Fairfax County Public Schools AAP (Advanced Academic Program)
What is the Fairfax County AAP System?
The Fairfax County Advanced Academic Programs (AAP) are the gifted and talented programs for elementary, middle, and high school students attending Fairfax County Public Schools. The accelerated programs challenge students academically, while also catering to their core strengths.
The FCPS offers four levels of academic services, some of which fall under the AAP umbrella. As a result, all children are able to partake in challenging coursework in each subject. These four levels consist of:
- Critical and creative thinking strategies Grades K-6 (Level 1)
- These services are open to all students.
- Differentiated lessons in areas of academic strengths Grades K-6 (Level II)
- These particular lessons are provided to students who demonstrate areas of academic strengths. Children qualify for these services through screening by a school-based committee. School-based or local screening committees may consist of teachers or administrators.
- Part-time advanced academic program, Grades 3-6 (Level III)
- This program supplements and extends the standard FCPS curriculum by focusing on four content areas. Student eligibility is determined by a school-based screening committee.
- Full-time advanced academic program, Grades 3-8 (Level IV)
- This full-time program delves into intricacies of the academic curriculum. This program emphasizes higher-level thinking, critical thinking, problem solving abilities, and intellectual creativity. Similar to the level II and III programs, eligibility is determined through a central selection committee. Students are required to complete testing for admission into the program.
How Does Placement Work for AAP students?
It is important to recognize the core distinctions between the placement process for full-time advanced academic programs (Level IV services) and school-based advanced academic programs (Level II and Level III services). When it comes to qualifying for part-time advanced academic services, a student’s abilities are assessed by the local school committee. Parents who are interested in the program are required to fill out an Advanced Programs Part Time School-Based Services Level II-III Referral form. From there, they submit this paperwork to the academic resource teacher in their child’s school.
The process for Level IV services that your child will undergo is more involved. All students must have produced test scores from at least one ability test. The most common ones that students take are the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) and the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT). A central selection committee is assigned to review the student’s application and test scores. Students who are considered to have the highest scores on the FCPS ability tests (taken in grades 2-7) are placed into the screening pool for further review. If a child did not make it into the screening pool, parents or guardians still have the option of referring their child in grades 3-7. They can do so by providing the advanced academic programs Level IV Referral form. In the next section there will be a comprehensive review of the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test, as well as the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT). As mentioned earlier, these two tests are important if you and your child are interested in the intensive Level IV curriculum.
Below is a general outline of testing dates as well as decision deadlines.
- FCPS CogAT-Custom Form Grade 2 Test is given. It is administered to all second graders
- Cognitive Abilities Test (administered to certain students in grades 3-7)
- Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (administered to all students in Grade 1 and students in grades 2-7 who require an ability test for Level IV screening)
Additional NNAT Resources
- What is the NNAT Test?
- Best Methods for NNAT Test Prep
- Sample NNAT Practice Questions
- How is the NNAT Scored?
Additional CogAT Resources
- What is the CogAT Test?
- Best Methods for CogAT Test Prep
- Sample CogAT Practice Questions
- How is the CogAT Scored?