Entering the GIST Program

  • GIST - the pull-out portion and the heart of the gifted and talented program, uses multiple measures to identify participants.  In addition, those measures are applied at the transition levels from elementary to intermediate school, and intermediate school to middle school.
    At the end of grade 2, all Dickerson students are given the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT).  Those scores arrive over the summer and are mailed home in September.  The test examines cognitive verbal, non-verbal and quantitative skills.  Students who achieve a level of 96% on any one of those subtests, are invited to take a further test of non-verbal aptitude, the SAGES-2.  The emphasis on non-verbal intelligence reflects the inquiry-based, problem-solving orientation of the GIST program.  We are looking for a result of 90% or higher on the gifted scale for the SAGES-2.
    Meanwhile, each child's second grade teacher is asked to complete the GATES scale, a nationally normed teacher recommendation form.  At this time, parents are also invited to complete a parent form that concentrates on extra-academic behaviors and skills which their child may demonstrate.  (The parent form is not part of the decision process unless there is an appeal.)
    I place the three CogAt sub-scores, the SAGES-2 score and a GATES score on a matrix and remove the names before sending it to a committee of administrators who decide on the enrollment of the new third grade GIST class.
    There is provision for parents to recommend a child who has not achieved the CogAt score to be included in the SAGES-2 testing.  There is also provision for parents to appeal for a child's entry to the program by providing other evidence of their gifted behavior.
    FIFTH GRADE students take an appropriate CogAT test as an entire grade level in the spring (the date fluctuates with state-mandated testing times).  Those results are also mailed home, and, as above, students achieving 96% and above take the appropriate level of the SAGES-2 nonverbal reasoning subtest.  Along with teacher recommendations, these scores are considered on a blind matrix and students who achieve the benchmarks will be included in sixth grade GIST at Black River Middle School.
    Other notes:  
    All new students new to Bragg will take the Cognitive Abilities test within September, with the following exception.
    Transfer students who have been identified for their prior school's G/T program will be enrolled in GIST without further testing.
    You may find the district's policy on Gifted and Talented Education at the link below: