North Allegheny Gifted Support Program Philosophy Statement

    North Allegheny’s Gifted Education Program reflects and extends our mission statement to appropriately challenge and prepare our advanced learners to live productively in our changing society.  While providing enrichment and a broad spectrum of educational opportunities, the gifted education program encourages the individual learner to develop personal responsibility, task commitment, self-discipline, independent learning skills, respectful conduct, and social/emotional balance.   The development of critical thinking, problem solving, communication skills and creativity is shared collaboratively among the gifted learner, the parents, and the North Allegheny educational community.

    Mentally Gifted:

    The definition of giftedness comes from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Special Education Rules and Regulations under Chapter 16 and states that a student who is mentally gifted demonstrates outstanding intellectual and creative ability, the development of which requires specially designed programs or support services, or both, not ordinarily provided in the regular education program.  This term includes a person who has an IQ of 130 or higher or when multiple criteria, as set forth in Chapter 16 and in Department Guidelines, indicate gifted ability.  Determination of gifted ability will not be based on IQ score alone.  Deficits in memory or processing speed, as indicated by intellectual ability subtests, cannot be the sole basis upon which a student is determined to be ineligible for gifted special education.  A person with an IQ score lower than 130 may be admitted to gifted programs when other educational criteria in the profile of the person strongly indicate gifted ability. Determination of mentally gifted must include a full assessment by a certified school psychologist.

    The North Allegheny School District engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of gifted education, individualized to meet the student needs.  At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state regulations and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress.  


    To identify students who may be eligible for gifted education, various screening activities are conducted annually.  This systematic screening process fulfills the District’s obligation to conduct child find activities for students who may need services or instruction not ordinarily provided in the general education curriculum.  The review considers information about academic and cognitive abilities collected on all students at a given grade level.  After receiving the results of the group achievement assessments, the District will conduct a review of screening information for students enrolled in grades 1 through 5 each school year.


    A.   District Referral/Child Find:  The North Allegheny School District has established procedures whereby the classroom teacher and/or school counselor will review student performance data in January through May of each school year.  The review considers information about academic abilities collected on all students at a given grade level.  After receiving the results of the group ability assessment, the school counselor will conduct a review of the screening information for students in each building by completing the appropriate level on the Multiple Criteria-based Screening for Giftedness form.  Once a student meets the specific screening requirements on the Multiple Criteria-based Screening for Giftedness form, the District will make a referral for a Gifted Multi-Disciplinary Evaluation (GMDE).  Data available at each grade level will vary; however, these generally include the following: 


    Child Find Benchmark

    Grade Level Administered

    Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test – 2nd Edition (K-BIT2)

    130 or higher

    Grades K, 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12

    Edmentum Exact Path

    90% National Percentile Rank (NPR) or higher on one of the following subtests:

    • Reading 
    • Mathematics

    Grades 2 through 8

    Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA)

    90th percentile within the Advanced score range in either reading or math

    Grades 4-12

    AIMSweb Reading OR AIMSweb Math Composites

    97th percentile or higher

    Grades K-2

    Keystone Algebra I Exam 

    97th percentile score

    As available

    Keystone Literature Exam 

    97th percentile score

    As available

    Keystone Biology Exam 

    97th percentile score

    As available

    Math Grade Acceleration

    80%+ on End-of-Year tests

    Grades 4 and 5


    98% or higher on curricular measures in reading or math

    Grades 1 through 3


    98% or higher in three out of five core classes (grades from AP level courses will be weighted)

    Grades 6 through 12

    B.   Parent Referral:  When parents suspect their child is gifted, they may request in writing an evaluation at any time, with the limit of one request per school year.  As per 22 PA. Code § 16.22 (c), if a parent makes the request for an evaluation verbally, the school district must inform them to put their request in writing.  When the District receives the written request, the parents will receive a Permission to Evaluate form within 10 calendar days of the written request.  The District must receive a parent’s signature on the form in order to continue with the evaluation process.  Parents will also be asked to provide information that will be included in the evaluation.

    Gifted Multi-Disciplinary Evaluation (GMDE)

    When the District’s screening process indicates that a student has potential consistent with the definition of mentally gifted or a performance level which exceeds that of other students in the regular classroom or a parent(s) suspects their child is gifted and requests an evaluation in writing, the District will initiate a Gifted Multidisciplinary Evaluation (GMDE) as specified in Title 22 Pennsylvania Code, Chapter 16 to be conducted by the Gifted Multi-Disciplinary Team (GMDT).  The GMDE must be sufficient in scope and depth to investigate information relevant to the student’s suspected giftedness, including academic functioning, learning strengths, and educational needs.  

    A. The Gifted Multi-Disciplinary Team (GMDT)

    The Gifted Multi-Disciplinary Team (GMDT) includes a certified school psychologist, the principal or District representative, the classroom teacher(s), a school counselor, and the parent(s)/guardian(s).  The GMDT conducts a comprehensive evaluation that is sufficient in scope to investigate information relevant to the student’s suspected giftedness, including academic functioning, learning strengths, rates of acquisition and retention, intervening factors that may mask giftedness, and educational needs.  If at any time, the parent(s) decides to rescind permission to evaluate, the evaluation process will be stopped as long as the parent’s request is in writing.  

    “The GMDT has the responsibility of contributing information to the GMDE that:

    • Assures that comprehensive data has been collected on the student to indicate academic instructional levels, thinking skills and other learning skill levels, rate of acquisition/retention for mastery of new content/skills, academic interests/strengths, and, as appropriate, developmental levels (young students) and career goals.
    • Provides clarifying information about the ability of children who score below IQ 130 (within the standard of measurement for the test) and have strong indications of gifted performance.
    • Determines if additional assessment, such as out-of-level academic testing, is needed.  When normed and validated individualized standardized testing is used, a clear explanation of subtest results should be part of the Gifted Written Report.  Such explanation may include:
      • Mastery level
      • Functional/instructional level and frustration level
      • Grade level equivalencies
      • District performance criteria for competency
      • Mastery and excellence of output
      • Comprehensive developmental levels in subtests
      • Implications in the learning process of the student
    • Recommends whether a student is gifted and in need of specially designed instruction.
    • Recommends appropriate integrated programming for a student if there is more than one area of exceptionality.
    • Provides information about the student's adaptive and social behavior if this is appropriate.

    The GWR should be compiled based on a complete evaluation and carry the recommendations of all individuals participating, whether or not the individuals are in concurrence. The determination of giftedness, i.e., eligibility under Chapter 16, resides with the GMDT, which includes the parents.”  (Pennsylvania Department of Education Gifted Guidelines August 2010, pages 13-14)

    The evaluation process must take into consideration any Intervening Factors Masking Giftedness. “Documented, observed validated or assessed evidence that intervening factors such as English as a Second Language, learning disability, physical impairment, emotional disability, gender or race bias, or socio-cultural deprivation are masking gifted abilities.”  (22 PA. Code §16.21 (e) (5))

    B. Tools for Evaluation

    The following data will be considered by the GMDT:

    1. Individual Achievement test
    2. Curriculum-Based Assessments (CBA) in Reading and Mathematics
    3. Gifted Rating Scale
    4. Parent(s)/Guardian(s) Input
    5. Teacher(s) Input
    6. Other Educational Records

    The GMDE must include information from the parents or others who interact with the student on a regular basis, and may include information from the student if appropriate.”  (22 PA. Code § 16.22 (f))

    C. Gifted Written Report

    The Gifted Written Report (GWR) brings together the findings from the evaluation or reevaluation concerning the student’s educational needs (strengths).  “The report must make recommendations as to whether the student is gifted and in need of specially designed instruction, indicate the basis of those recommendations, include recommendation for the student’s programming, and indicate the names and positions of the members of the GMDT.”  (22 PA. Code § 16.22(h)). 

    D. Gifted Identification

    During the evaluation process, the Permission to Evaluate (PTE) form will be issued to provide parental consent to administer one or more of the following instruments: individual cognitive ability test, individual achievement test, curriculum-based assessments (CBA) in reading and mathematics and/or gifted rating scale.  Gifted rating scales are norm-referenced rating scales based on current theories of giftedness. A minimum of one teacher will complete the scale who has known the student for at least one month.  In addition, parent and teacher input will be obtained and an educational records review conducted.

    The term includes a person who has an IQ of 130 or higher or when multiple criteria as set forth in this chapter and in Department Guidelines indicate gifted ability and demonstrate a need for specially designed instruction. Determination of gifted ability will not be based on IQ score alone. Deficits in memory or processing speed, as indicated by testing, cannot be the sole basis upon which a student is determined to be ineligible for gifted special education. The determination of mentally gifted must include an assessment by a certified school psychologist (22 Pa. Code §16.21(d)).  A person with an IQ score lower than 130 may be admitted to gifted programs when other educational criteria in the profile of the person strongly indicate gifted ability utilizing the following multiple criteria below:

    • Intellectual ability score of 127 or higher on an individual cognitive ability test. A general ability index will also be considered to mitigate the effects of memory and processing speed. No one test or measure is sufficient to determine giftedness.


    A year or more above grade achievement level for the normal age group in one or more subjects as measured by nationally normed and validated achievement tests able to accurately reflect gifted performance. Subject results shall yield academic instruction levels in all academic subject areas (22 Pa. Code §16.21(e) (1)).

    • Individual Achievement test with a score at the 97th percentile rank or higher on the Reading Comprehension subtest, Reading Composite, Math Problem-Solving subtest, and/or Math Composite.

    Rate of Acquisition, Rate of Retention 

    An observed or measured rate of acquisition/retention of new academic content or skills that
    reflect gifted ability (22 Pa. Code§16.21(e) (2)).

    • Rates of acquisition and retention data are obtained by direct observation and reporting from teachers, special area teachers, and/or administrators and supervisors. Rate of Acquisition is defined as the rate at which a student acquires, understands, and demonstrates competency and/or mastery of new learning. Rate of Retention is defined as the rate at which a student retains concepts and skills necessary for subsequent learning. Areas observed/measured include English/Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, and Science. A student must demonstrate a high rate of acquisition and retention to be considered under this criterion.

    Demonstrated Achievement

    Demonstrated achievement, performance or expertise in one or more academic areas as
    evidenced by excellence of products, portfolio or research, as well as criterion-referenced team
    judgment (22 Pa. Code §16.21(e) (3)).

    • Demonstrated achievement includes performance-based skills or expertise that shows a high-level of accomplishment, and indicates exceptional interest and motivation in specific areas. Demonstrated achievement is determined by teacher evaluation and observation of a student’s performance above and beyond local curricular expectations and standards. This may include work samples, summative assessments, end-of-year assessments, and formative assessments of which indicates needs beyond what can be offered through the continuum of services provided within the general education program.
    • A recommendation from the team that includes specific documentation of academic acceleration and enrichment, when applicable, which have proven to be insufficient in providing an appropriate education for the student.

    Early Skill Development

    Early and measured use of high level thinking skills, academic creativity, leadership skills,
    intense academic interest areas, communications skills, foreign language aptitude or technology
    expertise (22 Pa. Code §16.21(e) (4)).

    • A standardized, norm-referenced gifted rating scale that helps identify gifted and talented students will be completed by the student’s teacher(s). The 77th percentile is the minimum qualifying score in at least one area of skill development. The scale utilized complies with both the research literature and current definitions of giftedness, and measures early skill development including intellectual ability, creativity, leadership, and academic interests and skills.

    Intervening Factors Masking Giftedness

    Documented, observed, validated, or assessed evidence that intervening factors, such as English as a Second Language, disabilities defined in 34 CFR 300.8 (relating to a child with a disability), gender or race bias, or socio/cultural deprivation may mask gifted abilities.  The GMDE team is cautioned to examine the discrepancies between ability assessment results and academic achievement or demonstrated skills, and discrepancies among ability subtests.

    If a student does not meet the definition of mentally gifted or multiple criteria and does not demonstrate the need for specially designed instruction, the student will not be admitted to the gifted education program.

    E. Gifted Individualized Education Plan (GIEP)

    The Gifted Individualized Education Plan (GIEP) is the framework of a student's program and should consist of information that is useful in providing appropriate programming and support services.  The GIEP is a yearly summary document that includes all curricular areas in which a gifted child is to receive education that is adapted and modified to provide opportunities to participate in acceleration or enrichment, or both, as appropriate for the student’s individual needs.  The options must enable them to learn at different rates, to learn difficult material earlier, and to think at a level different from their classmates.

    A GIEP meeting must be held at least annually. In addition, a GIEP meeting must be held when a parent(s)/guardian(s) or teacher requests a meeting to develop, review, or revise a student's individualized education plan.  The GIEP Team includes the parent(s)/guardian(s); the student if 16 years of age or older (or younger if the parent(s)/guardian(s) chooses to have the student participate); a representative of the District who serves as the chairperson of the GIEP Team, who is knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the District and is authorized by the District to commit those resources; one or more of the student’s current teachers; and/or other individuals at the discretion of either the parent(s)/guardian(s) or the District.

    The District will take steps to ensure that one or both of the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the student attend the GIEP meeting or have the opportunity to participate. An invitation to the GIEP meeting must be provided to the parents at least 10 calendar days in advance of the meeting. The meeting will be scheduled at a mutually agreed upon time and place.

    Components of the GIEP include:

    • Present Levels of Educational Performance which establish the extent of gifted potential, academic functioning levels, the child's rates of acquisition/retention, and performance levels. Information would include:  Academic/Cognitive Strengths, Achievement Results (aligned to grade/course level standards to indicate instructional level), Progress on Goals (for annual review only), Aptitudes, interests, specialized skills, products and evidence of effectiveness in other academic areas, and Grades/Classroom Performance as Indicated by Subject Area Teachers.
    • Annual Goals are to be developed from the present levels of educational performance and be reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress within one year's time.
    • Short-term Learning Outcomes are the actions and activities that will help the child reach the annual goals, evaluation criteria to determine when the child has achieved the annual goals, and the timelines. They should include what the student will produce, how he/she will apply the skills, or what real outcome will be achieved as a result of their engaging in a study, activity, or subject.
    • Specially Designed Instruction are the adaptations or modifications to the general curriculum, instruction, instructional environments, methods, materials, or a specialized curriculum. Specially designed instruction consists of planning and implementing varied approaches to content, process and product modification in response to the student's interests, ability levels, readiness, and learning needs.
    • Support Services could include, but are not limited to the following: career guidance, counseling, affective education, transportation, technology education, and flexible grouping.
    • Dates indicate when the services will begin and the anticipated duration, based on one year, of the services.


    F. Notice of Recommended Assignment (NORA)

    At the conclusion of the GIEP meeting, a Notice of Recommended Assignment (NORA) is issued.  A NORA provides the parents with formal opportunity to agree or disagree with the identification, evaluation, educational placement, or the provision of gifted education as written in the GIEP.

    Appendix A

    Glossary of Terms:

    Ability Grouping

    Arranging students by ability to meet various instructional purposes.  These groups are specific to the educational goal to be achieved and can be flexibly formed and reformed as needed. Ability grouping is not synonymous with tracking. 

    Above Level Testing

    Also called out-of-level testing – Administering a test level that is designed for an older student.  For example, a 5th grader might take chapter tests from the 6th or even 7th grade placement tests to demonstrate knowledge.


    Access to higher level learning activities and skill development that typically is not provided in regular education to students of the same age.  The pacing, complexity and depth of planned coursework are modified as indicated by individual needs.  Acceleration may include:  planned course compacting/telescoping, subject acceleration, specially designed instruction, credit by examination or performance, interdisciplinary planned courses, distance learning courses, higher education level courses, independence or self-directed study. 


    Holding students, teachers, administrators, and other school personnel responsible for instructional outcomes.

    Achievement Test

    An objective assessment that measures educationally relevant skills or knowledge about academic subjects.


    Using the curriculum and adjusting it to meet the needs of the student.

    Advanced Placement (AP) Course

    Planned courses of study in which secondary regular education students may gain college credit and/or advanced college placement.  These courses are normally available at the 11th and 12th grade level.  Credit is earned by successfully meeting criteria established by higher education institutions on a nationally given and scored advanced placement examination.


    An inclination to excel in the performance of a certain skill.


    In psychology, it means comparing the tested measures of a student’s mental characteristics (e.g., intelligence, personality, self-esteem) to a norm or average.


    A term used to describe disparate rates of intellectual, emotional, and physical rates of growth or development often displayed by gifted children. 

    Authentic Assessment

    Student evaluation techniques using student products or performance instead of traditional standardized tests.  It allows for greater focus on student individuality and creativity in the learning process.


    A term used to describe students whose economic, physical, emotional, or academic needs go unmet or serve as barriers to talent recognition or development, thus putting them in danger of underachieving or dropping out. 

    Bloom’s Taxonomy

    Developed in 1956 by Benjamin Bloom, the taxonomy is often used to develop curriculum for gifted children. There are six levels within the taxonomy that move from basic to high levels of thinking. These include knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. 


    Brainstorming is an activity used to generate many creative ideas that have no right or wrong answers and are accepted without criticism. Effective brainstorming is characterized by fluency and flexibility of thought.

    Ceiling Effect

    If a student correctly answers all or almost all of the items on the test, and the test is too easy for the student, the student has reached the “ceiling” of the test.  The test does not measure the extent of the student’s abilities.  It is important to give a student a test that is difficult enough so that you can see a spread and identify strengths.

    Chapter 4 Regulations

    State Board of Education regulations for academic standards and assessments.

    Chapter 14 Regulations

    State Board of Education regulations for special education of students with disabilities (22 Pa. Code Chapter 14).

    Chapter 16 Regulations

    State Board of Education regulations for special education of gifted students (22 Pa. Code Chapter 16).

    Cluster Grouping

    Ability grouping within a heterogeneous classroom.


    Elimination of content that the student has already mastered allowing a faster paced learning progression based on the student’s rate of acquisition/retention of new materials and skills.


    The specific information that is to be taught in the unit or course of instruction.

    Continuous Progress

    Students receive appropriate instruction regularly and move ahead as they master content and skills.

    Cooperative Learning Groups

    Grouping students with varying ability levels often reflecting the full range of student achievement and aptitude to complete a common task and/or project.  Misuse of the process occurs when some children are constantly assigned to help others learn rather than being allowed to advance at their own pace and/or the common task/project provides little or no challenge or learning opportunity appropriate to each child’s abilities. 


    The process of developing new, uncommon, or unique ideas; the federal definition of giftedness identifies creativity as a specific component of giftedness. 

    Criterion-Referenced Testing

    An assessment that compares a student’s test performance to their mastery of a body of knowledge or specific skill rather than relating their scores to the performance of other students. 

    Curriculum-based Assessment (CBA)

    Assessment that is tied directly to the curriculum.  Procedures for determining the instructional needs of the student based upon the student’s on-going performance within existing course content.

    Curriculum Compacting

    After showing a level of proficiency in the basic curriculum, a student can then be allowed to exchange instructional time for other learning experiences.

    Diagnostic Test

    An in-depth evaluation process to determine the specific abilities or learning needs of individual students.


    An organized, yet flexible way of proactively adjusting teaching content, process, product or environment to meet students where they are and help them to achieve maximum growth as learners. 

    Educational Placement

    The overall educational environment in which gifted education is provided to a gifted student.


    In-depth learning experiences that provide interaction with new ideas, skills and topics that enhance the curriculum.  These experiences are based upon individual strengths, interests and needs.

    Flexible Grouping

    Arranging students by interest and/or need.

    Flexible Pacing

    Provisions that place students at an appropriate instructional level and allow them to move forward in the curriculum as they achieve mastery of content and skills.

    Gifted and Talented Students

    The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act defines gifted and talented students as “Students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.” [Title IX, Part A, Definition 22. (2002)]  Many states and districts follow the federal definition. 

    Gifted Education

    Specially designed instruction to meet the needs of a gifted student that is conducted in an instructional setting, provided in an instructional or skill area, provided at no cost to the parents, provided under the authority of a school district, directly, by referral or by contract, provided by an agency, individualized to meet the educational needs of the student, reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress and provided in conformity with a GIEP.

    Gifted Individualized Education Plan (GIEP)

    A yearly written plan describing the education to be provided to a gifted student.

    Gifted Multi-Disciplinary Evaluation(GMDE)

    A systematic process of testing, assessment other evaluative processes and information that describes a student’s academic functioning, learning strengths, learning problems and educational needs and used by the GIEP team to make a determination about whether or not a student is gifted and needs specially designed instruction.

    Gifted Student

    A student who is exceptional under section 1371 of the School Code (24 P.S. § 13-1371) because the student meets the definition of “mentally gifted” and needs specially designed instruction beyond that required in Chapter 4 (relating to academic standards and assessment).  The term applies only to students who are of “school age” as defined under §11.12 (relating to school age).

    Gifted Written Report (GWR)

    A written report that brings together the information and findings from the evaluation concerning the student’s educational needs and strengths.

    Group Investigation

    Students working in small groups on multi-step projects such as:  Future Problem Solving, History Day and Odyssey of the Mind.

    Heterogeneous Grouping

    Grouping by chronological age level and without regard for the diverse needs of students, their learning styles, or their interests. 

    Higher Level Questioning Strategies

    Questions and activities using analysis, synthesis, evaluation or other critical thinking skills.

    Homogeneous Grouping

    Grouping by common criteria such as the student’s interest, special needs or academic abilities. 

    Honors Course

    A secondary level planned course designed to be advanced in content, process and product and usually requiring regular education students to meet prerequisite criteria before course entry.


    Refers to the education of each student in the least restrictive environment to the maximum extent appropriate.

    Individualized Instruction

    Content and pacing of instruction geared toward the student’s strengths, abilities, needs and goals.

    Independent Study

    Allowing students to follow individual or self-selected areas of interest by designing and implementing their own study plans; also called Guided Independent Study or Self-directed Study.

    Informal Test

    A non-standardized assessment that is designed to give an appropriate index of a student’s present level.

    Instructional Setting

    A classroom or other place in which students are receiving education.


    The ability to learn, reason and problem solve. Debate revolves around the nature of intelligence as to whether it is an innate quality or something that is developed as a result of interacting with the environment. Many researchers believe that it is a combination of the two. 

    Intelligence Quotient (IQ)

    A measure of intellectual aptitude at a given point in time based on comparison of children of the same chronological age.  It is one of the many ways to measure a student’s academic potential.

    Interdisciplinary Units

    Instruction tied together by a key concept or idea.  Information and activities are integrated from a variety of disciplines or courses that study a broad topic or concept by gathering and relating information and ideas from multiple subject areas and disciplines.

    Interest Centers or Interest Groups

    A means of providing students with meaningful study when basic assignments are completed.


    See Mentorship.

    International Baccalaureate (IB) Program

    A demanding pre-university program that students can complete to earn college credit. IB emphasizes critical thinking and understanding of other cultures or points of view. A diploma is awarded at the completion of the IB program which allows graduates access to universities worldwide.

    Learning Styles

    Preferred way(s) in which individuals interact or process new information across the three domains of learning identified in the taxonomy of education objectives: cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills) and affective (attitude). An individual’s preferred learning style is how he/she learns best.

    Magnet Schools

    A public school program that focuses on a specific learning area such as math, science, technology, or the performing arts. Magnet schools have been established to meet the specific learning needs of the gifted.

    Mentally Gifted

    Outstanding intellectual and creative ability, the development of which requires specially designed instruction, programs or support services, or both, not ordinarily provided in the general education program.


    Matching a student on a one-on-one basis with an adult member of the community who can provide expertise and/or advice in a field of study or other community endeavor.  Both mentor and student have predetermined goals and outcomes.  This process is especially effective when portfolio/performance assessment is in place. 


    Changing the objectives within the curriculum to meet the needs of the student.

    Norm-Referenced or Standardized Test

    A test used to determine a student’s status with respect to the performance of other students on that test.  A “norm” group is the large number of examinees who have taken a particular test and whose scores form the basis of the norms.  Such a test may be based on national, state or local norms.  At every level of educational test usage, it is necessary to match the scope of the test with the purpose that test is supposed to perform. 

    Parallel Curriculum Model

    A curriculum modification strategy to meet the needs of gifted students in terms of depth, complexity, and novelty. This model has four simultaneous pathways of development: Core or Basic Curriculum, Curriculum of Connections, Curriculum of Practice, and the Curriculum of Identify.


    The speed at which content is presented and instruction delivered.  Pacing which matches the student’s rate of learning is optimal.

    Planned Course

    The common knowledge and skills in a subject area to be learned by all regular education students of a particular age/grade/level as determined and approved by a local school district within the state mandate.

    Portfolio Assessment

    A collection of student products used to measure student progress and achievement.  Such assessment allows for the demonstration of a wide variety of abilities and talents that do not lend themselves to traditional measures.  Many of the elements found in portfolios cannot be captured by a standardized test.


    A test given before instruction to determine current level of performance in a specific skill area.


    How the student will acquire the content information.


    How the student will demonstrate their understanding of the content.

    Pull-out Program

    A program which takes a student out of the regular classroom during the school day for special programming.


    A rubric is a chart composed of criteria for evaluation and levels of fulfillment of those criteria. A rubric allows for standardized evaluation according to specified criteria, making grading simpler and more transparent.

    Skills Inventory

    An instrument used to describe the student’s aptitudes in areas such as leadership, creativity, communication, etc.

    Specially Designed Instruction

    Adaptations or modifications to the general curriculum, instruction, instructional environments, methods, materials, or a specialized curriculum not ordinarily provided in the general education program to meet gifted needs. 

    Standardized Test

    A form of measurement that has been normed against a specific population.

    Support Services

    Services as required under §16.33 (relating to support services) that assist a gifted student to benefit from gifted education.  Examples of the term include:  psychological services, parent counseling and education, counseling services, and/or transportation to and from gifted programs to classrooms in building operated by the district.

    Social-Emotional Needs

    Gifted and talented students may have affective needs that include heightened or unusual sensitivity to self-awareness, emotions, and expectations of themselves or others, and a sense of justice, moral judgment, or altruism. Counselors working in this area may address issues such as perfectionism, depression, underachievement, or career planning. 

    Talent Development

    Programs, curricula, and services for gifted and talented students that can best meet their needs, promote their achievements in life, and contribute to the enhancement of our society when schools identify students' specific talent strengths and focus educational services on these talents.


    To cover the same amount of materials or activities in less time, thereby allowing more time for enrichment activities and projects that better suit the interests, needs, and readiness levels of gifted students.

    Tiered Instruction

    (Also called scaffolding) – Use of varied levels of activities to ensure that students explore ideas at a level that builds on their prior knowledge and prompts continued growth within the same unit, lesson or theme of instruction.


    Fixed groups that are rigidly maintained over time, often kindergarten thought 12th grade.  This term is not a synonym for grouping that is flexible and changeable, task-to-task.

    Twice Exceptional

    A term used to describe a student that is both gifted and disabled. These students may also be referred to as having dual exceptionalities or as being GT/LD.

    Underachieving or Underachievement

    A term used to describe the discrepancy between a student’s performance and their potential, or ability to perform at a much higher level. 


    Appendix B


    Referral Sent:  __________________ (Date)

    Gifted Program Screening and Eligibility Process


    Name of Student:                                           Grade:
    Teacher’s Name:                                            Date:


    1.  How well does this student acquire information as compared to the majority of students in the classroom?


    Communication Arts


    Social Studies


    Rate of Acquisition:




    Much faster than other students

    Faster than other students

    About the same as other students

    Slower than other students

    2.  How well does this student retain information as compared to the majority of students in the classroom?


    Communication Arts


    Social Studies


    Rate of Retention:




    Much faster than other students

    Faster than other students

    About the same as other students

    Slower than other students

    3.  In which area of academics does this student excel?  Describe this student’s achievement, performance and expertise in this area.

    4.  What specialized skills, interests or aptitudes has this student demonstrated? (i.e., higher level thinking skills, academic creativity, intense academic interests, exceptional communication skills, leadership skills, computer skills, etc.)


    5.  Are there any intervening factors which mask this student’s gifted abilities (i.e., English as a second language, presence of a learning disability, presence of an emotional disability, poor test-taking abilities, social/cultural, etc.)

    6.  Attach pieces of the student’s work to substantiate intellectual giftedness.

    7.  Provide additional information that you believe is relevant.

    Check one box per row:



    Knows the answer

    Asks questions

    Is interested

    Is mentally and physically involved

    Is attentive

    Has wild, silly ideas

    Has good ideas

    Has wild, silly ideas

    Works hard

    Plays around, yet tests well

    Answers the questions

    Discusses in detail, elaborates

    Top Group

    Beyond the group

    Listens with interest

    Shows strong feelings and opinions

    Learns with ease

    Already knows

    6-8 repetitions

    1-2 repetitions for mastery

    Understands ideas

    Constructs abstractions

    Enjoys peers

    Prefers adults

    Grasps the meaning

    Draws inferences

    Completes assignments

    Initiates projects

    Is receptive

    Is intense

    Enjoys school

    Enjoys learning

    Absorbs information

    Manipulates information



    Good memorizer

    Good guesser

    Enjoys straightforward, sequential presentation

    Thrives on complexity

    Is alert

    Is keenly observant

    Is please with own learning

    Is highly self-critical

    Copies accurately

    Creates own design



































    Check all that apply.

    The student possesses ability above regular class curricula.
    The student’s social maturity is above classmates.
    The student has interest far advanced of regular classwork.
    The student needs stimulation that can be provided by an advanced program


    Appendix C


    Pennsylvania Department of Education Gifted Guidelines, August 2010

    The Pennsylvania School Code, Chapter 16, Special Education for Gifted Students

    Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education