2Who Is Tested?In DeKalb County, all first, third, fifth, and seventh grade students are given the norm-referenced, standardized tests.Testing is done in October and November.ITBS and CogAT are given in October. The Renzulli Creativity and Motivation scales are completed by the teachers in November.
3Second & Fourth Grade Testing Only students new to Georgia public schools may be tested in second and fourth grades.Students from out of state gifted programs and students recommended for testing by parents or teachers can be tested in these grades, but recommendations must also be accompanied by data backing up this action.No student who has either a mental ability or an achievement score from the previous year in a Georgia public school is eligible for any retesting.
4What Characteristics Are Tested? In Georgia, the areas tested are Mental Ability, Achievement, Creativity, and Motivation.These criteria are based on Dr. Joseph Renzulli’s Three Ring Conception of Giftedness.Students are assessed in the areas of Mental Ability through the CogAT – Cognitive Abilities Test.Achievement is tested via the ITBS – Iowa Test of Basic Skills.Creativity and Motivation are determined by completion of the Renzulli’s Assessment Scales for Creativity and Motivation.
5Renzulli’s Three Ring Conception of Giftedness Renzulli considers three factors important for the development of gifted behavior: above average ability, creativity, and task commitment.Within above average abilities, Renzulli notes a difference between general ability, such as processing information and abstract thinking (mental ability), and specific abilities, like the capacity to acquire knowledge and perform in an activity (achievement).By creativity, Renzulli means the fluency, flexibillity and originality of thought, as well as an openness to experience, and a willingness to take risks.Under task commitment, he understands that motivation must be turned into action, like perseverance, endurance, and hard work, but he also includes self-confidence, perceptiveness, and a student’s fascination with a special subject. He maintains that without task commitment, high achievement is not possible.
6Qualifying ScoresAll qualification requirements are set by the State Department of Education, not by DeKalb County.On the CogAT, students must have a score of 96% or higher one or more of the subtests (Verbal, Quantitative, Non-Verbal) or on the Complete Composite score.On the ITBS, students must have a 90% or higher on the Total Reading, Total Math, or the Complete Composite.On the Renzulli – either Creativity or Motivation – a score of 90% or higher is required.For inclusion in the gifted program, students must qualify in three* out of four areas.
7*ExceptionIf a student in grades K-2 gets a score on the CogAT Complete Composite (not on just a subtest) of 99%, or in grades 3 and higher a score of 96% on the Complete Composite, and also has a 90% or higher Achievement score (TR, TM, or CC), then he or she qualifies even without acceptable scores in Creativity or Motivation, although testing data is still needed in all four areas.
9What is Step II?Step II occurs when a student qualifies only on Mental Ability or on Achievement. He or she may or may not have qualifying Renzulli scores. A Renzulli score alone is not a qualifier without a CogAT or ITBS. In addition, only one Renzulli score can be counted toward qualifying.No student may qualify without the necessary score in either mental ability or achievement.In a group setting, Step II students assess themselves in the areas of creativity and/or motivation, depending on the results of the October/November testing sessions.The Step II tests are norm-referenced and standardized.
10Testing Modifications and Gifted Qualification The scores from nonstandard administrations of tests may not be used to establish gifted program eligibility. This includes extended time and small group settings. Whenever the administration of a standardized test is modified in any way, the results are no longer comparable to those obtained by the norm group. They are, therefore, invalid for the purpose of ranking student performance (the very purpose of norm-referenced tests). The Georgia DOE addresses this issue in the Test Coordinator’s Manual: Please note that a non-standard test administration results in invalid scores for a norm-referenced test. Such invalid scores cannot be used for determining eligibility for special programs.
11Testing Timeline October – The CogAT and ITBS are administered November – The Renzullis are completed by the teachers.December – Scores usually come back to the schools right before Winter BreakJanuary – Scores are entered by the county into the county database and lists of students eligible for the program or for Step II testing are made available to the schools, probably by the middle of the monthJanuary (mid) – PCEs are sent home for permission to test students needed Step II (no student can be assessed without this signed permission form).Late January to early February – Step II is completed.February – The results of Step II and the notifications of qualifying students are sent home. (The Continuation Policy must be signed and returned prior to admission to class.)February – Newly designated gifted students join Discovery classes.