Saturday, September 18

High Ability Identification


*NOTE: As of the 2019-2020 school year, GCCS has adopted NWEA in place of previous achievement testing. NWEA is recognized nationally as a reliable and valid testing achievement measure to be used as a component of high ability placement testing. As advocated by the IDOE, GCCS will use NWEA in conjunction with CogAT and/or other aptitude measures and is currently evaluating/updating criteria to reflect new testing protocols being implemented. All information listed following this paragraph is in revision. Please check back to the site later in the school year for up-to-date criteria. 


I. Identification/Screening*

  • All grade K students will be universally screened, tested, and identified for high ability using the CogAT protocol. Students who score at the 80th (national) percentile  or higher on the screener move forward to CogAT full testing. Students who score at the 96th percentile or higher on the full CogAT test on one or more of the qualifying subtests – verbal, quantitative, and/or composite non-verbal and quantitative will be placed as high ability aptitude or who score at the 91st to 95th percentile on the full CogAT and score at the 96th percentile or higher on the Scales for Identifying Gifted Students (SIGS) will be placed as high ability achievement.
  • When criteria is met, individual referral may be made for aptitude testing throughout a child’s academic career, and a formal appeal process is in place. The school psychologist will administer one or more cognitive measures, such as the WISC V which provides two sets of subtest scores in verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and fluid reasoning. Other tests may be given if judged appropriate. Students who score in the IQ 130 range will be identified as high ability. Parent questionnaire, signed parent permission for testing, signed building administrator permission, and information from classroom instructor are also collected.  (Please go to detailed program description link listed below for additional information, or please check with your  building administrator for procedures for referral.)
  • All students’ achievement records are reviewed formally in the spring of 5th grade for nomination and placement in advanced sections and/or cluster grouping at the middle school level for the upcoming fall.
  • Students’ abilities and aptitude are monitored for high ability through group testing on the PSAT. Scores at the 95th percentile or higher qualify the student as high ability.

II. Appeal Process

An appeal process is in place in the event the identification team does not place a child in service, and a parent challenges the decision. The following steps clarify the appeal process:

      1. The petitioner contacts the advanced program coordinator for re-evaluation.
      2. The petitioner completes and delivers the re-evaluation form to the high ability coordinator.
      3. A school psychologist reviews the student profile and selects an appropriate battery which may include further individual cognitive assessments, parent questionnaire, and work samples.
      4. The psychologist compiles results for the parent and coordinator in a written report.
      5. The coordinator and psychologist meet with parents/teachers to determine an appropriate educational plan.

III. Placement:

When possible, identified elementary high ability students are clustered in groups of up to eight in one classroom in their corresponding grade level in their neighborhood school. Based on assessment results in the very superior range,  students at 2nd-grade and above who qualify for the High Ability Program are also supported by pull-out, enrichment programming facilitated by a retired teacher tutor/consultant or itinerant teacher.

III. Program:

High ability retired teacher consultants or the itinerant high ability teacher plan and implement accelerated enrichment activities, including preparation for off-site seminars, for identified students at the elementary level. The consultant/teacher will send progress reports twice a year to parents. Advanced program consultants/itinerant high ability teacher may assist the homeroom teacher in providing challenging materials and experiences for the student as well.

Emphasis is also be placed on the social and emotional needs of these students with activities in the affective domain.

IV. Exit Procedure:

If a student, parent, principal, or teacher believes a high ability placement for services is no longer appropriate, he or she may:

    1. Arrange a conference with the parties involved, including the counselor, parent, and the teacher providing services at the middle school or high school level or the high ability coordinator, teacher, principal, and parent at the elementary level. This conference may be a telephone conference.
    2. Committee participants examine issues of concern and discuss interventions that may be implemented.
    3. Committee participants will agree on a reasonable probationary period to implement interventions.
    4. At the end of the probationary period, the committee members meet to review progress and determine whether or not the student should exit services.
    5. If an exit is deemed appropriate, the parent signs permission to “de-flag” student for high ability placement and services.
    6. Parent permission for exit and documentation of meetings/interventions are filed in the student’s file.
    7. If the student is at the elementary level, the high ability coordinator removes high ability flag for student in database. At the middle or high school level, the counselor notifies the high ability coordinator to remove the high ability flag for student in the database.


*V. Detailed GCCS Plan

For the detailed GCCS plan and/or specific policies in regards to high ability/advanced programming, please go to the Detailed Plan  and Bylaws and Policies.