Early Entrance Process to Kindergarten or First Grade

  • Early entrance is provided when the District determines a student to be an academic and intellectual outlier for the student’s age. Outliers have academic and intellectual skills that are so developed that effective instruction would likely require the student to be accelerated into a grade level that is typically reserved for older students.

    Parents/guardians may start the early entrance process by completing an online application to have their child considered for an early entrance. Applications are accepted between February 15 and July 15 of each school year. Applications are not accepted prior to February 15. Applications are also not accepted after July 15. 

    A flow-chart version of our process is provided here and is detailed below: Flow Chart.

The District 15 Early Entrance Process


    To apply, your child must be a current District 15 resident. Parents or guardians of children that reside in the District 15 boundaries may complete an online early entrance application form. Completing the online application starts the consideration process. Completing the application does not mean that grade acceleration will necessarily occur. If you need assistance with the application, please call (847) 963-3114. Applications are only accepted between February 15 and July 15 of each school year.

    Online Early Entrance Application


    After completing the online early entrance application form, the school will contact you and schedule times for your child to complete a series of tests that measure your child’s early reading, early math, and general cognitive aptitude. Your school may take several weeks before contacting you to schedule testing. If a language other than English is spoken in the child’s home, the school will contact the District’s Second Language Department to determine if any language supports or accommodations during testing are appropriate.

    All student tests are completed at your child’s District 15 school. Each child completes a series of tests. First, children take the Measures of Academic Progress for the Primary Grades (MAP) test in reading and math. MAP is used to determine your child’s academic skills. The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) is used to determine your child’s cognitive skills and aptitude. District 15 does not accept substitutions for these tests unless the District determines that these tests are inappropriate for the student.

    Students take the MAP and CogAT in sequence. First, students take the MAP test in reading and in math. Children that score at or above the 97th percentile in reading and math for the grade they are seeking to enter will be scheduled to complete the CogAT. If your child meets the MAP test criteria and attends a preschool or kindergarten, your child’s teacher will be asked to supply information through the completion of an online questionnaire. The questionnaire asks the teacher to summarize observations of the child’s classroom work and observed classroom skills.


    To be eligible for early entrance, your child’s MAP test scores in reading and math, and the child’s CogAT composite score must all be at or above the 97th percentile for the desired grade.

    A school team’s review of the student’s records, teacher information, and any documents or input provided by the parents must also indicate that the student has sufficient independence, advanced skills for classroom work, and a present, ongoing need for academic differentiation that is atypical for the child’s current grade level.


    For children that take both the MAP and CogAT, the school’s principal will contact the parent/guardian to discuss the student’s assessment results and early entrance eligibility. Eligibility is based upon the above criteria and is determined by the school team. For students that take both the MAP and CogAT, parents/guardians will receive a written notice with the final early entrance decision. The school will develop a written transition plan for eligible students.

    Children that do not meet the MAP test criteria will be notified by mail of their child’s score.


    Parents may appeal any test result informing the early entrance decision by completing the District 15 Test Result Appeal Form. Appeals must be made no later than 14 days after the early entrance decision date. Appeals received after July 15 may not be reviewed prior to the start of the upcoming school year. Retests are granted only when unique circumstances are determined by the District to have occurred.

    Click on this link to practice the MAP for the Primary Grades

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who do I contact about having my child assessed for Early Entrance to Kindergarten or First Grade?

  • My student is very high achieving but just missed qualifying based on the criteria. How will he/she be challenged and supported?

  • What if I do not agree with the test results or the team’s decision for my child?

  • Who makes the decision about whether my child is eligible for Early Entrance?

  • How will I be informed about my child’s results?

  • When will the assessment process take place?

  • If my child completed/is completing private kindergarten early, will he/she automatically be eligible for early entrance into first grade the following year?

  • Why are the criteria for early entrance so high?

  • How can I prepare my child for the assessments?