Pompton Lakes Public Schools
Gifted and Talented Identification, Screening, & Programming
Per N.J.A.C. 6A:8-3.1 & P.L. Board Policy 2464
Phase 1: General Identification
Students in Grades K, 2, 5, 7 will be administered a standardized test of cognitive skills (e.g. CogAT (Kindergarten, Grade 2, 5, & 7). Students at the high school level will be administered the PSAT in grade 10 or 11. This universal screening process involves formal designated times at which students are assessed, including students whose primary language is not English and students with disabilities (Morgan, 2020). Dates will be determined and posted on the district website via the annual Notification of Standardized District Testing.
Screening methods for all other grade levels will rely on multi-measure student data that is readily available for all students (e.g., standardized scores taken for state assessments; scores from formative/summative classroom assessments; and/or student portfolios).
Comprehensive screening may also include recommendations from students, teachers, parents/guardians and counselors to suggest names of individuals who might need services. School staff will be provided with training resources to assist with the identification process for all students, including those in early childhood settings (Kelemen, 2020) and/or mixed-ability groupings (Schultz, 2018). The recommendation questionnaire is available by clicking here.
Universal screening should also be ongoing to allow for identification throughout the school year and to increase the representation of low-income and minority students in gifted education (Card & Giuliano, 2016; Yaffe, 2019).
All students recognized in this phase move to the next phase in the identification process.
Phase 2: Screening Students for Eligibility
The purpose of this phase is to review the students, determining which students would benefit from formal identification and services. At this phase all the data are reviewed by a committee that includes the school principal or designee, school counselor representative, member of the child study team, designated department chairperson, and designated Gifted and Talented teacher to look for indicators that demonstrate eligibility for services. Such indicators are highlighted on the NJDOE’s Multiple Pathways/Universal Screening tool
A given student may be designated as clearly needing or not needing gifted services, as potentially eligible at a later review, or as tentatively placed to see whether the available services are a good match. In the decision-making process it is essential to remember that no single piece of evidence should disqualify a student, but any single piece of evidence that is strong enough can reveal a need for services (Schultz, 2018; Yaffe, 2019).
Students who receive the following scores on the CogAt, InView or PSAT may be considered for Gifted and Talented services:
Gifted and Talented Eligibility Scores
CogAt (Kindergarten, Grade 2, 5, 7)
Age Stanine Compositive score of 7 or higher
PSAT (Grade 10 or 11)
English - 550 or higher Math - 540 or higher
- Information regarding the student’s identification of being found eligible for Gifted and Talented services will be captured in the district’s student information system (PowerSchool) each year and be submitted to the NJDOE per its reporting requirements.
- The identification process itself will be periodically reviewed to make sure that it is valid for the population being served and the types of services being provided.
Phase 3: Programming
- Services provided in the Pompton Lakes School District may include one or more of the following: differentiated experiences in the general education classroom, self-contained accelerated classes provided in school or virtually, and/or independent study. Based on a comprehensive review of the student's strengths and needs and the availability of services within the district, the best match for services can then be made.
- Students whose first language is not English, students who also have a disability, and students whose past experiences may not have prepared them for advanced academic challenges may need special consideration in the configuration of their services (Novak, Lewis, & Weber, 2020).
Pompton Lakes School District Continuum of Gifted and Talented Services Framework
What defines a student as gifted or talented or twice exceptional?
The NJDOE defines gifted students as: "Those students who possess or demonstrate high levels of ability, in one or more content areas, when compared to their chronological peers in the local district and who requires modification of their educational program if they are to achieve in accordance with their capabilities." Advanced students are those with outstanding intellectual or academic abilities, in one or more content areas, when compared to their chronological peers in the local district. According to the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC), the term “twice-exceptional,” also referred to as “2e,” is used to describe gifted children who have the characteristics of gifted students with the potential for high achievement and have one or more disabilities as defined by federal or state eligibility criteria.
Academic Characteristics of Gifted Learners
- Rapid Learners
- Highly Curious
- Advanced Readers and Writers
- Many Interests
- Abstract & Complex Thinkers
Social & Emotional Characteristics of Gifted Learners
- Expectations of Idealism/Justice
- See NAGC for more Social & Emotional Characteristics
A Bright Child …
- Knows the answers
- Shows interest in topics
- Has good ideas
- Works hard
- Learns with ease
- Understands ideas
- Enjoys school
- Memorizes Quickly
A Gifted Learner …
- Asks the questions
- Is highly curious
- Has divergent, sometimes wild ideas
- May not have to work hard to test well
- Already knows
- Requires 1-2 repetitions for mastery
- Constructs abstractions
- Manipulates information
- Creates a new design
- Enjoys learning
How will these students be served in the Pompton Lakes Public Schools?
The Pompton Lakes School District will provide a continuum of services for the exceptional learner, designed to address specific needs and levels of giftedness from Kindergarten through grade 12. According to the New Jersey Strengthening Gifted and Talented Education Act (2019), “instructional adaptation" means an adjustment or modification to instruction enabling a student who is gifted and talented to participate in, benefit from, and demonstrate knowledge and application of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in one or more content areas at the instructional level of the student, not just the student’s grade level.
Kindergarten through Grade 1
Students identified as advanced learners in the primary grades will receive instructional adaptation, which will be provided by the general education teacher. Such educators will leverage technology in addition to other evidence-based instructional practices to increase access to high-level programming.
Students identified as advanced learners in the primary grades will receive weekly instructional adaptation, which will be provided by the general education teacher or be enrolled in an academically talented course and attend at least 1x per week. Such educators will leverage technology in addition to other evidence-based instructional practices to increase access to high-level programming.
Students identified as advanced learners will be enrolled in an academically talented course and attend at least 1x per week where they will participate in enrichment and project-based* initiatives that integrate ELA, Mathematics and S.T.E.A.M.. Educators will leverage technology to increase access to high-level programming by providing digital learning options. Students identified as advanced learners in Math or ELA will receive academic instruction at the accelerated or honors level.
Students identified as advanced learners in secondary grades will receive academic instruction at the honors and/or advanced placement level in all major content areas and in specialized courses as identified in the Pompton Lakes School Program of Study. Students may also elect to participate in self-selected, project-based learning projects. Advanced coursework affords students the opportunity to master accelerated curriculum as well as earn college credits through dual enrollment.
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