The DMPS Advanced Learning Program screens students continuously for possible identification and subsequent programming and services.
All elementary schools administer a blanket Test of Cognitive Development to second graders. Building norms are used to determine outliers who are two standard deviations from the norm in verbal, quantitative or non-verbal areas. CogAT is well-suited to help educators make important student placement decisions and serves as one of many indicators in identifying students for the DMPS Advanced Learning Program. Exclusive features, such as the Ability Profile Score, can be used to expand the educational opportunities of all students in the classroom.
Advanced Learning Consultants work closely with classroom teachers in their Professional Learning Communities. This work has three primary purposes: 1) the consultant assists the teacher with using data to support flexible grouping, 2) the consultant assists the teacher with adding depth and complexity to their tasks, and 3) the consultant can monitor students in conjunction with the classroom teacher to make sure we are not missing untapped potential.
Once the consultant sees a pattern of exceptional ability in a student, other sources of data are collected by the classroom teacher and the building consultant to create an overview of trend data to determine if the student needs advanced learning opportunities. In addition to collecting data that has already been collected, additional standardized and non-standardized assessments supported by research may be administered. These testing decisions are administered to best reveal the student’s strengths and needs. For some students, the creation of a portfolio is also necessary to clearly identify a student’s needs.
A comprehensive profile provides each feeder pattern the information they need to understand the student, assess the student’s unique strengths and needs, and recommend appropriate programming options. Trend data is used to provide a holistic look at each student’s strengths and needs, based upon the age and grade of the student, the school the student attends, and the preferences of the instructional leaders in the student’s school.
At the conclusion of the process, building consultants communicate with parents, administrators and classroom teachers regarding the results of the identification process and recommendations for programming. In all cases, programs and services are determined by student need, not merely identification.