Overview of ELP Identification Pathways

Identification and development of academic talent is an ongoing process. It is expected that children will cycle in and out of the program as they mature and the levels of support and academic challenge they need change. Some may demonstrate ability in STEM, others in Humanities. A smaller number of students will excel in both fields, and are referred to as having general intellectual ability and qualify for extended studies and a personalized educational plan. An annual review of multiple criteria is a research-based best practice. Referrals may come from teachers or parents, or secondary students. ELP staff communicates with parents, who may make a referral electronically through the district web site or request one from staff. Characteristics that parents observe provide valuable insight. Staff collects data from classroom teachers and meets as a team with math and language arts specialists. If that data shows strengths in specific area(s), programming recommendations are made. Teachers and parents are contacted regarding students’ academic needs and placement. Services depend upon need demonstrated and options available.

Pathway One

  • Iowa Assessments: This at-grade level test serves as an indicator of student achievement. Iowa Assessments is a general achievement test, and norms are not specific to our district. Many students score above 90% in JSCD. Using our local population, a student in the 95% may not need extensive accommodations when compared to other classmates. Consistent high scores in standardized tests, such as Iowa Assessments or MAP scores are useful to provide an indicator of high ability and form the initial basis of an ELP placement.
  • Measures of Academic Progress (MAP): Scores are specific to Johnston standards and benchmarks. While many students score in the Hi (75% or above) range, reading and math scores that are two standard deviations above the norm are a strong indicator of very high ability.
  • Classroom Teacher Recommendation: This is based on products, processes, motivation and grades when applicable. Teachers are trained in the identification process and are able to provide information on high quality products, initiative to complete extensions, evidence of high-level thought process, and rapid acquisition of knowledge. Teachers complete the Extended Learning Observation, including the Renzulli Rating Scale derived from research literature on characteristics of the gifted. Teachers may request additional assessments or reviews for specific
  • ELP Staff Recommendation: Observed characteristics, performances, and products over time are noted. Staff watches for trends in consistent, high scores in student data to help determine strengths.
  • Cognitive Abilities Tests/Other Ability Tests/Records from Previous Schools: Cognitive Abilities Tests (CogAT) are not an achievement test, but aptitude tests that measures the natural ability to reason, think and solve problems. They provide reliable data to indicate a need for placement in advanced programming, especially if some information is incomplete or inconsistent. ELP staff also considers any available data, such as other out-of-level tests or data from previous schools to assist in appropriate placement.
  • Student Information: Student motivation and initiative is important, thus students in secondary buildings can provide information about themselves through a form on the JSCD web site to assist in appropriate placement to maximize their strengths.

Pathway Two

  • Case Study Approach: Students with a unique circumstance, i.e. ELL, twice exceptional, or underachieving will be reviewed individually by a committee of educators. The data, including relevant test scores, teacher and/or parent recommendations from pathway 1 will be utilized when possible as part of the student profile. Interviews with student/and/or parents and previous teachers may be conducted. Students will be compared against others of similar subgroups. In some cases, students may be placed on a trial basis.

Updated 3/2016