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GATES: Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated: 12/26/2019 2:23 PM

General Questions

Q: What is giftedness?

A: The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act defines gifted and talented students as “Students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.” [Title IX, Part A, Definition 22. (2002)]  

704 KAR 3:285 

In Kentucky KRS 157.200(1)(n) includes within the definition of "exceptional children" a category of "exceptional students" who are identified as possessing demonstrated or potential ability to perform at an exceptionally high level in general intellectual aptitude, specific academic aptitude, creative or divergent thinking, psychosocial or leadership skills, or in the visual or performing arts.

Q: What are the areas of giftedness that Kentucky recognizes and how are they defined?

A: There are five areas recognized by the state: general intellectual ability, specific academic ability, creativity, leadership and visual/performing arts.

  1. "General intellectual ability" means possessing: (a) either the potential or demonstrated ability to perform at an exceptionally high level in general intellectual ability, which is usually reflected in extraordinary performance in a variety of cognitive areas, such as abstract reasoning, logical reasoning, social awareness, memory, nonverbal ability and the analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of information; and, (b) A consistently outstanding mental capacity as compared to children of one's age, experience, or environment
  2. "Specific academic aptitude" means possessing either potential or demonstrated ability to perform at an exceptionally high level in one (1), or very few related, specific academic areas significantly beyond the age, experience or environment of one's chronological peers.
  3. "Creative or divergent thinking ability" means possessing either potential or demonstrated ability to perform at an exceptionally high level in creative thinking and divergent approaches to conventional tasks as evidenced by innovative or creative reasoning, advanced insight and imagination, and solving problems in unique ways.
  4. "Psychosocial or leadership ability" means possessing either potential or demonstrated ability to perform at an exceptionally high level in social skills and interpersonal qualities such as poise, effective oral and written expression, managerial ability, and the ability, or vision, to set goals and organize others to successfully reach those goals.
  5. "Visual or performing arts ability" means possessing either potential or demonstrated ability to perform at an exceptionally high level in the visual or performing arts and demonstrating the potential for outstanding aesthetic production, accomplishment, or creativity in visual art, dance, music, or drama.

Q: What is the difference between giftedness and high achieving?

A: The chart "Bright versus Gifted" provides an overview of the difference.

Making all "A's" isn't always an indicator of giftedness- it indicates hard work and motivation and other factors but not necessarily what is recognized as "giftedness."


Q: Does the district accept the identification of students coming in from another state?

A: No. The student must meet the identification requirements according to Kentucky's regulation. If a student has been identified in another state, any current evidence or qualifying test data may be used, but identification does not transfer from another state to KY.

Q: Does the district accept the identification of students coming in from another school district in Kentucky?

A: Yes. However, service options may need to be adjusted for those students coming from districts with less stringent qualifying criteria.

Q: What are the areas for identification for giftedness in Kentucky and the district?

A: Kentucky recognizes five area(s) of giftedness: General Intellectual Ability (GIA); Specific Academic Ability (SAA); Creativity; Leadership; and Visual/Performing Arts.

Q: In other states students are identified in primary, why doesn't Oldham County identify students that early? 

A: In Kentucky, students cannot be formally identified until grade 4. Prior to grade 4, students who show indicators of giftedness are in a Primary Talent Pool, where they are monitored for possible identification in grade 4.

Q: How are students identified?

A: The student is first nominated by a staff member or parent. The building level coordinator begins gathering data on the student using the district guidelines. In many instances, assessments are administered to gather additional data about the student's abilities.

The building level GATES committees monitor nominated students and once they feel that the data collected meets the identifying criteria the student is sent to the district identification committee for review.

The district identification committee reviews student nominations and referrals, makes an identification decision and then notifies the parent and building level coordinator.

Q: What criteria is used to identify students?

A: State regulation outlines criteria needed for identification for each area of giftedness. The district follows the state requirements for identification and uses a multiple criteria approach advocated by national standards, i.e. a mix of objective and subjective data.

Q: When are children screened for possible identification?

A: Students are monitored in primary grades for possible formal identification in grade 4. The district also administers an assessment (CogAT) for all students in grades 3 and 6 in order to find students who may qualify for services. Building level coordinators and staff also monitor students and refer for identification on an on-going basis throughout the school year for all grade levels.

Q: How long is the identification process for a child?

A: The length of the process for identification varies by child. Gathering the data required for identification requires time and thoroughness. Administering assessments, collecting work samples, gathering survey information, making observations can be a lengthy process. Best practice compels staff to be deliberate in the decision-making process- it is in the best interest of the child and all involved that the identification process has integrity.

Q: What can a parent do if he or she feels that their child was missed in the screening for identification?

A: Parents can contact the building level GATES coordinators to discuss their children's situation. Parents can opt to nominate their child for consideration. (To nominate a child, a parent can submit the appropriate forms to the building level GATES coordinator.)

Q: If a child is in the Primary Talent Pool, is he or she automatically identified once they enter grade four?

A: No. State regulation requires that a review be conducted and that the criteria for formal identification be met.

Services and Opportunities

Q: What is a cluster group?

A: Cluster grouping refers to the practice of intentionally scheduling four (4) or more identified students in a regular classroom.

This grouping structure allows teachers to more efficiently differentiate assignments for advanced learners and provides opportunities for advanced learners to work with others who have similar interests, needs and abilities.

Q: What is an accelerated class?

A: Some of the district's schools use a variation on cluster grouping- they commonly use the term "accelerated class" to describe a classroom in which the pace and depth of instruction is altered to meet the needs of students.

Each school defines criteria for placement in accelerated classes.