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Body of Evidence

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Body of Evidence

The purpose of assessment is to gather information relevant to making a decision.  Colorado’s gifted identification process focuses on research-based assessment practices to ensure multiple pathways to identification are available.

Assessment means methods, tools, and data collected as a body of evidence (BOE) for use in identification and programming. [C.R.S. 22-20-202(5)]

Performance Assessment

Performance Assessment in Colorado is an authentic demonstration of student knowledge and skills through the creation of a complex product or presentation. The product and process are relevant to the student, and prepare them for success in the postsecondary and workforce world. Performance assessments are an iterative process where students apply their knowledge and improve their skills through feedback and revision in order to reflect on and demonstrate growth.


While some of the data in a body of evidence will be used to meet the criteria for gifted identification, as defined in ECEA Rules and CDE Guidance, other data or information may be used to build a learner profile for the purpose of developing appropriate programming options.

Criteria are not cut-off scores. Typically, cut-off score terminology is used in reference to practices that eliminate students from access to further identification assessment because a single test result or score did not provide evidence at the exceptional level. Colorado does not adhere to cut-off score practices. Review teams should continue to explore additional data to reveal student strengths.

A body of evidence should consist of quantitative and qualitative measures to determine if a student meets the criteria for gifted identification and to build a student profile of strengths and interests.

Quantitative Assessments

Quantitative assessment provides numerical scores or ratings that can be analyzed or quantified.

  • Norm-referenced test (e.g., cognitive and achievement
  • Criterion-referenced test (e.g., state assessment and curriculum based measures)

Qualitative Assessments

Qualitative assessment provides interpretive and descriptive information about certain attributes, characteristics, behaviors or performances.

  • Rubric
  • Performance
  • Observation
  • Checklist
  • Interview

Types of Assessments for a Body of Evidence

CDE has developed a resource matrix describing the most common assessments used in Colorado for the purpose of gifted identification. It is important to note that the matrix is intended for informational purposes as CDE does not approve specific identification instruments. An AU must consider the purpose, reliability and validity of a specific test to guide appropriate instrument selection for the purpose of identification. The scope of the assessment should include items to measure exceptional ability and not just grade-level, foundational skills.

Matrix of Commonly Used Identification Assessments (PDF)

Cognitive Tests

Cognitive tests are designed to measure a student’s general intellectual ability.

Creativity Tests

Assessment data from standardized, norm-referenced creativity tests are used to determine if a student demonstrates gifted ability in the area of creativity and/or productive thinking.

Achievement Tests

Assessment data from standardized, criterion-and norm-referenced tests are utilized to determine if a student demonstrates exceptional ability in a specific academic area. Specific academic aptitude areas include reading, writing, math, science, social studies, and world language.

Behavior Observation Scales

Gifted students often demonstrate characteristics that lead to a referral for the gifted identification process. Through the use of these norm-referenced behavior observation scales, educators and parents can identify outstanding talent by observing students in one or more settings that enable them to display their abilities. Characteristics such as leadership, motivation, memory, reasoning, creativity and sense of humor are measured in observation scales. Such measures add valuable information to the body of evidence and focus on more than the academic aptitude measured by many traditional tests students encounter in school.

Performance Evaluation

Gifted ability is often not measured on a specific assessment, but rather demonstrated through some type of performance. Identifying a student with exceptional abilities in a content area or a talent area such as art, music, theater, dance, psychomotor, creativity or leadership requires an evaluation of performance. There are many types of performance data that might be utilized to develop a body of evidence. These may include:

Juried Performance: Students often participate in events within school or outside of school that are judged and evaluated. Students receive some type of rating based on their performance. Data from a valid and reliable juried performance maybe considered as qualifying evidence if the jury consists of a team of experts in their field.

Contest/Competition: Many contests and competitions are available to students within school or outside of school. Top placement in a regional, state or national competition may be considered as a qualifying measurement for gifted identification.

Portfolio: Over time, some students develop a portfolio of work that might be evaluated by a team of experts in the field. The advanced/distinguished rating of a portfolio may be considered as qualifying evidence for gifted identification. A valid and reliable rubric is used in the evaluation of a portfolio to ensure consistency and equal opportunity.

Classroom Performance: Classroom teachers are often critical in providing qualitative data about a student’s performance within the classroom. As the curriculum experts, teachers can identify those students working above their same-age peers. Evidence of above grade-level performance builds a student’s profile.


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