High Ability - Elementary

Last Updated: 9/24/2020 6:47 PM

Multifaceted Student Assessment Plan

Elementary students must meet at least one of the following to be identified as high ability:

1. 96% in either Verbal or Quantitative OR as an average of Quantitative and Nonverbal on Cognitive Abilities Testing (CogAT)

2. GRADES K - 1: 98% or higher on normÔÇÉreferenced NWEA testing; can test in for Math, Reading or both if both domains are higher than 98%.

  GRADES 2 - 5: 96% or higher on normÔÇÉreferenced NWEA testing; can test in for Math, Reading or both if both domains are higher than 96%.

Note that we require two qualifying scores within the past two years in grades 1 and up

3. Teacher recommendation if any of the above scores are within the Standard Error of Measurement and the student has exhibited multiple characteristics of a high ability student

4. Excellent classwork if any of the above scores are within the Standard Error of Measurement

Note that NWEA is Northwest Evaluation Association and there is more information about this achievement test at www.nwea.org.  Grades K, 2, and 5 will take CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Testing which tests a student's potential) and the top 25% of kindergarten CogAT scores will take NWEA to see if they are ready for advanced content.

District Implementation for High Ability Elementary Students:

Below you will find many educational options.  As a staff, we look at many factors to help us decide what we think will be the best plan for your child.  Data is reviewed each year as we make placement decisions for students.  If you have specific questions about any of these options, please contact us!

Placement Options

Acceleration Options

Instructional Differentiation

Cluster Grouping

Subject Acceleration

Ability Grouping


Grade Skipping

Acceleration to the next level

Individualized Education Plan




Problem-based Learning

Extension of content

Above-Grade Level Material

Individualized Instruction

Independent Inquiry

Critical and Creative Thinking



Classroom teachers, especially those with high clusters, are expected to differentiate instruction for high ability students, with part time support of a high ability teacher.  Instruction should go further and deeper, depending upon content.  For most subjects, students must take a pretest and demonstrate 85 – 90% mastery of the topic before getting more challenging work as a replacement.  Differentiated instruction provides multiple approaches to content, process, product, and assessment in a blend of whole class, group, and individual instruction in order to accommodate the differing needs of students.  In differentiated classrooms, teachers are continually increasing their capacity to challenge each student with instruction that provides opportunities for growth.