The Colorado Department of Education has guidelines based on state rules for districts to use to identify students as gifted, which includes collecting a body of evidence to identify students for services. Weld RE-4 uses these state guidelines to identify students. Students must have three indicators in at least two separate categories in their strength area to be identified as gifted and talented in that area. Categories are achievement, intellectual ability, behavior, and special talent/performance. An indicator could be a score of 95% or above on a standardized, norm-referenced assessment or behavior rating scale; distinguished on CMAS; or an "advanced" performance evaluation For non-academic areas, we rely heavily on checklists of characteristics of gifted students (such as the Scales for Identifying Gifted Students – SIGS) and examples of advanced performance in the area as measured by a rubric. For example, to qualify as gifted in science a student could have a CogAT score of 96%, a distinguished score on science CMAS, and a 97% on the SIGS in science. Another example could be a student who won first place in a state art competition, has "advanced" on an art portfolio scored by an art teacher, and 95th percentile on the Performing and Visual Arts GES-3.
Weld RE-4 may elect to consider outside testing in some situations. In these instances, the test must include, at minimum, the following elements: Name of test, name and signature of proctor, student profile, test date, and, if applicable, proctor comments.
Generally students are identified as gifted and talented beginning in third grade because of the availability of data needed to qualify students for programming and the lack of appropriate data before that time. However, students can be identified beginning in Kindergarten when data is available for a body of evidence. Students can be identified as gifted and talented in the following areas:
General Intellectual Ability
Creative or Productive Thinking
Our school district is currently using a grant from CDE to help fund a universal screen of second grade and sixth grade students. Students in second grade complete the CogAT in February, and sixth graders complete the NNAT2. during the school year. The universal screen provides an opportunity for all students within a grade to complete a cognitive assessment to evaluate potential. This assists us in finding students that have not been referred. Sometimes stereotypical expectations of how gifted students should perform prevents certain students from being identified (Johnsen, 2004). Therefore, it is important to examine all students for giftedness to ensure that nobody is unconsciously overlooked. Students scoring in the upper 80 and lower 90 percentile range are examined further for possible inclusion in the talent pool and/or for future identification in an area of giftedness. Students who require a referral will need additional tests or information about achievement, performance, and/or behavioral characteristics for building a body of evidence. A body of evidence (BOE) is developed for identification determinations, and includes criteria for identification, and information about a student's strength to support these criteria.
At the middle school, the universal screen includes the cognitive test for non-identified students, but may also include an achievement test for students already identified in one or more areas. This assists in developing the student’s individual career and academic plan (ICAP).
The talent pool is a group of students who demonstrate advanced potential. Intelligence and ability are flexible, so it is important to provide advanced students opportunities to think with depth and complexity so they may hone their skills and develop to their full potential. Students in a talent pool benefit from differentiated instruction, and some are eventually screened and qualify for gifted identification.