Qualitative Assessment

The Annemarie Roeper Method of Qualitative Assessment by Anne Beneventi
(excerpted from the Gifted Development Center Newsletter March 2012)

Annemarie Roeper developed her method of assessment to reflect the qualitative or emotional difference she observed in gifted children. For 5 decades, she and her husband, George, directed The Roeper School, one of the first schools in the country for the gifted. I met Annemarie in 1986 when I was hired to teach in a program for gifted families called Curious Kids Bunch. I found the depth of Annemarie’s educational philosophy compelling and shared her reverence for children. Curious Kids Bunch launched my apprenticeship and friendship with Annemarie Roeper.

Gifted children feel different from their chronological peers because they are different. When gifted children are out of sync, especially in school, parents and professionals may conclude there is something wrong because the child is not fitting in. By conforming to standard expectations, children often sacrifice their authentic sense of Self and emotional well-being. An awareness of these differences in the context of giftedness offers a positive interpretation of behavior. The goal of QA is to recognize and reflect the inherent value and uniqueness of the individual and encourage a positive esteem and interaction with the world.

The Annemarie Roeper Method of Qualitative Assessment (QA) focuses on intensities and sensitivities, which underlie an individual’s cognitive drive. QA does not separate the cognitive from emotional development of the individual but rather endeavors to understand the emotional need behind commonly agreed upon characteristics of giftedness. For instance, if a child has a strong interest in dinosaurs, extensive knowledge is evidence of advanced cognitive ability. Driving the motivation to learn is the individual’s need for depth and complexity. Gifted children may be inspired to learn about dinosaurs to better understand the origin of the world in which they find themselves. To recognize a strong interest in dinosaurs as an emotional need expressed cognitively offers a more complex understanding of children, which includes their inner experience.

Following are principles of The Annemarie Roeper Method of Qualitative Assessment (QA):

1.  Giftedness is an internal experience, the essence of the individual, not determined by performance, achievement or talent. It’s who they are, not what they do with their advanced ability. Giftedness is innate and continues throughout the life of the individual.
2.  In Qualitative Assessment, the child is the priority, and conclusions or recommendations by the practitioner must not be skewed by outside interests.
3.  Parents are seen as experts and are relied upon to contribute knowledge of their child.
4.  It is necessary for the QA Practitioner to pull back her own agenda, allowing the child’s to emerge.
5.  Intellect and emotion cannot be separated. Gifted children have asynchronous development and are recognized as whole.

QA guides parents by providing a portrait of the whole child and supports respectful understanding of the individual, positive parenting and appropriate educational planning.