Academically Talented and Gifted (ATG) Program

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    Community Consolidated School District 15 seeks to support the personal and academic growth of its students. For some students who are both academically talented and intellectually gifted, this support may be provided through separate educational programming in a class that is specially designed to address these students’ needs. These students display strong classroom performance and advanced assessment scores at all parts of the school year and from early on. Placement in these classes is limited and is governed by the District’s procedures and criteria that are outlined below.

    Students that receive elementary academically talented and gifted services are placed into self-contained, multi-grade (3/4 and 5/6) classrooms using a differentiated, compacted and accelerated curriculum.  All curricular areas are covered and students also receive Art, Music, and Physical Education instruction. Students are also eligible for band or orchestra instruction beginning in Grade 5. The program’s identification process is coordinated through the Department of Instruction and uses student performance on both achievement and cognitive tests. The Academically Talented and Gifted (ATG) Program seeks to identify those students whose overall performance on achievement and cognitive tests puts them in the top 1-5 percent locally of all students districtwide. There is an on-going identification process and students may be identified in the spring of Grades 2 and 4. Students who qualify for the program typically remain in the program from the time of their inclusion through sixth grade. The ATG program does not exist at the Junior High School level as these students’ needs can be met by enrollment into various advanced courses. Students must register in a District 15 school and confirm residence within the District prior to participating in the ATG selection process. Eligible students must enroll in a District 15 school to participate in the program.

    Academically Talented and Gifted Selection Process

    The Academically Talented and Gifted (ATG) Program may enroll those students whose combined performance on the December administration of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test and the February administration of the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) exceeds district defined criteria. In most cases, this criteria places them in the top 1-5 percent of all students at their grade level districtwide.

    To qualify for the ATG Program, students in Grades 2 and 4 must complete a two-part process.  

    • First, all second- and fourth-grade students have their academic achievement in reading and math screened in December with the MAP test. To be eligible for the second part of the process, students must perform in both reading and math at a level that is equal to or exceeds the 90th percentile nationally on the December MAP test.  Eligibility for further testing is communicated to parents through a letter in January.

    • Students noted above are eligible to complete the second part of the qualification process, which consists of completing the verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal portions of the CogAT in February.

    Students who reside in District 15 but do not attend a District 15 school (e.g., attend a private school or are homeschooled, etc.) must register and confirm residence within the district to participate in the selection process. Parents of these children must notify the Principal of their assigned District 15 school that they would like to have their child participate in the selection process no later than December 1. This notification must be made in writing and can be on paper or via email. Requests to participate made after December 1 may not be accommodated. Student testing can only occur during the designated test windows.

    Elementary Program Eligibility Criteria

    To be eligible for the ATG Program, a student must meet both of the following criteria:

    1. A student must achieve above the national 90th percentile in both reading and math during the December screening to be eligible to complete the CogAT test in February;

    2. Student performance on the CogAT is such that, when the MAP and CogAT percentiles are added together, the following totals are reached:

      • 4751 for entrance into the third-grade gifted program classrooms.

      • 480 for entrance into any following grade gifted program classrooms.

    Students who enroll in the ATG Program typically continue in the program until they complete sixth grade or leave District 15. When a student qualifies for the ATG Program, parents are notified by letter in April. For qualified students, enrollment in the ATG Program starts the following school year.

    Enrollment in the ATG Program is regularly reviewed by the serving school’s team. If a student experiences regular, continued performance problems, the school team will convene to discuss how to address the difficulties with the child’s parents. Interventions may be put into place. If the school’s attempts to support the child do not result in sufficient performance changes for the child, the school team may determine that it is not in the child’s best interest to remain in the ATG Program. In this case, the child may be placed in a general education classroom at their home school. If the parents disagree with this decision, they may appeal the decision to the gifted program appeals committee.


    1At times, the incoming third grade class may not fill all available seats in the gifted program. When this occurs, the District may elect to select additional students in order of their combined score (CogAT and MAP percentiles added together) to fill unoccupied classroom seats.

    Appeals

    If a parent or staff member has reason to believe that a student’s test results are invalid or that the student’s test experience was disrupted, that parent or staff may appeal in writing.  Staff appeals must be approved and submitted by the Principal.  All appeals must be made using the designated Test Result Appeal form and include evidence of a circumstance that would invalidate the student’s test results. The evidence must be verifiable and the circumstance must be significant. Verbal appeals or indications that an appeal is forthcoming will not be accepted. All written appeals must be accompanied by documentation of the circumstance that invalidated the student’s test result. Any evidence citing a school-based circumstance must be supported by reports or documentation of school personnel.  To be considered, all appeals must be submitted to the Principal in accordance with the timelines below.

    Appeals of any MAP test results must be submitted in writing no later than January 15.

    Appeals of any CogAT test result must be submitted in writing no later than April 15.

    All appeals must occur using the Appeals Forms. Appeals submitted after the above dates are ineligible for review.

    At the end of the appeals window, Principals forward all parent appeals along with any accompanying evidence to the Assessment and Gifted Program Secretary in the Department of Instruction. Appeals and any evidence of compromised test scores are reviewed by an administrative committee that may determine if the evidence is sufficient to warrant retesting in any area. If granted, retesting may only occur once for each student (regardless of how few or many required tests are readministered). The committee’s decisions are limited to determining if sufficient evidence indicates that a student should be retested and, if so, in what areas. The District’s criteria for entrance into the gifted program shall continue to apply to any appealed case.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    I am a Palatine resident and my child lives with me but does not attend a District 15 school. Can he/she take the MAP and, if eligible, CogAT at a District 15 school?

    School-age children who reside in the District 15 boundaries but are homeschooled or attend a private school may participate in the District 15 Academically Talented and Gifted (ATG) screening process. This is only available for students who are in Grades 2 and 4. Families that are interested in having their child participate in the regular ATG selection process must complete the following:

    • First, families must notify their resident school’s Principal in writing of their request to have their child take the MAP or CogAT at their District 15 assigned school. This request must be provided in writing to the Principal on or before December 1. Requests after December 1 may not be able to be accommodated.

    • Provide the child’s current report card (if available) or report cards for previous academic year.

    All students that participate in the District 15 screening process must meet District 15 test criteria to enroll in the ATG Program. All enrollments will occur at the start of the next academic year.

    Should the student qualify, the student must enroll and attend a District 15 school full time in order to receive services.

    The MAP test will be given one time only in December at a time designated by the school’s Principal. The exact date and location for MAP testing will be communicated to families by the Principal. There are no makeup dates. Students being tested must be brought to school for the sessions and picked up afterward. Students that arrive late for a scheduled test may be denied the opportunity to complete the test. Only registered second and fourth grade students will be screened. Please call your assigned school to register.

    The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) will be administered one time only to eligible students in February at the assigned school. If the child is eligible, the parents will be contacted by the local school’s Principal with the exact date and time when the CogAT is available to be taken. Students being tested must be brought to school for the session and picked up afterward. Session times vary by age and test. No makeups will be offered.

    It is important to understand that the MAP and CogAT tests are challenging and time consuming. It is in the student’s best interest to balance participating in the screening process against the disappointment that may occur should the child not qualify. As such, the Principal, based upon a review of the child’s report cards and prior achievement results, may elect to deny a child’s participation in the District 15 MAP Test screening process.

    At what grade level(s) will the District begin to look at students qualifying for the program?

    The District begins to look at the students in second grade for the third-/fourth-program, and in fourth grade for the fifth-/sixth-grade program.

    What if my child is new to the District or was in an accelerated/gifted program at his/her previous district?

    New students that were in a gifted program at the time of their move may be considered for the ATG program. In these cases, the Principal will review documentation showing that the child was participating in the previous district’s gifted program and the child’s previous test scores. If the child has MAP and CogAT results that are less than one calendar year old, these results may be considered for program eligibility.  In this case, only the child’s most recent MAP test scores are considered. If the new student was attending a gifted program and meets District gifted criteria, the student may enroll in the ATG program. The District reserves the right to require retesting in any area. The District will only test those students who are registered in District 15.

    New students who were not participating in a gifted program at the time of their move are considered in the same way as other District 15 students and may participate in the regular selection process in Grade 2 or 4. 

    No outside private evaluations are accepted for any District 15 gifted service or programs. Parents disagreeing with the District’s decisions may submit an appeal to the appeals committee so long as the appeal complies with the written requirements and timelines.

    What is the CogAT test?

    The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) measures students’ learned reasoning abilities in the three areas: verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal.

    Can my child study for the CogAT test?

    The District does not provide any materials to prepare for the CogAT test. Parents interested in learning more about the CogAT are encouraged to contact Riverside Publishing, the CogAT publisher.

    What District 15 schools house the Academically Talented and Gifted program classes?

    • Hunting Ridge School

    • Pleasant Hill School

    • Frank C. Whiteley School
    • Marion Jordan School

    • Winston Campus Elementary

    • Central Road School

    Please Note: These locations may change without notice.

    What if my home school does not have an ATG classroom?  Will I get to choose which school my child will attend if he/she qualifies for the program?

    Students are assigned to a ATG classroom based on their home address and the current enrollment at the various gifted and academically talented classrooms. At times, enrollment may require attending a gifted site other than the one normally designated for a particular school. Once a child begins attending a gifted classroom, he/she must remain within the school even if an available space at another ATG classroom site becomes available. Students are provided transportation if they qualify for the program outside of their home school boundaries.

    Is there a Gifted/Talented program at the junior high schools?

    The ATG Program ends at the sixth grade. Students are then placed into courses at their junior high school based on student need and academic performance.

    Questions?

    For additional information about the ATG Program, please contact your school's Principal.