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Advanced Learning - Testing 

If you think your student may need advanced learning opportunities, please apply for eligibility testing. If your student has already been tested and you have an enrollment question, click here.

First, be aware of our deadlines. All candidates must go through the SPS testing process. We adhere strictly to the established timelines and eligibility criteria without exception in order to provide equal access for the nearly 5,000 candidates who are referred annually.

Testing procedures are outlined below. Click here to download the Application Form/Information Packet for the Fall/Winter 2014-15 Testing Session to Determine Eligibility for 2015-16.

Other languages: Amharic / Chinese / Somali / Spanish / Tagalog / Tigrigna / Vietnamese /

Fall/Regular Testing


This is the usual testing route required to determine Advanced Learning eligibility. For your student to be considered for Highly Capable Services or Spectrum, you must follow these steps and adhere to these important and strict deadlines:

  1. Apply by the October 2, 2014, deadline. An "application" consists of two forms, both contained in the Application Form/Information Packet (see links above). Please follow these instructions and adhere to these deadlines:
    • The Parent/Guardian Permission Form. Submit it to the Advanced Learning Office via mail or drop it off in person to your school secretary or the Advanced Learning Office. (Don't email or fax it). See contact information on our main page. The form must be submitted by the October 2 deadline.
    • The Teacher/Educator Rating Scale. Please give the Teacher/Educator Rating Scale to your student's teacher by October 2. It is due from teachers by November 7.
  2. Choose a program and/or school by the winter 2015 deadline. Students won't be automatically enrolled, so you cannot skip this step. See our Enrollment page for details.
Teachers or community members who wish to nominate a student for testing must give a Parent/Guardian Permission Form to the parent or guardian of the student and also request and/or submit a Teacher/Educator Rating Scale.

How the regular Fall Testing system works:


1. MAP Score Review


When we receive your Permission Form, we review your student's spring MAP testing data. If the scores are at the 87th percentile or higher, we move them to the cognitive testing stage. Every kindergartner who applies will be scheduled for cognitive testing. If your student is in eighth grade and wants to enter the Accelerated IB program at Ingraham, the MAP scores must be 95th percentile or higher. NOTE: Students with spring MAP scores below the eligibility threshold may still apply. Subsequent achievement scores such as fall MAP data will be considered when submitted. The Teacher Rating Scale is also considered as an indicator of the need for cognitive testing. 

To check your student’s MAP scores, please access the Source (link on the top line of this page). Sign in to your child’s account (or create one if necessary). MAP scores are listed under assessments. 

2. Test Date Notification


If your student's MAP scores are not high enough for cognitive testing eligibility, you'll receive a letter by mid-November. If the MAP scores are high enough, we will mail or email you a test-date appointment letter later in the fall. If you don't receive one by mid-December, contact the Advanced Learning Office at advlearn@seattleschools.org.

3. Cognitive Testing


All candidates must take the Cognitive Abilities Test, which will be scheduled from late October through winter. Some schools will hold tests on Saturdays, and all private school students are offered a Saturday testing date.

CogAT Form 7 reflects the most up-to-date research on how best to measure cognitive abilities and learning styles. This version has reduced the language load to make the test even more appropriate for ELL children. It includes:

Verbal Battery: This comprises three subtests: Picture (Verbal) Analogies, Picture (Verbal) Classification and Sentence Completion. For the Primary Edition, the Picture Analogies and Picture Classification subtests are picture-based items which tap into verbal reasoning processes without tying items to a specific administration language. The Sentence Completion test is the only test that requires teacher-read prompts. For the Multilevel Edition, the student must read individual words on two subtests of the Verbal Battery (Verbal Analogies and Verbal Classification) and a sentence on the third (Sentence Completion).

Nonverbal Battery: This comprises three subtests: Figure Matrices, Paper Folding and Figure Classification. The three subtests at the Primary level are just like those at the Multilevel and did not require much adaptation for young students. The Figure Matrices subtest contains three figures in an analogy that the student must complete. Paper Folding requires the examinee to determine how a folded, hole-punched paper will appear when unfolded. Figure Classification presents three figures in the stem, and the examinee is required to determine a fourth figure that belongs to the set. 

Quantitative Battery: This comprises three subtests: Number Analogies, Number Puzzles, and Number Series. The three subtests have been adapted for young students by couching quantitative reasoning challenges in engaging and accessible formats. The Number Analogies task for primary children relies on picture-based quantitative concepts. The Number Puzzles task presents equations as trains. And, finally, the Number Series task is presented as an abacus toy where students search for patterns. All of these formats have been extensively tried out with students and have been found to be engaging and to tap into important quantitative reasoning skills. 

4. Achievement Testing (if needed)


Not all candidates must take achievement tests, which will be scheduled through winter. The MAP scores serve as achievement results for most SPS students in Grades 1-8. Non-SPS students will be administered an achievement test if cognitive test scores are at the 87th percentile (98th for eighth graders) or higher. Private-school students who have ERB or other nationally normed achievement test scores no older than the previous March may submit those in lieu of SPS achievement testing. SPS kindergarten students with cognitive scores at the 90th percentile or higher do not require achievement testing to be eligible for Spectrum. SPS kindergarten students who achieve cognitive scores at or above the 98th percentile must take an achievement test and score at or above the 95th percentile to be eligible for Highly Capable Services (HCC/APP).

For those students who require achievement testing, the Woodcock-Johnson Achievement Test (grades K-1) or the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (grades 2-8) will be given if cognitive test scores are within the eligibility range. 

NOTE: Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch or who are English Language Learners, who demonstrate cognitive ability in at least one out of three areas, and who have strong teacher/educator input, may receive additional cognitive testing and may also receive additional reading and math achievement testing in the academic area in which they did not meet the performance threshold. (Washington Administrative Code (WAC) Sections 392-170-065 and 392-170-060 focused on nondiscrimination in the use of tests and nondiscrimination in the review of test results.)

5. Test and Eligibility Results

A Multidisciplinary Selection Committee reviews each candidate's test scores and Teacher Rating Scale to determine eligibility. Scores are a break point and are not absolute qualifiers or disqualifiers; teacher input is an important consideration. Decision letters with all test results are mailed as soon as possible after January 31. Test scores and eligibilities are reported by mail ONLY and are not reported early by phone, email or fax.

Here are the general testing criteria. See the Services and Programs page for more detail on services and programs as well as program sites.

Highly Capable Services, including Highly Capable Cohort (formerly Accelerated Progress Program): Students may be tested in Grades K-8 during the fall testing window. Requires 98th-plus percentile in two areas on CogAT, and 95th-plus percentile in reading and math on MAP or other achievement tests. All Advanced Learning programs are open to these students. Students in Grades 9-11 will be offered a spring testing opportunity for Highly Capable Services eligibility

Spectrum: Students may be tested in Grades K-7. Requires 87th-plus percentile in two areas of CogAT, and 87th-plus percentile in reading and math on MAP or other achievement tests. Exception is kindergarten, which requires a 90th-plus percentile on CogAT but achievement tests are waived.
The Spectrum and Advanced Learning Opportunities (ALO) programs are open to these students.

6. Appeals


Specific information on how to appeal is included in eligibility and/or initial review letters and is available on the Appeal Process web page. Private assessments will only be considered during the appeal process.

7. Enrollment in Programs


If the candidate is identified for an Advanced Learning program, he or she will NOT automatically be enrolled in a particular program or school. Families must do this separately and before the winter enrollment deadline because a number of enrollment options are available for the AL programs. Families unsure which to choose may read more about the programs and program sites on our Advanced Learning Programs page. Please see our Enrollment page to learn how to enroll your child.

Summer/New Student Testing


Summer testing is for students who move to Seattle after the October 2 application deadline — it is not for students who wish to retest, private school students who live in the city, or students in the system who happened to have missed the fall deadline. (Those students must follow the regular fall testing dates for placement consideration next year. Click here to review the Fall/Regular Testing Schedule.)

If you are new to Seattle, it is after October 2, and you want to have your child tested so that he or she may be placed in Advanced Learning programs next fall, please:

1. Fill out a Parent/Guardian Permission Form by the August deadline. For summer testing only, we accept fax and email submissions. See contact information on our main page. Application packets will be available here by late June.

2. Enroll your student in Seattle Public Schools by the August deadline. Students must be enrolled by that deadline in order to be eligible for testing. (Follow standard neighborhood-school enrollment; you don't need to choose a school yet.) Click here for the Enrollment web page.

After your permission form is received and your enrollment is verified, you'll receive an assigned, mid- to late-August test date. The Advanced Learning Office will notify you of results at the end of August, and you'll have until September 30 to choose a program and/or school if your child is deemed eligible. Note that SPS-administered cognitive testing is required for all students unless they have paperwork from another public school verifying participation in a highly capable program with accompanying qualifying test results.

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