The identification process begins with a referral that may come from a variety of sources such as:
- Universal Screening at second and sixth grades using the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)
- Parent, teacher or student referrals
- Achievement measures
- Behavioral observations
- Performance indicators
The following measurement tools within a body of evidence provide qualifying percentiles or rankings for identification. Every student in grades 2 and 6 is administered the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) as a Universal Screener. If a student missed testing in those grades, the CogAT can be given on an individual basis. Parents of students who have been referred to the identification process are given the parent version of the Scales for Identifying Gifted Students. If necessary, the same scale or the Gifted Evaluation Scale may be given to the student's teacher to complete. Performance indicators require a rating of distinguished or high level placing in a state or national completition.
State Rules: 12.02(2)(d) Criteria for Determining Exceptional Ability (Giftedness) or Talent Pool
12.02(2)(d)(i) For each category of giftedness defined in 12.01(16), criteria for exceptional ability means: 95 percentile or above on a standardized nationally normed test or observation tool, or a rating on a performance assessment that indicates exceptionality/distinguished compared to age mates.
12.02(2)(d)(ii) Not meeting criteria on a single assessment tool shall not prevent further data collection or consideration for identification, if other indicators suggest exceptional potential as observed in a body of evidence.
12.02(2)(d)(iii) Criteria for screening assessments is a score range less than the 95 percentile ranking or results on observation/performance assessment tools as determined by the AU [Administrative Unit, i.e. Elizabeth School District] to determine referrals, further data collection and observation, and/or formation of student talent pools.
Within 30 school days of the administration of the universal screener, all parents are notified of the test results. Within that same timeframe parents of students being considered for the identification process will receive a letter and a copy of the Scales for Identifying Gifted Students (SIGS) to complete. Students referred outside of the universal screener begin the formal identification process within the same 30-day timeline.
Identification Review Team
The core identification review team consists of the district gifted coordinator and building liaisons, all of whom are trained in gifted identification procedures, characteristics, programming, etc. Principals, counselors, classroom teachers and parents may also be asked to provide additional input on a case to case basis.
A talent pool is defined as a group of students who demonstrate an advanced or even exceptional ability in a particular area, but at this time do not meet the criteria for gifted identification. Often sutdents in a talent pool are provided advanced or gifted programming services. As students are presented with additional levels of challenge and rigor, increased achievement may occur. A student may meet the criteria for gifted identification at a later date. The state does not require the implementaiton of a talent pool, and these students do not have an ALP. However, the Elizabeth School District does provide limited programming for these students based on test scores, classroom observations and student performance. Programming might include one or more of the following options: advanced differentiated instruction within the regular classroom or in flexible groups; participation in Extended Learning Time using the Renzulli Learning System; invitations to participate in summer STEAM Camp and other events outside of school: and eligibility to participate in the Western Academic Talent Search. At any time these students meet all criteria within a body of evidence, they will be identified as gifted.
Transfering out of the District?
When a gifted student transfers out of the district parents should be sure to have the new district request the gifted identification profile and copies of the Advanced Learning Plan (ALP)
Once a student has been referred for gifted identification, a body of evidence is collected that includes quantitative and qualitative data. Criteria for identification usually requires three qualifying pieces of data that meet the state criteria of 95th percentile or higher on a norm referenced approved measurement tool or an advanced or distinguished level on a criterion referenced approved measurement tool or performance rubric.
Multiple pathways can lead to a determination of giftedness.
Specific Academic Achievement
Content areas for specific academic aptitude include: reading, writing, math, science, social studies and world language. Two pathways may lead to identification in the area of specific academic aptitude.
First, a student may score 95th percentile or above on one or more batteries of a cognitive test and demonstrate aptitude on two specific academic measures.
Second, a student may not score 95th percentile or above on a cognitive test. However, the identification review team may determine a comprehensive body of evidence demonstrates gifted academic ability. Content specific measurement tools to meet criteria for identification should include at least three or more measures from two of the three areas above. When cognitive data do not meet gifted criteria, identification in a specific academic aptitude requires an examination of multiple data points and trends over time.
Identification in creative and productive thinking, leadership and specific talent aptitudes requires the examination of a variety of instruments and the multiple pathways that lead to identification. Talent domains include visual arts, performing arts, music, dance and psychomotor. If data from a valid and reliable test are not available to demonstrate exceptional ability, two or more indicators in the performance area may be used to meet identification criteria along with an exceptional rating on an observation. Identification in the area of psychomotor is designated for state- or national-level elite athletes who have received this ranking from the sport’s national governing body. These athletes may require a gifted determination to address the interventions necessary as a result of the amount of time the student is out of school or to earn credits for specific courses. Districts are not required to provide or financially support athletic coaching, training or competitions for students identified in this area. The body of evidence for psychomotor identification would include three of the following four indicators:
- 95th percentile or above on the Motivation section of Gifted Rating Scales (GRS) or Gifted Evaluation Scale (GES)
- Portfolio that chronicles the student’s exceptional performance
- Top state or national ranking as determined by the sport’s national governing body
- Student or team receiving a top placement or ranking in a multi-state or national competition.
The Elizabeth School District uses a Talent Development Model to assist in the identification of students with talent aptitudes and students from underrepresented populations.
General Intellectual Ability
Students may qualify in the area of general intellectual ability with a score of 95th percentile or above on one or more batteries of a cognitive test. The identification team must collect and review additional data for the body of evidence to develop the student’s learning profile. A gifted determination based solely on a cognitive assessment score, without any other qualifying data, is the exception. More often these students will be placed in the district's gifted talent pool where they receive gifted programming until they can be identified in a specific aptitude area or it is determined the gifted programming is not meeting their needs.