Talented & Gifted


G. A. T. E. (Gifted And Talented Education)

"To throw a non-swimmer in the deep end of the pool is inhumane. To demand an Olympic swimmer remain in the shallow end until the rest of the class learns to swim is a ludicrous restraint."

Q: What is GATE?

A: Rainier School District’s program for Gifted and Talented Education is called GATE.  This is also commonly referred to as TAG.

Q: Why GATE?
A: The Gifted and Talented Education Program serves students who, when compared with others of their age/grade level, require learning experiences beyond the standard curriculum.

Q: How does a student "apply" for GATE?
A: A student may be referred for GATE identification and testing by a teacher, parent, or they may refer themselves. In addition, they may be automatically identified through standardized state test scores or NNAT testing.

Q: What type of test does a student take?
A: A student may be identified for GATE from certain state standardized tests (such as the OAKS), or through intellectual tests (such as the Naglieri Nonverbal Abilities Test, Aprenda, or the Cognitive Abilities Test).

Students may also be tested, at the family’s expense, using other testing methods including full scale IQ tests like the WISC IV.

Q: What is the score needed to qualify as "gifted"?
A: Students who score in the 97th percentile are identified as either academically gifted (gifted in reading or gifted in mathematics) or as intellectually gifted and are automatically referred to the committee for GATE consideration.  

Students 4th grade and up receiving scores ranging from 93- 96 will be evaluated by a team of teachers and administrators to determine if other scores or observational data may be used to qualify the student.  Students in 3rd grade and below must earn 97th percentile or above to be considered since there are no state assessments against which to compare scores.

Q: How long does the qualification process take?
A: Testing and data collection can take weeks or months.

Q: What is the difference between percentage and percentile?
A: Percentage refers to the percent of questions a student scored correctly on a test. For example, a student who correctly answered 5 out of 10 questions would score 50%. Percentile refers to a student's performance in comparison to other students.  For example, a child who scores at the 42 percentile, is doing as well as, or better than, 42 percent of the students who took the same test.

Q: What is the benefit of being identified as Talented and Gifted?
A: GATE students receive instruction at their rate and level, which may include acceleration enrichment, independent study, curriculum compacting, etc. They may also qualify to attend a special pull-out program, additional field trips, and other services as appropriate.

Q: Who determines if a student qualifies for GATE?
A: The GATE coordinator, working with the student's parent(s), teacher(s), and principal makes the final determination based on test scores, work samples, behavioral traits, and other factors.

Q: What are some of the typical traits of a Gifted and Talented child?

These students potentially differ from their classmates on three key dimensions (Maker, 1982): (1) the pace at which they learn; (2) the depth of their understanding; and (3) the interests that they hold. In order to develop instructional programs that will meet the needs of gifted students in regular classroom settings, it is necessary to address and accommodate these defining characteristics.

1. Has advanced oral and/or written language skills; expressive language
2. Makes unique connections; understands systems; sees the "big picture"
3. Asks many questions; seeks in-depth information
4. Is nonconforming; risk-taking; independent
5. Has broad and varied interests, at times, simultaneously
6. Is resourceful at finding unique solutions
7. Exhibits keen powers of observation; is highly sensitive and insightful
8. Has intense and sustained interests; transfers learning to new situations
9. Exhibits an early moral concern; is empathetic
10. Makes nontraditional responses and/or products

Q: How does the Rainier GATE qualification process work?
A: Each year, the Rainier School District tests all 2nd, 4th and 7th grade students using the Naglieri Nonverbal Abilities Test.  The tests are generally administered in October in the homeroom classes (2nd and 4th) and in Science (7th).  At that time, teachers district-wide are asked if they have any other students in mind for testing who have newly transferred, been previously home-schooled, or somehow otherwise missed referred.  Referrals can be also be made by parents and administrators.

When students are tested outside of the all-grade testing cycle, parent permission is obtained by the referring teacher and supplied to the GATE coordinator prior to testing.

Results will be kept on file by the GATE coordinator and will be supplied to the principal and the homeroom teachers.  In the case of students who are referred for testing, results will be mailed home to the parents of the tested student with a letter indicating GATE qualification status.

Students who score in the 97th percentile are automatically referred for GATE consideration.  Students (4th grade and up) who score in the 93rd -96th percentiles will be considered for GATE at the discretion of the GATE committee.  The decision will be made by a committee who will be allowed to consider state testing data (OAKS), teacher observational data, and any of several other standardized tests.  The committee is to be composed of teachers and administrators and the GATE coordinator.

Q. My student seems very gifted, but he/she was not identified as GATE. Why?
A. The GATE identification process is regulated by Oregon Law which groups students into specific classifications of giftedness that may not account for all students giftedness. Ironically, under our current TAG laws, Einstein and Beethoven would probably not be identified as GATE!

Q. How is GATE funded?
A. The State of Oregon has allocated $0 for Gifted and Talented funding since 2003* or before.  Each district chooses to spend money or not based on board and superintendent decisions.

Q. What instructional provisions must be made in the classroom?

A. Designing instructional opportunities for gifted students in regular classrooms finds its inspiration at the source of the concern--the students. The characteristics of these students lead to the instructional accommodations that are appropriate (The Association for Gifted, 1989). The accelerated pace at which gifted and talented students learn information requires that flexible pacing strategies (Daniel & Cox, 1988) such as skill grouping, curricular compacting, contracting, and credit by examination be integrated into classroom management formats. The need to explore topics in depth leads program planners to include provisions such as original research, independent studies or investigations, mentorships, or classes at another school or institution of higher learning. When addressing the unique or advanced interests of these students, planners might be inspired to include opportunities such as mini-courses, interest groups, clubs, science or art fairs, or internships. The teachers' challenge is to identify student needs, develop and gain access to appropriate programs and curricula that correspond to those needs, and monitor student progress throughout the course of study. The students' challenge is to make the best possible use of the resources available while becoming fully responsible for their own learning.

Q. Where can I get more information?
A. You can get more information from the school's GATE coordinator and by contacting OATAG, Oregon’s Talented and Gifted Organization.

 Failure to help the handicapped child reach his potential is a personal tragedy for him and his family. Failure to help the gifted child reach his potential is a societal tragedy, the extent of which is difficult to measure, but which is surely great. How can we measure the sonata unwritten, the curative drug undiscovered, the absence of political insight. They are the difference between what we are, and where we could be as a society.

 --James Gallagher, Summer 1994 Delta Kappa Gamma

 * Statistics available included only 2003-2008.

 The preceding was borrowed in part from Stephan Price’s FAQ from the Oregon Talented and Gifted Web page.  It has been borrowed with written permission (1-11-08).

OATAG advocates for the needs of talented and gifted children; serves as a resource for families, educators, and communities, and provides direction for excellence in gifted education.

For more information visit http://www.OATAG.org