, an extensive test battery provides a sound means of identifying the most promising students among the stage-1 nominees. The test battery assesses fluid and crystallized intelligence as well as learning and educational resources. Finally, in the inclusion stage, the UAE GIK uses an interview guide to develop the best possible individual paths to excellence for each stage-two candidate. Furthermore, the inclusion stage ensures that each individual path to excellence is reasonable and desirable for all stakeholders—the pupils, their families, and their teachers. This is essential for ensuring the long-term effectiveness of gifted education placement decisions.


Collaborating institutions and researchers

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany): Prof. Dr. Dr. Albert Ziegler (project director), Tobias Debatin Hyerim Oh, and Sarah Awad.

University of Regensburg (Germany): Prof. Dr. Heidrun Stoeger (project director), Norah Al Mulhim, Daniel Patrick Balestrini and Benjamin Matthes

King Faisal University of Al-Hassa (Saudi Arabia): Prof. Dr. Abdullah Aljughaiman (scientific project consultant)

Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performance (Dubai, United Arab Emirates): Dr. Mariam AlGhawi and Hessa Alamri

Funding provided by

Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performance (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)