The Milwaukee Public Schools Gifted and Talented Development Program comprises a continuum of services for students needing acceleration and/or enrichment embedded in the Response to Intervention (RtI) framework. State law requires that the district provide systematic and continuous instructional activities and learning experiences appropriate to the developmental needs of students from kindergarten through grade 12 who are identified as gifted or talented in one or more categories: general intellectual, specific academic area, leadership, creativity, and fine arts. (Wisconsin Statute: s. 118.35, Wis. Stats.) Milwaukee Public Schools will fully implement an integrated Response to Intervention framework with a continuum of services to support measurable academic and behavior success for all students. Within this framework, the essential elements of high-quality instruction, balanced assessment, collaboration, and culturally responsive practices interact to create a multi-level system of support through which data-informed decisions match appropriate services to the varying needs of students.
MPS Gifted and Talented Continuum of Services
Gifted and talented students attend schools across MPS; gifted and talented services begin with strong differentiation in every classroom. Three best practices for differentiation for acceleration and enrichment are flexible and/or ability grouping, curriculum compacting, and tiered lessons and assignments. More intensive gifted and talented services may include specialized programs, replacement curriculum, single-subject acceleration, and/or whole-grade acceleration.
Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)
The CogAT assessment is designed to measure students’ learned reasoning abilities in the three areas most linked to academic success in school: verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal. It is widely used in the identification of academically talented students. MPS will use the CogAT as a universal screener in grade 2 as one of the measures of the gifted and talented formal student identification process.
Formal Student Identification Process:
Students will be formally evaluated for gifted and talented identification as required in s. 118.35(1), Wis. Stats. in grade 2 using both the formal universal screener, the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT), and teacher observations. The CogAT will be administered to all MPS second graders in the first semester of each school year. The process, representative of the population of students who are served in MPS, will result in the development of a student profile based on a variety of measures. A student may be identified in one or more of the categories under s. 118.35, Wis. Stats. Second-grade students will be identified as “at potential” for gifted and talented opportunities based on the following measures collected in the student profile:
- The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)
- Teacher observations
- Star Reading and Star Math assessments
- Student profiles may also include evidence of demonstrated performance
- Parent input
Classroom teachers recommend students for evaluation through teacher observations for all MPS students to the building intervention team early in the school year to ensure that proper services are provided to gifted and talented students.