High Ability

Philosophy of High Ability Education

It is the philosophy of Wes-Del Community Schools that each learner should have the opportunity to develop the fundamental skills and processes essential to being productive members of a changing society. Appropriate educational placement and experiences that match intellectual, social, and emotional needs with the curriculum are critical. Students with high academic ability need extensions for learning that enable them to develop their talents, thinking, and learning processes in a manner that is suitable to their intellectual ability and encourages them to develop their full potential. Providing an appropriate learning environment is essential to creating life-long learners. Wes-Del Community Schools recognize that high ability students are found in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic populations.

Definition of High Ability Student

The term “high Ability” has been defined in various ways. Effective July 1, 2007, Indiana schools shall identify students with high ability in the general intellectual and specific academic domains and provide them with appropriately differentiated curriculum and instruction in core content areas, K-12 (refer to IC-20-36-2-2).

The Indiana Code defines a student with high abilities as one who:

  • Performs at, or shows the potential for performing at, an outstanding level of accomplishment in at least one domain when compared to other student of the same age, experience, or environment; and:
  • Is characterized by exceptional gifts, talents, motivation, or interests (IC 20-36-1-3).

In addition to definitions, it is often helpful to know what “high ability” looks like. Many charts and checklists are available which list the commonly accepted characteristics of high ability children. The following charts are examples of some of the commonly associated characteristics of high ability students.

High Ability Program Goals

  • Students will have a strong knowledge base and mastery of basic academic skills.
  • The environment will encourage student to develop their potential while interacting with their intellectual peers.
  • The climate will foster and enhance intellectual ability, talent, creativity, and decision-making skills.
  • The students will be involved with their own learning, as demonstrated by self-assessment, recognition of personal talent, and establishing short and long-term goals.
  • Leadership skills, social awareness, and responsibility will be developed.
  • Students will be encouraged to develop independent study, self-directed learning, and research skills.
  • Students will use and expand their higher level thinking skills.
  • Students will develop skills in critical thinking and problem solving.
  • An appreciation for aesthetic values and creative expression will be encouraged.
  • Opinions, responses, and questioning processes that lead to divergent thinking will be nurtured and rewarded.
  • Students will be provided with ideas, theories, and concepts that require reflective, critical, and creative thinking.
  • A focus on developing positive self-esteem, self-discipline, and a desire for excellence will be promoted.

High Ability Identification Process

 Grade Level
 Test  Time of Year
Kindergarten

CogAt Screener

  • All students will be tested.
  • Any student who receives above the 80th percentile on the CogAt Screener will be given the full battery
  • If they score above the 95th percentile on the full battery CogAt, then the student is eligible for High Ability: General Intellect
  • If they score between the 80th and 95th percentile, then NWEA or other achievement measure is given. If they score above the 95th percentile on the achievement measure, then the student is eligible for High Ability – Math and/or High Ability – Language Arts.
Beginning of Spring Semester
1st Grade

CogAt Screener

  • Any new students
Fall/Spring
2nd Grade

CogAt Screener

  • All students will be tested.
  • Any student who receives above the 80th percentile on the CogAt Screener will be given the full battery
  • If they score above the 95th percentile on the full battery CogAt, then the student is eligible for High Ability: General Intellect
  • If they score between the 80th and 95th percentile, then NWEA or other achievement measure is given. If they score above the 95th percentile on the achievement measure, then the student is eligible for High Ability – Math and/or High Ability – Language Arts.
Fall Semester
3rd Grade

CogAt Screener

  • Any new students
Fall/Spring
4th Grade

CogAt Screener

  • All students will be tested.
  • Any student who receives above the 80th percentile on the CogAt Screener will be given the full battery
  • If they score above the 95th percentile on the full battery CogAt, then the student is eligible for High Ability: General Intellect
  • If they score between the 80th and 95th percentile, then NWEA or other achievement measure is given. If they score above the 95th percentile on the achievement measure, then the student is eligible for High Ability – Math and/or High Ability – Language Arts.
Fall Semester
5th Grade

CogAt Screener

  • Any new students
Fall/Spring
6th Grade

CogAt Screener

  • Any new students

Orleans-Hannah

  • Students with recommendations
Fall/Spring 



May
7th Grade

CogAt Screener

  • All students will be tested.
  • Any student who receives above the 80th percentile on the CogAt Screener will be given the full battery
  • If they score above the 95th percentile on the full battery CogAt, then the student is eligible for High Ability: General Intellect
  • If they score between the 80th and 95th percentile, then NWEA or other achievement measure is given. If they score above the 95th percentile on the achievement measure, then the student is eligible for High Ability – Math and/or High Ability – Language Arts.
Fall Semester
8th Grade

CogAt Screener

  • Any new students
Fall/Spring
9th - 12th Grade PSAT results/AP Potential tool Spring

Parents will be notified about the testing. The CogAt can only be administered once per calendar year. The High Ability Identification Committee with then utilize all of the identification components to determine the appropriate educational placement for each child. Parents of students qualifying for additional services will be notified by letter, and educational services will be provided within the regular school day.


High Ability Identification Petitioning Procedure

The High Ability Identification procedures are designed to identify and meet the unique needs of gifted children. Although the procedure has proved incredibly reliable, it is not flawless. Therefore, we feel it is essential to have a process for parents to petition the program for the admittance of a child who did not meet the established criteria, a petition for admittance may be submitted. The guidelines for submitting a petition follow.

Petitions for consideration must contain the following:

  • Portfolio of student work containing a minimum of 10 samples of superior work or advanced content.
  • Observations or anecdotal records of student behaviors/characteristics.
  • Rationale for admittance.
  • Recommendation by one or more teachers.

After review of the petition, the Identification Committee will determine the appropriate action to be taken. The committee may recommend additional testing. Parents will be notified of the committee’s recommendations within 30 days of the petition.