FAQ

Kindergarten through Grade 5 (Elementary Campuses)

Q:  My student has been nominated for GT testing, and I have signed permission to test.
      When will my student be tested, and will I be informed of the day they are to be tested?

A:  When a parent signs permission to test, they are consenting for the assessments to be
      administered for their student within the testing administration window. The Office of
      Advanced Academic Services works with principals to set dates for the assessments to
      be administered. It is not common practice to notify students or parents the exact time
      of testing at each campus. The purpose of the assessments is to determine overall
      reasoning and creative skills, and are not tests for which one studies or prepares.

Q:  Since our gifted children in Kindergarten through grade 5 have been successful with a
      special time of the week for their services, why should we change to cluster grouping?

A:  Research (Rogers 1991) has shown that academic growth of gifted students occurs
      when they are clustered together.  That research, along with the fact that gifted people
      are gifted all the time (not just on one day a week), influenced the decision to provide
      gifted learners with the most appropriate setting for learning. 

Q:  Who will be in the K-5 cluster groups if there are not enough identified gifted students
      to fill a class?

A:  Principals were provided a Teacher Checklist for teachers to evaluate students in their
      classrooms. Criteria included responses from the Teacher Checklist, whether the
      student had been nominated for G/T services, but not identified, and STAAR
      Advanced Measures scores.

Q:  Who will teach our gifted children?

A:  Principals have been offered information about characteristics of teachers who are
      appropriate for teaching gifted learners.  Principals will select the most qualified teachers
      for this population.  In addition to a variety of personal characteristics, each teacher
      must have completed 30 hours of Professional Development in Gifted Education, plus
      they are required to complete 6 hours every year after the original 30 hours.

Q:  What is the curriculum for our children?

A:  State law requires that the teacher modify the regular curriculum (Texas Essential
      Knowledge and Skills [TEKS]) through depth, complexity, and pacing.  Teachers will use
      the CSCOPE curriculum that all teachers use and differentiate (modify) it in ways
      mandated by state law.  For example, they will pre-test students when they start a unit
      to determine if they already know all or parts of the content to determine how quickly
      or how much time they will spend on the TEKS for that unit.  This allows for them to
      use curriculum compacting, a term that means that students learn what they do not
      know at a faster pace.  Curriculum compacting will free the teacher and students to
      spend more time with new learning at greater depth and in more complex ways.

      Students will also complete the Texas Performance Standards Projects (TPSP). TPSP is
      curriculum provided by the state that is designed for gifted learners.  It is similar to the
      units students have been working on in their G/T classes in past years, but provides
      opportunity for students to go deeper into a study and to look at it in more complex
      ways.  It also requires greater depth in research while, at the same time, teaching
      students how to research.  Teachers will infuse TPSP into the regular curriculum and/or
      provide it to students when they have met the TEKS for a unit of study.

      All student work will be evaluated through rubrics on a regular basis.  The curriculum
      will be evaluated throughout the year to ensure that your gifted child’s academic
      growth is accelerated as required.

Q:  Will the gifted students still be required to participate in History and Science Fairs?

A:  No and yes.  History Fair and Science Fair are not be required of gifted students, but
      both will be encouraged and can fulfill their participation in the TPSP.  The phenomenal
      success in these competitions demands that we continue both for those who wish to
      participate.  Academic UIL competitions, Destination Imagination, and all other
      competitions will be continued according to the interests and needs of students. 
The
      nature of gifted children is that they are often very competitive.  In that light, all
      academic competitions will be encouraged. 

Pre-Advanced Placement (Pre-AP) and Advanced Placement (AP) (Middle and High School Campuses)

Q:  When middle and high school gifted/talented students are served through Pre-AP or AP
      courses and students who are not identified as gifted/talented are in the class, must
      the Pre-AP/AP teacher differentiate the curriculum for the gifted/talented students?

A:  Yes. Teachers that are using flexible grouping for instruction and product development,
      giving choices in assignments, and establishing a student-centered classroom with lots
      of student-to-student interaction are providing differentiated instruction. One of the
      reasons for requiring PAP/AP teachers to have professional development in nature and
      needs of gifted/talented students and assessing student needs is so they will be able to
      recognize a need for differentiation and provide it as needed. Teachers will want to add
      depth and complexity appropriate for gifted/talented students and differentiate for those
      who need it. (Source: Texas Education Agency)

Q:  Can Pre-AP be used to service gifted/talented students?

A:  Yes, but remember that Pre-AP is designed to increase the pool of students who will be
      successful in AP classes at the 11th and 12th grades. It is, therefore, a curriculum that
      is used to strengthen the educational program of all students in middle and high school.
      Following this philosophy, it would be necessary for a district to differentiate Pre-AP the
      way any general curriculum would be modified for gifted/talented students. (Source:
      Texas Education Agency)