Early Entrance Process to Kindergarten or First Grade
The Illinois legislature passed the Illinois Accelerated Placement Act, Public Act 100-0421, effective July 1, 2018. This act allows Illinois public school districts to provide grade accelerations such as early entrance to kindergarten and first grade for students that demonstrate highly advanced skills, but do not meet the district’s regular age requirements (typically, children must turn five by September 1 to enroll in Kindergarten, and turn six by September 1 to enroll in first grade).
Parents/guardians must apply to have their child considered for early entrance into kindergarten or first grade. Applications are accepted between February 15 and April 1 of each school year. Applications completed prior to February 15 will be returned. Applications completed after April 1 will be accepted but may delay the district’s placement decision such that this decision may occur after the start of the upcoming school year.
The District 15 Kindergarten and First Grade Early Entrance Process
Parents/guardians or other individuals that are knowledgeable of the child’s skills and aptitudes may refer the child to be considered for early entrance into kindergarten or first grade. Applications are accepted from February 15 to April 1 each year.
You may view a flow-chart version of our process.
To apply for early entrance, the parent/guardian must go to his/her District 15 school, register the child (District Registration Requirements), complete and return an acceleration/early entrance application, and a release of information form to the school. Please call 847-963-3114 if you are unsure of your child’s District 15 school. Applications are only accepted from February 15 to April 1. Applications received after April 1 may delay the early entrance decision for your child until after the start of the upcoming school year.
After submitting the acceleration/early entrance application, the school will schedule times for your child to complete a series of tests that measure your child’s reading, math, and cognitive aptitude. If a language other than English is spoken in the home the early entrance process will be completed in close consultation with the District’s Second Language Department.
All student assessment will be completed at your assigned school. Assessment consists of three tests and a social/emotional and fine motor assessment. Tests used to determine a child’s eligibility for early entrance include the MAP for Primary Grades (reading and math) and the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT). District 15 does not accept substitutions for these tests unless the District determines that these tests are inappropriate for the child.
Children take these three tests in sequence. First, children take the MAP for the Primary Grades tests (reading and math). Children that score at or above the 97th percentile in reading and math for the spring of the grade they are seeking to enter will be scheduled to complete the CogAT and a social/emotional and fine motor screening. Children scoring below the 97th percentile on either the reading or math portion of the MAP for the Primary Grades test are not eligible for an early entrance into the desired grade.
If your child attends preschool or kindergarten, a staff member from your child’s assigned District 15 school will contact your child’s current teacher and will ask the teacher to complete an electronic questionnaire about your child. The questionnaire will be emailed to the teacher and is completed online.
In addition, if your child attends preschool or kindergarten, your child may be observed by a District 15 staff member. This staff member may also interview your child’s teacher and interact with your child to gain information about your child’s independence, fine motor skills, and social/emotional development.
EARLY ENTRANCE CRITERIA
To be eligible for early entrance to Kindergarten, your child’s reading and math, and CogAT composite score must all be at or above the 97th percentile for the spring of kindergarten.
If the child is seeking early entrance to first grade, the child’s reading, math, and CogAT composite score must all be at or above the 97th percentile for the spring of first grade.
The child must also display advanced independence, social/emotional, and fine motor skills compared to same age peers.
DECISION MAKING AND PARENT/GUARDIAN NOTIFICATION
The school’s principal will contact the parent/guardian to discuss your child’s assessment results and early entrance eligibility. Eligibility is determined by the school team.
Children not scoring at the levels specified in the Early Entrance Criteria section (above) are not eligible for early entrance.
Parents/guardians will receive a written notice with the final early entrance decision.
The school will develop a written transition plan for eligible students.
Parents may appeal an early entrance decision by completing an appeal form and returning that form to the District’s Educational Service Center at 580 N. 1st Bank Dr, Palatine, IL 60067, ATTN: Assessment Secretary. Appeals must be made no later than 14 days after the early entrance decision date. Appeals received after May 15 may not be reviewed prior to the start of the upcoming school year.
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?