HiCap Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q My student scored above the 95th percentile, why didn’t they qualify for highly capable services?

    A Often when a family is asking this question, the student has scored above the 95th percentile on the ITBS, but not on the CogAT.  Many of our students are high-achieving, but do not demonstrate the kind of abstract thinking and reasoning skills that indicate a student is gifted/highly capable and in need of different instruction than that provided in our general education program.  The abstract reasoning assessed by the CogAT is correlated to giftedness and success in the highly capable program and students who are high-achieving are not necessarily highly capable.

    Q Why are my student’s scores so inconsistent?  Why did they qualify in only one area?

    A Many students have inconsistent score profiles.  This indicates that students have a strength or aptitude in one particular area.  This is not uncommon, and it is why Shoreline now identifies and serves students in a single area.

    For kindergarten students, one thing for families to keep in mind is that when we are assessing kindergarten students they are still very young. Their cognitive development may be proceeding more rapidly in one area than another and may become more consistent as the student continues to grow and develop. Many of our kindergarteners have higher scores in one area than in the other or have higher scores on the ITBS than on the CogAT.  Developmentally, high-achieving kindergarteners may just not have developed the abstract reasoning ability yet.

    Q Should I appeal the testing decision?  Should my student retest again next year?

    A The appeals process is designed for families who believe that there was a specific circumstance that prevented their student from performing up to their ability during the testing session. Families receive information about appeals when they are notified of their student’s eligibility for services.

    Any family can choose to have their child participate in the spring testing that typically occurs in mid-March. Registration for this testing typically occurs in late January and early February and can be found on the testing information page of the Highly Capable section of the district website.

    Families of students with uneven score profiles or whose student qualified in only one area often retest the following year.  Kindergarten students who demonstrate very high achievement but uneven scores or scores below the 95th percentile on the CogAT also often elect to test in the following year.  However, now that Shoreline screens all second grade students, there will be another opportunity to assess and identify “late bloomers” without families having to participate in the optional testing.


    **Updated on April 7, 2017**

    Q: How is the Highly Capable program changing at our K-6 schools?
    A: Currently, Highly Capable program services are offered in grades K-6 for students who are identified as eligible in reading and math. Beginning 2017-2018, Shoreline will add Highly Capable program services at home schools for students who are identified as eligible in a single area (reading or math).

    Q: Why are we making this change?
    A: New state guidelines for providing services to Highly Capable students require changes to:

    1. The Highly Capable identification process;
    2. Services offered to students who are identified as Highly Capable in one area; and
    3. The added option of receiving Highly Capable services at the student's home school.

    Q: How will the current K-6 magnet Highly Capable service model be impacted?
    A: The Highly Capable magnet K-6 program will remain an option for students who are identified as eligible in reading and math. Additionally, students identified as eligible in reading and math will have the option to receive Highly Capable program services in their home school.

    Q: What kind of training is going to be provided to teachers?
    A: Specific professional development will be provided for all teachers serving highly capable students. Training will focus on academic differentiation, instructional strategies, and meeting the social-emotional needs of highly capable students.

    The district will provide ongoing support for instructional coaches, principals and program teachers. The instruction team will provide job-embedded support and follow-up, as needed, for teachers in each building. This follow-up and support could come in the form of planning support, model teaching, feedback, or analysis of student work/data and subsequent planning to meet needs.

    Ongoing principal professional development regarding highly capable will be built into principal meetings during the school year.

    Q: How will Highly Capable students be taught in the home schools?
    A: Depending on the number of students in a classroom identified in math or English Language Arts, schools will have the flexibility to select from three teaching strategies.

    • Differentiation
    • Cluster grouping
    • HiCap resource room

    For more information about these strategies, please see the presentation to the School Board here.

    Q: Will the current full day magnet programs be changing?
    A: No. The services at the magnet schools will not be changing. We will continue to offer transporation from your neighborhood school to the magnet schools for students qualifed to attend those programs.

    Q: What will be the difference between magnet and home school service?

    • Magnet Programs

    A HiCap teacher provides instruction in English Language Arts, math, all other subjects for the full school day.

    • Home School Services

    HiCap instruction will just be in the areas of math and/or English Language Arts.

    • English Language Arts – Teachers will provide students with a range of materials within the grade level standards. HiCap students will work with more complex text and have opportunities for deeper thinking, independent work.
    • Math – Instruction for HiCap students will be a grade level above, for example 4th graders will study 5th grade math.

    Q: My child was identified in just one area. Can she test in the future for the other area? If she qualifies in both, can she then enroll in a full-time magnet school?
    A: Yes to both questions. She can test during the next testing opportunity in just the one area and if she qualifies she could enroll in the magnet program at the beginning of the following year.

    Q: What do I do if I’m not sure about enrolling in HiCap or staying at my home school?
    A: We will be having parent meetings to provide more information and give you an opportunity to ask questions. Information about those can be found here. Talk to your current teacher and principal to see what they think. There are resources on our website that may help you. You can find it here. Talking to parents of students who are currently in the program can also be helpful. You can contact the Shoreline HiCap Advocacy Group at www.shorelinehicap.org.

    Q: If I decide to enroll my student in a magnet program, can I change my mind later and re-enroll her in our home school?
    A: Due to space concerns at some of our elementary schools, if you enroll in one of the magnet schools and decide mid-year that you would like to go back to your home school, we will try to accomodate you, but we can not guarantee there will be capacity in your home school.  If you want to make the change for the next school year, there is a good chance we will be able to accomodate you at your home school. Regardless of which school your child attends, she or he will be provided with HiCap services if you so desire.

    Q: Who will be teaching the HiCap students at their home schools?
    A: Each school will have the flexibility to determine how to provide services. All of our elementary teachers will be provided training in effective strategies for HiCap students. In some cases, their grade level teachers may teach all their subjects the students. In some cases, students may go to another class for math, for example.

    Q: If I don’t choose to have my child receive HiCap services next year, can she or he get services later?
    A: Yes. Once a child is identified, they are eligible for HiCap services in any future school year.

    Q: Will the District be offering ongoing opportunities for parents to learn about highly capable students?
    A: Yes. Starting in the fall of 2017, we will be holding regular interactive meetings as well as presentations for parents and staff to learn together about highly capable students and how best to support them. We will also have a regular newsletter, which will be sent to parents.

    Q: My child participated in the testing for HiCap in a previous school year and did well in math but not in reading so he didn't qualify. Is my child now qualified for HiCap in math?
    A: No. Previously we qualified students based on a combination of scores which included their reading, math, and non-verbal scores on two tests -- the ITBS and CogAT. No student was evaluated for just math or just reading; a student was either qualified for HiCap or not. Currenty, following the instructions of the state, we are looking at ELA and math separately using test scores and all the other information available to us.

    Q: My child didn't qualify for HiCap. Can we nominate her again?
    A: Yes. Any family is welcome to renominate their child and we would reassess them based on the current selection process. The dates for nominations will be annouced each fall.

    Q: Where can I find out more about highly capable students?
    A: There is a presentation on our website by Austina De Bonte.  You can find her complete presention here. The National Association for Gifted Children also has alot of great information including a some myths about giftedness here.