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Gifted and Talented

Identification of Students

When we assess students for gifted and talented (GT), schools take the same approach through the RtI process to determine each student's individual needs. Students can be identified for GT through five areas: academic, artistic, creativity, leadership, intelligence. We have a specific process for identifying students in academic and intelligence. Creativity, artistic, and leadership areas are more vague and are still being developed.

A school's teacher team pulls together the student data. Staff members look at multiple measures before determining whether special GT services are needed.

GT academic decisions guidelines:

  • Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)

  • STAR (all grade levels)
    • Tier 2 GT services: student performance in the national 75th percentile or above in either math or reading
    • Tier 3 GT services: student performance in the national 95th percentile or above in either math or reading
  • Teacher observations of potential in students (TOPS) data
    • TOPS identifies students of outstanding potential with gifted characteristics that manifest over time in multiple settings.
  • Other evidence of demonstrated performance
    • Artifacts that consistently demonstrate the student is working at advanced levels
    • A body of evidence that can be used in education planning
  • Parent input

Tier 1 (Core Content): Instruction provided in Tier 1 must be differentiated based on multiple sources of individual formative and summative student data. The instruction should be provided according to the instructional design. Board-adopted and recommended resources should be used during the instruction time.


Tier 2 (Intervention): If a student is identified in need of Tier 2 instruction through the decision-making process, the student will receive Tier 2 gifted and talented services with the classroom teacher or an identified school staff member. Tier 2 gifted and talented interventions include flexible or ability grouping, problem-based or inquiry-based learning, tiered lessons, or curriculum compacting. The classroom teacher will use the instructional resources that are appropriate for the individual student's need. The classroom teacher may create an intervention plan and progress monitor student growth over the course of the intervention. Depending on student progress monitoring data, the teacher will continue to provide small-group intervention but modify the intervention plan or determine that the additional instruction time is no longer necessary. If the student data indicates that the student needs additional challenge instruction not provided in Tier 1 or Tier 2, then the building intervention team may make a recommendation for Tier 3 services. 


Tier 3 (Intensive Intervention)Students identified for Tier 3 gifted and talented services receive service beyond Tier 1 and Tier 2. Tier 3 intensive intervention is usually provided on a daily basis through curriculum compacting, a specialized program, subject or grade acceleration, curriculum replacement, or a pullout service. The interventionist or classroom teacher will create a gifted and talented intervention plan and progress monitor student growth over the course of the intervention in collaboration with the classroom teacher. Depending on student progress monitoring data, the interventionist will continue with the intervention and modify the intervention plan or determine that the intervention is no longer necessary on a daily basis.  


Strategies and Interventions for Gifted and Talented Tiers 2 and 3

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  Ability Grouping

Children of high ability or with high achievement levels are put into a separate group for differentiating instruction. This can be full time, part time, or flexible. 

  Flexible Grouping

Students of various ages, abilities, and backgrounds are grouped and regrouped to meet students' individual instruction needs.

  Tiered Lessons

While students work at various degrees of difficulty on their tasks, they all explore the same essential ideas and work at different levels of thought. Groups eventually come together to share and learn from each other.

  Competitions and Advanced Clubs

Such activities include forensics, debate, speech contests, MATHCOUNTS, Junior Great Books, chess, etc.

  Curriculum Compacting

Compacting is the practice of pre-testing student knowledge of material before it is taught. This can be done by using end-level tests, a written narrative of what the students already know, KWL, interview, etc. If the student has mastered the material, he/she should be able to participate in curriculum that is challenging and new.

With skill-based subjects, such as math and early reading, the end-of-the-unit tests work well. With more content-based areas, such as literature, social studies, and some sciences, students could have the option to study the material in the book, take the test, and move on to replacement or extension material.

  Honors, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate DP Courses

Students take courses with advanced or accelerated content in order to test out of or receive credit for college-level courses.

  Problem-Based Learning

This challenges students to learn through engagement in real-life problems. One of the primary features of problem-based learning is that it is student-centered. "Student-centered" refers to learning opportunities that are relevant to the students, the goals of which are at least partly determined by the students themselves.

  Specialized Program

This is school placement in a setting that is specialized to meet the needs of the particular student; e.g., language immersion, gifted and talented, specialized arts programs, Project Lead the Way, etc.

  Replacement Curriculum

A special curriculum is designed to meet the needs of the student at the level at which he/she is challenged; e.g., William and Mary curriculum, ALEKS, WCATY, above-grade-level coursework, etc.

  Single-Subject Acceleration

A student bypasses the usual progression of skills and content mastery in one subject where great advancement has been observed. The student will progress at the regular instruction pace through the remaining subject areas.

  Whole-Grade Acceleration

A learner is double-promoted to bypass one or more grade levels. There is a process for approving students for whole-grade acceleration. Please contact the MPS Gifted and Talented coordinator at 414-777-7813.

Gifted and Talented Contacts

Elizabeth K. Mallegni
Gifted and Talented Program Coordinator

Abbie Fishman
Advanced Academic Coach

Dorothy Schuller
Advanced Academic Coach


Director of the Department of Research, Assessment, and Data:

Dr. Melanie Stewart
Phone: 414-475-8751


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