Renton School District uses multiple measures to identify students who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others of their age, experiences, or environments. These measures include cognitive ability tests, achievement tests taken at school, and teacher observation.
We evaluate all referred students in the same way. We begin by looking at a student’s most recent cognitive assessment, reading and math data. We do not have a specific score or “magic number” that we use to identify students as Highly Capable. When we review a student's data we compare theirs to all other students in their grade, which is different every year and for every grade level. The assessment data used for identification is the same for all students in a grade level. However, the assessments can vary from grade level to grade level.
We use the most objective data available for all students to determine their current ability and future potential in academic subjects. These include: the Cognitive Abilities Test Screener version 7 (CogAT), state tests for reading and math in grade 4 – 9, and reading and math tests taken at school (e.g., WaKIDS for K, Benchmark Assessment System (BAS) for reading, STAR Math, Smarter Balanced Assessments, PSAT).
To identify the most highly capable students we create a formula based on a combination of data from a student’s cognitive assessment, reading assessments and math assessments. We review each student in comparison to their grade levels peers. The formula is created using scores from local reading and math data from ALL students in the district by grade level; and cognitive scores based on national averages. By using multiple data points in creating the formula, we ensure that no single score either identifies or eliminates a student from consideration. Generally speaking, the students identified for Highly Capable services in Renton score in the top 1 - 15% across the district, not just at their school.
When a student’s achievement and cognitive ability suggest they may meet Renton’s definition of Highly Capable their results are reviewed by a small committee of educators. As per state law, the committee reviews students’ information and selects students that are the most highly capable and will benefit the most from Highly Capable services. The committee consists of two district program directors, two instructional chiefs, a principal, a school psychologist, the district Highly Capable facilitator, and two Highly Capable program teachers.