Eligibility Criteria For Gifted Support
Definition of a mentally gifted student in need of Gifted Support
A mentally gifted student has outstanding intellectual and creative ability, the development of which requires special services and programs not ordinarily provided in the regular education program.
The mentally gifted student needs enrichment or acceleration, or both, and without it will not receive an appropriate education. High achievement, conformity to expectations, a "good work ethic" or intense interest in a particular subject or hobby alone will not suffice.
The School District is obligated to locate and find gifted children who reside in within the boundaries. If you feel that your child may be eligible for gifted support services or is gifted as defined by Chapter 16 of the PA School Code, please contact your child's Principal for further information.
Eligibility Determination/Screening and Evaluation
The Upper Darby School District follows the guidelines according to Chapter 16 to identify Gifted students within the school district. Screening and evaluation procedures utilized to determine eligibility for the Academic Enrichment program include individual achievement test scores in reading and writing, student grades, cognitive testing using a standardized instrument and input from the referral source specifying areas of suspected mental giftedness. "Mentally gifted is defined as outstanding intellectual and creative ability, the development of which requires specially designed programs or support services, or both, not ordinarily provided in the regular education program." (22 Pa. Code - 16.1)
Flexibility is employed to assure students with disabilities and/or multicultural backgrounds are afforded an opportunity to meet eligibility criteria.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education states that the local school district is primarily responsible for identifying all “children with exceptionalities,” meaning “children of school age who have a disability or who are gifted and who, by reason thereof, need special designed instruction exceptional children and developing educational programs to meet their needs” (24 P.S. 13-1371(1)). If a parent or teacher requests an evaluation for an exceptionally high achieving student prior to the 1st grade or at any grade level and there is supporting evidence/data, the district will move forward with an evaluation. This process is determined through a matrix of assessments based on grade level appropriate benchmarks and state level testing. Student data is assigned a point value along with parent/teacher rating scales and masking traits to calculate movement through the three levels of the gifted matrix. These data points will be used as part of the evaluation process, if appropriate, as the source of multiple criteria as required by Chapter 16 of the PA School Code. Otherwise, an initial general screening of all first graders shall occur. The first grade teachers in the regular classroom setting administer the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT) Eighth Edition. Children scoring in the 90th percentile or higher will qualify to move through a district created matrix to determine the need for a full evaluation. The school psychologist will then administer a test of cognitive ability.
If you have any questions about Gifted Support Services or eligibilty and/or evaluations, please contact your building Principal.
If a student is suspected of being gifted by school personnel a screening is completed prior to referral for a multidisciplinary evaluation. If a parent requests an evaluation, a screening process is conducted in where data is gathered, which includes, referral source input, grades and standardized achievement data and Benchmark data in order to determine the need for further assessment.