HIgh ability

The High Ability Program is a result of the expressed interest of the community, school board, school administration, and teachers to ensure that every child will receive the appropriate services in meeting the diverse needs in their area of high ability.

Program locations

Grades 2-4 have three identified high ability classes for grades 2, 3 and 4. Students ride their regular transportation to their home school, and then board a shuttle bus that takes them to the school that has the high ability class they have been assigned, if it is not located at their home school. Elementary schools that have high ability programs are Brookview, Lakeside, and Lowell. In grades 5-12, students identified as high ability are placed in the class and/or classes that they qualify for in their home school. 

high ability identification


Early second semester, kindergarten students who receive a percentile score of 85% or above on NWEA are tested with the brief CogAT test. The CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test Screening Form) is a brief measure of a child’s current verbal, mathematical, and spatial reasoning abilities. These general thinking skills are important to school success and are developed both in-school and out-of-school. The CogAT Screening Form consists of multiple-choice items and uses only pictures and oral directions. No reading is required. The questions in the test show how well students use their reasoning skills to solve problems they have not been directly taught.

Results of this test will provide data that can help teachers determine how students learn best and how to help him/her be more successful in school. It can help the school identify which students may need more challenging learning environments and/or more help to meet classroom expectations.


Early second semester students in first grade throughout the district will take the CogAT Complete. The CogAT is a measure of potential that looks at general thinking and problem-solving skills of students, and indicates how well the student uses these skills to solve verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal problems. Using information from both the CogAT Complete and NWEA fall and winter achievement scores, a district-wide identification committee uses an anonymous process to review the student scores and determinations of placement in high ability classes.

Students receiving a score in the 85th percentile or above on either the CogAT or NWEA fall and winter testing window assessments will be placed in a high ability class for second grade. Teacher and parent recommendations are also available and considered with the scores. Students admitted to the program will be placed with a "cluster" of students who have similar needs and aptitude the following school year. All parents/guardians are notified by the end of April the school year prior to identification.

GRADEs 4, 6, 8

At the transition grades of 4, 6 and 8 all students, regardless of if they have been in a high ability class in the past or not, are all students in the grade level are reviewed to determine if they qualify for high ability for the upcoming school year. NWEA fall and winter assessment scores as well as ILEARN results and grades are considered when determining placement for students in high ability. Teacher and parent recommendations are also available and considered with the scores. Students who qualify for high ability classes for 7th and 9th grade will qualify by subject area in one or more of four possible areas, math, language arts, science and/or social studies.

GRADES 2, 3, 5, 7

Grades 2, 3, 5 and 7 are considered roll years for the upcoming grade level. Students are only added to high ability classes if there is room due to other students moving out of the program. Students in grades 2, 3, 5 and 7 may be nominated by their parent or classroom teacher. Nomination forms are reviewed by the High Ability Committee. Student performance on NWEA as well as ILEARN and IREAD are also considered in the selection process to determine if a student will be placed in the High Ability Program.