Gifted and Talented Programming

MacLaren serves Gifted and Talented (GT) students in accordance with the Exceptional Children’s Education Act and Colorado Department of Education guidelines. Universal screening occurs in the second and sixth grades.

Identification Process and Timeline

MacLaren conducts universal screening of all students in the second and sixth grades and of all transfer students. The cognitive measure used for universal screening is the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT), Form 8. Measures of Academic Progress (MAPS) and state-testing data provide academic achievement data.

In the Upper School, students scoring in the 95th percentile or above on the CogAT are placed in the talent pool. Students may also be referred to the talent pool based on exceptional academic aptitude as seen in test scores or teacher referrals. Parents may also directly request screening for their child through the GT Coordinator. Screenings occur in the fall.

In the Lower School, second graders are added to the Talent Pool if they score in the 86th percentile or higher on the CogAT. This group is served and observed through second grade as a talent pool. Classroom teachers and the Integrated Resource Teacher collect information and compile bodies of evidence for potential identification. Formal identification takes place in the fall of third grade, after MAPS testing. 

The criteria used for gifted identification are:
  1. Cognitive Measure: CogAT, Form 8. 95th percentile or above on at least one battery. The cognitive and academic achievement areas must agree (e.g. verbal reasoning on the CogAT and reading on MAPS).
  2. Academic achievement measure: MAPS, 95th percentile or above in at least one area tested. CMAS, PAARC, or other appropriate norm-referenced achievement tests may also be used.
  3. Scales for Identifying Gifted Students (SIGS) Teacher rating of 95% or higher; parent rating of 98% or higher.
Students not qualifying via a cognitive measure (CogAT) may also qualify via an appropriate, comprehensive body of evidence with multiple points of data seen consistently over time.

The Gifted Review Team (GRT) reviews screening results, student portfolios, and teacher/parent input and makes referral decisions. A decision to identify, not-identify, or to gather more information is made within 30 days of the initial referral date. Parents are informed of identification via letter and asked for input into the Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) development process. ALPs for newly identified students are developed in October. 

Portability of GT Designation

Gifted designation meeting state norms is portable between schools within the State of Colorado. Upon receiving supporting documentation from the previous school, MacLaren will add gifted students to the GT Roster and begin ALP development. While the status transfers, the particular goals and means of services may differ from school to school according to the school model.

ALP Update Cycle

ALPs are developed each fall by the appropriate classroom teachers. Students and parents are surveyed for their input on interests and goal development. Parents receive mid-year updates and progress reports at semester evaluation conferences in January. End-of-year progress reports and recommendations are written at the end of the school year and sent to parents.

GT Programming

Differentiated instruction, enrichment tutorials, and student-driven projects are the main instruments used to offer GT programming during school hours. The goal of each programming option is to encourage students to go deeper in the material at hand, rather than add additional material or more work. Each approach encourages students to become agents of their own education and encourage deeper learning within the regular classroom. There are also numerous opportunities for leadership development in the classroom and social life of the school. Additional enrichment opportunities are available outside the classroom.


Direct questions or concerns about the GT Program at MacLaren to Mr. Fuller, GT Coordinator.
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