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Seattle School District Highly Capable Testing

Gifted and Talented Services

The Seattle School District serves over 1,100 students in their K-8th grade Highly Capable and Advanced Learner programs. These programs are available in the neighborhood schools and Highly Capable Pathway Schools. There are three programs offered through the district.

Highly Capable Students

Highly Capable students have the option to attend Pathway Schools with a curriculum specifically designed for HC students in grades 1st-8th. They can also choose to stay in their neighborhood school and receive Advanced Learning Opportunities. Once a student qualifies for the HC program, they remain in the program through 8th grade.

HC students are ones who consistently perform 2 years above grade level in math and up to 2 years above in reading and/or English Language Arts (ELA). These students learn at an accelerated pace in ELA and Math and at grade level with differentiated learning in science and social studies. Students are put into cohorts with other HC students. These groups stay together through elementary and middle school.

HC students who choose to stay in their neighborhood school receive Advance Learning Opportunities. These include enrichment activities, independent projects, and content acceleration. Kindergarteners who qualify for the program begin receiving services in the second semester.

Testing for Highly Capable Services

Several factors are taken into consideration when designating students as Highly Capable Learners, including measuring their cognitive and achievement abilities. The main tests the district uses are the Smarter Balanced Assessment, NNAT3, and CogAT.

All 2nd graders are automatically screened for HC services. All other students must be referred by parents, teachers, peers, or community members.

To qualify for Highly Capable Services using the CogAT, students must score in the 98th percentile in 2 or more CogAT subtests, one of which must be Verbal Quantitative, Quantitative Nonverbal, or Verbal-Quantitative-Nonverbal composite score. They must also score in the 95th percentile in reading/ELA and math on district-administered tests.

See below for a list of tests used by the district.

Advanced Learners Program

Students who test above average, but not high enough for HC services are part of the Advanced Learners Program. These students attend programs in their neighborhood schools. The programs use differentiated instruction, flexible grouping, and content acceleration to provide a challenging learning environment. Students stay in this program through 8th grade unless they retest and qualify for High Capable Services.

Testing for Advanced Learners

Several factors are taken into consideration when designating students as Advanced Learners, including measuring their cognitive and achievement abilities. The main tests the district uses are the Smarter Balanced Assessment, NNAT3, and CogAT.

To qualify for Advanced Learning Services using the CogAT, students must score in the 87th percentile in 2 or more CoGAT subtests, one of which must be Verbal Quantitative, Quantitative-Nonverbal, or Verbal Quantitative-Nonverbal composite score. They must also score in the 87th percentile in reading/ELA and math on district-administered tests. (Students in grades 5th-7th who score in the 87th percentile only in reading will be eligible for Advanced Learner Language Arts. Math placement in 6th-8th is not dependent on Advanced Learner eligibility.)

See below for a list of tests used by the district.

Testing Mom offers a comprehensive online program with practice test questions, one-on-one expert tutoring sessions, and group classes that cover all concepts on the CogAT and NNAT3.

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Early Entrance Kindergarten

This program is not related to Advance Learner eligibility but is for children whose birthday falls between September 1st and October 31st. These children are offered the opportunity to test into kindergarten early.

Testing for this program lasts 1.5 hours. Tested areas include social-emotional, physical, language, cognitive, literacy, and mathematics. Children are expected to meet standards at least 6 months above their age level in all areas tested. Children must be able to complete the full test at one time. Opportunities to re-test are not offered.

Examples of the criteria that need to be met can be found here: https://www.k12.wa.us/sites/default/files/public/wakids/pubdocs/gold_hndt_objectives.pdf

High School (Grades 9th-12th)

The Seattle School District does not offer Highly Capable Services to High Schoolers. All students are eligible for advanced level course work including Honors courses, AP courses, the International Baccalaureate program, and dual credit courses.

Tests Used by the District

  • Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) – K-8th – This test assesses a child’s ability to reason and problem solve using verbal, quantitative, and spatial (non-verbal) methods.
  • Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) – K-8th – This test helps track a student’s growth through various subjects.
  • Fountas and Pinnell (F&P) –K-8th – This test helps identify a student’s reading level.
  • Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT3) – 2nd, 3rd, and any students referred for HC services – This test assess problem-solving and visual-spatial reasoning abilities
  • Smarter Balanced Assessment –3rd-8th and 10th – This test assesses a student’s ability in math and ELA.
  • Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS) –5th, 8th, and 11th – This test measures proficiency in science.

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