Gifted and Talented (GT)

Austin ISD Gifted and Talented Information

Each school district in Texas is expected to follow the compliance requirements of the Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students. All campuses in Austin ISD provide screening, identification, and services for Gifted and Talented students. The process and criteria for screening and identification is outlined below as well as the provision of services.

Gifted and Talented Screening Process:

  • In order for a student to be identified as Gifted and Talented (GT) in Austin ISD, data from several quantitative and qualitative criteria are collected over a four-week period and reviewed by the campus GT Decision-Making Committee with no single criterion being weighted more than the other since ability and performance are equally important for the success of students receiving GT services. Quantitative criteria consist of the Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Non-Verbal Reasoning age stanine scores on the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT). Qualitative criteria include a parent survey, a student survey, teacher observations, and a portfolio of student work. Students may be identified as GT in one or more of the following content areas: mathematics, language arts, science, and social studies. This screening process is in accordance with the Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students.


There will be no CogAT Test for the 2020-2021 school year. Instead, previous STAAR scores will be evaluated.

  • The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) measures learned reasoning and problem-solving skills in three different areas: verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal. Reasoning skills develop gradually throughout a person’s lifetime and at different rates for different individuals. CogAT does not measure such factors as effort, attention, motivation, and work habits, which contribute to school achievement as well.
  • The Verbal Reasoning section measures a child’s ability to remember and transform sequences of English words, to understand them, and to make inferences and judgments about them.
  • The Quantitative Reasoning tests the child's understanding of basic quantitative concepts and relationships that are essential for learning mathematics. Tasks measure both the understanding of relational concepts and the student’s ability to discover relationships and to figure out a rule or principle that explains them.The Nonverbal Reasoning measures reasoning using pictures and geometric shapes and appraises the student’s ability to use cognitive resources in new situations.

Qualitative Criteria:

  • The qualitative criteria seeks to find patterns and trends within each criteria and across each criteria demonstrating depth and complexity in academic performance in the content areas of mathematics, language arts, science, and social studies through the use of surveys, observations, and student work samples. The qualitative criteria are important because students identified as Gifted and Talented are expected to perform at high levels in the content areas of mathematics, language arts, science, and/or social studies.

GT Services:

  • GT services include instruction by a teacher with the appropriate GT Foundations training within a cluster grouping model (small group of identified GT students within the general education classroom) which allows for opportunities for curricular tasks that include greater depth, complexity, and pacing while working independently and with other GT students as well as students not identified. These services are in accordance with the Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students.


Gifted and Talented education services provided to GT students in the classroom will include some of the following:

Academic Acceleration - Students move beyond the regular grade level curriculum through different learning options, such as special projects and activities written at a higher grade level, grade skipping, or advanced course.

Advanced-Level Differentiation - Different learning options that allow the student to work at a more challenging pace and level within the grade level curriculum.

GT Exemplar Lessons – Austin ISD Lessons that offer advanced-level learning opportunities for gifted students.

GT Scope and Sequence Skills Continuum - A set of K-12 skills and strategies developed by Austin ISD and used by teachers when planning advanced-level learning opportunities.

Depth and Complexity - Set of strategies that promote higher levels of thinking and knowledge to help students develop deeper understanding (depth) or understand relationships between different ideas (complexity).

Enrichment - Activities designed to allow students to dig deeper into a topic of study.

Extension Menus - Students are provided with an organized set of learning options to choose from in a menu format.

Flexible Grouping - Students move from group to group flexibly in the classroom according to the student’s academic ability, learning style, or interests based on the lessons planned by the teacher.

Higher Level Questions - Challenging questions that increase the level of rigor and challenge in the classroom.

Independent Study - Students conduct research or study an issue or idea, usually on a topic of choice, with little to no assistance from other students in the class.

Learning Styles - Teachers plan differentiated lessons according to individual student learning styles to help students learn new information more easily.

Research Projects - Students study a topic or issue to collect information, facts, and data to develop a project to share with others.

Student Choice - Teachers provide students with pre-selected choices on topics or assignments to complete in class.

Technology Integration - Different technology tools, programs, or apps are included in a lesson or assignment.

Tiered Assignments - Different learning opportunities are provided to students according to their academic level. Gifted students may work on an advanced activity while other students are working on a grade-level activity on the same topic.

The “Campus Evaluation of Performance in Community and Student Engagement” includes a section on Gifted and Talented which provides information on enrichment activities and academic competitions at each campus in Austin ISD. More information on services at each campus can be provided by the campus’ GT Advocate, a principal-designated liaison for GT between the campus, district, and community.