Teaching and Learning

About Placement Decisions

Students are screened for placement at the end of their third and fifth grade years. The primary ability measure used is the Cognitive Abilities Assessment (CogAT) administered in grades 3 and 5. iReady achievement scores in reading and mathematics are also used to guide placement decisions, utilizing the most up to date assessment information.  Additionally, teacher observations and input is a key component of the process of placement in Oak Grove.  

The purpose of identifying students for any educational programming is to match the goals and objectives  of the program with the educational needs of a student. The intent of identification for the talented and  gifted service is to discover and place those students whose needs in either language or mathematics are  so significant they would not be best met with the core curriculum.  

The needs of individual students are best recognized through evaluating multiple sources of relevant  information. The sources typically tapped are standardized testing, classroom performance, teacher input and family input. The accuracy of a placement decision is increased by assessing the student profile based on multiple measures. 

How does a school system identify a relatively small percentage of students, whose educational needs are  so significant that talented and gifted services are required? James Borland endorsed the development and  utilization of a talent pool as an initial phase in an identification process. At this beginning step, Oak Grove considers the entire student population (at a grade level) with the intent of narrowing its focus  from 100% of the students to a manageable number. 

Screening or narrowing the student population into a talent pool makes the task of moving from 100% to  the eventual targeted population for the talented and gifted service less daunting. Using existing relevant  information (a combination of locally normed standardized data and teacher observations), the talent pool targets  approximately 20% of a given student population (grade level) in grades 4-8 in the area of language and  mathematics. The talent pool is comprised of students who are plausible candidates for placement in the talented and gifted program. Beginning the discovery at 20% aligns with Borland’s suggestion of erring on the side of inclusion rather than exclusion at the initial phases of trying to best place students. 

This screening process is not the time for assessing fine distinctions among students or for making  placement decisions. Instead, the concern is to include any students who possess evidence that he/she  should be considered for talented and gifted services. This half-way step (or talent pool step) allows  educators to concentrate on a reasonably realistic goal of further assessing a group of possible candidates. In addition, it eliminates students whose educational needs obviously do not match the goals and objectives of the talented and gifted program. 

Students in the talent pool will be evaluated using a matrix for English language arts and math (see below). Students must achieve at least 15 of 30 possible points on the matrix to qualify for TAG services. It is possible to be eligible for both ELA and math services, or services in just one content area.


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