“Those persons between the ages of four and twenty-one whose aptitude or competence in abilities, talents, and potential for accomplishment in one or more domains are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational programming needs. Gifted children are hereafter referred to as gifted students. Children under five who are gifted may also be provided with early childhood special educational services. Gifted students include gifted students with disabilities (i.e. twice exceptional) and students with exceptional abilities or potential from all socio-economic, ethnic, and cultural populations. Gifted students are capable of high performance, exceptional production, or exceptional learning behavior by virtue of any or a combination of these areas of giftedness:
For a glossary of Gifted and Talented terms, click here
In order to achieve their full potential, gifted students need the support of unique programming designed to meet their needs. This programming may include a variety of different strategies designed to address both the academic and social/ emotional needs of gifted students.
Students formally identified receive an Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) which is a legal document designed to support individual goals and programming needs of each child.
Begin by talking with the gifted teacher/point of contact at your child’s school: Gifted and Talented Teacher/Point of Contact
They will be able to answer your questions about the identification process. See the Identification section for additional information about the required pieces of information needed for gifted identification.
The time it takes to complete a full identification takes varies from student to student. The GT teacher/point of contact has to collect a body of evidence of qualifying data points, which may take some time to complete.
Once an initial data point is collected, the GT teacher/point of contact will continue to work on obtaining the remaining two data points. On certain occasions, the process can be completed within a month or two. In other cases, if the data does not present itself immediately, the identification may take multiple semesters to complete.
Students who have initial data or who may not have remaining data over time may be considered for talent development and receive gifted and talented services while in process for a full identification.
The identification and evidence-gathering process for students pursuing an identification in a talent area, may take longer than a traditional academic identification.
It is good to check in with the gifted and talented teacher/point of contact at least once a semester to check on the status of your child if they are in process for an identification.
Please remember the identification process is governed by state law and DPS complies with the rules and regulations established by the Colorado Department of Education.
Students may be identified through one of the three identification pathways: Academic Aptitude, Specific Talent Aptitude, or General Intellectual Ability.
For an identification in an academic pathway, the strength area would include one or more of the following: reading, writing, math, science, social studies and world language.
If identification in a specific talent pathway, the strength area would include one or more of the following: performing arts, music, dance, psychomotor, creative and productive thinking, and leadership.
Students may be identified in more than one area. Please visit the identification process page to find out more.
GT identified students are those students performing well beyond their age mates and within the top fifth percentile in both ability and achievement areas. GT students require modifications in their academic strength area(s) in order to realize their full potential as well as social and emotional support. These modifications are made together with the GT and classroom teachers at the child’s school of attendance.
HGT students are identified as highly gifted with a cognitive score that is 97%ile or above and a body of evidence that supports the need for full time gifted and talented services. These students comprise 1-3 percent of the total population. Students who are (HGT) may need full time, intensive services delivered by highly qualified gifted teachers beyond what can be offered at traditional schools.
The terms can be confusing, but they demonstrate where a student stands within the identification process:
No. There are Gifted Education teachers in every K-5, K-8 or 6-8 buildings and GT points of contact at DPS Charter schools who are there to support classroom teachers in making sure your child’s learning needs are addressed. Once identified as GT or HGT, your child will receive an Advanced Learning Plan each year to support their growth in their area of strength.
Your child may need to leave his/her current school if you feel that his/her needs are not able to be addressed there. You will want to talk with your child to determine if s/he is challenged, learning something new every day, has a group of peers with whom s/he can relate and is generally happy at school. If you identify a concern, then you may want to consider “choicing in” to one of the magnet sites.
At a magnet site, the teachers have training and experience in working with highly gifted students. The teachers make accommodations in their curriculum for advanced learners and have other students with similar learning needs. Highly gifted students make up only 1-3 percent of the total population so finding like peers and others needing the same level of academic challenge in a traditional school is unlikely, which is why DPS offers magnet schools.
We encourage you to review the programming description from the school found here. Reach out to the school to discuss their programs and consider the following questions:
There are many wonderful resources for families to learn more about giftedness and supporting your child. These links are provided as a source of general information on giftedness. Please note this is not an exhaustive list and many additional resources are available.
Ability testing ( also referred to as cognitive testing) allows the student to demonstrate their potential to think and reason in a way that is not captured on grade level achievement tests. It is a critical component for the identification gifted learners because it is a student’s advanced ability that requires accommodations in the classroom.
Ability testing is often a requirement within the overall body of evidence towards identification, as outlined by Colorado Department of Education and state law.
You should prepare your student for the testing experience by informing them the test is taking place and make sure they have adequate sleep and a healthy breakfast.
The actual content of a cognitive test is not something that can be studied. If your child participates in testing, you will receive an “Intent to Test” letter prior to the testing date.
All DPS students who are enrolled in kindergarten, 2nd grade, and 6th grade, will be administered a universal screening with the Naglieri Nonverbal Abilities Test (NNAT3) or the CogAT Nonverbal Battery (if participating in the Denver Online School) in the fall semester between September and January. The site assessment liaison or the GT teacher/point of contact will send home intent to test letters letting you know when the testing will occur. The school will send home the results for your records in the weeks following the testing.
The DPS GT Central Office review team processes all scores to determine student magnet eligibility. This criteria includes a 97%ile on one of the cognitive tests.
All test scores will be sent home from the school. Families of magnet eligible students will receive official notification letters from the GT Central Office in late December/early January in order to participate in the first round School Choice lottery.
The universal test scores are utilized as one of the data points for gifted identification. A qualifying score of 95%ile or higher does not mean that a student is automatically identified.
Students who are in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 7th grades or out of district, private school, or home school may participate in magnet testing. Families or teachers (with parent permission) may nominate a child for testing by submitting a magnet testing application (available online or for download on the home page of this site). Please be aware of posted deadlines.
Students not participating in the universal screening will receive the Cognitive Abilities Test, which assesses students on three subtests: verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal.
No. The DPS Gifted and Talented Department only allows a student to be tested on one cognitive test per calendar year. If a student took the NNAT/CogAT in the fall, they would not be eligible to be tested again until fall of the next year.
Families may review the appeals process found in this FAQ page for more information on contesting a score.
No. These scores are part of information gathered for a body of evidence. This means that one test score alone does not qualify a child. Please review the identification tab for more information.
It is the goal of DPS to provide all of our students with appropriate academic services. When there is a disagreement on matters pertaining to the identification, evaluation and eligibility for gifted services the appeals process may be initiated.
Appeals based on one of the following criteria may be submitted to the Gifted and Talented Department:
Click here to submit the form to appeal your child’s score.
Note: Appeals will only be accepted within a 30 day window from when scores are received. The form is currently closed from the spring testing session.
Appeals for fall 2022 testing will be accepted starting October 13, 2022. The form for fall testing will close on January 24, 2023.
If you have any supporting additional data that would be helpful to the Appeal Review Team (e.g. district testing data, outside testing data, observation scales, personal observations of the child’s advanced abilities/thinking), you will be able to upload this to the form. Please note that this upload requires a gmail account. If you do not have a gmail account, please email the files to firstname.lastname@example.org and in the subject line, please list as Test Results Appeal and Your Child’s Name.
The Gifted and Talented Department’s Appeal Team will notify you of receipt of the appeal. Appeals will be addressed on a weekly basis. Additionally, extra testing considerations may be unavailable or delayed.
All appeals will go before the Appeal Review Team, and you will be notified of the decision by email. The team may contact you for additional information if necessary. The decision of the Appeal Review Team is final.
Please click the link below for a detailed description of academic terms related to gifted education: Glossary of Gifted Terms
The Gifted Department will consider cognitive and/or IQ testing administered outside of DPS on a case by case basis for formal gifted identification and/or magnet eligibility. If you have outside of district cognitive test results you would like reviewed in consideration of a gifted identification, please contact your school’s gifted teacher for more information about the gifted identification process in DPS.
Please submit all documents including any achievement and ability test results from your prior district/state to your school’s GT Teacher or designated point of contact. The Central Identification Team will review all documentation to assure alignment with the state of Colorado’s identification criteria.
If you are relocating from a Colorado district, please send the data for review.
If your child recently took the NNAT, please contact your school. The GT teacher/point of contact or Site Assessment Liaison should be able to give you these results.
For all other data requests including CogAT score reports, Advanced Learning Plans, or scores older than 2018, please reach out to the Gifted and Talented Department. Include:
If you are leaving the district, GT identification completed within Denver Public Schools should be portable within the State of Colorado.
DPS Gifted and Talented does not have programs for preschool aged children. We begin collecting a body of evidence towards identification during kindergarten, starting with the universal screening. Students must be enrolled at least 45 days in an accredited kindergarten program in order to be eligible to be tested for magnet services.
We do encourage you to contact Early Education to learn what opportunities are available to young learners. As a parent of an advanced learner who is looking for possible school options for your child, there are several questions which can help you gain more information about individual schools philosophies and whether it will be a good fit for your child. It is always important to visit schools and ask questions!