Northwestern University’s Midwest Academic Talent Search

Dear Parent or Guardian:

Your child is eligible to participate in the Northwestern University’s Midwest Academic Talent Search (NUMATS) conducted by the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. To qualify, your child scored at or above the 95th percentile in math or reading in the fall 2015 MAP testing and/or has previously been identified for PACE services. NUMATS is designed to identify academically talented students and provide them with information and opportunities to help them develop their talents. Participants and their parents will also be able to participate in secure, online communities with others who have similar interest throughout the Midwest and beyond.

Frequently asked questions:

Does this mean my child is in PACE?

No, the qualifying score only indicates that your child has demonstrated strong grade-level knowledge. Qualifying information is used only as a screening tool. The NUMATS test is an above grade level test which shows us how much farther a student could actually go. The KASD will consider high NUMATS scores when programming for students.

Why above-grade-level testing through NUMATS?

Bright children often hit the ceiling on grade-level achievement tests. Your child may earn top scores, but these tests are not able to measure the full extent of ability. Example: If a talented 4th grader and Albert Einstein took the same 4th grade test, the results might look the same: both have mastered the 4th grade content. However, the results would not inform us about how much more the test taker really knows. We would not be able to differentiate between a genius and a really good 4th grade student. A better tool is needed to accurately assess your child’s knowledge, skills and understanding and to gauge how your child’s scores compare with those of other academically talented students. An out-of-grade level test with advanced content is a valuable tool to better understand a student’s abilities. NUMATS is a research-validated program.

What test will the students take?

  • 7th and 8th grade students can sign up for either the ACT or the SAT. Since most universities in the Midwest prefer the ACT, most students initially take the ACT. The SAT is the preferred test for east or west coast schools.
  • 5th or 6th graders take the ACT-Explore, a test that’s normed for 8th graders.

Why should my child spend a Saturday morning taking a test?

The NUMATS results can give you, your child, and the school more information about your child’s knowledge and skills beyond grade level expectations. Many 7th and 8th grade students appreciate the opportunity to take the ACT or SAT before it counts for college.

NUMATS scores are Wisconsin’s gateway to numerous resources offered through the Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth ( Information on educational programs for gifted students across the U.S. will become available as well.

NUMATS is completely voluntary and it is up to the students and parents to decide to pursue this opportunity or not.

How can I register?

Parents can register students directly online at

Is there a test site in our area?

Yes. The ACT and the ACT-Explore will be administered in Kimberly, as well as in several Appleton locations. A test center lookup is available at

How expensive is it?

  • Explore Test: $74.00 (for grades 5 or 6)
  • ACT: $78.50 (for grades 7 or 8)
  • SAT: $93.50 (for grades 7 or 8)

Financial help is available to students who qualify for a federally subsidized program such as free or reduced-price lunch. An eligibility letter stating the student qualifies, written on school letterhead and signed by a school official, is required to complete registration and should be submitted to NUMATS via fax, e-mail, or U.S. mail immediately (availability is limited: first come-first served)

Do students have to study for this test?

No – but if interested, help your child prepare for the test using NUMATS online test prep materials.

How will the results be used?

Test results are helpful in determining a child’s true potential and to determine appropriate academic challenges.

The parents and the school will receive test results. Parents are welcome to discuss questions or concerns with Mrs. Balistreri.

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If I have questions after reading this letter and the informational material online, whom can I contact?

Mrs. Balistreri 788-7905 ext. 2889 or email:

When registering your student you will need to know the following information:

Our school district’s NUMATS ID number is 8701605.

In the box with the School Information, please list “Mrs. Balistreri” as the school contact person. Her email is:, and her phone # is 920-788-7905.

NUMATS testing is completely voluntary. I am often asked if I recommend students to take this test. My answer always is, “It depends…” If a student feels challenged and stretched in his or her classes (frequently learns new things and deepens his/her understanding) then that student probably does not need to take the test, because you already know that your child is a good student and the programming the school provides is working well for him/her. If, on the other hand, you have a hunch your child might be capable of much more than what’s expected in school, you might want to have more information about your child’s aptitude. In addition, some students love taking on challenges and enjoy taking a test while others don’t, which can play a significant role in both their willingness to take the test and their performance. I recommend that the student has a voice in this discussion.


Ulrike Balistreri

G/T Coordinator, Kimberly Area School District

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