1. At what grade level should identification procedures first occur?
- Oregon Department of Education has determined that the Oregon Administrative Rules, unless otherwise specified within a particular rule, apply to all children, grades kindergarten through 12. Identification protocol should be in place in all grades, K-12.
2. During the identification process, what should be kept in a student’s file?
- TAG identification teams must keep a record of the decision made by the team and the data used to make the decision. This record must become part of the student’s education record, even when the decision was that the student did not qualify for TAG services.
3. What test should be used to identify a TAG student?
- No single test should be the measure of TAG identification. The law requires multiple criteria. This can include teacher checklists, parent checklists, work samples, creativity assessments, etc. In addition, to be identified as a student who is intellectually gifted, the student must score at or above the 97th percentile on a nationally standardized test of mental ability. To be identified as a student who is academically gifted in reading or math, the student must score at or above the 97th percentile on a test of total reading or a test of total mathematics from a nationally standardized test or statewide assessment. Districts may consider lower test scores in their protocol for identifying students who have the potential to perform at the 97th percentile.
4. How long should the identification process take?
- Best practice suggests a reasonable length of time from referral to decision regarding identification status as being thirty working days or six weeks. Deviation from this timeline should be documented, with the reason clearly stated. Decisions on end-of-year referrals may be held over to the beginning of the following school year to facilitate involvement of a building team. Parents should be notified of any delay in the established timeline.
5. Is it acceptable to use a “watch list” for students who come close to meeting the identification criteria for TAG?
- A watch list for students should be used sparingly and with caution. Districts are required to identify students who demonstrate a potential to perform at the 97th percentile, and in many cases this identification should be used for students who demonstrate characteristics of a gifted learner but don’t qualify under the specific requirements for intellectually gifted or academically talented in reading or math. A watch list should never be used systematically across an entire grade level such as primary grades. If a student does not qualify for identification during one academic year, there is no reason why that student cannot be considered for identification the next year if there is sufficient evidence.
6. What is a Percentile Conversion Table? What is it used for? Why do I have to wait for a new table every year?
- The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) is a criterion-referenced test. That means scores are calculated against a student’s knowledge of the content. The Oregon Administrative Rule for identification of TAG students requires the use of a percentile ranking score calculated against the performance of other test takers. We use the conversion table to convert the composite score into a percentile that compares the composite score to other test takers. ODE cannot calculate this percentile until the testing window has closed and all test scores are finalized. The table can only be used for tests taken in the previous school year after it is published. It cannot be used to directly convert scores from the new school year.
7. What does Oregon law say about parental rights?
- Parent permission is required for any individual testing that may need to be administered for identification purposes. If a student is not identified as TAG, a parent has the right to appeal the results. When a student is identified as TAG, the district must inform the parents about the available programs and services. Parents must be provided an opportunity to give input and discuss with the district the programs and services available to their child. Parents may request withdrawal from TAG services and programs at any time, and parents must be informed of their right to file a complaint.
Programs and Services
8. At what point in the school year should TAG services begin?
- Oregon state law does not specifically state any timeline for services. This is a matter of local control. However, where no timeline exists, or where the timelines are so delayed as to effectively deny TAG students their legal rights, ODE has established guidelines about timelines. First of all, students previously identified as TAG should be receiving appropriate instruction within the first three weeks of the beginning of the school year. Additionally, transfer students or new referrals should be receiving appropriate instruction within thirty school days.
9. How does an IB, AP, or Honors class meet the needs of a TAG student? Do they meet all the needs of a TAG student?
- International Baccalaureate (IB), Advanced Placement (AP), and Honors classes typically have a faster rate than other classes, and they tend to have more advanced content. They may also require students to use higher-level thinking and performance. However, enrollment in an IB, AP, or Honors class does not automatically show that a TAG student’s rate and level of learning are being addressed. The classroom teacher, in cooperation with the school’s TAG team and district policy, should still be monitoring the student’s academic needs to assure that his or her rate and level of learning are being appropriately addressed in the classroom instruction.
10. Do after school enrichment opportunities meet the demands of the TAG mandate?
- No. The mandate demands appropriate instruction. School enrichment might be helpful, but it does not meet the requirements on its own.
11. How do schools that have only a handful of TAG students adequately provide services?
- TAG students can be effectively served in the regular education setting when differentiation is used consistently and students’ rate and level of learning are continually assessed.
12. Do elective teachers have to write a TAG plan? What about a science teacher?
- Oregon TAG law does not specify what exact documentation a teacher needs to have. District policy will determine how teachers will show that they are providing instruction at each TAG student’s rate and level of learning. The law states, “The instruction provided to identified students shall address their assessed levels of learning and accelerated rates of learning.” The law does not state that this will only happen in reading and math class. ODE interprets this statement to mean that each individual TAG student will be met with a plan of instruction at her or his rate and level of learning whenever appropriate to that particular student’s TAG identification.
- For example, a student identified as talented and gifted in performing arts most definitely needs to have services in place in band or choir class. A student gifted in mathematics should most definitely have rate and level of learning assessed and implemented in every class that incorporates mathematics, even if it’s an elective or science class. However, that same student may not be identified in reading, and may actually be on grade level in reading and need no TAG instructional services in language arts classes.
13. How can middle and high school teachers meet TAG students’ needs and have appropriate evidence of compliance?
- Determining how to provide and document services at the secondary level for TAG students can be challenging, especially when trying to incorporate recent adaptations in the new diploma requirements. First of all, OAR 581-022-1130 states: (7) School districts shall develop a process that provides each student the opportunity to develop an education plan and build an education profile in grades 7 through 12 with adult guidance. The plan and profile shall be reviewed and updated periodically (at least annually) and be supported by a Comprehensive Guidance Program as defined in OAR 581-022-1510.
- ODE suggests that school districts use this individual plan and profile as a place for school staff, students, and parents to discuss overarching issues related to that particular TAG student’s educational needs. This would also allow for the parent input required by both the plan and profile and TAG statutes and rules.
- Additionally, secondary teachers across the state have met TAG students’ needs with appropriate evidence of compliance in a variety of ways. Some utilize a course syllabus as the place to explain how individual rate and level of learning will be assessed and incorporated into classroom instruction. Sometimes content area departments establish a set of higher level learning objectives and coinciding learning activities that can be introduced to students who have demonstrated mastery of the basic skills. Other times, teachers present pre-assessment data to parents and students early in the term and then discuss options for that student like curriculum compacting, independent learning contracts, and other instructional strategies. Finally, many secondary schools are incorporating options like proficiency credit, dual credit with community colleges and universities, grade acceleration as a way to provide services to secondary TAG students.
- In all of these examples it is most essential that the classroom teacher is aware of who the TAG students are in his or her class, is able to show evidence of an assessed rate and level of learning for each TAG student, and is providing individual instructional opportunities that match that rate and level.
14. Who is responsible for meeting the needs of twice exceptional students---SPED or TAG?
- Both have responsibility, and both should work in cooperation with students who are twice exceptional.
15. Is there a different set of requirements for meeting the needs of twice exceptional students?
- The legal requirements are the same as with a TAG student who is not twice exceptional. The student’s abilities will determine appropriate instruction.
16. What documentation should teachers collect when serving TAG students?
- Oregon TAG law does not specify what exact documentation a teacher needs to have. District policy will determine how teachers will show that they are providing instruction at each TAG student’s rate and level of learning.
17. What are the legal obligations of a school or district when a student exhausts all of the courses offered?
- It depends. Can the student get the required credits for the diploma? What classes does the district require? If the student will be able to graduate, the district is not legally required to offer additional coursework for free. However, many districts have made it their local policy to offer additional coursework at the college level or using other Expanded Options programming.