Secondary Gifted Services

RISD Advanced Learning Services

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Universal Screening

ALL 6th grade students are tested in the fall to screen for possible placement in GT courses in Junior High. (Because students must only be tested once in a 12-month period, students who were tested in the spring of 5th grade may not be tested until the spring of 6th grade.)

What are the GT Services in Secondary?

Secondary gifted services include Advanced, AP, Dual Credit, and/or OnRamps classes in several content areas and GT-sheltered content courses in Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science. Curriculum will develop and reinforce skills in problem solving, creative thinking, divergent thinking, critical thinking, and logic. Students who participate in these GT classes will demonstrate skills in self-directed learning, thinking, research, and communication as evidenced through the development of innovative products and performances that reflect individuality and creativity.

At all Junior High and High School campuses, RISD will be offering a variety of courses designed to meet the individual ability and gifted needs of our students.

Refer to the current year’s Charting Your Course for an updated list of Gifted and Talented course offerings.

GT courses vs standard courses

The confusion between course levels and courses designated for G/T is a common one. The sheer number of options in courses in secondary is something of a change coming out of elementary where things aren’t quite as departmentalized as they are in junior high and in high school. The simplest explanation is to say that AP (or advanced, dual credit, OnRamps, etc.) is a designation that follows a course, while G/T is a designation that follows a student. A child must demonstrate a need for gifted services and must qualify for them, while any student can challenge themselves by enrolling in an AP course.

To serve our G/T kids in secondary, we group them in course sections designated for G/T students to meet their instructional needs. In high school, they are always cohorted in a college credit-bearing course if possible (AP, OnRamps, dual credit). What this means instructionally is that a G/T student is enrolled in an advanced academics course, but

instruction for the designated G/T section is differentiated to meet the unique learning process of G/T students. In this way, G/T kids are not unfairly benefited in terms of GPA or class ranking or any of that, but neither are they unfairly hindered in those things because they require instruction that is adaptive to the ways in which they learn differently from their non-G/T peers.

Secondary Course Options

NOTE: This list includes ALL courses, not just GT courses.



The Texas State Plan requires that school districts consider quantitative AND qualitative data to identify a student for GT services.

Quantitative data is objective, measurable, numerical data like test scores.

Qualitative data is anecdotal information that is subjective and not usually normed, like observations, referrals, and advocacy.

In RISD, to qualify for GT services, a student must have a

1. Parent Referral on file

2. valid test scores

3. teacher advocacy (if needed).

A Parent Referral gives the parent an opportunity to advocate for services and Permission to Serve their child if they qualify for GT services.

If a Parent Referral is already on file from elementary, a new one is NOT needed. Since the GT service model changes from elementary to secondary, the Placement Committee will review currently identified students for appropriate secondary services. ALL GT Core+ and/or GT Pullout students will be considered with the most current data available.

What type of test is administered?

Ability testing is used to determine a student’s need for GT services in Richardson ISD. The test measures a student’s learned reasoning and problem-solving skills in 3 areas:

The verbal domain measures a student’s ability to remember and transform sequences of English words, to understand them and to make inferences and judgements about them.

The quantitative domain measures a student’s understanding to quantitative concepts and relationships.

The nonverbal domain measures reasoning using pictures and shapes. (This section reduces the impact of language on the student’s score.)

Each section is timed since fluency is a component of ability.

Student scores are reported in Standard Age Scores. This means the scores report how students performed on the test compared to others of the same age. Standard Age Score (SAS) is a normalized standard score, with a mean mean (average) of 100. The average range of these scores is 84-116, meaning the majority of students score within this range. Scores are reported for each domain of the test. Students who qualify for gifted services will have an SAS of 130 or more in two areas.

Course Qualification

The district standard to qualify for services is scoring 130 or higher in the domain correlated to the course:

GT English/Language Arts – 130+ in Verbal

GT Social Studies – 130+ in Verbal

GT Science – 130+ in Quantitative or Nonverbal

Parents and students will not select courses. The Placement Committee (representatives from ALPS) will consider the entire student report and collected advocacy information from parents and teachers, and will make placement decisions accordingly.

My child might not meet the district standard of 130 SAS. Should I still refer them?

If you feel your student demonstrates an instructional need for GT services (in that their learning needs cannot be met in a general education setting, including Advanced courses, then you should refer your student. In cases where a student has not met standard, teachers are asked to advocate for the student by sharing examples of classwork, mindset and interest or passion in the content area. The Placement Committee will consider all such evidence before making a decision.

When will we receive the results?

Placement letters will be available in the parent portal in Focus by December 18th, 2020.

How do I refer my child?

Use the online link to access and submit the Parent Referral:

(The link is case sensitive, and you will need your student’s ID number to complete it.)

The referral window opens at 8am Monday, October 1st and closes at 3pm Friday, October 16th. (Please note: late referrals will NOT be accepted.)

I have questions. Who can I contact?

For additional information or unanswered questions, contact the following:

Secondary GT Courses:

Joe Russell, Ph.D

Advanced Learning Specialist


Referral and Placement Process:

Jasmine Patel, M.Ed

Advanced Learning Specialist