Author Archives: Knox Phillips, DeKalb Schools Director of Research, Assessments, and Grants

Gifted & High Achievers Identification

Why is the Fall MAP test used for gifted identification as well as high achievers magnet qualification?

Knox Phillips is the Director of Research, Assessments, and Grants at the DeKalb County School District who gave us his thoughts on
  How to Qualify for Gifted Services (Sept 2016)
  Opting Out of the Georgia Milestones Tests (Apr 2016)
  Tax Dollars to Pay for AP Exams (Mar 2016)
Knox Phillips tells us about the process for using the Fall MAP test for identifying gifted students and qualifying for high achievers magnet.

Knox Phillips
Knox Phillips

The fall MAP assessment window offered at the start of the second week of school through mid September is the achievement test used for both Gifted student eligibility testing and for high achievers’ magnet qualification. The first assessment of the year is the most optimal time to begin the process of identification of students for both programs for several reasons:
Gifted Evaluations
Gifted formal evaluation and assessment is a multi-step, multi-assessment process. It begins in August with achievement testing through the MAP Assessment and resumes in September with the Renzulli questionnaire assessment completed by teachers. In addition, a cognitive assessment (CogAT) is required to be administered within a two month window in early fall and then a creativity assessment (Torrance Creativity Test) is administered to applicable students in early winter (December/January). The length of time required for complete evaluation of a student to be eligible for gifted services, as stipulated by the Georgia Department of Education, is relatively lengthy; therefore, the need to set the qualification achievement assessment (MAP) in the early fall is critical toward ensuring that parent notification of their child’s gifted eligibility status can occur in early spring.
High Achiever Evaluation Process
Relative to high achievers’ magnet eligibility, the MAP achievement assessment utilized must be offered in the fall to provide a fair platform to all students whose MAP test occurs within the same testing window. After a student’s first MAP Assessment, the second assessment a student completes is normed to their achievement level; therefore, offering a variable sample of assessment items. The fall assessment provides test items that are similarly leveled for all students. In addition, it takes several months to extract the achievement data from the MAP system into the District’s student information system, inclusive of data quality assurance and accuracy processes that must be completed in time for the District’s magnet application and lottery processes. Offering the assessment outside of the fall window would significant delay both the application and lottery process due to the amount of time it takes to flatten and align all the data necessary to determine student eligibility for high achievers’ magnet programs.
MAP Assessment to private-schooled and home-schooled
In collaboration with the Office of Research, Assessment, and Grants, the Office of School Choice typically administers the MAP Assessment to private-schooled and home-schooled students on a different schedule in October (typically after hours and on Saturday) and offers an alternative site for home-schooled and private-schooled students in December/January. This is typically a testing population of fewer than fifty students.