The nomination or referral of students for the A.C.E. program is a continuous process and may be made at any time throughout the year by the Screening Committee, other school personnel, parents or guardians, community members, peer referral or self-referral of those students believed to be gifted. Students from all cultural and socio-economic groups are considered in the process of gifted identification.
A pool of potential candidates is created annually through a review of available screening indicators and students who have been referred. These indicators may include classroom grades and performance, work samples, SOLs and other assessment results, results of the Primary Educational Thinking Skills (PETS) tool (K-2), and results from the OLSAT assessment administered to all second grade students. Students who have been identified for gifted education services in other school divisions are placed in the screening pool and will continue through the identification and placement process. The Screening Committee will determine if additional information is required to continue with eligibility determination. If additional testing information is required, written parental /guardian permission is required in order to proceed. This process will culminate in a Gifted Identification meeting, which is held within 90 school days of the parent’s written permission to test the student.
Each school establishes and maintains a Gifted Identification Team consisting of a building administrator, ACE teachers, the ACE coordinator, and a classroom teacher. The team meets three times per year to review information for each student referred for identification. The Gifted Identification Team determines eligibility for placement. A case study approach is used to review each child's profile with the committee seeking to reach a consensus through consideration of the multiple criteria. The following are the criteria used to determine placement:
- aptitude scores (such as WASI, WISC III and OLSAT)
- achievement scores (such as Woodcock-Johnson III)
- Gifted and Talented Evaluation Scales (GATES)
The decision-making process in each school is designed to reflect sensitivity toward the unique strengths and needs of individual students from all populations and is determined by a consensus or by majority rule. No single instrument, score, or criterion will be used to determine which students qualify or are denied access to programs for the gifted. The committee will make one of the following decisions:
- The student is identified as possessing gifted behaviors and is eligible for service. In some instances, where the student profile demonstrates a distinct strength in one or more academic areas that is discrepant to their abilities in the other academic areas, the student may be placed for Specific Academic Aptitude (English or Mathematics) only.
- The student does not meet the criteria for identification at this time.
- Information is inconclusive; thus, the classroom teacher and the Gifted Coordinator will monitor the student until a fair assessment can be made.
If the student is found to not be eligible, the parents are notified that the student was evaluated and found to not be eligible. They are advised that they may appeal the committee’s decision and may request a copy of the Appeals Procedure.
The decision of the placement committee may be appealed (within ten working days) by sending a written request to the Gifted Coordinator. An Appeals Committee is scheduled within 10 working days of the request. The membership of the Appeals Committee will consist of individuals who were not voting members of the original Identification Committee.