High Ability

High Ability Philosophy

PSOE recognizes that there are high ability students in all racial, economic, and cultural groups who when compared to their peers, perform at an advanced level, or demonstrate the potential to be challenged beyond the standard curriculum in one or more academic domains of math and language arts. PSOE shall provide educational opportunities to encourage high ability students to reach their maximum achievement level at every stage of development. The program for high ability students will be differentiated in depth and breadth with specific enrichment opportunities designed to meet the cognitive and affective needs of the high ability students. PSOE is committed to providing enhanced instruction in addition to the regular curriculum standards in order to challenge high ability learners to reach their greatest potential.

Definition of High Ability

PSOE recognizes that a high ability student performs at, or shows the potential for performing at, an outstanding level of accomplishment when compared to other students of the same age, experience, or environment and whose educational needs and individual growth capabilities are above grade level curriculum in the general intellectual and specific academic domains of math and language arts high ability students are characterized by exceptional gifts, talents, motivation, or interests.


  1. PSOE will ensure that all students regardless of race, cultural background, and economic status have the opportunity to be identified for high ability services in every grade level.
  2. PSOE will ensure that the curriculum for grades K-8 is aligned both horizontally and vertically to ensure maximum growth opportunities for high ability students at every level of achievement.
  3. PSOE will provide services to meet the social and emotional needs of high ability students.
  4. PSOE will continually challenge high ability students to strive toward their utmost degree of achievement and ensure that educational growth and success is being met at each level. 

Personnel Roles

There are many members of PSOE’s personnel who are involved in the high ability identification process. In addition, the following personnel will be key to the identification process and high ability program implementation:

  • School Director
  • Principal
  • Curriculum Director
  • High Ability Coordinator
  • High Ability Cluster Teacher
  • High Ability Classroom Teacher
  • School Counselor

Broad Based Planning Committee

The Indiana Department of Education requires the establishment of a broad based planning committee that meets annually to review the local education plan for high ability students. The purpose of this committee is to plan and review the continuous development and implementation of the services and programs for high ability students. The committee will have representatives from diverse groups representing the school and community. The committee must include at least one educator, student, parent, and other community member/stakeholder. The committee is an advisory group that works closely with the PSOE Administrative team in making recommendations about curriculum, professional development, and enrichment resources. This is separate from the Identification Committee.

Identification Process

Grade level testing for all students takes place in kindergarten, second, fifth, and eighth grades. In addition, a student could be assessed at any time throughout their academic career at PSOE if warranted by data or other recommendation. An Identification Committee composed of the High Ability Coordinator, Curriculum Director, an administrator, the High Ability Cluster Teacher and/or the High Ability Classroom Teacher for the corresponding grade level, and the School Counselor meets to review and evaluate data to determine high ability eligibility.

Timeline of Identification Procedures

All kindergarten, second, fifth, and eighth grade students are assessed for possible High Ability Program placement during the second semester of the current school year.

Norm-Referenced Aptitude Measure (ability or intelligence measure) Initial Identification in Spring of K Cognitive Abilities Test
End of Primary/Placement for Elementary: 2nd grade Cognitive Abilities Test
Placement in Middle School: 5th grade Cognitive Abilities Test
Norm-Referenced Achievement Measure (evidence to perform above grade level) All 3rd-8th grade students at beginning and end of year NWEA
Qualitative Indicators Initial Identification in Spring of K Portfolio and/or work samples
End of Primary/Placement for Elementary Portfolio and/or work samples
Middle School Portfolio and/or work samples
Selection Procedures Initial Identification in Spring of K

All Students are given the CogAT

Students scoring at or above the 96th percentile on Verbal Reasoning subtest are automatically identified as HA: LA

Students scoring at or above the 96th percentile on Quantitative Reasoning or the Quantitative/Non-verbal partial composite are automatically identified as HA: MA

Students scoring between 85th-95th percentile on CogAT will be given NWEA.

Students scoring at or above the 96th percentile on BOTH the Lang. Arts and Reading subtests are automatically identified as HA: LA.

Students scoring at or above the 96th percentile on the Math subtest are automatically identified as HA: Math.

Students whose actual scores on either the CogAT or NWEA subtests fell just below the 96th percentile but whose score band would include this percentile when considering the standard error of measure (found in the manual for each subtest), are further considered for identification by teachers providing student work samples in the respective subject area.

Work samples will be reviewed by the High Ability Committee for final approval of High Ability identification.

Students identified as both HA: LA and HA: Math would receive designation of HA: General Intellectual

End of Primary/Placement for Elementary In the spring of 2nd grade, the process used for identification in K is repeated. Note: Students who are already identified as HA do not need to be tested again in their identified area if they have been performing successfully in the program to date.
Placement for Middle School In the spring of 5th grade, the process used for identification in K is repeated, except all students will be given NWEA as an additional identification measure. Note: Students who are already identified as HA do not need to be tested again in their identified area if they have been performing successfully in the program to date.

Appeals Process

The formal appeal of a High Ability Program placement decision regarding a student may be made in writing by a parent, teacher, or other stakeholder. The person requesting the appeal must submit an appeal form, (obtained from the school office), to initiate the process.

Exit Policy

It is the goal of the High Ability Program that each student achieves his/her maximum potential through enriched learning and advanced academic opportunities. Students must continue to demonstrate academic excellence in classroom performance in order to remain in the program. However, there may be cases when the program is not the best placement for the identified student.

Exit Procedure

If a student, parent, teacher, or other stakeholder believes high ability services are no longer appropriate, the following guidelines should be followed:

  1. Arrange a conference with the parties involved, including the parent and the teacher providing services. This conference may be a telephone conference.
    1. If an intervention is implemented, all participants must agree on a probationary period (no shorter than 9 weeks) to implement interventions.
    2. If the probationary period is not successful, the student can be exited at the end period with a formal review of the student’s progress.
  2. The principal must sign the documentation giving permission to remove the student from high ability services.
  3. All formal documentation must be sent to the High Ability Coordinator.
  4. The PSOE High Ability program may communicate this withdrawal with appropriate stakeholders.
  5. A student will not be readmitted to the High Ability Program during that same school year. A student could still be eligible to qualify for the High Ability Program during the following school year if the High Ability Identification Committee determines that this would be a beneficial placement. Parents, appropriate school personnel, or other stakeholders may make that formal request for high ability placement during the school year that follows the official exit from the High Ability Program.


Further Inquiries

For more information about our High Ability Program at PSOE, please contact the front office to make an appointment to meet with our High Ability Coordinator.