As Gifted Education teachers identify students for Gifted Education services, they look for students who need rigor and challenge in one or more areas of the curriculum. Through a comprehensive data collection and review process, students are identified for service in Needs-Based (pullout) classes in reading, language arts/reading, non-verbal, or affective.

To provide assessment, the Gifted Education teacher works in collaboration with each classroom teacher, who knows the children best in the school setting. In kindergarten and first grade, the assessment is observational. In second grade, both parent and teacher complete a checklist focusing on characteristics of behavior. The Cognitive Abilities Tests are administered, and then each student profile is reviewed to determine service needs for the following school year. The Cognitive Abilities Tests are also administered to children through grade five who are seeking possible pullout service for the following year.

Beginning in the spring of a child’s second grade year, NWEA tests are administered to provide additional achievement profile information. The profile review and assessment process is available to students during their elementary school experience, for pullout service in grade three through six. Profile data usually includes information from the parent and teacher, and measures of achievement and aptitude. Information can come from teachers other than the classroom teacher, peers, an outside agency or other standardized test scores.

Parents and teachers often see different strengths of children in their respective environments. For this reason, each is asked to provide information about the child as they consider nomination for testing.

During the data collection process, parent and teachers receive information about different ways to look at the characteristics, problem-solving processes, and achievement levels of children. Janice Szabos Robbins originally developed a chart of behaviors representing the continuum of behaviors spanning the range from the bright child to gifted learner. For example, a bright child knows the answers and a gifted learner asks the questions. An adaption of Szabos’ original document created with permission by Susan Winebrenner, M.S. and Dina Brulles, Ph.D. is provided to parents and teachers to prompt critical thinking about a potential test-taker.

A sample of descriptors on the continuum includes:

Bright Child Gifted Learner
Learns with ease Already knows
Grasps the meaning Draws inferences
Is in the top group Goes beyond the group
Is pleased with own learning Is highly self-critical

 Some people believe that being a gifted learner results in a guaranteed path to academic success. Many of the social, emotional and academic needs of the highly gifted child are not, however, easily met in the general classroom setting. A multidimensional look at the intellectual, achievement, and performance traits provide a much clearer picture of individual needs.

Other assessments

In Osseo Area Schools, we focus on identifying student needs and matching the identified needs to service. A focus on identifying student needs is not, however, the same as identifying students. Our needs focus means we do not include IQ testing as a part of our screening process. When available, data from an outside IQ assessment, standardized assessment such as the full Iowa Test of Basic Skills, and other data from qualified agencies or systems outside of Osseo Area Schools are reviewed to identify student needs as part of the student profile. Parents and guardians are responsible for assessment outside of the school setting.

Notification of results

The learner profile that results from the collection of parent, teacher, achievement and cognitive data is reviewed to determine the need for service at the time. Parents receive notification through US mail. The notice provides scores from achievement tests and Cognitive Ability Tests, and indicates the student’s need for placement. If the student demonstrates a need for more rigor and challenge, specific Needs-Based Class(es) that match the student’s need(s) will be indicated in the notice.


Jeremy Willey