New School Year, New Talent Search Opportunities

As we get ready for a new school year, it’s a good time to think about ways to assess and accommodate your high-ability elementary and middle school students!  The Belin-Blank Center can help you do both things flexibly and affordably.

Assess: In-School Testing (grades 4-6)

Now in its second year, In-School Testing allows teachers and gifted coordinators to schedule an above-level Explore® test date anytime, anywhere.  For Iowa teachers, a limited number of students in sixth grade can test at no cost.  All In-School Testing schools will receive individualized interpretations of their students’ scores, as well as an aggregate report.  Learn more.

Accommodate: Iowa Online AP Academy (IOAPA)

Iowa’s In-School Testing 5th and 6th grade students scoring in the 95th percentile and above on the mathematics or science portion of Explore will be given a new opportunity: enrollment in IOAPA, providing above-level coursework online without a course fee.

More information about this option will be made available to schools after student test scores are received.

How does In-School Testing differ from the Traditional Talent Search Model?

The basic talent search model is built upon the principle of taking an above-level test to determine readiness for academic challenge.   In the traditional model, parents register their student and receive the scores.  Parents may choose to share those scores with teachers so that they can plan together for academic intervention.

In-School Testing makes above-level testing accessible to all qualified students in grades 4-6.   In-School testing uses the 8th grade test, Explore.

In-School Testing is NOT available for 7-9th graders who qualify for the talent search because the test that is used, the ACT, is a secure test and cannot be administered in-school.

What guidelines determine whether a student qualifies to test?

The goal of above-level testing is to determine readiness for additional challenge.  Therefore, students need to have a very strong performance on a grade-level test.  This is typically determined by a score at or above the 95th percentile on a core subject of a grade-level test, such as the Iowa Assessments.  Read more about qualifying for talent search.

Do participants in BESTS automatically qualify for the school’s gifted program?

No.  Many participants in BESTS do qualify for the school’s gifted program; however, many do not.  The coordinator of gifted programs is in the best position to help the regular classroom teacher understand how the results of an above-level test can guide educators in providing appropriately challenging curriculum in areas of student strength.

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