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General/Specific Academic Aptitude

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Description

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)]

“Criteria:"  Specific academic aptitude is demonstrated by advanced level on performance assessments or ninety-fifth percentile and above on standardized achievement tests. [12.01(16)(b)(ii)]

“Specific academic aptitude” is exceptional capability or potential in an academic content area(s) (e.g., a strong knowledge base or the ability to ask insightful, pertinent questions within the discipline, etc.). [12.01(16)(b)(i)]

Academic Content Areas

Content areas for Specific Academic Aptitude include:

  • Reading*
  • Writing*
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • World language

A student may be identified in one or more of the content areas.  Areas are coded separately for the October Pupil Count.

See Gifted Student Enrollment


Data

To meet criteria for portability, a student's body of evidence (BOE) must contain three (3) measures of qualifying data for a gifted identification in a Specific Academic Aptitude.

Qualifying data must come from three different measures. 

A qualifying cognitive score may be considered as one data point for identification in multiple content areas if two other data points for each content area demonstrate exceptionality.

Not meeting criteria on a single assessment tool shall not prevent further data collection or consideration for identification, if other indicators suggest exceptional potential as observed in a body of evidence. [12.02(2)(d)(ii)]

Data Examples

Example I:  A student scores 95th percentile on a cognitive assessment battery (Verbal on CogAT).  This is considered one piece of qualifying data for any of the content areas.  A score on a different cognitive assessment (NNAT) would not be considered a second qualifying data point because the student already has a qualifying score on a cognitive test.  Two additional academic content measures are required.

Example II:  Two different teachers complete a norm-referenced observation scale for a student.  While data from both teachers can be valuable for building the student's learning profile, the observation scale can only be considered as one qualifying data point.
 

Example III:  A student Exceeds Expectations on the mathematics state assessment.  This is considered one qualifying piece of data.  The student scores 96th percentile on a norm-referenced math achievement test.  This is considered a second qualifying piece of data.  The student would require one more piece of qualifying data for a mathematics identification.  This could be a qualifying cognitive score (Pathway One) or data from a norm-referenced observation scale or a performance evaluation (Pathway Two). 

Example IV:  A student scores 97th percentile on a norm-referenced math achievement test one year and 98th percentile the following year.  The assessment is considered as one qualifying data point even though there are two years of achievement test data. 

 

*Reading and Writing

Reading and writing are separate areas for gifted identification.  A student may be identified as gifted in reading, gifted in writing, or both reading and writing.

However, some assessments and course work combine reading and writing into the content area referred to as language arts. 

For example, a secondary English class typically includes content aligned to both reading and writing.  For a student to perform at an exceptional level in this course, he/she would most likely demonstrate advanced skills in reading and writing.  A performance evaluation or other assessments that measure aptitudes in both reading and writing may provide qualifying data for both content areas.

The performance level "Exceeds Expectations" on the English Language Arts (ELA) state assessment combines both content areas into one score.  Therefore, this measure is qualifying data for identification in both reading and writing. 

If...then....

  • If the assessment/performance includes a metric measuring both reading and writing, then the measure may be used as qualifying data for both content areas. 
  • If the assessment/performance provides only a metric for the specific content area (e.g., reading or writing), then the measure is qualifying data for the specific content area. 


Specific Academic Aptitude Pathways

Two pathways may lead to identification for Specific Academic Aptitude.

Note:  Students are not coded as gifted in the area of Specific Academic Aptitude for the purpose of Advanced Learning Plans (ALPs) or Pupil Enrollment Count.  Students' coding represents the content area of identification within the Specific Academic Aptitudes (e.g., reading, writing, mathematics, science, social studies, and/or world language) as determined by the body of evidence. 


Pathway One: With a Qualifying Cognitive Score

A student may score 95th percentile or above on one or more batteries of a cognitive test and demonstrate aptitude on TWO (2) specific academic measures from any area or combination of areas below within the same content area.

A 95th percentile or above on ANY subtest of a cognitive assessment is considered qualifying data for ALL content areas.  For example, a student may score 97th percentile on the non-verbal section of a cognitive assessment but be identified in mathematics if the other two pieces of qualifying data demonstrate exceptional ability in math.

 

I. Specific Academic Aptitude Criterion- or Norm-referenced Achievement Test

Norm-referenced Observation Scale

Performance Evaluation
  • Exceeds Expectations on state assessment
  • 95th Percentile or above on norm-referenced achievement test
  • 95th percentile or above on CDE Resource Bank or district bank of approved assessments for non-state tested standards
  • 95th percentile or above on a norm-referenced observation scale for specific content area
  • State or national academic contest - top ranking
  • Expert juried performance (Advanced or Distinguished)
  • Teacher/expert assessed portfolio review (Advanced/Distinguished/Above Grade Level

 


Pathway Two:  Without a Qualifying Cognitive Score

A student may not score 95th percentile or above on a cognitive assessment.  However, a review team may determine a comprehensive body of evidence demonstrates gifted academic aptitude. 

Content-specific measurement tools to meet criteria for identification should include at least three (3) or more measures from two (2) of the three areas below.

When cognitive data do not meet gifted criteria, identification in a specific academic aptitude requires an examination of multiple data points and trends over time.  Using this pathway in the primary years requires caution and sufficient data from multiple data points.  At any time when the team needs more time to make a determination, ongoing opportunities in the specific domain are needed to ensure the child’s continued growth and engagement in the content area. 

Additionally, continued examination of multiple data points and trend data over time, three years or less, may be necessary.  A student with advance skills in a content area who does not have qualifying data for a formal identification may benefit from talent pool placement.

 

II. Specific Academic Aptitude Criterion- or Norm-referenced Achievement Test

Norm-referenced Observation Scale

Performance Evaluation
  • Exceeds Expectations on state assessment
  • 95th Percentile or above on norm-referenced achievement test
  • 95th percentile or above on CDE Resource Bank or district bank of approved assessments for non-state tested standards
  • 95th percentile or above on a norm-referenced observation scale for specific content area
  • State or national academic contest - top ranking
  • Expert juried performance (Advanced or Distinguished)
  • Teacher/expert assessed portfolio review (Advanced/Distinguished/Above Grade Level

Resources for Specific Academic Aptitude


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