How Do We Identify Gifted Students?

General Identification Information

Since APS enrolls a high proportion of students of English learners, it is especially crucial that we put non-discriminatory, yet rigorous eligibility and identification policies in place. In doing so, our district utilizes a tiered approach that pulls together a variety of student data and information that provides a holistic picture of the child’s strengths, interests, and curiosities. Data includes both quantitative and qualitative measures including, but not limited to, a variety of assessments (state, local, achievement, intelligence), observation scales, student portfolio assessments, and student interviews. Assessments are offered in multiple languages and interpretations are available as needed.

Identification is a critical component of effective gifted education programming. One size does not fit all. In addition to using assessments appropriate to the services provided, different strategies may be needed to ensure students with high potential are identified. Read more about best practices in identification. Read about including diverse populations in the identification process.

While some commonalities exist across giftedness, one size does not fit all. Gifted learners exhibit different characteristics, traits, and ways to express their giftedness. Various issues must be considered for identification:

  • Giftedness is dynamic, not static. Identification needs to occur over time, with multiple opportunities to exhibit gifts. One test at a specific point in time should not dictate whether someone is identified as gifted. Read NAGC's position statement, The Role of Assessments in Identifying Gifted Individuals.
  • Giftedness is represented through all racial, ethnic, income levels, and exceptionality groups. Underrepresentation is widely spread. It’s estimated that African American, Hispanic American, and Native American students are underrepresented by at least 50% in programs for the gifted. In APS we adhere to NAGC's standards and expectations when identifying students in diverse gifted populations. To learn more, please read NAGC's position statement, Identifying and Serving Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students.
  • Giftedness may be exhibited within a specific interest or category—and even a specific interest within that category. Here is APS we work very hard to gather examples across various domains and contexts, using both objective and subjective identification instruments, which we will discuss below.
  • Early identification in school improves the likelihood that gifts will be developed into talents. We can't forget early identification. We do begin to "Universally Screen" all students in the second grade, but we place a lot of value in teacher and family referrals. If you believe your child is demonstrating gifted or high potential qualities, please reach out to your school's Gifted Education Facilitator or to your child's teacher ASAP.

Aurora Public Schools follows a systematic, multi-phased process for identifying gifted students to find students who need services beyond the general education program: 1) Nomination or identification phase; 2) Screening or selection phase; 3) Placement phase. In the nomination and screening phase, various identification tools are used to eliminate bias.