National Organization for Development of Exceptional Talents
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|National Organization for Development of Exceptional Talents|
National Organization for Development of Exceptional Talents (NODET; Persian: سازمان ملی پرورش استعدادهای درخشان Sāzmān-e Melli-ye Parvareŝ-e Este'dādhā-ye Deraxŝān, or سمپاد SAMPAD) was an organization that recruited students for middle and highschools through a two-step set of exams at each level. The organization aimed to provide a unique educational environment for the exceptionally talented students. In December 2017, the legislature of IRI decided to suspend the organization and replace it with a new system.
The organization was founded in 1976 as the National Iranian Organization for Gifted and Talented Education (NIOGATE). The original faculty were trained by a visiting group of educators from the United States. After the revolution, the schools were shut down for a few years but were later re-opened. In 1988, the organization was renamed to National Organization for Development of Exceptional Talents. From 1988 to 2009, Javad Ezhe'i was the manager of NODET, who was succeeded by Dr. Etemadi and then Dr. Ghaffari. In December 2017, the legislature of IRI decided to suspend the organization and replace it with a new system. As a result, entrance exams have been canceled. Currently, there is no more entry; however, existing schools will remain open until all students have graduated (estimated 2024).
The schools, like other Iranian schools, are unisex. Girls' schools are generally called Farzanegan School, whereas boys' schools have different names in different cities. Some of the schools are: Beheshti High Schools in Semnan, Sabzevar, Zanjan, Ahwaz, Kashan, Kermanshah, Tonekabon, Sanandaj, Ilam, Shahrekord, Sari, Amol, Ghaemshahr, Urmia, Bojnurd, Babol, Gorgan, Borujerd and Maragheh, Allameh Helli in Tehran, Hamedan and Arak, Shahid Babaei Highschool in Qazvin, Madani , Ostad Shahriar in Tabriz, Shahid Soltani School and Farzanegan School in Karaj, Darolfonoun in Shariar, Haghani in Bandar Abbass, Hashemi Nejad School in Mashhad,Sheikh Ansari High School in Dezful, Dastgheib High school in Shiraz, Shahid Ejei High School in Isfahan, Mirza Koochak Khan in Rasht, and Sadoughi in Yazd.
Honours and alumni
NODET students are reputed to be successful in various exams and competitions such as Konkour(Iranian National Universities Entrance Exam), scientific and literature olympiads, Khawrazmi International Award, and RoboCup Competitions. NODET students have won more than 250 medals in the International Science Olympiads. Among the alumni of NODET are many successful academics and individuals. One well-known example is Prof. Maryam Mirzakhani, a professor of mathematics at Stanford University, who was the first woman and the first Iranian honored with the Fields Medal (the most prestigious award in mathematics).
Admission to schools
Admission to NODET schools wasselective based on an annual comprehensive nationwide entrance examination procedure for students in grade 5 (elementary school) and grade 9 (middle school). A minimum GPA of 19 (out of 20) was required for attending the entrance exam. Even students who were accepted into middle school needed to pass the entrance exam for high school. The entrance exam at each level included two tests that evaluate the general intelligence and knowledge of applicants rather than their acquired knowledge based on school books. Students who passed the first test needed to take the second test, after which the final results were announced. The sources of questions were not revealed. Statistically, less than 1% of applicants were chosen to enter the 99 middle schools and 98 high-schools across the country. In 2006 87,081 boys and 83,596 girls from 56 cities applied. 6,888 students were accepted for the 2007 middle schools.
The style of questions varied greatly each year. Some questions would describe a particular phenomenon and its related problems. Then, students were asked to provided solutions and reasoning. The evaluation of the answers wouldn't be based on the choice, but on the described reason, trying to distinguish students with higher reasoning abilities. In another atypical type of questions, students were introduced with a brief introduction on a certain complex scientific topic, which most students were not supposedly familiar with. Afterward, students were asked to solve a given problem using mathematical calculations, reasoning, or even their common sense.
Statistics show that NODET alumni usually pursue higher education up to post-graduate level.
- A Brief History of NIOGATE: An Experiment in Gifted Education in Iran. San Francisco: National Association for Gifted Children. 1979.