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High Ability

The High Ability Program is a result of the expressed interest of the community, school board, school administration, and teachers to ensure that every child will receive the appropriate services in meeting the diverse needs in their area of high ability.

The goals for meeting the needs of Decatur Township's High Ability students are:

  • To maintain a well communicated defensible identification process intentionally representing all students including typically underserved populations throughout the school district. 
  • To provide differentiated learning opportunities and best practices in instruction incorporating the areas of general intellectual ability, specific academic aptitude, creative and critical thinking and problem solving skills. 
  • To provide specialized programing concentrating on best practices as well as providing unique opportunities for enrichment of our gifted learners. 
  • To support teachers' instruction in specific aptitude, higher-level thinking and problem solving skils with the goal of students going on to post-secondary opportunities. 

*Note: The goals of MSD of Decatur Township's High Ability Grade K-12 will be reviewed each year by the Broad-Based Planning Committee to ensure the goals are consistent in meeting the diverse needs of high-ability students.

High Ability Identification

Kindergarten, Grade 2 and Grade 5

In January, students in Grades K, 2 and 5 throughout the district will take the CogAT Complete. The CogAT is a measure of potential that looks at general thinking and problem-solving skills of students, and indicates how well the student uses these skills to solve verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal problems. Kindergarten students take the paper/pencil version of the assessment, and grades 2 and 5 take it online. Using information from both the CogAT Complete and STAR winter achievement scores, a district-wide identification committee uses an anonymous process to review the student scores and determinations of placement in the specific areas of langauge arts, math, and general intelligence. 

Any student receiving a score in the 96th percentile or above on either the CogAT or STAR assessments will automatically be placed in the corresponding area. If students are very close (94th - 95th percentile on either CogAT or STAR), we use the Scales for Identifying Gifted Students (SIGS) as our final measure. The SIGS is a norm-referenced rating scale designed to assist school districts in the identification of students as gifted. The High Ability Committee meets again once this additional data is available to make a final decision about these students. Students admitted to the program will be placed with a "cluster" of students who have similar needs and aptitude the following school year. All parents/guardians are notified by the end of April the school year prior to identification. 

Grades 1, 3, 4 & 6

Students in grades, 1, 3, 4 & 6 are nominated by their classroom teacher. Nomination forms are reviewed by the High Ability Committee and those chosen are given the CogAT Screener, paper/pencil version. The CogAT scores, STAR winter assessment scores, and SIGS rating scales are used during the selection process to determine if a student will be placed in the High Ability Program.

Note: Students in kindergarten and 1st grade are provisionally placed in the program and will go through the full process again as 2nd grade students. 

Resources for Parents

Web Sites for Gifted Education