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Testing and Identification

Testing Process

MVCSC uses a multi-tiered model to assist in the appropriate identification of High Ability students. Students can be identified either by exceptional cognitive potential or outstanding achievement in math or reading. Currently, all students K-8 are given the NWEA assessment three times per year. This norm-referenced test provides detailed progress scores for students in the fall, winter, and spring. Students in grades 2-8 that score at the 96th percentile or above in math, reading (or both) on two of the three assessments of the year are considered automatic qualifiers in that subject area. Students in grades K-1 take an assessment that is read aloud to them and therefore the score requirement is at or above the 98th percentile. All students in grades K and 2 are screened with CogAT, a cognitive abilities assessment, in the spring of the current school year. Students in all other grade levels that score above the 85th percentile on the NWEA are provided the opportunity to take this online CogAT screener, with additional consideration given to students that demonstrate high ability learner characteristics based on teacher observations. This short, three section assessment/screener is a nationally and locally normed test of aptitude. Students that score in the 80% or above on the screener will continue with the CogAT post screener in order to get a full understanding of cognitive potential. 


Identification Process and Testing for Placement in Elementary (K-6) High Ability Program.

MVCSC High Ability Mission Statement

Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation will provide appropriate support and guidance to all identified high ability students, as well as educational experiences according to their academic ability.  We recognize that high ability students are found in all racial, cultural, ethnic, and socio-economic populations. We are committed to an educational program that provides a challenging, differentiated curriculum through a wide range of services to all of our high ability students.

MVCSC Definition of High Ability

A High Ability student is one who performs at, or shows the potential for performing at, an outstanding level of accomplishment in at least one designated domain when compared to other students of the same age, experience, or environment; and is characterized by exceptional gifts, talents, motivation or interests (Indiana Code: IC-20-36-1-3).  The current domain focus for MVCSC is Math and Language Arts in K-12. The designations for students with high ability in Language Arts (HA-LA), high ability math (HA-Math) and who have high ability in both language arts and math (HA-GI).

Students are identified in two ways:

     * Those with exceptional cognitive potential
     * Those with outstanding achievement in mathematics/language arts

Measuring Academic Achievement Measuring Cognitive Potential (Screener)

Measuring Cognitive Potential

Potential Third Qualifying Test

Normative data from the NWEA test is used to identify high academic achievement for students in reading or math. The NWEA is an adaptive test that provides progress scores as well as national/local norms. All students in grades K – 8 participate in the NWEA three times a year. Students in grades 2-5 who score between the 96th - 99th percentile on 2 out of 3 local norms from the administration of NWEA will be identified as automatic qualifiers for service in the areas of mathematics, reading, or both depending on the results of the test. This same automatic qualification applies for students K & 1 using the 98th percentile cut score (due to the nature of a read-aloud version of NWEA).

Students in grades K-8 who have scored above the 85th percentile on either the fall or winter administration of the NWEA will be given the opportunity to participate in the CogAT screener.  Those scoring above the 80th percentile on the screener will take the full CogAT.

This round of testing is intended to find any students with cognitive potential that might have been missed through achievement testing. A full version is used to determine eligibility. In measuring cognitive potential, we use the CogAT, a nationally/locally normed test of aptitude. Students in grades K, 2, 5 and 8 will be given the test. If scores are between the 96th - 99th percentile on the full CogAT for grades K, 2, 5 and 8, then this indicates that the student qualifies to receive high ability services.

For students whose scores on either NWEA or CogAT fall below the 96th percentile, but within the standard error of measure of this qualifying percentile, teachers and parents fill out the corresponding Scale for Identifying Gifted Students (SIGS) in the same domain (e.g. for students on the cusp of qualifying for math, teachers and parents would only need to fill out the Math SIGS, not all of the scales in other domains).  Students with a SIGS score of 130 or above (the equivalent of two standard deviations above the mean) would be identified as high ability.