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Gifted and Talent Development

A young female students smiles and holds an orange leaf.
Gifted and talented children are those students with outstanding abilities and capable of higher performance when compared to others of similar age, experience and environment. They have significantly different educational needs from their peers and require educational differentiation as a regular part of their school day to ensure they reach their full potential. District 196 uses multiple criteria to help identify gifted and talented children. For more information, see policy 610 under Board Policy.

Gifted and Talented identification

Screening and identification process

District 196 conducts universal screening at a district level to find students who are demonstrating outstanding abilities and are capable of higher performance when compared to others of similar age, experience and environment. We use multiple criteria for a strengths-based identification of gifted and talented students. 

We screen and identify students annually in grades 2 through 5.

  • All second-grade students enrolled in District 196 are universally screened.
  • In 2019-20, all third-grade students enrolled in District 196 are universally screened. In 2020-21 and moving forward, all fourth-grade students will be universally screened.
  • Students in grades 4 and 5 who are not previously identified but are demonstrating outstanding abilities may be screened by school request with parent permission. 

The identification process begins in October and ends in April. There is no screening available outside of this process.

Currently enrolled students

Gifted and Talented identification for currently enrolled District 196 students will consider the following multiple measure criteria:

  • Assessment of cognitive abilities (Cognitive Abilities Test- CogAT 8)
  • Assessment of academic achievement (MAP)
  • HOPE rating scale for second grade
  • Information from teachers about classroom performance and assessments

If a student has been identified in another district or state, contact Teri Emery, K-8 GT Lead Teacher, Teri.Emery@district196.org, for information about documentation for identification in District 196.

Service model

Gifted and talented children are those students with outstanding abilities and capable of higher performance when compared to others of similar age, experience and environment. They have significantly different educational needs from their peers and require educational differentiation as a regular part of their school day to ensure they reach their full potential.

District 196 Gifted and Talent Development Service Model Goals:

  1. Enrich, enhance, and extend core classroom curriculum and instruction within the literacy workshop and math workshop blocks. Staff utilize critical and creative thinking strategies, problem-solving and inquiry to help students become independent investigators. (NAGC standards 3.4)
  2. Engage and empower learners across the full day 
  3. Equip PLC (professional learning community) teams and individual teachers 
  4. Empower collaboration among classroom teachers, GT specialists, coaches, parents, students, and community 

Flexible and Fluid Tiered Service Model: 

  • Tier 1, Core classroom - Core classroom teacher, grade level PLC team, and GT Specialist 
  • Tier 2, Guided groups - Core classroom teacher, grade level PLC team, and GT Specialist 
  • Tier 3, 1:1 - Focused on individualized need - Core classroom teacher, and GT Specialist 

Students whose needs extend beyond the tiered service model may be referred for single subject and/or grade level acceleration.

Gifted and talented services in District 196 is an inclusive, flexible and fluid model. A student does not need to be formally identified as gifted and talented to receive support for their high academic and learning ability and/or high achievement needs. Gifted services are provided through flexible grouping based on formative and ongoing assessment of student needs in the classroom based on the content and standards being presented at that time.

Frequently asked questions

 Why is universal screening done second and fourth grades?

Research supports early intervention to identify and provide services to high ability students, especially underserved student populations. The first universal screening for all students shifts from 3rd grade to 2nd grade in 2019-20. The MAP and CogAT data collected from the universal screening of all second-grade students will help inform decisions for clustering students into 3rd grade classrooms. Another purpose to shift universal screening from fifth grade to fourth grade is to reduce some of the testing time that occurs in fifth grade.

Why should we use MAP reading for universal screening? 

According to research in gifted identification and the NAGC Pre-K-Grade 12 Gifted Education Programming Standards, the identification process should include off-level or high ceiling achievement tests. NWEA MAP is a computer adaptive test with a high ceiling so results of high achieving students can be differentiated to identify outliers within a group. MAP math has already been part of the identification process to identify students with math strengths well beyond their grade level standards. MAP reading will identify students with literacy strengths well beyond their grade level standards. 

What are local norms? 

Local norms are norms computed using the testing results of the same age group/grade level of students at a school for comparison within that local (or school) group. 

Why use local norms and national norms during universal screening? 

Local (or school) norms identify students within a local population who are demonstrating a need for additional services when compared to their same age peers in the same learning environment. Gifted services are designed and implemented at the school level. Schools and their student populations in District 196 are diverse and have individual needs. National norms compare student test results to same age peers across the nation. Recent national studies have found that the exclusive use of national norms leads to over-identification of certain demographic groups and under-identification of other demographic groups. Using local norms have shown to bring identification for gifted services across demographic groups to better represent the school’s student population. 

Why are we using CogAT, not NNAT or any individual tests? 

The Cognitive Abilities Test has nine subtests divided into three batteries: verbal, nonverbal and quantitative. CogAT provides student data that is divided into a verbal score, nonverbal score, quantitative score, and an overall composite score. CogAT also provides a student ability profile based on relative strengths and weaknesses. Using the code teachers can access instructional information and suggestions based on a student’s profile. The CogAT has the convenience of being a group administered test and online administration. The NNAT only provides nonverbal ability results. District 196 gifted and talented services is established to meet the needs of students with strengths in verbal and/or quantitative areas. A significant portion of GT specialist time was spent administering individual assessments. To purchase current versions of individually administered assessments and the required training for administration is not the best use of limited funds. Discontinuing administration of the NNAT and individual tests is cost and time efficient. 

How can I prepare my child for the CogAT8?

The second-grade and third-grade teachers collaboratively with their GT specialist will expose the students to practice items provided by CogAT. The Cognitive Abilities Test measures reasoning and problem solving skills in three different areas: verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal. Reasoning skills develop throughout a person’s lifetime and at different rates for each individual. CogAT8 does not measure academic learning such as reading comprehension, math computation, etc.

Visit the CogAT website for more information >

What is the Identification Process timeline for 2019-20?

  • October- All second- through fifth-graders take MAP Math 
  • December- All third graders take CogAT8, some fourth and fifth graders as needed
  • January- All second graders take CogAT8 and MAP Reading
  • Some third- through fifth-graders take MAP Reading as needed
  • February- HOPE scale completed for all second graders
  • March- School Identification Teams meet to review data
  • April- Parents notified of results

What if my child has an IEP?

IEP accommodations should be followed testing. Students who have just completed a full evaluation may use a WISC-V to replace the CogAT 8.

What is the HOPE teacher rating scale? 

The HOPE (Having Opportunities Promotes Excellence) scale is research-based and has been through five validity studies across the nation since 2009. The HOPE scale was developed to identify academic and social/affective strengths of students from low-income and culturally diverse populations. The scale is part of multiple measures and pathways to identify diverse students for gifted services. Some students demonstrate strengths in the classroom but do not perform as well on standardized tests. Teachers will receive professional development on the HOPE scale before they assess students.

Why are there so many different pathways for identification? 

Gifted and talented students have diverse strengths and needs. Few gifted and talented students are high ability and high achieving in all areas. According to research studies, the use of combination rules where students need to meet multiple high cut-off scores results in underserved student populations being further underrepresented in gifted and talented programs. Multiple pathways provide opportunities for students to demonstrate their areas of strength that need gifted services. Multiple pathways are needed to identify twice exceptional students who need special education in addition to gifted services as well as students receiving EL services.

Why are we identifying by strength area? 

Identifying by strength areas will better inform teachers about identified students’ learning needs for flexible grouping as well as informing principals and school teams for clustering students with like-ability peers with the same strength area for instruction. 

Why is this a district identification process? 

Significant amount of GT specialist time is required for individual assessments and data analysis for identification. GT specialists will have more time to focus on supporting students and teachers. A district identification process will standardize the procedure so all students receive the same identification process.

Is identification ongoing? What about students in other grade levels? 

The identification process in District 196 is ongoing during the elementary years. The formal identification process occurs once per year. Students will be informally screened by their teachers for strengths areas and high achievement on a daily basis through formative and summative assessments. Teachers will respond to students’ advanced learning needs through flexible grouping with differentiation. GT specialists will provide resources, strategies and support to classroom teachers to meet the needs of high ability students. Students who are not identified during a universal screening grade level year can take the CogAT in grades 3-5 based on their achievement data. In rare situations, young students in kindergarten and 1st grade present as extreme outliers within their grade level peer group. In those cases, kindergarten and 1st grade students can take the CogAT based on talent development lesson observations, summative assessments and school-based team recommendation.

What if a student moves in from another district or another state? 

If a student moves to ISD 196 and misses the universal screening year, then they will take the CogAT. If a student moves into ISD 196 from another district or another state with a GT identification, then contact the GT Lead Teacher to share the student’s records that are appropriate to the gifted identification criteria. Gifted identification and criteria vary by state so it is not a reciprocal identification. Minnesota is a local control state so each school district determines their criteria and identification process for gifted and talented. A student who is identified gifted in one school district will not necessarily be identified gifted in another school district. The student will need to demonstrate that he/she meets the school district’s criteria for gifted identification. 

When will we get CogAT/identification results? 

District identification results will be shared with each school in the spring. Parents will be informed of the results as soon as possible after schools receive results. The Assessment Department and GT strive to provide results to school administration and staff as soon as possible in the spring to inform decisions about classroom groupings for the next school year. 

Why are we clustering students in 3rd-5th grade? 

Formal identification will first occur in 2nd grade. Identified students are grouped together with like-ability peers in a grade level classroom matched with a classroom teacher who is prepared and willing to differentiate instruction to meet the learning needs of advanced learners in math and/or literacy. Cluster grouping is a cost effective model to provide full-time services to identified students as well as provide instructional support to students who are not formally identified as gifted but demonstrating need for advanced differentiation. A pull-out service model exclusively supports identified students with a limited amount of instructional support time. The GT specialist who has limited time can focus on collaboration with cluster teachers to support students. Multiple research studies have shown that cluster grouping with professional development in differentiation challenges high ability students, improves the achievement level of all students, and weaves gifted education strategies into all classrooms when it is a schoolwide approach. 

What if a student is not identified for gifted services but still demonstrates high ability or achievement in the classroom? 

Gifted and talented services in District 196 is an inclusive, flexible, and fluid model. A student does not need to be formally identified as gifted and talented to receive support for their high academic and learning ability and/or high achievement needs. Gifted services are provided through flexible grouping based on formative and ongoing assessment of student needs in the classroom based on the content and standards being presented at that time. 

References

References 

Felder, M.T., Taradash, G.D., Antoine, E., Ricci, M.C., Stemple, M. & Byamugisha, M. (2015). Increasing Diversity in Gifted Education: Research-Based Strategies for Identification and Program Services. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. 

Ford, D. (2013). Recruiting and Retaining Culturally Different Students in Gifted Education. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. 

Gentry, M. (2014). Total School Cluster Grouping & Differentiation, 2nd edition. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. 

Gentry, M., Pereira, N., Peters, S.J., McIntosh, J.S., & Fugate, C.M. (2015). HOPE Teacher Rating Scale Administration Manual. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. 

Johnsen, S.J. ed. (2018). Identifying Gifted Students: A Practical Guide, 3rd edition. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. 

Lakin, J. (2015). CogAT The Essentials: Using Ability Tests in Gifted and Talented Identification Programs.Cognitively Speaking. Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt. 

Lohman, D.F. (2012). Identifying Gifted Students: Nontraditional Uses of Traditional Measures. Fundamentals of Gifted Education. New York: Taylor & Francis/Routledge. 

McBee, M. T., Peters, S. J., & Waterman, C. (2014). Combining Scores in Multiple-Criteria Assessment Systems: The Impact of Combination Rules. Gifted Child Quarterly, 58, 69-89. 

Minnesota Department of Education. Identifying Under-Served Student Populations for Gifted Programs: Some Methods and Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from MDE website: https://education.mn.gov/MDE/dse/gift/

National Center for Research on Gifted Education. (2016). Effective Practices for Identifying and Serving English Learners in Gifted Education: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Retrieved from NCRGE website: https://ncrge.uconn.edu/el-study/ 

National Association of Gifted Children. Pre-K- Grade 12 Gifted Education Programming Standards. Retrieved from NAGC website: https://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/resources/national-standards-gifted-and-talented-education/pre-k-grade-12

Olszewski-Kubilius, P., Subotnik, R.F., & Worrell, F.C. (2018). Talent Development as a Framework for Gifted Education: Implications for Best Practices and Applications in Schools. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. 

Peters, S. J., & Engerrand, K. G. (2016). Equity and Excellence: Proactive Efforts in the Identification of Underrepresented Students for Gifted and Talented Services. Gifted Child Quarterly, 60, 159-171. 

Peters, S.J & Gentry, M. (2012). Group-Specific Norms and Teacher-Rating Scales: Implications for Underrepresentation. Journal of Advanced Academics, 23, 125-144. 

Plucker, J.A. & Peters, S.J. (2018). Closing Poverty-Based Excellence Gaps: Conceptual, Measurement, and Educational Issues. Gifted Child Quarterly, 62, 56-67.