General Procedures for Identification of Gifted & Talented Students
District procedures have been established using a multiple criteria assessment approach as stipulated by CDE. This means that many sources of information are reviewed over a period of time before formally identifying a student as gifted in one or more areas. Students who demonstrate certain markers, but not enough body of evidence will be placed on talent pool list. They may receive intervention services and support as available, but will not be formally identified unless a sufficient body of evidence is established. While criteria have been established for decision making, some of the data may be subjective in nature and some degree of imprecision in testing is always present. Thus, decisions should be made based on sound reasoning and data interpretation with a team approach to identification.
Standardized test scores for all students are screened for evidence of exceptionally high levels of performance on achievement tests. All second grade students take the CogAT or CogAT screener in the spring. This process along with nominations yields a list of nominees based on 95% score or above, from which Gifted Program Facilitators will begin the GATHERING BODY OF EVIDENCE process.
Parents, teachers, and students can nominate a student at any time. Parents, teachers, counselors, community members and students are invited to submit the names of students they view as potentially gifted or talented. Efforts will be made to increase understanding of giftedness throughout the community to enhance the effectiveness and scope of this process. Giftedness exists within all sub-groups of the population, and continuous attempts to refine the process in the Durango 9-R School District will be made so that children identified as gifted reflect the diversity of the local community in terms of gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. The goal is for every peer, parent and teacher to have opportunities to nominate students for Gifted services if they see the need.
Collect Body of Evidence
The next stage in the identification process is to secure additional information that will aid in determining the student’s talents or giftedness and his or her programming needs. Appropriate data must be gathered in the following four categories: Intellectual Ability, Achievement, Behaviors/Characteristics, and Demonstrated Performance. All information collected is confidential and will be placed on the Advanced Learning Plan.
Review Body of Evidence
A student’s body of evidence should be reviewed by a team consisting of Gifted Program Facilitators trained in the CDE Identification process, in collaboration with classroom teachers and other school personnel who work with the student. Some students do not perform well on standardized tests but may show evidence of exceptional ability in other ways. This is often true for those who are Twice- Exceptional (both gifted and learning disabled), second language learners, and children from low income backgrounds.
In these cases, team judgment is necessary and further evidence may need to be gathered. Students are not denied services or identified on the basis of performance on any single score or instrument. Rather, those evaluating the data are looking for sufficient evidence of exceptional talent or ability to warrant special programming or services. This review is an ongoing process, and a student is not formally identified until a sufficient body of evidence is collected. Gifted identification recognizes and delineates exceptional strengths and potential in learners so that appropriate instructional accommodations and modifications can be provided.
A student is formally identified as gifted when data collected over a period of time suggests that he/she matches the definition of a “gifted child”, and the following questions are answered in the affirmative:
- Is the student’s skill level/ability much above that of peers the same age?
- Does the student require intense or sustained resources, adaptations, or acceleration beyond those generally available in the regular classroom setting in order to demonstrate continued progress commensurate with his/her ability?
- Does the information available from multiple sources of data indicate the presence of giftedness as defined by state and district guidelines?
If students meet the district criteria, the student’s name and profile sheet is sent to the district Gifted Program Specialist for final review. The Gifted Program Facilitator will send a letter to the parents/guardians informing them of the area(s) of identification, and a parent packet with resources for families.
The team may also decide that a student does not qualify, but that there is sufficient evidence of high achievement of ability. In this case, the student is placed on a “Talent Pool” list and reviewed again as more information becomes available. The Gifted Program Facilitator will send a letter to go home to the parents communicating the results of the identification process.
Student data is used to match students to appropriate programming. Services for all identified students seek to ensure that they continue to make growth commensurate with their ability in their strength areas, and to perform at advanced and distinguished levels. Programming match is set in the student’s Advanced Learning Plan and may include advanced and/or interdisciplinary classes, curriculum compacting in the regular classroom, and differentiated instructional techniques, or other targeted services. Services may also include content area or grade level acceleration, rapid pacing through the curriculum, and affective support services. Staff, parent, student and community all share responsibility for encouraging and supporting the student’s continued growth in his/her identified strength areas.
Schools may set the criteria used to determine which students should be part of the talent pool. However, the criteria cannot be higher than the 90th percentile nor less than the 80th percentile. The population of the school and number of students between the talent pool score and the 95th percentile should be determining factors. Students in the talent pool can be guests in the Gifted Program classes, or can be monitored and evaluated without receiving direct instruction from the Gifted Program Facilitator.
For further questions, please contact your school's Gifted Program Facilitator.