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GATE FAQ's

San Ramon Valley Unified School District

Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) and Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) – Frequently Asked Questions

 

1. How are students identified for GATE?

San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD) uses the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) Form 7 to identify students eligible for the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Program. This test consists of three batteries which measure verbal, quantitative and nonverbal skills. GATE identification does not impact students’ access to accelerated, honors, or advanced courses in our school district.

 

2. Which grade levels are given the CogAT?

All 2nd grade students are administered the CogAT at their school during the second trimester of each school year. Students in grades 3-4 who have previously taken the grade 2 CogAT or are new to SRVUSD may take the CogAT in the Fall. Additionally, students in grades 5-7 who are new to SRVUSD who have not previously taken a test for GATE eligibility may take the CogAT in the Fall. The Fall CogAT testing is generally held on a Saturday morning in early November. Parents must register online on our district GATE Testing webpage in order for their child to test. The registration for the retest will be open for approximately six weeks at the beginning of the school year. Space is limited, so parents are encouraged to register early. The specific date and time of the test will be posted on the GATE Testing web page in the Fall. Information about the location will be given to parents after they register.
 

3. Can students retake the CogAT?

Only students in grades 3 and 4 who have previously taken the CogAT have the option to register and retest. The retest opportunity is given once a year in early November. Online registration for this testing opportunity opens at the beginning of the school year and remains open for approximately six weeks on the district GATE Testing webpage . Space is limited so parents are encouraged to register their student early. All students must be registered in order to retest. The date and time of the test will be posted on the GATE page. Specific location details will be emailed to parents after they register.
 

4. What CogAT scores qualify students for GATE?

To be qualified for SRVUSD GATE identification, students must receive the National Composite Percentile Rank (APR) of 98 or above. Additionally, a student whose National Composite APR is 97 AND has scored a 99 in ONE of the three areas (Verbal, Quantitative or Non Verbal), will be qualified for GATE identification.
 

5. How are students new to SRVUSD identified for the GATE program at our district?

Previously identified gifted students who enter SRVUSD are considered for GATE identification as determined by the SRVUSD's GATE identification criteria. The parents will need to submit documentation to the school office during enrollment which shows the students’ prior GATE program qualification, along with assessment results that were used for the qualification. Students in grades 3-7 who have not taken a test for GATE qualification before may register to take the test in November. Parents must register online on our district GATE Testing webpage in order for their child to test. The registration for the retest will open at the beginning of the school year. Space is limited, so parents are encouraged to register early. The specific date and time of the test will be posted on the GATE Testing webpage in the Fall. Information about the location will be given to parents after they register. Please contact Cathy McSweeney for information at cmcsweeney@srvusd.net

 

6. Do we share information about the CogAT levels? Does the district recommend any materials for preparation to parents?

To maintain test security, we do not provide information about the specific levels of the CogAT that students will be taking. Our district does not recommend any materials for CogAT preparation to parents. Students are encouraged to take the CogAT with minimal test preparation so that we get an accurate measure of the students' reasoning abilities. Grade 2 teachers are provided practice tests to use in the classroom before testing so that our youngest students taking understand the basic format and content of the CogAT.
 

7.  How soon after the CogAT testing date do parents receive the results? How do they receive results?

It typically takes about 8-10 weeks from the first week of CogAT administration for parents to receive the results from grade 2 testing. For Fall testing, the results are usually available in 6-7 weeks. The scores will be posted in Parent Portal. We are using another scoring vendor, and there is no longer a Profile Narrative Report. If parents would like more information about their child’s result, they may make request to our district Assessment office at ECAssessmentMainLine@srvusd.net.

8. What does the GATE program look like in SRVUSD?

In grades 3-5, students who are GATE-identified are grouped together by forming clusters within the heterogeneous class. In addition, some schools use part-time grouping where students who are GATE- identified from more than one class are brought together for instructional purposes. At the middle school level, students who are GATE-identified are clustered within English Language Arts and History core subject classes in grades 6-8. All students have the opportunity to be in an accelerated math pathway based on demonstration of mastery of prerequisite skills. At the high school level, all students have the opportunity to be admitted into Honors and Advanced Placement classes in selected courses based on eligibility. Eligibility for Honors and Advanced classes is determined by the results of assessments designed for specific courses and/or by teacher recommendation. The visual and performing arts classes base entrance into advanced classes on auditions.

 

9. What is the Academic Talent Program (ATP)? How do students get into ATP?

A small percentage of students who are GATE-identified qualify for the selection for our Academic Talent Program (ATP) based on the Local Percentile Rank (LPR), which is a comparison percentile within our district only and not on the nationally normed Age Percentile Rank (APR). The student’s report publishes the APR, not the LPR (see question below for details). ATP is a magnet class program for students in grades 4-8 who work in a homogeneous setting where their unique talents and abilities are  challenged to the fullest extent. The curriculum is fast-paced and complex. ATP is not a gateway to advanced classes or selective colleges. ATP is not for all students who are highly gifted. It is considered a special needs program designed for students who demonstrate a need for a different learning environment. 

There are two separate ATP programs: Elementary ATP and Middle School ATP, and they require separate selection processes. Elementary ATP classes are currently offered at Montair and Bella Vista Elementary Schools. Middle School ATP classes are currently offered at Diablo Vista, Gale Ranch, and Windemere Ranch Middle Schools. To be eligible, students must score at least the  LPR of at least 97 in composite subset score (composite of two areas). If a student qualifies for the ATP selection process, parents will be notified by a letter. Selection for the program will be based on the CogAT LPR scores as well as additional measures such as class work and school input. This process is used to select students who demonstrate the ability and desire to be in a highly challenging and fast-paced learning environment.

 

10.   How can I find the students’ local scores, the Local Percentile Rank (LPR)? Why aren’t they posted like the national Percentile Rank scores?

The LPR scores are not posted because they are only used for the purpose of ATP eligibility and affect a very small percentage of students. Parents and school staff may request their students’ LPR by contacting Assessment Office at ECAssessmentMainLine@srvusd.net or Cathy McSweeney cmcsweeney@srvusd.net.

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