Gifted Education

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) offers clear guidelines on how gifted students should be identified for gifted programming. These guidelines are recommendations- not requirements- yet they are research and evidence-based. Orchard Farm follows DESE's guidelines closely.


DESE recommends that schools use a two-step process: universal screening and individual assessment. DESE further recommends that at least four areas are scrutinized. For qualification, students must show exceptionality (95th percentile) in at least THREE of the four areas. The following information is taken from DESE's website and describes each criterion in detail:

Other Evidence

Documented evidence of exceptional performance in a general academic area, a fine arts area, or another area related to the design of the gifted program: Such evidence may take the form of portfolios of student work, MAP test scores, formal classroom observations by persons knowledgeable about characteristics of gifted students, auditions, product demonstrations, etc.


Orchard Farm predominantly uses NNAT3 and CogAT Scores in this area, but may use alternative methods such as MAP scores or Fastbridge scores if doing so may benefit the student.  The evidence must be of "exceptional" quality (top 5% of all students). This is administered during the screening phase of identification.

Academic Ability

If achievement test scores are used for formal evaluation and placement, they must be derived from a norm referenced test. The cut-off score must be set at the 95th percentile or higher. For interdisciplinary programs, tests must be used that sample a majority of core subject areas.


Orchard Farm uses the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT-10) to measure academic ability. Students must score in the 95th percentile or higher to be further evaluated.


General Mental Ability

Full scale, subscales, or GAI scores on an individual intelligence test at or above the 95th percentile. Although more time-consuming, individually administered intelligence tests provide more accurate indicators for final placement purposes than group tests.


Orchard Farm uses culturally responsive, individually administered cognitive assessments.  An IQ score of 124 or higher is required.



Results of valid tests or other assessments indicating outstanding ability in one of the following areas: (1) creative and productive thinking, (2) advanced insight, (3) outstanding imagination, (4) innovative or creative reasoning ability, (5) advanced perception of cause and effect relationships, (6) problem solving, or (7) abstract concepts. These areas of ability must be related to the design of the gifted program.


The district uses the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT) for this category, and students must score in the 95th percentile.

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