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GT Testing and Appeals in CISD

January 17, 2012

CGA membership is available to students and their families regardless of whether they qualify under the standards of the local GT program.

How does CISD define giftedness?

CISD defines giftedness as students who perform at a remarkably high level of accomplishment or show potential for performing at a remarkably high level of accomplishment in the following areas:

  • General intellectual ability
  • Subject specific aptitude in mathematics and science
  • Subject specific aptitude in language, literacy, and social studies.

Although not a part of the CISD definition, gifted children may exhibit some of these characteristics:

  • advanced verbal abilities, using sophisticated words and complex sentences
  • unusually good memory and learn quicker and easier than peers
  • unique interests and either hyper-focused or completely scattered
  • interest in experimentation
  • passionate imagination and creativity
  • witty sense of humor
  • complex thinking and analysis
  • heightened sensitivity/over-excitability
  • asynchronous development

CISD Testing:

CISD offers automatic testing in the fall for all Kindergarten and 3rd grade students.  Students may be tested up to once a year during other grades at the request of a parent or an educator.

Qualification for GT program:

  • Elementary

Level 1: overall performance on cognitive ability testing (98% or higher results in automatic acceptance for K-2; 95% or higher results in automatic acceptance for 3-5).

Level 2: additional academic achievement evaluation conducted for students receiving 88% or above on testing administered in Level 1.

  • Secondary

Level 1: performance on cognitive ability testing in language and/or math (95% or higher results in automatic acceptance).

Level 2: additional academic achievement evaluation conducted for students receiving 88% or above on testing administered in Level 1.

Students who achieve the above scores during Level 1 COGAT testing, are automatically accepted into the GT program.  One key difference between elementary and secondary assessment is that a student is evaluated for overall giftedness to qualify in elementary school (a student who tests within the high range on math, but not language arts for example, would not be automatically admitted).  In secondary, on the other hand, students have the option of taking GT math, science, language arts and/or history.  As a result, students may qualify based solely on their math or language arts score starting in middle school.

During Level 2 evaluation, a student is assessed based on portfolio, recommendation, and additional assessments (for example, the ITBS test).  A GT Committee of five campus educators, who have been trained on identifying gifted children, reviews all of the information and makes a decision on an individual basis.

CISD Appeals process:

If a parent wishes to appeal the decision made by the GT Committee (discussed above), they have 30 days from receiving the decision to file the appeal paperwork.

The initial appeal goes to the campus GT Committee.  The committee will review the appeal paperwork as well as the information gathered during the Level 1 and Level 2 assessments.  The committee may decide to:

  1. request additional information
  2. determine that they are satisfied with the original decision
  3. overturn the decision and admit the student to the GT program

After the campus makes their final determination, a parent may file for a secondary appeal.  This appeal goes to the Director of Advanced Academics who can decide to request additional information, agree with the committee or overturn the committee’s decision.  Deference is given to the campus GT committee’s decision regarding admission and the decision is made on the basis of one primary question:

Does the evidence support the campus decision?  In other words, was there an error is collecting data or interpreting results?

Additional considerations for 5th grade students:

5th grade is a unique situation regarding GT testing.  Students in 5th grade may be tested in the Fall (for admission to the GT program during the 5th grade year) or in the Spring (for admission to the GT program in middle school).  There are 2 guidelines to keep in mind: 1) students may only test one time per school year, and 2) the evaluation criteria is different for elementary vs. secondary.  Here are some hypothetical examples of 5th grade students:

– Student A tests in the fall and qualifies based on his math scores, but not his language arts scores.  He is denied admission to the 5th grade GT program and cannot re-test until the Fall of her 6th grade year.  Without further action, he cannot participate in 6th grade GT classes.

– Student B tests in the spring and qualifies based on her math score, but not her language arts score.  She is admitted to the GT program for 6th grade and can enroll in GT math and GT science.  She would not have qualified for participation in the 5th grade GT program.

The inside scoop: if your child does not qualify in the fall examination in 5th grade, you may apply for reconsideration by the deadline in the spring.  They will likely not seek you out, so keep track of those deadlines.

If you have any additional questions or comments, please post a response below or contact your CGA campus rep or a CGA board member.

For more information on the testing and appeals process, please visit the CISD District website by clicking here.

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