Procedures for Identification

  • GENERAL

    District procedures have been established to conform with state criteria and to follow a multiple assessment approach.  This means that many sources of information are reviewed over a period of time before formally identifying a student as gifted/talented in one or more areas.  

    Students who demonstrate certain markers, but do not meet the full criteria, will be placed on Talent Pool list.  They may receive intervention services and support as available, but will not be formally identified until a sufficient body of evidence is established. Currently, all Talent Pool students can avail themselves of enrichment opportunities; they do not, however, receive an Advanced Learning Plan (ALP), or Progress Monitoring specific to ALP goals. 

    While strict criteria have been established for decision-making, some qualitative data may be included, which is subjective in nature and some degree of imprecision in testing is also always present.  Decisions are made collaboratively based on sound reasoning and data interpretation by an Identification Team, which includes the Director of Student Services, the Coordinator of Student Services and the Director of Gifted Education. 

    NOMINATION/REFERRAL

    Parents, teachers, counselors and community members are invited to submit the names of students they view as potentially gifted or talented.  They are asked to indicate what they believe to be the student’s particular areas of strength and to fill out the Scales for Identifying Gifted Students (or “SIGS) inventory. This norm-referenced observational assessment can be obtained from the front office of any school building in the district and should be returned to the Student Services Coordinator. Information about the process, published in both English and Spanish, can be found at the school website under the “For Parents” tab. A nomination leads to a data collection process in which a body of evidence is collected and compared to the district/state criteria for giftedness.  

    Giftedness exists within all sub-groups of the population, and continuous attempts to refine the process in the school district are made so that the population of children identified as gifted reflects the diversity of the local community in terms of gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.  

    A nomination leads to a data collection process in which a body of evidence is collected and compared to the district/state criteria for giftedness.  In addition, all Estes Park R-3 students are screened with a nationally normed and recognized aptitude test (the Cognitive Aptitude Test) in hopes of avoiding missing anyone who would need enrichment services or other support. 

    CRITERIA

    To be identified as gifted by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), students must meet strict expectations for each area of giftedness. There are four different areas of giftedness, each with specific Identification criteria similar to what is described above. They are Specific Talent Area Giftedness, Specific Academic Ability (with Cognitive), Specific Academic Ability (without Cognitive) and General Intellectual Ability. 

    In general, students must perform in the top 5th percentile (or 95th percentile and above) on a nationally-normed aptitude test. Students must also score in the top 5th percentile (or 95th percentile and above) on a standardized achievement test, and they must also have a performance evaluation such as a nationally normed observational scale by a trained educator or an achievement ranking in a state or national competition. 

    Two exceptions exist. First, the Specific Academic Ability (without Cognitive) criteria do not require an aptitude test. This acknowledges academically gifted students who do not do shine on achievement tests, yet somehow consistently master academic material in the 95th percentile nationally. A student can be identified as gifted with the existence of multiple achievement data points (at least two different types of tests), demonstrated consistently over at least three years. Second, there is only one criterion for General Intellectual Ability. A gifted determination based solely on a cognitive assessment score, without any other qualifying data, is the exception. In such a case, the Identification Team will use their professional judgment to determine if identification is appropriate by examining supplemental or non-traditional information collected through interviews, observations or performances beyond the academic content areas.