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Elementary Gifted and Talented Identification Process

District 196 believes that identifying giftedness is a complex and multi-faceted process that requires multiple sources of information in the decision process. Identification takes place at the elementary level (K-5). Information gathered takes a comprehensive view of students’ gifts and talents.

District 196 currently administers the follows standardized tests for universal screening at the elementary level which are included as evidence in making decisions concerning gifted programming:

  • All 1st graders- NNAT2 (Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test)
  • All 3rd and 5th graders- CogAT7 (Cognitive Abilities Test) and MAP (Measures of Academic Progress)
  • Off-level CogAT7 testing is available as well.

In addition to standardized tests of cognition and achievement, teacher observations, student grades and work samples are used during the identification process. Information about the student outside of the school setting is also factored into placement decisions. This information is gathered in the form of parent questionnaires which GTYS specialists send home with student candidates.

A team of district GTYS specialists work together to analyze student information and suggest the appropriate level of service for the student. Families are notified of the team’s decision in writing. While identification can happen at any time during a student’s elementary years, most identification will take place in the spring of the year after the results of standardized tests have been received.

Out of state or out of district identified gifted and talented students enrolling in District 196, please contact Teri Emery, District 196 GTYS Lead Teacher.

For more information about identification, please contact the GTYS specialist at your school or Teri Emery.

Young Scholars Identification Process

Elementary GTYS specialists go into all K-3 classrooms and teach full-class lessons that are designed to promote students’ critical and creative thinking skills.  During these lessons, the classroom teacher has the opportunity to observes and, using a specifically designed observation tool, record observations. After the lesson, the GTYS specialist and classroom teacher meet to review the observation notes looking for:

  • Quality of performance
  • Intensity of the observed intellectual, emotional, and/or physical energy invested in tasks
  • Frequency of the above described behaviors


In addition to classroom observations, student work samples and standardized ability scores are used for inclusion in the YS program.  Parents are notified in writing of their student’s inclusion in the program. Students are reassessed each year for the YS program.