Advanced Academic Programs – Gifted Education FAQs

Why do we have special programs for gifted students?

Cherokee County educators are committed to the belief that education is a means by which each individual has the opportunity to reach his or her fullest potential. We believe that all students have a right to educational experiences that challenge their individual development whether it is below, at or beyond the level of their age peers. In accordance with this philosophy, Cherokee County schools provide educational programs that recognize and make provisions for the special needs of advanced and highly  motivated  learners  through Advanced Academic Programs and Gifted Education Services.

How is a student nominated for consideration to the Gifted Education Program?

Classroom teachers often make nominations; however, any responsible person who has knowledge of a student’s intellectual functioning or academic performance may nominate the student for further consideration. This may include parents, teachers, administrators, peers or self-nomination. Nominations are made through school-based personnel, a teacher or an administrator. Following a nomination, students are screened using current data to determine the need for further assessment. The screening of a student is accomplished by an Eligibility Team or designated staff member. As assessment data warrants, the screening process moves to an eligibility process with specific procedures followed by a school-based Eligibility Team.

How are students identified as eligible for a Gifted Education Program?

Student eligibility guidelines for gifted education services in Georgia may be found in State Board of Education (SBOE) Rule 160-4-2-.38 EDUCATION PROGRAM FOR GIFTED STUDENTS [Code IDDD(2)].

The definition of a Gifted Student “a student who demonstrates a high degree of intellectual and/or creative ability(ies), exhibits an exceptionally high degree of motivation, and/or excels in specific academic fields, and who needs special instruction and/or special ancillary services to achieve at levels commensurate with his or her abilities.”

The eligibility criteria for gifted program placement are also provided in the SBOE Rule. The Cherokee County School District’s Gifted Education Program follows these guidelines in its eligibility process. The process outlines the four categories for assessment (mental ability, achievement, motivation and creativity) and the performance standards that must be achieved in each for a student to become eligible for gifted education services. Once a student has been assessed in all four data categories, there are two ways eligibility can be established:

Procedure 1, the Psychometric Approach:

The student may qualify on the basis of mental ability and achievement assessment results only (regardless of the assessment results in creativity and motivation). In this case, the mental ability test score must be a composite or full-scale (age) score on a nationally normed standardized test. The composite score must be at a 99th percentile for students in grades K-2. The composite score may be at the 96th percentile or higher for students in grades 3-12. In addition, students (grades K-12) must meet at least one of the achievement standards: 90th percentile for total reading, 90th percentile for total math (with or without computation) or 90th percentile for total achievement test battery. No student may qualify on the basis of a mental ability test score alone.

Procedure 2, the Multiple-Criteria Approach:

The student may qualify by meeting the standards in any three of the four data categories, at least one of which must be on a nationally normed standardized test. Component scores (e.g., Nonverbal Ability), as well as full-scale score, may be used in the area of mental ability. However, component scores must meet the criteria specified in the SBOE Rule and local eligibility processes and procedures.

These abilities (mental ability, achievement, motivation and creativity) may be demonstrated in a variety of ways; thus there are assessment options in each of the data categories as described in the Cherokee County Gifted Education Eligibility Process and Admission Procedures. We are also committed to the belief that gifted students may be found within any race, ethnicity, gender, economic class or nationality.

If a student has been identified as gifted in another county in Georgia, will he/she be eligible for a gifted program placement in Cherokee County?

A student who qualified and was placed in a gifted education program in a public school system within Georgia has reciprocal eligibility, the right to automatically qualify for
placement in the Cherokee County Gifted Education Program. This reciprocity applies at all levels, K-12.

If a student has been identified as gifted in another state, will he/she be eligible for a gifted program placement in Cherokee County, Georgia?

There is no mandated reciprocity between states unless the student is a dependent of military personnel as provided in O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2140 et. seq. However, many states’ definitions are similar, so every attempt is made to establish transferring students’ eligibility for gifted program placement here in Georgia with little or no testing.

The most expedient way to nominate an out-of-state transfer for possible gifted program placement is to collect all assessment data and present those assessment results to school officials at the time of registration. Helpful documents might include: original eligibility reports, recent standardized test scores, work samples and recommendations from current teachers. Gifted program personnel in the receiving school can then evaluate the types of tests that were given, the dates of those tests, etc., and determine what additional testing (if any) may be required to determine eligibility under the Georgia guidelines. By providing that information at the time of registration, parents can help us avoid delays in getting gifted students appropriately placed. We welcome parental nominations for consideration.

How long will the eligibility process take to complete?

The comprehensive eligibility process may take many months. All efforts are made to proceed through the eligibility process in a timely fashion. The gifted education teachers who assess students for possible eligibility are also those providing instructional services to already eligible students. Many factors dictate the length of time it may take to proceed through the eligibility process. These factors include but are not limited to the various grade levels needing assessment, district-wide testing schedules, the return of testing results, the number of students needing additional testing, etc.

If my child does not qualify, can he/she be reconsidered?

A student’s standardized test scores are reviewed annually. An eligibility nomination occurs any time a student’s scores meet specified criteria. A school-based Eligibility Team will use assessment data (mental ability, achievement, motivation and creativity) and SBOE guidelines to determine the process and procedures in each student’s situation.

For instance, a student who does not qualify in first grade may qualify in another grade. Any test score used to establish eligibility shall be current within two years.

What are the certification requirements for a teacher of the gifted students?

Teachers of gifted students must meet the training requirements described in the Gifted Education Regulations included in the SBOE Rule 160-4-2-.38. The Gifted Education Endorsement may be added to a professional teaching certificate by successfully completing a program of study that has been approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. Georgia Professional Standards Commission Rule 505-3-.21 GIFTED IN-FIELD EDUCATION PROGRAM describes the standards for approving a program that prepares individuals to teach gifted students. This is usually a four-class endorsement including Characteristics of the Gifted, Curriculum Methods and Materials for Gifted Students, Assessment of the Gifted, and Gifted Curriculum Models and Program Design.