Advanced Academics Frequently Asked Questions

Expand the below categories for frequently asked questions. If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact us at info@gcisd.net.

Please click this link for the ASPIRE Academy Frequently Asked Questions.

New To GCISD

My family is moving to GCISD soon, and my child is receiving gifted/talented services in our current district. Will my student transfer into the GT program in your district, or will my child need to be re-tested?

Our current GCISD Advanced Academics Department guidelines do not allow us to automatically place previously identified gifted and talented students into the GT program until they are assessed and determined to be eligible. Each district in Texas is able to set its own criteria for admission into its gifted and talented program based on the services it provides. Since your child has been receiving GT services, we will strive to complete all required assessments within the first six weeks of enrollment.

The GT Specialist will verify that your child was served in a gifted program before proceeding with assessment. Providing GT testing documentation from your child’s previous district, if possible, will help expedite this process. District testing information, report cards that show gifted placement, PSAT scores (for secondary students), and letters of acceptance into a gifted program are examples. These are not necessary, but documentation can be helpful.


We don’t live in GCISD. Can my child still be tested for GT?

Students who reside within the GCISD boundaries ~ or in the cities of Colleyville or Grapevine ~  will be considered for GT services after enrollment. We simply don’t have the staff or the resources to assess all the students whose families may request this testing for their children. (See GCISD’s Administrative Regulation related to GT identification and placement procedures.)


​My child was identified for the gifted program in GCISD, and we moved away. We have moved back. Is my child automatically placed into the gifted program?

Identified gifted students who move away from GCISD and later return may be re-assessed. They are not automatically placed back into the gifted program. If they have been gone less than two years or their original testing is less than two years old, the student will be placed in the program. Otherwise, the student must be assessed and qualify again before being placed in the program.

GT Testing

When will my child be tested?

Elementary and secondary students who are brand new to Grapevine-Colleyville ISD and who did not have an opportunity to be assessed for GT services in a previous district can be referred by their parent(s) upon enrollment. All other students may be referred during our referral window to be tested during the spring semester. This allows new students to adjust to their new school before testing. 

Parents/guardians should refer the student for GT testing during the referral window, which typically happens towards the end of the first semester for both kindergarten and fifth grade students. All other grade levels are referred and tested at the beginning of second semester. 

Services for identified kindergartners begin on or around March 1st. If possible, GT Specialists also include newly identified 5th graders in their pullout services on or around March 1st to help these students prepare for their advancement to middle school. All other students who are identified through spring testing will begin services the following school year.

Elementary GT Specialists and secondary counselors administer all of the GT testing in our district. In order to facilitate the identification process, specialists must cancel their GT classes for several weeks. For this reason, we maintain a spring testing window for students currently enrolled in GCISD. Prior to this testing, we have a referral window in order to determine how many students will be testing. This allows us to accurately order testing materials and schedule this testing.


How can I refer my child to be tested for GT?

Parents, teachers, administrators, and counselors may refer a student for GT testing. Students may also refer themselves. For elementary students, let your child's teacher or the campus GT Specialist know that you would like your child to be tested, and complete the referral form online or on paper. For secondary students, contact the campus counselor. 

Parents/guardians should refer the student for GT testing during the referral window, which typically happens towards the end of the first semester for both kindergarten and fifth grade students. All other grade levels are referred and tested at the beginning of second semester. 


How long does the testing process take? 

The testing takes place in short sessions and takes approximately two weeks. After the tests are scored, a GT placement committee comprised of at least three people trained in gifted education will examine each student’s complete data set to determine if placement into GCISD’s GT program is the most appropriate educational placement. Letters with results are mailed home as soon as possible. We take this decision very seriously, which is why our process takes about two months. We appreciate your understanding and patience as we engage in this important process. Often the process takes less time with secondary students because they typically don’t require as many sittings to complete the testing. 


What tests are utilized by GCISD for GT identification?

In GCISD we gather a variety of data to determine the best placement and services for all students.  We use various nationally normed aptitude and achievement assessments in addition to qualitative measures, such as teacher and parent inventories. We also utilize what is commonly referred to as a “preponderance of evidence.”  This means that no single test score or comment on the inventory is the deciding factor one way or the other; the committee utilizes all the data available to make the best educational decision for each student. 


My child has a 504 plan. Will that be taken into consideration during GT testing? 

Yes. If a student has testing accommodations recorded on an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 accommodations in place, then these same accommodations will be available when we assess your child for gifted/talented services. Please note this on your referral form.


I have no idea how my child did on the aptitude testing. How can I find out?

Please call your elementary GT Specialist or secondary counselor. He or she will assist you with assessment questions. 


How can I help my student prepare for GT testing?

The best thing parents can do is to help their students prepare for the testing environment. Students perform best in low stress environments, so it can be helpful if parents keep the pressure related to the results to a minimum. Also, some assessments are read aloud to students in kindergarten, first, and second grades.  There are no words on the assessment, and each question can only be read once. This means that listening carefully is essential. To prepare for assessment day, you could practice having your student listen to and follow multi-step directions that are not repeated.

When it comes to trying to prepare for the actual GT tests, we recommend that parents don’t prepare their students for GT testing. The reason has to do with ensuring students are placed in the best, most appropriate educational setting. If students study for these tests, then they may experience significant stress once they are placed into an environment with peers who learn differently and/or at a faster, deeper rate. If a student ends up needing to drop out of GT classes, this can add to the stress the student is already feeling. This is why we don’t recommend trying to prepare for these placement tests.


If my child does not qualify for GT services, when may he/she test again?

Students may be tested again in one year. Parents/guardians should refer the student for GT testing during the referral window, which typically happens towards the end of the first semester for both kindergarten and fifth grade students. All other grade levels are referred and tested at the beginning of second semester. Students may also refer themselves for testing. Once the referral and testing windows have been set, these dates will be posted on the Advanced Academics website.

It is worth noting that many students do not qualify for GT services in kindergarten or first grade. If students are in need of GT services, this need often surfaces as they get older. 


Does my child have to re-qualify for gifted services as he/she moves from elementary school to middle school?

No. Unless the program is not meeting the needs of an identified student, he/she remains in the gifted program from one grade to the next and from one GCISD school to the next.


How many students are accepted into the GT program each year?

GT identification does not involve a quota. All students who qualify under the district’s guidelines will be eligible to participate in the gifted and talented program.


What if I do not agree with the decision that the GT committee makes? 

Parents, guardians, and even the students themselves may appeal the final decision of the GT Campus Committee. The appeal must first be filed with the GT Campus Committee in writing and within the appeal window. The elementary campus GT Specialist or secondary campus counselor can provide the appeal form, the dates for the appeal window, and more information about this process. Once the campus receives this appeal form, the appeals committee will meet again to consider the student. The appeals committee may ask for additional testing. If this is the case, you will be notified. 

Please know that we understand that it can be disappointing to a student and/or the student’s family if the student isn’t placed into the GT program. The committees understand that there is a child and family on the receiving end of every placement decision, so we endeavor to make the best possible decision for every child. Every child’s complete information is considered carefully and individually. 

Should further appeal be needed, parents/guardians should follow the process outlined in GCISD’s Administrative Regulations related to Gifted and Talented Identification and Placement Procedures.

GT Specialists

The term “GT Specialist” is used a lot in these FAQs. Who are the GT Specialists in GCISD? 

GT Specialists provide several important services to our district. First and foremost, they are the GT teachers who teach elementary GT students in GCISD’s pullout program. There is one GT Specialist per elementary campus.

GT Specialists also administer much of the GT testing in our district. They thoroughly understand our testing procedures and endeavor to support GCISD families who request GT testing. These teachers are extremely committed to and passionate about gifted education and have a heart for gifted children. GCISD is extremely grateful for this stellar group of educators. 


Do GT specialists have specialized training to teach GT classes? 

GT Specialists have the required thirty hours of GT training necessary to teach gifted students. Additionally, the grand majority of them are GT state certified and/or have a master’s degree either in education or their specific subject area. They receive additional, on-going training relevant to meeting the needs of gifted students through district offerings, outside conferences, and online resources. All are dedicated to continuing professional development and to supporting gifted students and cluster teachers on their campuses. 

Secondary GT teachers also have the required thirty hours of training. They, too, continue to receive ongoing professional learning that is GT-specific and/or specifically related to the content they teach.  Many regularly attend summer Pre-AP and AP training that is provided by The College Board. 

Acceleration

I’ve heard that GCISD has a lot of opportunities for students to accelerate, but I’m confused about all the different terms.  How can I learn more about this? Does my child have to be identified as gifted/talented to accelerate?

There are various kinds of acceleration:

  • Grade Skipping - This is a term commonly used in the field of education. For a student to skip a grade, however, various exams are involved. Information about these exams is found under “Examinations for Acceleration and Credit by Exam” on GCISD’s Assessment Department’s page. Students do not have to be identified as GT to participate in this testing.
  • Credit by Exam (CBE) - A CBE is an exam a student may take to receive credit for an academic course or subject area in grades 6-12. There are many things to consider: exam dates, if this decision is right for your child, etc. This Exams for Acceleration page provides more information.  Students do not have to be identified as GT to take a CBE. 
  • Math Telescoping - GCISD students who are currently enrolled in grades K through 7 in the district ~ and who meet specific eligibility criteria ~ may accelerate in math beyond their enrolled grade level or course. Because the acceleration process involves “skipping” classroom instruction for a grade level or course, students must demonstrate mastery of the math content above his/her current grade level and for which he/she has not received any formal classroom instruction. GCISD’s math department has more information about math telescoping. This page includes helpful information, including testing dates, appeal windows, and information that will help you decide if math telescoping is right for your child. Students do not have to be identified as GT to telescope in math.
  • Middle school accelerated math and science courses - These courses cover the same content but at a faster pace. Accelerated courses cover three years of math or science in two years. Students do not have to be identified as GT to enroll in accelerated math and science courses. 

I’ve heard the term “math telescoping.” What does that mean?

GCISD students who are currently enrolled in grades K through 7 in the district ~ and who meet specific eligibility criteria ~ may accelerate in math beyond their enrolled grade level or course. Because the acceleration process involves “skipping” classroom instruction for a grade level or course, students must demonstrate mastery of the math content above his/her current grade level and for which he/she has not received any formal classroom instruction. GCISD’s math department has more information about math telescoping. This page has helpful information, including testing dates, appeal windows, and information that will help you decide if math telescoping is right for your child. Students do not have to be identified as GT to telescope in math.


How does taking accelerated math and accelerated science in 6th grade help my child in high school?

Accelerated Math and Accelerated Science are courses in which the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade TEKS are compacted into two years.  The pacing of these courses is fast and rigorous. The accelerated 6th grade courses are comprised of all of the 6th grade curriculum and half of the 7th grade curriculum, and accelerated 7th grade courses cover the other half of the 7th grade curriculum and all of the 8th grade curriculum.  By taking these two accelerated classes, students are able to take Algebra I and Pre-AP Biology in the 8th grade and take exams to receive high school credit for both of those courses.  It is not necessary to accelerate in both. The credit factors into a student’s high school transcript, but the grade does not affect the student’s high school GPA. Your student’s counselor can provide more information about this option.


What if my child does not take accelerated math and accelerated science in the 6th grade?  Will he/she have an opportunity to take these courses the next year?

It is easier to start strong and then “level down” within the campus windows for schedule changes if taking the accelerated courses doesn’t seem to be the right fit for your student. It is not possible to start 6th grade and decide to “bump up to” the accelerated class once school starts, which is another reason to consider enrolling in accelerated classes. That said, there is an indirect route to get back on the accelerated path beyond the 6th grade, which involves summer school. Contact your student’s middle school counselor to learn more about this option.


Does my child have to be identified as GT to sign up for accelerated math and accelerated science?

No.  Any student can sign up for accelerated math and/or accelerated science. You may want to get input from your child’s classroom teacher and school counselor. 


We will be out of town during the testing dates. What should I do?

Contact the GT Specialist at your child’s elementary school or your child’s secondary school counselor immediately. He or she will help you with this situation.