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Specific Talent Aptitudes

Talent Aptitudes Pathway

Talent aptitudes include:  Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Music, Dance, Psychomotor*, Creative or Productive Thinking and Leadership.

Identification in specific talent aptitudes requires the examination of a variety of instruments and the multiple pathways that lead to identification.  It is important educators understand the unique and varied characteristics a student may demonstrate in the talent domains.  Within these areas, several years of talent development may be needed before formal gifted identification can be made.  Students may be included in a talent pool to foster potential over time.  The student may require further development to build a body of evidence that supports formal gifted identification. 

To meet criteria for portability, a student's body of evidence must contain three (3) qualifying data points for a gifted identification in a talent domain.  Often criterion- or norm-referenced assessments are not available in these areas; therefore performance evaluation is an important component in the body of evidence.  If data from a valid and reliable test are not available to demonstrate exceptional ability, two (2) or more indicators in the performance area may be used to meet identification criteria along with an exceptional rating on an observation scale.  In some cases, a norm-referenced scale may not provide an appropriate measure for certain talent domains.  An observation scale that has been developed through analysis and research of the discipline may be used to provide qualifying evidence for talent identification only.  Observation scales and performance evaluation scales should contain content and construct validity. 

Talent Aptitudes Performance Evaluation Observation Scale Criterion- or Norm-referenced Test
  • State or national talent contest - top place or ranking
  • Expert juried performance (Advanced or Distinguished)
  • Portfolio Expert Review (Advanced or Distinguished)
  • 95th Percentile or above on a norm-referenced observation scale in creativity, leadership or motivation
  • Exceptional rating on an observation scale developed through analysis and research of the discipline
  • 95th Percentile or above on norm-referenced talent or creativity test
  • Advanced/95th Percent or above on an approved criterion-referenced talent assessment
  • 95th Percentile of above on one or more batteries on a cognitive assessment


*Identification in the area of psychomotor is designated for state- or national-level elite athletes who have received this ranking from the sport’s national governing body.  These athletes may require a gifted determination to address the interventions necessary as a result of the amount of time the student is out of school or to earn credits for specific courses.    Districts are not required to provide or financially support athletic coaching, training or competitions for students identified in this area. 

The body of evidence for psychomotor identification would include three of the following four indicators: 

  • 95th percentile or above on the Gifted Evaluation Scale (GES) or Gifted Rating Scales (GRS)  for Motivation;
  • Portfolio that chronicles the student’s exceptional performance;
  • Top state or national ranking as determined by the sport’s national governing body;
  • Student or team receiving a top placement or ranking in a multi-state or national competition. 

Talent Identification Toolkit

The following resources have been developed by the Colorado Department of Education to support talent identification.  AUs may choose to use these resources or other research-based talent assessment tools.  The confidential assessment protocols for dance, music, performing and visual arts must be requested by the AU.  The AU completes the form below and submits the signed form to The Office of Gifted Education.  Upon receipt, the Office of Gifted Education will provide the confidential assessments to the AU Gifted Coordinator/Director.  

AU Request for Confidential Talent Assessment Protocols