Parent Guide to Gifted Learning Identification and Services

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Informational Parent Presentation 2023-2024

What is AIG?  AIG stands for Academically or Intellectually Gifted.  When a student is recommended for gifted identification, a team of teachers has recognized that this learner may learn best at a faster pace or in a different way than most. 

How can a parent help to challenge a gifted learner at home?  First, educate yourself!  What are the special needs of a gifted learner?  Become an advocate for gifted learners in general and for your child’s special needs specifically.  Become a strong team member with your child and school staff.  Together you can uncover the academic needs of this student. Engage the student in enrichment opportunities to develop natural talent and foster curiosity.  Set learning goals for your child that are realistic and develop an action plan to meet these goals.  Understand the unique social and emotional needs of your gifted child. Often the academic level of identified gifted learners can be much more developed than their social and emotional skills.  Work 

What extra-curricular or enrichment programs are available for my student?  All schools in I-SS provide enrichment and extra-curricular programs. The Gifted Learning Department  sponsors Robotics Clubs, Chess Clubs, Odyssey of the Mind,  Math and Science Fair.   The Gifted Learning Department sponsors North Carolina Scholastic Competitions for all middle and high schools.  During the summer there are a variety of summer enrichment camp opportunities to help foster the special interest of students including topics such as culinary, robotics, engineering, art, yoga, and much more.   Battle of the Books is sponsored by our district Media Department and provides an excellent opportunity to challenge students in reading comprehension. 

 NCGS or North Carolina Governor's School is provided for high school students  NC Governor’s School is the oldest statewide summer residential program for academically and/or intellectually gifted high school students in the nation.  The program, which is open to rising seniors only, with exceptions made for rising juniors in selected areas of performing/visual arts, is located on two campuses:  Governor’s School West at High Point University in High Point, begun in 1963, and Governor’s School East at Meredith College in Raleigh, begun in 1978.  Application criteria include: qualifying achievement test score; grade point average; essay scores; recommendations; evidence of extracurricular activities, leadership roles, and community service; and, in the areas of performing/visual arts, audition scores. Only 38% of 1800 students that apply are accepted to NC Governor’s School.   

How is a student identified as a gifted learner? I-SS provides identification for gifted students in grades K-12.   The school system uses ability scores, achievement data, final grades, and other alternative pathways as routes to identification. Using this information a student in K-2 must obtain an overall score of 40 points to be identified using the I-SS Point System.  A student in grades 3rd-12th grade must obtain an overall score of 30 points using the I-SS Identification Point System.  In I-SS students in K-2 use the CogAT test for ability scores and use the Woodcock Johnson or other reliable and valid achievement test for achievement scores.  We use the CogAT for grades 3rd-12th but use EOG/EOC scores for achievement.  The CogAT is an abilities test that measures a student's overall ability to learn information when compared to other student's of the same age.  All 3rd graders are given the CogAT as a screener for possible gifted identification.  A screening list is maintained in every school for students that are scoring above average and students are offered multiple opportunities to receive identification throughout K-12th grade.  

What is the CogAT Abilities and Test and What Does it Tell Me About My Child?

The CogAT Abilities Test is provided as a Universal Screener to all third graders as part of the district wide required assessments for that school year.  Students in K-2 may be provided the CogAT with an approved recommendation by the school or the Gifted Department Director.  Grades 4th and up can be readministered the CogAT when their achievement scores, learner profile traits and/or grades indicate the possibility of a need for gifted identification and services.  

The CogAT is an aptitude test that is very different from IQ or achievement scores.  Aptitude tells us how well a student processes information and measures problem solving ability against same age peers.  Aptitude can be nurtured through appropriate teaching strategies and resources, therefore it can grow and change over time.  The CogAT also provides valuable information regarding how a student learns best and offers teaching strategies to the school to help a student reach full potential.  For this reason all students in third grade receive the CogAT because it is the only aptitude score many students will receive during a child's academic career and it gives such valuable instructional information for every student.  

Learn More About the CogAT 

You may also learn more by visiting our Cognitive Abilities Testing Tab on This Site 

What service may be offered to an identified gifted learner?  Gifted service is determined by learning environment, curriculum modifications and academic goals.  The Differentiated Education Plan (DEP) helps to clarify these for each gifted learner and allows for learning extension when a learner compacts out of current curriculum instruction.  Student grouping, acceleration, subject or grade advancement, as well as,  dual enrollment can help to serve the needs of a gifted learner.  Teachers are encouraged to draw on the resources and experience of Differentiation Specialists to include appropriate high level learning activities. 

How Can I Support My Gifted Child?

- Ask  teachers to specify ways in which differentiated instruction will be provided

- Understand that teachers cannot (and should not) differentiate all assignments and
  materials every day
- Encourage  your child to let teachers know when assignments are a good fit - and when
  they are not
- Encourage your child to compete against him or herself rather than comparing  to 
- Pay close attention to the social and emotional needs of your child, look at pressure that they place on his or herself to perform as well as attitude towards perfectionism

-Encourage your child to ask questions when he or she may not understand 

 What should I do if I have concerns about gifted service?  First, contact your child’s teacher.  Set a time to discuss your concerns and be open to the information the teacher may offer.  During this contact, a parent may want to gather information about formal and informal assessments that help to determine a level of instruction for the student.  What do quizzes, tests, and predictive assessments tell about the student’s level of mastery?  Review the most recent Differentiated Education Plan (DEP) for your child.  It may be time to set new learning goals.  Discuss learning goals with the teacher and the student.  Your student’s teacher is specially trained in gifted education or in the process of completing this specific training.  You may want to invite a member of the school's Gifted Processes and Support (GPS) team to be a part of your discussion.  If questions remain reach out to the school principal or school Differentiation Specialist.   Everyone is interested in providing appropriate challenge for all students.  Together we can become more knowledgeable and effective as we find the level of appropriate challenge for each child.