• Elementary (K-4th Grade) Program Description:

    The High Ability Program for students in grades kindergarten through fourth grade consists of In-Class Differentiation, Cluster Grouping and/or Pull-Out Services.

    • The In-Class Differentiation Model is a model in which curriculum and instruction are modified according to content, pacing, and/or product to meet unique student needs in the classroom.
    • The Cluster Grouping Model is a grouping assignment for high ability identified students in the regular heterogeneous classroom.  Typically, identified gifted students with similar needs, abilities, or interests are “clustered” in the same classroom, which allows the teacher to more efficiently differentiate assignments for a group of advanced learners rather than just one or two students.
    • The Pull-Out Model consists of a high ability teacher or aide who works with groups of students to differentiate and move beyond typical grade level standards. Curriculum is specialized and may be accelerated.

    At the elementary level (K-4), students are identified for high ability or having the potential to be high ability in math, language arts, or general intellectual (both math and language arts).  A combination of the following criteria may be used to identify our high ability students:

    • Potential-based (aptitude) Measure:  Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) K & 2
    • Performance-based (achievement) Measure:  NWEA (end of the year scores)
    • Other Measures:  Teacher nomination/observation, projects, and rating scales

    New students will be considered at the time of enrollment pending information from their previous school, teacher observations, and data collected. Students must meet local criteria for program placement. Identification for program services at a prior school does not automatically qualify the student for services at Duneland School Corporation.

    Further information, including frequently asked questions, about high ability can be found on the Duneland School Corporation web page under programs and services.

     

    Elementary (K-4th Grade) Identification and Placement:

    It is important to keep in mind that cognitive growth is not always consistent, and consequently, such placement is not necessarily permanent. All students are systematically evaluated in kindergarten and second grade for instructional placement. Typically, the top 5-10% of the grade level population will be identified. All placement decisions may be modified in accordance with changes in students’ learning profiles as they progress through elementary school.

    At the elementary level (K-4), students are identified for high ability or having the potential to be high ability in math, language arts, or general intellectual (both math and language arts).  A combination of the following criteria may be used to identify our high ability students:

    • Potential-based (aptitude) Measure:  Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) K & 2
    • Performance-based (achievement) Measure:  NWEA (end of the year scores)
    • Other Measures:  Teacher nomination/observation, projects, and rating scales

    The test results for CogAT show your child’s ranking within the national percentile for verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal reasoning. It is important to note that the state-recognized CogAT test measures achievement.

    All of our first through fourth grade students take the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test which is regarded as a reliable standardized measure of a child’s achievement levels in math, reading and language arts.  The results from NWEA shows your child’s achievement in math and reading as a percentile rank. Language arts is also included starting in second grade. A percentile rank is not the same as the percent correct.

    For both CogAT (potential) and NWEA (achievement), percentile ranks provide a comparison of your child’s performance to that of a national sample of students in the same grade, ranking students on a scale of 1 to 99. Scores in the 25th to 75th percentile range are considered to be average; scores in the 76th to 96th are considered to be higher than average.  In accordance with our district guidelines, further analysis is completed when a student meets the criteria below.

    • Students are at the 95th percentile or above
    • Students are ranked in the top 5%-10% of his/her class per school

    In addition, these students exhibit the outlying learning needs in comparison to their peers per school.

     

    Kindergarten-4th Grade:

    As a part of high ability identification, initially all kindergarten and second grade students take the CogAT screener. Students scoring 77 or higher on the screener will take the complete CogAT assessment. Students meeting the benchmark (age stanine of 9) on the complete CogAT assessment in kindergarten and second grade, may be identified as high ability or having the potential to be high ability.

    Another part of high ability identification includes using scores from the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA).  All students take NWEA three times a year (beginning, middle and end). Students meeting the benchmark of 95% or higher on NWEA on  the end of the year assessment may be identified as high ability or the having potential to be high ability. Scores from the end of the year NWEA assessment  will be revisited for all students for appropriate placement each year.

    Finally, teachers may complete the Scales for Identifying Gifted Students (SIGS) for students meeting the criteria in the screening pool. The selection committee will meet in the spring to begin analyzing the data for identifying students for the following school year.

     

    Elementary (K-4th Grade) Parent Notification

    Every effort will be made to let elementary families know  whether their child met the criteria for high ability as soon as possible.  This notification will also serve to notify parents/guardian that the identified child shall participate in HA services during the designated grade level.

    Should a parent/guardian prefer that their child not receive HA services, then written notification must be provided to your child’s teacher and/or principal.  The letter will be forwarded to the HA department.

    Elementary (K-4th Grade) Exit Procedure:

    A child may be removed from the program at any time by a parent by providing the building principal with a written request.  If the teacher or the high ability teacher/instructor has a concern about a child’s placement in high ability, additional data will be collected.  All students will be monitored through the Response to Instruction (RtI) building process. Students, who are identified as struggling as evidenced by RtI data, will be discussed in RtI meetings for potential removal from the program.

    Should a parent/guardian, the high ability teacher/instructor or classroom teacher request discontinuance of program services due to poor performance or for any other reasons, the following protocol will be followed:

    1. A conference will be held with the student and his/her parent or guardian addressing concerns.
    2. A trial period will follow allowing time for the student to modify his/her performance.
    3. A second conference will be held to evaluate the student’s further participation in the program.
    4. Provided the family still wishes to discontinue their child’s participation in the program, a written letter from the student’s parent or guardian stating reasons for discontinuance must be submitted to the classroom teacher who will then forward the letter to the building principal and Director of High Ability.
    5. If the request for discontinuance in the program was made by the HA instructor or classroom teacher, and the student does not make reasonable progress during the trial period, a committee (including the building principal and/or Director of HA, classroom teacher, HA teacher/instructor and the child’s parent/guardian) will meet to evaluate the student’s lack of progress and make a recommendation to continue or discontinue High Ability program services.

     

    Elementary (K-4th Grade) Appeals

    Parents/Guardians who disagree with the identification of their child must submit in writing an appeal form stating the reasons they believe their child should receive high ability services.  The High Ability Cadre will review the student’s records and make a determination. In some cases, the administration of a parallel test of ability or achievement may take place. The principal or high ability teacher will notify the parent/guardian of the decision.   Appeals will be considered from the first day of school until September 30th. No further appeals will be considered after September 30th. Appeal forms are available on the Duneland School Corporation Website.