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Gifted Education FAQs

Gifted and Talented (GT)
Primary Talent Pool (PTP)
Gifted Student Service Plan (GSSP)

Kentucky offers gifted education services for identified students across all grade levels. Primary students are screened and selected as high potential learners while students in grades 4-12 are formally identified for services in one or more of the following areas:
• General Intellectual Aptitude
• Specific Academic Aptitude (Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies)
• Creative or Divergent Thinking
• Psychosocial or Leadership Skills
• Visual or Performing Arts

704 KAR 3:285. Programs for the gifted and talented.

NECESSITY, FUNCTION, AND CONFORMITY:

KRS 157.200(1)(n) includes within the definition of “exceptional children” a category of “exceptional students” who are identified as possessing demonstrated or potential ability to perform at an exceptionally high level in general intellectual aptitude, specific academic aptitude, creative or divergent thinking, psychosocial or leadership skills, or in the visual or performing arts. KRS 157.224(1) commits the state to a comprehensive educational program for its exceptional school-aged children. KRS 157.230 requires all school districts to operate programs for resident exceptional children, primary – grade twelve (12). This administrative regulation establishes the requirements for programs for gifted and talented students. (This document is intended to provide guidelines for interpreting 704 Kentucky Administrative Regulation (KAR) 3:285. Programs for the gifted and talented. Kentucky Department of Education is here to assist in the implementation of this interpretation and/or the regulation.)

Reference: http://www.education.ky.gov/kde/instructional+resources/gifted+and+talented/

GIFTED EDUCATION FAQS

GIFTED & TALENTED STUDENTS
Q:  According to 704 KAR 3:285. Programs for the gifted and talented, what defines a GT student?
A:   According to state regulation for gifted and talented programs, a gifted and/or talented child is defined as a category of “exceptional students” who are identified as possessing demonstrated or potential ability to perform at an exceptionally high level in general intellectual aptitude, specific academic aptitude, creative or divergent thinking, psychosocial or leadership skills, or in the visual or performing arts.

PROGRAMMING FOR THE GIFTED & TALENTED
Q: What should quality GT programming look like?
A:  In any school district, high quality gifted programming requires careful planning, maintenance, and evaluation. Quality GT programming necessitates: clearly articulated policies, procedures and services, primary through grade twelve; a grievance procedure through which a parent, guardian, or student may resolve a concern regarding the appropriate and adequate provision of primary talent pool services or services addressed in a formally identified gifted and talented student’s services plan; employment of properly certified and professionally qualified personnel; evidence of appropriate professional development for all personnel working with gifted and talented students; and equitable opportunities for consideration for services at the primary level and in each category of service in grades 4-12.

Q:  Can parents have input on local district programming for GT services?
A:  District policies and procedures shall ensure that a program evaluation process shall be conducted annually and shall address parent(s) attitudes toward the program.

Q:  Must a district assign a GT coordinator for the program?
A:  Yes. A district receiving state funding shall designate a properly endorsed GT program coordinator.

Q:  What are some of the duties of a GT program coordinator?
A:  Some duties include: the oversight of the district GT program; to serve as a liaison between the district and the state; to ensure internal compliance with state statutes and administrative regulation for GT programs; and to administer and revise the GT program budget.

CURRICULUM FOR GT STUDENTS
Q:  Should GT students have the same curriculum that is provided for all students?
A:  A comprehensive framework or course of study for GT students shall be based on a district or school’s curricula that shall be differentiated, supplemented or modified to assist students to further develop their individual interest, needs and abilities.

DIVERSITY
Q: How can a district address the issue of underrepresentation of minority children identified as GT?
A:  Alternative means and methods are often helpful in identifying GT children from minority populations, relying more heavily upon observation (by teacher and/or GT specialist) and nonverbal tests. Such nonverbal tests may include the NNAT (Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test) and the Raven’s Progressive Matrices. Observation-based methods for teachers may include the KOI (Kingore Observation Inventory) and the Renzulli Rating Scales. It would be helpful to combine these methods with information specifically relating to gifted minority students. A local school district shall provide a system for diagnostic screening and identification of strengths, gifted behaviors and talents which provides equal access for racial and ethnic minority children, disadvantaged children, and children with disabilities.

FORMAL IDENTIFICATION
Q: When are students formally identified for gifted services?
A:  Initially, students may be formally identified in the fourth grade. Students who show evidence of giftedness any time during the school year or subsequent grade levels may also be considered. The district shall provide a system for continual diagnostic screening.

Q:  When screening for G/T students, is one instrument used?
A:  Screening for gifted and talented students must include all five categories of giftedness (general intellectual aptitude, specific academic aptitude, creative or divergent thinking, leadership, and the visual or performing arts). A district shall develop a system for searching the entire school population on a continuous basis for likely candidates for services using both informal and available formal, normed, standardized measures, including measures of nonverbal ability, in all areas.

Q:  What can be done if a parent/guardian feels their child has been missed during the identification process?
A:  A district must provide a petition system as a safeguard for a student who may have been missed during the identification process.

Q: Can a formally identified GT student be reevaluated for giftedness?
A:  No. Once a student is formally identified, a student remains identified and receives gifted services until the student graduates from high school. A student’s service options may be reevaluated periodically, and is encouraged, as students’ interests, needs and abilities change over time.

Q:  Can the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) come up with the same identification criteria that would unify all districts for identification?
A:  There is diversity across the Commonwealth, with each district unique in their population with differing needs. As a result, districts may use identification tools that match their population. As far as the unified requirements, it is provided in the regulation, 704 KAR 3:285. Section 3. The regulation states that three evidence options are required and that each area of identification has criteria to be able to identify students for GT. There will be more consistency in identifying GT students when more districts follow the regulation.

Q:  Must a student show evidence in both Reading and Language Arts to be identified as gifted in the area of Language Arts, Specific Academic Ability?
A:  Only one area is needed, not both for identification purposes. However, the additional information may be used as supporting evidence for giftedness, especially when providing service options matching strengths, interests and abilities.

Q:  If a child is identified as gifted in general intellectual intelligence, does it mean he/she is gifted in all areas of giftedness?
A:  No. General intellectual intelligence is one area of possible giftedness. There are five categories of giftedness recognized in Kentucky through regulation; general intellectual aptitude, specific academic aptitude, creative or divergent thinking, leadership, and the visual or performing arts. A student identified in one area does not directly indicate identification in another. Students may be identified in one area or several.

Q:  Can formal identification be accepted if a student comes from another school district in Kentucky?
A:  Yes. All students in Kentucky, according to the regulation governing gifted and talented programs, must be identified with at least three pieces of qualifying evidence. Therefore, the identification of GT and PTP students from other districts should be honored. Service options may need to be adjusted for those students coming from districts that have less stringent qualifying criteria.

Q:  Can formal identification be accepted for a student who moves from another state to Kentucky?
A:  No. In order to receive gifted and talented services, the student must meet the identification requirements according to Kentucky’s regulation. The students transferred records with evidence or qualifying test data that supports giftedness may be considered; but identification does not transfer from another state to Kentucky.

GIFTED STUDENT SERVICE PLAN (GSSP)
Q:  What is a GSSP?
A:  A GSSP is an educational plan that matches a formally identified gifted student’s (Grades 4-12) interests, needs, and abilities to differentiated service options and serves as the communication vehicle between the parents/guardians and school personnel.

Q:  Is a GSSP required for every GT student?
A:  Yes. Every formally identified student in grades 4-12 must have a GSSP. A parent/ guardian of a GT student shall be notified annually of services included in the GSSP and given access to specific procedures to follow in requesting a change in services.

Q:  May parents/guardians play a role in the development of the GSSP?
A:  Yes. A local school district shall implement a procedure to obtain information related to the interests, needs, and abilities of a GT student from the parent/guardian for use in determining appropriate services.

Q:  Is the school required to provide any feedback on students’ progress?
A:  Yes. The school personnel shall report students’ progress related to the GT services delineated in the GSSP at least once each semester.

SERVICE DELIVERY OPTIONS
Q: According to 704 KAR 3:285. Programs for the gifted and talented, what is differentiation?
A:  Differentiation is a method through which educators establish a specific, well thought out match between learner characteristics in terms of abilities, interests, and needs; and curriculum opportunities in terms of enrichment and acceleration options, which maximize learning experiences. Differentiated service options are educational experiences that extend, replace or supplement learning beyond the standard curriculum.

Q:  How are counseling services be matched to the needs of gifted children?
A:  Recommended best practices suggest that a counselor with any GT students in his/her service population should be prepared to address the needs of those students. Counselors, by the nature of their work, are to be aware of the special needs of the GT population and should prepare through courses of professional development.

Q:  What services should be provided for a student identified in visual/performing arts and has no matching class in his/her schedule?
A:  All classroom teachers must be made aware of GT students’ identification area. Differentiation may be used in terms of interests, products, process, enriched content, etc. Other ideas include securing a mentor, providing a periodic pullout session, independent study, looking to individuals in the community, parents, school personnel, etc. All teachers’ input should be reflective on the students GSSP.

Q:  Are there any specific qualifications for a teacher who works with GT students?
A:  Direct services to GT students shall be provided by appropriately certified personnel having an endorsement for GT education.

Q:  Is it good practice to allow a GT child to tutor another child?
A:  If your goal is continuous progress, do not use a GT child as a tutor. If a GT child has mastered a concept or skill, and is partnered with a struggling student, the GT student will not learn anything more by tutoring. However, leadership or other skills may be enhanced, but not the mastered concept or skill.

Q:  What recourse does a parent/guardian have if there is a concern regarding appropriate and adequate provision of talent pool services or GT services addressed in a student services plan?
A:  A school district shall establish a grievance procedure through which a parent, guardian or student may resolve the concern(s). It is recommended that parents and school districts work together to meet the needs of the individual child.

POLICIES/PROCEDURES
Q:  Can a district write more stringent and/or specific guidelines than those outlined in 704 KAR 3:285 Programs for the gifted and talented?
A:  Policies and procedures can be written to reflect individual district population and need. The guidelines in KAR are minimal requirements.

Q:  What is to be done with the records of GT students upon graduation?
A:  Students’ GT records should remain in the students’ cumulative folder and upon graduation, the GT records will be handled in the same manner as the students’ cumulative folder.

Q:  Can a parent/guardian have access to the district policies and procedures for GT programming?
A:  A local school district shall have in operation, and available for public inspection, local board approved policies and procedures which address each requirement in the administrative regulation for GT programming.

TESTING
Q:  What tests are recommended to identify giftedness in social studies and science?
A:  KDE has not made any formal recommendations of any specific tests for any specific area. Presently, districts have a choice as long as it follows the GT regulation criteria.

Q:  On the SAGES–2 test, there are Math/Science and Language Arts/Social Studies subtests. If a student scores in the 9th stanine on either subtest, can this be used as a qualifying score for both subject areas?
A:  The subtest does not provide a composite test score in a specific subject area. Therefore, it cannot be used as the qualifying evidence for formal identification. However, SAGES-2 can be used as supporting evidence.

UNDERACHIEVEMENT
Q:  How is underachievement defined and determined?
A. Essentially a common, general definition as it applies to education: Underachievement is defined as a student achieving poorly and/or less than their potential or mental abilities would indicate they should be capable of attaining. Simply stated, a discrepancy between ability and performance, or unfulfilled potential. 

FUNDING/ALLOCATIONS
Q:  Must the money allocated to districts for GT education be spent before the fiscal year closes?
A:  Yes, districts must use the state allocation for GT Funding by June 30th. If nearing the deadline, unused money can be encumbered and off the books immediately unless districts wish to return the unused amount over 10% of the allocation to the state.

Q:  Why isn’t there a funded, statewide provision for all teachers to receive professional development for educating gifted and talented students?
A:  Districts are provided state funds allocated specifically for professional development. The state makes no recommendation as to what professional development is to be provided. It is the decision of each district to use the professional development allocation as needed. Bringing the issue to the attention of district administrators (and in some cases the school council) may open the door for district wide professional development on educating GT students.

STATE REPORTING
Q:  When should student data be entered in the state reporting system (Infinite Campus?)
A:  KDE recommends entering data regularly or as soon as it is available, not only at the end of the year. KDE has the capability to extract district data at any time and does so periodically. The data must be current and reflect daily changes in order to create an accurate view of Kentucky’s GT student information at any given time during the year.

References:
704 Kentucky Administrative Regulation (KAR) 3:285. Programs for the gifted and talented.
 

PRIMARY TALENT POOL FAQS

Q:  What is the Primary Talent Pool?
A:  The Primary Talent Pool is a group of primary students (P1-P4; Kindergarten through Third Grade) informally selected as having characteristics and behaviors of a high potential learner and further diagnosed using a series of informal and formal measures to determine differentiated services during the primary program.

Q:  What is the benefit of selecting students for the PTP?
A:  The benefit of selecting students to participate in the PTP provides early enrichment for those students whose gifts and talents need to be nurtured in order for those talents to develop further. Additionally, talent development may assist in the formal identification process in fourth grade.

Q:  When students become eligible for formal identification in the fourth grade, are PTP students automatically identified as GT?
A:  PTP students are not automatically identified as GT once they reach the fourth grade. Specific and more stringent criteria must be met to formally identify a GT student.

Q:  Can formal testing be used to select students for the PTP?
A: Yes. However, data from formal, normed measures shall not be used for the purpose of eliminating eligibility for services to a child in the primary program. Formal, normed measures may be used to discover and include eligible students overlooked by informal assessments.

Q:  What percentage of primary students is recommended to be selected for the PTP?
A:  According to 704 KAR 3:285, “high-potential learners” are students who typically represent the top quartile (25%) of the entire student population in terms of the degree of demonstrated gifted characteristics and behaviors. The PTP may represent the top 5% in each of the five areas of GT (general intellectual ability, specific academic aptitude, leadership, creativity and the visual and performing arts) for a total of 25% of the entire primary school population.

Q:  Can a student be selected for the PTP one year and not the next?
A:  No. Once a student is in the PTP, the student remains in the talent pool until exiting the third grade (P4). Services may need to be periodically adjusted to fit the individual child’s specific needs.

Q:  Are parents/guardians to be notified that their child is in the PTP?
A:  There is no reference in the GT regulation that parents/guardians are to be notified of student selection for the PTP. Individual districts may decide whether to notify or not and this can be addressed in the district’s policies and procedures.

Q:  How are services delivered to PTP?
A:  For a student in the primary grades, services shall allow for continuous progress through a differentiated curriculum and flexible grouping and regrouping based on the individual needs, interests, and abilities of the student.  Emphasis on educating gifted students in the general primary classroom, shall not exclude the continued, appropriate use of resource services, acceleration options, or other specific service options.  A recommendation for a service shall be made on an individual basis.

Reference:
Primary Talent Pool Frequently Asked Questions; A Publication of the Kentucky Advisory Council for Gifted & Talented Education & the Kentucky Department of Education http://www.education.ky.gov/KDE/Instructional+Resources/Gifted+and+Talented /Frequently+Asked+Questions++Gifted+and+Talented.htm

For more information, please contact:
Toddie Adams
Director of Gifted Services

tatiana.adams@marshall.kyschools.us