Kindergarten students, in the second semester, take CogAT, a nationally normed test of aptitude designed to measure students’ learned reasoning abilities in the three areas most linked to academic success in school: verbal, quantitative and nonverbal. In addition, students will be taking the NWEA MAP tests in Reading and Math three times yearly. The scores obtained during the winter assessment window will be used, along with the CogAT scores to identify students’ potential placement. Students scoring at the 96th percentile or above (the 96th percentile is recommended by the Indiana Department of Education and correlates to the 9th stanine—the highest tier of performance) on the verbal and/or quantitative portions of CogAT as well as scoring at the 97th percentile on NWEA Reading and/or the 96th percentile on NWEA Math will be placed on a “monitor” status as a potential high ability student in language arts, mathematics or both content areas. It is important to note, especially in the youngest grades (K-2), cognitive growth can be inconsistent and placement may not be permanent. All students will be progress monitored utilizing NWEA MAP testing three times during the year. In the event that a student makes significant gains during the school year, his or her classroom teacher will be able to provide differentiated instruction to meet the child’s academic needs.
Students who score between the 90th and 96th percentile on the NWEA Reading subtest and between the 90th and 95th percentile on the NWEA Math subtest along with CogAT scores between the 90th and 95th percentile, will be screened further using SIGS (Scales for Identifying Gifted Students). Prior to the end of the kindergarten year, a committee consisting of elementary high ability teachers, elementary building principals, elementary cluster teachers and the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction will meet to review assessment data for all students in the district. Students meeting the eligibility requirements will be cluster grouped in one or more classrooms in each elementary school for the following school year (Appendix C). Placement decisions are determined by committee and are based on quantitative and qualitative assessment measures. In order to avoid bias, the reviews are done blindly; no student names are shared with the committee until after placement decisions have been made.
Identification-2nd, 5th and 8th Grade
Students in 2nd, 5th and 8th grade will be assessed for placement in the high ability program utilizing a multifaceted assessment process that includes qualitative, as well as quantitative data. Utilizing NWEA, a standardized achievement test designed to assess student achievement in reading, math and science (in grades 5 and 8) as well as InView, an assessment of cognitive abilities that includes verbal reasoning, sequences, analogies and quantitative reasoning, students will be placed in high ability reading, high ability math or both (elementary level) or high ability language arts, high ability math or high ability science (secondary level) based on performance scores on these assessment instruments.
InView provides a Quantitative Reasoning score and a Verbal score that is used to make placement decisions. We no longer will be using a Cognitive Skills Index (CSI) as this is the least reliable indicator of a student’s intellectual ability. Students may qualify with a Verbal Reasoning or Quantitative Reasoning subscale score at the 96th percentile. Achievement scores on NWEA must also be at the 96th percentile or above. Students who meet these criteria are direct placements into high ability. Students who score within a Standard Error of Measure (SEM) with a Verbal Reasoning or Quantitative Reasoning score between the 90th and 95th percentile (these numbers correlate to the 8th stanine) will be further evaluated using SIGS (Scales for Identifying Gifted Students). SIGS is used to inform the decision making process. It is not used to determine placement and as such is not shared with parents. High ability educational program placements are a committee decision and are based on various assessment measures.
In grades 3-11, possible assessments to be reviewed include NWEA (90% and above for each assessment window), ISTEP performance data in the possible high ability content area (high ability students are anticipated to score in the PASS+ range), IREAD 3 (high ability students are anticipated to score in the PASS+ range), PSAT 8, PSAT 9, PSAT 10, PSAT 11, SAT and ACT.
In the spring of grades 2, 5 and 8, parents will be notified if their student has qualifying scores. In the event that a student has qualifying scores or qualifies through the SEM Window in a specific content area but not all available content areas, the parent will need to complete an appeals form. In order to avoid bias in the identification process, the reviews are done blindly; no student names are shared with the committee until after placement decisions have been made.
By the time that students matriculate to the high school, high ability placement has typically been determined. The primary data used for placement in grades 9-11 at Munster High School include the most recent PSAT scores (90th percentile or above) in conjunction with InView scores (90th percentile or above), if available, in the areas of Quantitative Reasoning for Math and Science placement and Verbal for English placement. In addition, performance in current classes is reviewed. Exceptional performance in general education classes alone without supporting standardized data will not meet the criteria for approval. Conversely, qualifying standardized scores without exceptional classroom performance will result in non-placement. Students may request to be considered for honors courses by speaking with their counselors during their annual scheduling appointment. Placement decisions are determined by committee and may not be appealed.