Gifted and Talented Education
Students in Bleckley County Schools who demonstrate a high degree of intellectual, academic, and/or creative ability are provided with instructional services by the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program. Identification and eligibility procedures are established through guidance from the Georgia Department of Education.
There are 2 different methods for referring a student for gifted services screening.
- Referrals by Individuals
Students in grades K-12 may be referred for consideration by teachers, counselors, administrators, parents, or guardians, peers, self, and other individuals with knowledge of the student’s abilities.
Referrals require the completion of a referral form of student characteristics demonstrating the need for enriched or advanced instruction. Referrals from individuals are submitted to the school Gifted Eligibility Team for screening to determine if there is evidence to support testing for gifted eligibility. Individuals do not refer students directly for testing, but refer students for screening. Each year during the month of January, referral forms for possible gifted evaluation are accepted. The referral forms may be picked up from the principal’s office of each school during regular school hours in the month of January.
- Automatic Referrals
In an effort to evaluate potentially eligible students who might not otherwise be referred for gifted education, system-wide testing scores will be reviewed annually by gifted program teachers. Students who score at specified levels on a norm-referenced test, such as the ITBS, are referred for consideration of testing. Referral denotes screening and does not necessarily indicate testing. The school gifted-eligibility team will review the records of any child under consideration for evaluation for such data as prior testing, classroom performance, and characteristics of giftedness to determine which students will proceed to further evaluation.
-ITBS test scores are reviewed for students in grades K. Students with a Total Reading, and Total Math, and Total Composite NPR score of ≥95 percentile on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), or a minimum of two of the three scores ≥95 percentile and one score ≥90 percentile will be automatically reviewed.
*Students transferring from another state who are new to Bleckley County Schools will need official documentation of gifted program eligibility before they can be automatically referred.
- Students in grade levels not taking a system wide achievement test who score within the top 10% of the grade on the end of grade state assessment in Total Reading and/or Total Math will also be automatically reviewed.
- Students in grade levels not taking a system wide achievement test or end of grade state assessment who score within the top 10% of the grade on at least three out of four assessments will be automatically reviewed.
Tests and procedures used in the referral process to determine eligibility for gifted education services must meet standards of validity and reliability for the purpose of identifying gifted students. These tests are nondiscriminatory with respect to race, religion, national origin, sex, disabilities, or economic background. Test scores must be current within two years. Should testing be indicated for a student, written parental consent will be required.
With the implementation of the Multiple Criteria Eligibility Rule (160-4-2-.38) and with approved use of test scores for two years, there should be less need to administer mental ability tests repeatedly to individual students. A wait period of at least two years is recommended between a student’s gifted evaluations.
During the nomination phase of the referral process, the Eligibility Team may consider test data that was gathered and analyzed outside the school system. However, in accordance with Georgia BOE rule 160-4-2.38, this external testing data shall not be substituted for data the school generates during the testing/evaluation process. If a child has been tested by an outside source (e.g., private psychologist, university clinic, etc.), the Eligibility Team may consider those test results as they determine whether or not to proceed with a formal evaluation, but the external testing data may not be used to determine eligibility for gifted program placement.
Eligibility criteria for placement in the BCS gifted program are:
Mental Ability and Achievement
1. Mental Ability – Students in grades K-2 must score greater than or equal to the 99th percentile, and grades 3-12 must score greater than or equal to the 96th percentile on the composite or full scale score of a nationally age normed mental ability test. Bleckley County Schools has chosen to use the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) in grades K-12 as the primary measure of mental ability to determine eligibility for Gifted Education Services.
2. Achievement –Students in grades K-12 must score greater than or equal to the 90th percentile on the Total Reading, or Total Math, or Complete Battery section(s) on a nationally normed achievement test. Bleckley County Schools has chosen the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and Stanford 10 Achievement Test as the primary measures of achievement to determine eligibility for gifted services. Transfer students must have official transcripts documenting current scores on tests meeting the Georgia Department of Education standards.
Any three of the following four areas.
1. Mental Ability – Students in grades K-12 must score greater than or equal to the 96th percentile on a composite or full scale score OR appropriate component score on a nationally age normed mental ability test noted above.
2. Achievement – Students in grades K-12 must score greater than or equal to the 90th percentile on the Total Reading , or Total Math, or Complete Battery section(s) on a nationally normed achievement test noted above. Transfer students must have official transcripts documenting current scores on tests meeting the Georgia Department of Education standards.
3. Creativity - Students must score greater than or equal to the 90th percentile by Age or Grade on the Creativity Index Total Battery National Percentile of a standardized creativity test. Bleckley County Schools uses the Torrance Figural A as the primary measure to assess creativity.
4. Motivation – Bleckley County Schools has chosen two possible measures for motivation.
a. Students in K-12 who earn a score of greater than or equal to the 90th percentile on the GES-3 Motivation Scale or,
b. Students in grades 6-12 who earn a two-year cumulative grade point average of greater than or equal to 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, where a 4.0 = A, and a 3.0 = B, computed for the two years immediately preceding the current grade level. GPA shall be computed on core curriculum areas to include: math, English/language arts, science, social studies, and full year world languages.
Any data used in one area to establish a student’s eligibility may not be used in any other data category.
Testing Windows for Gifted Eligibility
Window 1 – August-September
Window 2 – December-February
Window 3 – February-May
Students to be tested at the beginning of the school year will be:
· Transfer Students –Transfer students from out of state who are new to Bleckley County Schools must have official documentation of gifted program eligibility before they will be automatically referred. All assessment data less than two years old will be reviewed using SBOE Guidelines.
·Incomplete referrals from the spring
Students to be tested during Window 2 will be:
· Transfer Students–Transfer students from out of state who are new to Bleckley County Schools must have official documentation of gifted program eligibility before they will be automatically referred. All assessment data less than two years old will be reviewed using SBOE Guidelines.
Window 3 is the primary testing window for all automatic and reported referrals.
Every effort will be made to have evaluation scores from the spring testing window available before the new school year, but all system results from the spring testing window may not be completed until summer. CogAT, ITBS and TTCT tests will be sent to testing companies for professional scoring which may take up to 12 weeks for processing and official results. Parents of students being evaluated will receive written notification of eligibility status by mail as soon as scores are available, and will also be given an opportunity to schedule an appointment to discuss evaluation results.
Once a student is determined to be eligible, parents will need to sign a consent form for placement. New students who are transferring from another gifted program in Georgia will be placed automatically as soon as official gifted eligibility records are received and processed.
Gifted students in Bleckley County Schools are served using the following gifted models:
Grades 1-5 Resource and Advanced Content
Grades 6-8 Advanced Content
Grades 9-12 Advanced Content and Advanced Placement (AP) College Courses
Click to view the following documents:
BCS Gifted Evaluation and Eligibility Chart
BCS Gifted Referral Process Chart
BCS Gifted Continuation Policy