Criteria for Entrance

Criteria for Entrance
Discovery Program: Grades 3 to 5
Gifted and Talented Program

Student Screening Process

All students in Wyckoff Public Schools are screened for entry into the Discovery program at the beginning of grades 3 and 5 utilizing measures of student achievement and learned reasoning abilities via CogAT.  The screening process may be opened each year for students new to the district or those whose CogAT scores were equal to or above the threshold score (125), but whose combined matrix score fell short of the top 10% of those screened for the previous academic year.  Selection is for a single year. Students must meet Discovery expectations to continue each year.

Evaluation Components for Discovery Programming

District qualifications for participation in the Discovery program consider both cognitive skills and academic achievement.

Multiple measures used for consideration on a modified Baldwin Matrix:

  • Learned reasoning abilities: A nationally-normed Cognitive Abilities Test (the CogAT) is used as an indicator of learned reasoning abilities, assessing students in three areas: verbal, non-verbal, and figure matrices analogies.
  • Learned achievement scores:  Fourth and fifth grade matrices consider spring NJSLA scores from the previous spring.
  • Teacher Rating Scales: Teachers complete a questionnaire about observed gifted behaviors for student nominees.
  • Independent Reading Scores: Points are earned for scores at least one year above grade level benchmarks.
  • Creativity, Critical-thinking, Problem-Solving and Persistence: as evidenced by individual activities provided by the district gifted and talented specialist.
  • Committee Recommendation Score: produced by conferences conducted by the gifted and talented specialist with regular classroom teachers and school principals.

The use of a wide range of criteria supports our efforts to assure that all highly able students are considered, including those for whom English is not a native language and those with special academic needs.

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