Each year parents and teachers are invited to nominate students who exhibit exceptional abilities in math, science, language arts, and/or social studies to be screened for the Gifted and Talented Program (GT). The nomination period, or window, is usually 2-3 weeks long at the beginning of each semester, but precedes a much longer testing window of 6 – 8 weeks.
We test students in grades 3-5 in the Fall Semester and students in grades K-2 in the Spring Semester. This allows older students to test before the mandated testing season begins in the spring, and younger students to have an opportunity to adjust to the new school year before the students participate in the lengthy GT Screening Process. The GT Screening Process does include online testing, which is timed for 3rd-5th, and the completion of a common assessment done at school.
Frequently Asked Questions.
What does GT mean?
GT stands for “gifted and talented.” This designation is different in different districts. Some people recognize it as TAG or GATE. AISD uses the moniker GT to designate students with high abilities in one or more of the 4 core academic areas, language arts, math, science, and social studies. The AISD GT screening process is limited in its utility for recognizing artistic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and/or kinestic gifts and talents. Additionally, it is in no way a limitation to a student’s future pursuit of honors or AP courses at the middle or high school level.*
What grades can be tested for GT?
Kinder through 12th grades
Can my student be tested anytime?
AISD offers testing at the elementary level twice a year. Due to the lengthy process, students must be nominated within the given window to allow for enough time to order materials, and collect work samples.
How do I nominate my child?
Parents are encouraged to talk with their child’s teacher about possible GT testing, although that is not required. Parents must then complete and turn in a parent survey. These can be found online or in the main office.
Additionally, we have paper copies as well as Vietnamese translations in the office. This form must be filled out, SIGNED, and turned in via email or the office by the deadline.
What happens after I nominate my student?
During school hours students will complete a common assessment that is intended to draw out their reasoning and creative problem solving abilities in the 4 core areas. Observational checklists are completed by teachers as they observe the skills and abilities of nominated students closely, as well as confer with previous teachers. The students also complete the online CogAT. The test is completed over several sessions during the school day, with each session to last 30-45 minutes. This usually takes several tests days so as not to induce test fatigue.
What is the CogAT?
The CogAT is a cognitive abilities test. It is not a test over accumulated knowledge, so much as a test over one’s fluency and flexibility with regards to verbal, quantitative, and non-verbal concepts.
What happens after the test?
After testing is complete, and portfolios are submitted, the GT committee will deliberate over the results. We will use the test results, the parent survey, the teacher observational checklists, as well as the students’ common assessments, on which to base our decisions.
Announcements and test scores will be sent home via sealed envelope addressed to parents in your child’s folder.
Should my child study?
No. You do not need to do any test prep with your child. Rather, please take a few minutes to talk with your student about this testing, and perhaps why you have chosen to have them tested. I’ve been asked to stay away from the word, “test,” so more than likely I will use language a little more vague such as screening, series of questions and puzzles, and, of course, I let them know that this is not for a grade.
Will my child need to retest each year?
Children who are designated as GT do not need to test again to retain their GT status.
What happens if my child is really only gifted in one subject?
It is not uncommon to designate a student GT in one area only. In fact, it is more rare for a child to receive a GT designation in all subject areas.
My student did not qualify for GT? Now what?
Parents are eligible for renominating/testing students each year. However, AISD requires a minimum of 12 months between tests.
Or, nothing. There is a lot of research that indicates GT testing is flawed. And, very little evidence that indicates these tests are future indicators of a child’s adult success. Rather, inspiration and motivation to work hard and pursue their interests over time is a better indicator. So, celebrate your child for where they are in their learning journey, and praise them for their efforts and courage to keep trying.
Where can I find more information?
Please visit the AISD parents Corner to learn more about GT students. https://www.austinisd.org/advanced-academics/study
On behalf of me and the teachers that make up the GT Committee, thank you for all your support. As always, I welcome any and all feedback, questions, and concerns. I can be reached by phone at (512) 414-4249 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or appointment for any questions or concerns you may have.