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Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
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Who are advanced learners in MPS?
Advanced learners are students from all cultural and socioeconomic groups who perform at, or show the potential for performing at an outstanding level when compared with others of same age, experience or environment.  They have cognitive and affective needs that require a differentiated and challenging learning environment.  

Why identify them?

  • To find which students perform at, or show the potential for performing at an outstanding level when compared with others of same age, experience or environment
  • To match the most appropriate level of service (curriculum, instruction and support) to the student’s needs in order to produce advanced achievement.

How will advanced learners be identified?
Our goal is to provide all students with an opportunity to demonstrate advanced learning behaviors. MPS examines data from standardized ability and achievement tests as well as gathers information from teachers and parents about advanced learning behaviors and classroom performance. Because MPS serves a diverse student population, close attention is paid to the advanced learning behaviors of culturally, linguistically and economically diverse students as well. The diagram below details the pathways for advanced learner identification.

 Why screen all 2nd graders?
Our goal is to find and nurture advanced learners of all cultural and socioeconomic groups.  By screening all students at some point in their elementary years, MPS will find students who are not only performing at advanced levels, but those who also have the potential and ability to perform at advanced levels.  Research has shown that culturally, linguistically and economically diverse students are less likely to be referred for screening for advanced programs.  Equity of opportunity will ensure a larger, more diverse talent pool.   

What is the CogAT7?
The CogAT7 (Cognitive Abitlies Test) measures learned reasoning and problem-solving skills in three different areas: verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal. Reasoning skills develop gradually throughout a person’s lifetime and at different rates for different individuals. CogAT7 does not measure such factors as effort, attention, motivation, and work habits, which contribute to school achievement as well. 

Second graders will take the Screening Form, a shorter version of the full test, consisting of the analogies sections. Only a composite score is available from this assessment.  Students referred in the other grade levels will take the full test.

Can I prepare my child to take the CogAT7?
The CogAT7 is very different from other assessments our students are used to taking.  For that reason, students will take a practice test in their classroom prior to the test date.  This will make sure students are not surprised by the types of questions.  Students will be asked to think in analogies, and determine patterns and relationships. No other preparation is needed. 

Where can I get more information about the research behind the CogAT7?
Please click here for more extensive reading regarding the CogAT7.

What if my child was absent on the date that the CogAT7 was given?
Students will be assessed only during the district testing window, December 2-13, 2013. If your student is absent the day of the testing, contact your school for make-up testing plans. 

My student has an IEP or 504 with testing accommodations. Will he/she take the test?

Unless a student is exempt from district assessments, your student will be able to take the CogAT7. Accommodations should be followed.

What is the identification timeline this year?
The 2013-2014 Screening Process will take place November-March. Information about the process will be sent home in November.  Letters with identification decisions and CogAT7 score reports will be sent end of March, 2014.

What if a student is not identified as an advanced learner this year?
Students who are not identified as advanced learners may be screened again each year through the referral process.  MPS will help all students recognize and develop their talents as well as demonstrate significant learning progress as a result of appropriately challenging enrichment and advanced-level learning opportunities.  Each school has developed levels of service for all students. Level I and II services are designed to provide challenge and talent development to most students.

Who can I contact for more information?
For more information, contact the Office of Talent Development and Advanced Learner Education.

Melanie Crawford
Director, Talent Development & Advanced Learner Education
melanie.crawford@mpls.k12.mn.us
612.668.5352