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Students in kindergarten through 12th grade are eligible to be screened for Gifted and Talented (GT) and Talent Exploration in Austin ISD through a nomination process. Information and forms are in the GT Parent CornerAll campuses in Austin ISD provide screening, identification, and services for Gifted and Talented students. Additionally, students screened for Gifted and Talented who are not identified for GT services are automatically considered for Talent Exploration services. Talent Exploration identification is for high ability students who do not qualify for Gifted and Talented but exhibit potential to perform at high levels when grouped with Gifted and Talented students. Students may be identified through the screening process in one or more of the following areas: GT STEM (science and mathematics), GT Humanities (language arts and social studies), Talent Explore STEM (science and mathematics), or Talent Explore Humanities (language arts and social studies). The process and criteria for screening and identification is outlined below as well as the available services and academic options.

Gifted and Talented Screening Process

In order for a student to be identified as Gifted and Talented in Austin ISD, data from several quantitative and qualitative criteria are collected over a three-week period and reviewed by the campus GT Decision-Making Committee with no single criterion being weighted more than the other since ability and performance are equally important for the success of students receiving GT services. 

Picture of GT Screening Criteria

Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)

The Cognitive Abilities Test measures learned reasoning and problem-solving skills in three different areas: verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal. Reasoning skills develop gradually throughout a person’s lifetime and at different rates for different individuals. CogAT does not measure such factors as effort, attention, motivation, and work habits, which contribute to school achievement as well.

  • The Verbal Reasoning section measures a child’s ability to remember and transform sequences of English words, to understand them, and to make inferences and judgments about them.
  • The Quantitative Reasoning tests the child's understanding of basic quantitative concepts and relationships that are essential for learning mathematics. Tasks measure both the understanding of relational concepts and the student’s ability to discover relationships and to figure out a rule or principle that explains them.
  • The Nonverbal Reasoning measures reasoning using pictures and geometric shapes and appraises the student’s ability to use cognitive resources in new situations.

The CogAT quantitative and nonverbal scores are the only subtests considered for students who do not speak English or are not at a level of proficiency in English.

Parent, Teacher, and Student Checklists

The parent, teacher, and student checklist identify characteristics of giftedness based on the Purdue Academic Rating Scales, Frasier’s Traits, Aptitudes, and Behaviors Scales, and Javits’ Gifted Characteristics Checklist for Underrepresented Populations. The student checklist is only completed by students in grades 6-12.

Student Common Assessment (Grades K-5)

These interdisciplinary and thematic lessons are designed specifically to serve as work samples for student portfolios. 

Student Voice & Choice Assessment (Grades K-12)

Student Voice and Choice Assessment is an independent learning activity on a topic of interest and was designed to provide each  student with an opportunity to demonstrate design thinking using a four-step process of 1) feel, 2) imagine, 3) do, and 4) share to understand situations empathetically, imagine solutions, and put those solutions into action. The student will create a final product that conveys his/her understandings and feelings about the selected topic. 

Elementary GT Services

Elementary GT services include instruction by a teacher with the appropriate GT Foundations training within a cluster grouping model (small group of identified GT students within the general education classroom) which allows for opportunities for curricular tasks that include greater depth, complexity, and pacing while working independently and with other GT students as well as students not identified. Parents/guardians of identified GT students at the elementary level should expect a GT Student Services Summary each semester completed by the teacher or another form of documentation of the academic options provided. Academic options provided vary based on campus and teacher decisions.

Hyperlinked Button for Elementary Academic Options

Secondary GT Services

Secondary GT services include instruction by a teacher with the appropriate GT Foundations training within a Pre-AP, Advanced Placement, Magnet, International Baccaulearate (IB), Dual Credit, or advanced-level CTE courses for which teachers have received specialized training. Acceleration provides GT students with a choice of concentrating on their strengths or interests through the selection of at least one course in the GT interdisciplinary strands of STEM and/or Humanities for which they are identified each school year. Academic options provided vary based on campus and teacher decisions.

Hyperlinked Button for Secondary Academic Options

Transferring within Austin ISD

If an AISD GT student transfers from one campus to another, the student’s area(s) for GT identification will automatically follow the student. The transfer in the TEAMS system is automatic once the student is officially enrolled at the new school.

Returning to Austin ISD after leaving the district

If an Austin ISD student leaves the district and then returns to the district, GT status will be reinstated. The parent/guardian of the student must contact Advanced Academics at 512-414-0139 to verify the student is eligible to participate in the district GT program. Additional documentation may be required.

Enrolling in Austin ISD from out-of-district

Placement in the Austin ISD GT program is not automatic for students identified as GT outside of Austin ISD. Students must be enrolled in Austin ISD before the following can be completed:

  1. Parents/guardians will begin the GT transfer review by completing the district’s GT Transfer Review (embedded below).
  2. The district’s Advanced Academics team will complete the transfer review process within 15 business days of receiving student records from the parent/guardian and the student's enrollment in Austin ISD.
  3. A transfer recommendation will be provided to the campus decision-making committee to determine if placement in the GT program is appropriate.
  4. The committee shall make its determination and notify the parents within 15 business days of receiving the district’s recommendation regarding GT placement and whether additional screening criteria needs to be collected.