How Triangle Schools Identify Academically Gifted Students
Date: October 3, 2011
The N.C. Department of Instruction mandates that all N.C. public schools identify and serve academically or intellectually gifted students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Each local education agency determines how to identify and serve its AIG student population. The state's AIG Program Standards serve as a statewide framework for LEAs to develop, coordinate and implement AIG programs.
Wake County Public School System
A parent, student, teacher or other school personnel can nominate any student in kindergarten through 12th grade for WCPSS's AIG program during the school's testing window each year.
"Nomination/testing windows are posted at each school. Nominations received by the school AIG teacher prior to the close of the established nomination/testing windows will be considered for referral," says Patty Carr, the coordinating teacher for the WCPSS AIG program. "If a nomination is received after the nomination/testing windows, the nomination will be considered during the next semester testing window."
Nominations are based on teacher observations, standardized test scores at or above the 92nd percentile, an aptitude-cognitive abilities test (CogAT) score at or above the 92nd percentile or an achievement test (Iowa Test of Basic Skills) score at or above the 92nd percentile.
"When a referral is made, the SBCGE (school-based committee for gifted education) may request additional information about the student in the areas of aptitude, achievement, classroom behaviors, performance, interest and motivation," Carr says.
The CogAT is administered to all WCPSS third-grade students. Those scoring at or above the 85th percentile on the composite or any subtest take the ITBS for further screening. Parents may opt students out if they choose.
Prior to third grade, a student may be identified for AIG differentiated services if he or she meets certain criteria. Following third grade CogAT and ITBS testing, students may still be identified if they score at or above the 92nd percentile on an aptitude or achievement test. Students are identified as having a "moderate," "strong" or "very strong" need for differentiation based on their test scores.
Chapel Hill-Carborro City Schools
Students who score at or above the 90th percentile on the Naglieri Nonverbal Aptitude Test (NNAT) in third grade, or at or above the 95th percentile on an EOG test in third through eighth grade, may be nominated for consideration in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools AIG program. These students go on to take the CogAT and ITBS for further screening. Additional indicators include kindergarten-through-second-grade assessments, diagnostic assessments, math profiles and other factors.
Durham Public Schools
All third and sixth grade students participate in a standardized cognitive ability test of aptitude in the fall semester of each school year. The AIG facilitator will automatically nominate any student scoring at or above the 80th percentile on a standardized measure of aptitude for AIG consideration if they were not previously identified as AIG. Parents are notified and further data is collected.
The school's AIG committee develops a plan for nurturing any student who scores at or above the 95th percentile on a standardized measure of aptitude but is not identified as AIG.
DPS's 2010-2013 AIG plan states that although the percentile for qualifying for AIG services is lower than surrounding school systems, "the objectivity and consistency of the 'Summary of Evaluation Results' does seem to bring the demographics of the AIG population in better alignment with DPS demographics."
Throughout the school year, teachers will review the general population of students to determine who may need in-depth assessment and differentiated services, according to the DPS 2010-2013 AIG plan. Nominations may be made at any time during the school year.
Additionally, the AIG facilitator will request nominations from teachers for the names of students who perform or show potential to perform at substantially high levels of accomplishment when compared with others of their age, experience or environment. The pool will include potential candidates from underserved and/or culturally diverse populations.
Duke Talent Identification Program
Duke TIP offers two "talent search programs" to students who score at our above the 95th percentile on an IQ/aptitude test score or an achievement test score in reading, math or writing administered in their school setting. The fourth and fifth grade talent search program offers qualifying students in those grades the option to participate in a session of the EXPLORE test, developed by the publisher of the ACT to assess the achievement of eighth-grade students.
"Of the 41,426 students enrolled in 2011, over 6,000 took advantage of the EXPLORE test opportunity," says Richard Courtright, Ph.D., gifted education research specialist for Duke TIP.
The Duke TIP seventh-grade talent search program offers qualifying seventh-grade students in 16 southeastern states the choice of taking either the SAT or ACT college admissions exam with college-bound high school juniors and seniors.
"Talent searches give parents an important tool when advocating for the educational needs of their highly able child, allowing them to use above-level test scores to engage decision-makers and convince them to unlock opportunities and resources to enable their student to achieve at an optimal level," Courtright says. Such opportunities include skipping a grade, fulfilling an educational requirement early or participating in a district's gifted program.
"Talent searches also offer a means to a very important end: optimal development of a student's ability through access to a variety of advanced curricular options," Courtright says.
Additional AIG Resources
Wake County Public School System
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools
Durham Public Schools
N.C. Department of Public Instruction
N.C. Association for the Gifted and Talented
Partners for the Advancement of Gifted Education (PAGE) of Wake County
Chapel Hill PAGE