Highly Capable Evaluation, Eligibility and Placement

The Central Kitsap School District’s vision is to provide for the needs of all children. We do this by addressing students’ specific abilities, aptitudes, and levels of performance to ready them for career and college.

Our Highly Capable Program meets the advanced academic and social/emotional needs of students in grades K-12. The program provides an accelerated, rigorous curriculum in an encouraging and supportive environment. Teachers challenge students to reach their full potential. Students qualify for Highly Capable Program services through testing their cognitive and academic abilities.

Students who are Highly Capable have, but are not limited to, these learning characteristics:

  • Capacity to learn with unusual depth of understanding, to keep what has been learned, and to transfer learning to new situations

  • Capacity and willingness to deal with increasing levels of abstraction and complexity earlier than their chronological peers

  • Creative ability to make unique connections among ideas and concepts

  • Ability to learn quickly in their area(s) of intellectual strength

  • Capacity for intense concentration and/or focus

Central Kitsap School District will make it a priority to equitably qualify students from varying racial, ethnic and socio-economic groups. CKSD offers highly capable services for students who show both aptitude and achievement based off CogAT, district, and state assessments.


To get a well-rounded assessment of a student's eligibility, various test scores are considered, including these district-wide assessments and teacher/parent surveys:

  • STAR reading and math
  • Smarter Balanced Assessments English Language Arts/literacy and math
  • The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)
  • WIDA
  • WISC test (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children), if applicable
  • Surveys—Parent and Teacher Rating Scales
  • Classroom based assessments

Eligibility Criteria for Highly Capable

  • A typical candidate qualifies for program with a verbal, and/or quantitative as well as an above average non-verbal CogAT composite score above 95%.
  • Achievement STAR scores of 94-99th percentile in reading and/or math
  • High Level 4 scores in Reading and/or Math state assessment (for placement in 4th-12th grade)

By Washington State law and District policy, the District Multidisciplinary Selection Team (DMST) consists of:

  • School psychologist or other qualified person to interpret cognitive and achievement test results
  • Teacher with special training in highly capable education
  • Certificated coordinator/administrator
  • Other professionals, such as a learning specialists, counselors, classroom teachers, and building coordinators

They review student data to establish eligibility for highly capable services.   

  • Achievement Scores – State and district assessments
  • Aptitude Scores – Cognitive Ability Test (CogAT)
  • Classroom based assessments
  • Parent and Teacher Rating Scales and additionally a Teacher Consultation form (optional)

The process:

  • The DMST reviews individual student scores, record observations, and make recommendations based on eligibility criteria and all available data.
  • The Committee recommends one of two determinations:
    1. (Qualified) The student qualifies under the criteria to receive Highly Capable services.
    2. (Not Qualified) The student's data does not qualify them for placement in the Highly Capable program. 

Program Placement Decisions 

Highly Capable program options include services at your current school or in self-contained classrooms.

Building Highly Capable Services

Elementary grades K-5  

Building mentors coordinate highly capable services, which may include: 

  • Curriculum compacting

  • Special projects

  • Differentiated assignments

  • Cluster grouping

  • Subject acceleration

  • Enrichment clusters

Secondary grades 6-8, 9-12

Students receiving highly capable services in secondary math are typically grade-level accelerated one to two grade-levels.  Honors, Pre- Advanced Placement (AP) and AP courses are open to students at the secondary level.

Self-Contained Highly Capable Services

Elementary Venture —Highly Capable Classrooms for grades 2-5

These classrooms offer a rigorous academic curriculum addressing both verbal and quantitative strength areas while meeting the specific affective needs of highly capable students. This program is housed at two locations: Emerald Heights and Cottonwood elementary schools. Students in the venture program will be placed in the MS magnet program without further testing.

Middle School Magnet — Highly Capable Classrooms for grades 6-8

These classrooms offer a rigorous integrated program for language arts, social studies and science within the middle school structure. Students are placed in appropriate math classes.

The Magnet program is housed at each of the CKSD middle school locations: Central Kitsap MS, Fairview MS, Ridgetop MS, and Klahowya Secondary School.