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Gifted and Talented


How are students identified as Gifted and Talented?

City Schools has a tiered identification process ranging from Talent Development (higher than average ability results only), Advanced (80th to 89th percentile ability and normed achievement scores in ELA and Mathematics), and Gifted (90th to 99th percentile ability and normed achievement scores in ELA and Mathematics).


City Schools’ initial efforts to formally identify its Gifted and Advanced Learners (GAL) begins in Kindergarten. City Schools utilizes the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT3) as its universal screening assessment which is given to all Kindergarten students in the fall of each year. City Schools uses a version of group specific norms, as espoused by most researchers in the field of gifted education, which typically aligns with the 75th percentile established for the national norm. Students who demonstrate ability at this level are initially identified by the district as Talent Development students with the expectation that schools will afford these students access to the same differentiated learning opportunities afforded to formally identified Advanced and Gifted students. Normed reading results for Kindergarten students who are formally identified as Talent Development are then reviewed and those students who achieve at an above proficient level are then assessed in mathematics via iReady. Those Talent Development Kindergarten students who scored at the 80th to 89th percentile on the NNAT3 and then hit at least the 80th percentile on the i-Ready mathematics assessment but below the 90th percentile are then formally identified as Advanced learners. Those Talent Development Kindergarten students who scored at the 90th to 99th percentile on the NNAT3 and then hit at least the 90th percentile on the i-Ready mathematics assessment are then formally identified as Gifted learners. Once a student is identified as a Talent Development learner, they remain pre-qualified for formal identification as an Advanced or Gifted learner for their career in City Schools as the Gifted and Advanced Learning (GAL) office regularly “mines” new, normed, achievement data as results become available during the year – new i-Ready results (ELA and Mathematics), PARCC/MCAP scores, PSAT scores, SAT scores, and other normed achievement results.  

In addition to annual universal screening, City Schools also pre-qualifies students with ELA and Mathematics achievement results in the aforementioned ranges as part of the data mining process and has schools administer the NNAT3 to those students who have not had an ability assessment provided to them within the prior year. The GAL office works closely with the Special Education office to review full-scale IQ results that often accompany the administration of WISC or Woodcock Johnson assessments. Students with full-scale IQ results in the 120-129 range are formally identified as Advanced and students who earn a full-scale IQ result of 130 or greater are formally identified as Gifted. The GAL office works in tandem with the ESOL office to review WIDA/Access data to pre-qualify those EL students who exceed typical growth expectations – usually 1.5 year growth or greater in a year – and requests that schools administer the NNAT3 for any of those student who were not already assessed on that instrument within the prior 12 months.  

Finally, City Schools has an online referral form which is typically completed by parents who seek to have their children formally assessed but it is also open to students who wish to self-nominate as well as teachers who wish to call attention to a student who is not already formally identified. The referral form can be used to request formal identification for 69 students ranging from early access to Pre-K through students entering their senior year in City Schools as well as grade acceleration which involves the use of the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) in conjunction with normed achievement results in the 90th percentile or greater. On average, the GAL office receives 150 referrals annually and three dozen requests for grade acceleration. 

(Retrieved from

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