GATE Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)?
The CogAT is a multiple-choice assessment that measures a student’s reasoning abilities in three different areas (Verbal, Quantitative, Nonverbal). This assessment has students use their critical thinking skills and logic to solve problems, make connections and find patterns.
Verbal Battery – This test assesses the student’s reasoning abilities using language skills which include finding relationships between words, analogies, and vocabulary.
Quantitative – This test assesses the student’s ability to analyze and apply relationships between numerical concepts and patterns.
Nonverbal – This test assesses the student’s critical thinking skills independent of language, and through the use of visual and spatial reasoning.
- What is the difference between verbal/nonverbal?
Both verbal and nonverbal batteries test a student’s ability to analyze relationships and solve problems. In the verbal battery, questions heavily rely on students’ language skills. This assesses relationships between words including the use of analogies, understanding words as they are used in context, and applying vocabulary strategies. In the nonverbal battery, questions can be answered through the use of visual and spatial reasoning. This assesses relationships without relying on language skills, but instead through geometric shapes and figures.
- What is the Gifted and Talented Education program (GATE)?
The GATE program services students in HUSD who are identified as gifted and/or talented. GATE students are grouped together for daily instruction with their classroom teacher who is experienced with differentiating instruction for all learners. During the school day, as appropriate, classroom teachers make modifications to the regular curriculum to ensure students are academically engaged and challenged. With the support of the site-based gifted specialist, the classroom teacher provides differentiated instruction and accelerated learning opportunities as determined by the needs of each student. Students may also receive push-in support for small group or personalized learning opportunities from the site-based gifted specialist.
- Why did my child get selected for the GATE program?
In Higley Unified School District, students who meet one or more of the following criteria are eligible for the GATE program offered at their school.
- Gifted: Student scores at the 97th percentile or higher in either the verbal, quantitative or nonverbal section of the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT).
- Talented: Student scores between the 84-96th percentiles in either the verbal or quantitative section of the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)
- High Potential: Student scores highly proficient (HP) on a grade level achievement test in English Language Arts (ELA) and/or Math and meets specific criteria for learning characteristics defined by the Renzulli Scales.
Throughout the school year, academic progress will be monitored to ensure the GATE program is appropriate for student success.
- Can I opt my child out of the GATE program? If so, what class will they be in?
Yes, families who would like to opt out may fill out the form with the site gifted specialist and/or site administration. Students who opt out of the GATE program will be placed in a classroom with their grade level peers.
- What if I don’t want them in now but change my mind in the future?
Beginning in 3rd grade GATE students are taught at an accelerated pace. This includes 3rd and 4th grade standards. If a student continues to qualify and has a body of supporting evidence showing he/she would benefit from the GATE program after opting out, a meeting can be requested to discuss best placement options. This could include joining the GATE class, working with the gifted specialist, or enrichment opportunities in the student's current placement.
- What if I want them in now but change my mind in the future?
We want to support students in all of their academic and social emotional needs. If at any time in the future you would like to request a different learning environment, please contact your site gifted specialist or administration.
- Are there any other gifted or accelerated programs we can consider?
The THINK Higley Gifted Academy is offered to students who have an IQ of 130 or higher or are in the 97th percentile on the CogAT in all three areas, or a composite in the 97th percentile. This program is offered at Sossaman Early Childhood Development Center and Bridges Elementary School through 3rd grade. Students then transition into the GATE program in 4th grade with their gifted and talented peers.
- What level of work will my child do within the program? (Ex, grade level curriculum?)
Students identified as gifted or talented in grades 3, 4, 5 and 6 are clustered together with a classroom teacher who has or is working toward a gifted endorsement. Students are ability-grouped for math instruction. Curriculum compacting allows students to work at and above grade level. The site gifted specialist provides support for math acceleration. The site gifted specialist provides resources for curriculum and instruction.
In English Language Arts, standards-based instruction will allow students to explore on grade level and above grade level standards as well as read novels that are at a Lexile level commensurate with their reading level.
- How much extra homework, if any, does GATE require?
In general GATE students should not have extra homework. Homework should provide an opportunity to refine and extend learning and is a site and teacher-based decision.
- What are the benefits of my child being in the GATE program?
Gifted students are grouped together for daily instruction with their classroom teacher who is experienced with differentiating instruction for all learners. During the school day, as appropriate, classroom teachers make modifications to the regular curriculum to ensure students are academically engaged and challenged. With the support of the site-based GATE coach, the classroom teacher provides differentiated instruction and accelerated learning opportunities as determined by the needs of each student.