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General or Specific Intellectual Ability

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Exceptional Children’s Education Act (ECEA) definitions:

“Aptitude” means abilities or behaviors that can be monitored, evaluated, or observed to determine potential or a level of performance in problem solving, reasoning, and other cognitive functions (e.g., memory, synthesis, creativity, speed in problem solving). Aptitude or general ability assessments predict potential in an area of giftedness and/or academic school success. [12.01(5)]

“Assessment” means methods, tools, and data collected as a body of evidence for use in the following gifted education processes: Identification and programming; Monitoring the gifted child’s performance and outcomes; and Program evaluation. [[12.01(8)(a-c)]

“Intellectual ability” is exceptional capability or potential recognized through cognitive processes (e.g., memory, reasoning, rate of learning, spatial reasoning, ability to find and solve problems, ability to manipulate abstract ideas and make connections, etc.). [12.01(16)(a)]

 “Criteria:” Intellectual ability is demonstrated by advanced level on performance assessments or ninety-fifth percentile and above on standardized cognitive tests. [12.01(16)(a)(ii)]

Pathway for a Purpose

Some students may not demonstrate gifted abilities through the use of traditional achievement data.  A student may demonstrate exceptional abilities on a cognitive assessment, but not perform at an exceptional level academically.  The General Intellectual Pathway allows for gifted identification using a qualifying score on a valid and reliable norm-referenced cognitive assessment.  The pathway can support identification of students from underrepresented populations. 

An AU may use this pathway for identification.  If a student is identified using this pathway in one district and moves to another district that does not use this pathway, the identification is portable.  This means the new district shall honor the student's identification from his/her previous district. 


A student may be identified in one or more of the gifted domains (e.g., General Intellectual, Reading, Music, etc.).  Areas of identification are coded separately for the October Pupil Count.

See Gifted Student Enrollment


Students may qualify for gifted identification in the area of General/Specific intellectual Ability.  To meet criteria for portability, a student's body of evidence (BOE) must include a score of 95th percentile or above on one or more batteries of a norm-referenced, valid, and reliable cognitive assessment. 

The determination team must collect and review additional data for the body of evidence to develop the student’s learning profile.   A review team should use their professional judgment to determine if identification is appropriate by examining supplemental or non-traditional information collected through interviews, observations, or performances beyond the academic content areas.

General/Specific Intellectual Ability Pathway


General Intellectual Ability

95th Percentile or above on one or more batteries on a cognitive measure

Consider Other Data:

  • Observations
  • Performances
  • Interviews
  • Checklists
  • Inventories


Resources for General/Specific Intellectual Ability

Note: If you are not able to access the resources or need additional support, please contact the Office of Gifted Education Program Administrator.