Gifted Identification Grades Pre-K to 12

  • Referrals for Gifted Education

    "The term ‘gifted and talented,” when used with respect to students, children, or youth, means students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in such areas as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities."

    (No Child Left Behind Act, P.L. 107-110 (Title IX, Part A, Definition 22) (2002); 20 USC 7801(22) 

    Anyone, including parent, counselor, teacher, or student, may identify and refer a student to take the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) for entrance into the Gifted Education in Marana (GEM) program. MUSD also uses the Raven Test of Progressive Matrices if certain criteria are met by an individual. Both of these assessments are recognized by the state of Arizona for identification of gifted students.

    Assessments for Gifted Education

    In accordance with the Arizona state mandate, MUSD provides three testing windows. The primary tests used to identify gifted students are the Cognitive Abilities Test form 7 (CogAT) and the Raven’s Progressive Matrices.

    If a student does not qualify for GEM, he/she is eligible to retest in one year. 

    The Cognitive Abilities Test assesses students for three separate abilities: Verbal, Quantitative and Non-Verbal (Spatial Reasoning).The Cognitive Abilities Test scores are given in percentiles, which are different from percentages. A percentile score tells what percent of the students in the comparison group scored lower than the child taking the test. If a child’s score is in the 50th percentile, he/she scored better than 50% of the comparison group, which means his/her performance is in the middle and earns an average score. The 25th percentile to the 75th percentile is the average range. Percentiles are different from percentages because they do not represent how many questions were answered correctly; rather they tell you how an individual ranks against others taking the test that is within the same age range. 

    New student’s registrations are carefully screened for indications of prior gifted services.

    Eligibility for Students new to MUSD
    New MUSD Students

    Arizona Revised Statute Title 15-779.01.C:
    A pupil who was previously identified as a gifted pupil by a school district or charter school transfers into another school district, the school district into which the pupil transferred shall determine in a timely manner whether the pupil shall be identified as a gifted pupil in that school district. The school district into which the pupil transferred shall provide gifted education to transfer pupils who are identified as gifted without unreasonable delay (no later than next available testing window).  

    Students entering from another district who have previously received gifted services will be placed in the GEM program (grades K-8) on a probationary basis with periodic parent/teacher reviews, or; they will gain automatic acceptance if they have scored at or above the 97th percentile on any Arizona approved gifted assessment. 

    The school attendance clerk/registrar will check the student’s entrance paperwork. If ‘Gifted Education’ in a prior district or school is checked on this form, a copy will be routed to the GEM teacher at the elementary level for verification and immediate placement, providing the student meets GEM criteria.

    Probationary Status:

    The student will provide evidence of previous enrollment in a gifted program in another district where he/she was placed using a test from the Arizona state approved testing list. The new student will be tested using the MUSD GEM assessment guidelines at the first possible testing window. The student will be re-evaluated for admission to GEM at that time. Probationary status will last for a period of one year. Students will need to pass MUSD’s eligibility and assessment requirements to qualify for GEM placement the following school year.

    MUSD will administer the Cognitive Abilities Test at the first available testing window and use this data to determine continued GEM probationary status. Probationary status will last for a period of one year. Students will need to pass MUSD’s eligibility requirements to qualify for GEM placement the following school year. 

    Qualification for Gifted Education in Marana

    1. MUSD will provide gifted services to a student who scores at or above the 97th percentile in any one area of the Cognitive Abilities Assessment.

    2. MUSD will provide permanent gifted services to a new student if they score at or above the 97th percentile in any one area of a gifted assessment approved by the Arizona Department of Education.

    3. The Raven Test of Progressive Matrices may be recommended for individuals who score at or above the 95th percentile in two or more areas of the Cognitive Abilities Test. At the GEM teacher’s discretion the alternate assessment may be recommended in place of the Cognitive Abilities Test for individual students based on limited verbal skills, attention span, IEP, 504 or ELL status. 

    Required Documentation for Gifted Assessments

    Prior to testing, parents should complete, sign and return both the MUSD Permission to Evaluate Form and the MUSD Gifted Characteristics Checklist. These documents can be obtained at your child's school or by contacting the District Gifted & Talented Education Coordinator

    Post testing, all parents will receive (within two weeks):

    1. MUSD Testing Results Form
    2. If the student qualifies for GEM: MUSD GEM Placement Notification Form

    Voluntary Exit from GEM

    Students who voluntarily exit the K-8 GEM program will not be considered for re-entry to the K-8 GEM program until the following school year.  The student will not need to re-test at this time, but will need to provide evidence of eligible Arizona approved test scores.  The parent, GEM teacher and classroom teacher will explain the procedure for re-entry to the K-8 GEM program. All parties present will sign the GEM Voluntary Exit Form. Once a student qualifies for GEM using one of the designated MUSD qualification criteria, that student will not have to re-test to stay eligible for the K-8 GEM program each subsequent year.