Highly Capable Eligibility

We follow state law and guidelines to determine if your child is eligible for highly capable services. Our screening and referral process is designed to find students who qualify for highly capable services. Your child may be gifted in one or many areas.

We look at a variety of information, including a rating form from you and your child’s teachers. 

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)
  • ELPA 21 (if applicable)
  • WA Kids- Kindergarten only
  • WISC test (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children), if applicable
  • Surveys—Parent and Teacher Rating Scales
  • Classroom based assessments

Eligibility Criteria

  • A typical candidate qualifies for program with an above average verbal, and/or quantitative as well as an above average non-verbal CogAT composite scores (or comparable WISC scores).
  • Achievement STAR scores that are above average 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) reviews student data to establish eligibility for highly capable services.  The DMST reviews the following information contained in individual student profile packets:

  • 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 DMST reviews and discusses student profile packets and recommendations. The team evaluates individual student assessment profile data using a blind (no name) process. The team 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

The process:

  • The DMST reviews individual student profile packets, record observations, and make recommendations based on eligibility criteria and all available data.
  • The team discusses each student and comes to consensus about a student’s eligibility for highly capable services.
  • Student Profile Packet contains eligibility decisions.
  • 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.

All parents will receive a letter explaining the procedures for identification. There is an appeal process. Included are procedures to exit a student as well as information on the district's program. No services can take place without parent/guardian permission. 

How Eligibility Decisions Are Made

A district-level team also looks at students. The district team includes:

  • A school psychologist or other person qualified to interpret cognitive and achievement tests
  • A teacher with special training in highly capable education
  • A certified coordinator or administrator
  • Other professionals, such as a learning specialists, counselors, classroom teachers and school coordinators

The district team looks at each student’s information. Team members discuss each student. They record their observations. They come to a consensus about a student’s eligibility for highly capable services. They also recommend what program is right for a student.

Placement Decisions

You will receive the district team’s eligibility and program placement decisions. 

If you or a school team does not agree with the eligibility or placement decision, you can appeal.

Students will remain eligible for highly capable services through 12th grade unless they are exited from the program. We review services and placement periodically to ensure that the services are appropriate.