Highly Capable Screening


What are Highly Capable services?

Tacoma Public Schools (TPS) offers Highly Capable services that are designed to maximize the social, emotional, and cognitive development of Highly Capable students throughout the district. Highly Capable students may be served in a variety of ways, depending on grade and parent preference, in order to meet the needs of gifted students at all grade levels.

For information about Highly Capable services, visit the Highly Capable Program website or contact hcservices@tacoma.k12.wa.us.

How can my child receive Highly Capable services?

Students are identified as qualifying for Highly Capable services through a screening process or via referral.

What is the Highly Capable screener?

TPS screens all 2nd grade students using the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT). The NNAT is a nationally approved cognitive screener that uses shapes and figures, rather than pictures or words, to assess a student’s thinking, problem solving, and reasoning abilities; it is not a measurement of what they have learned in school. The NNAT differs from an IQ test because it lacks a verbal component and employs a different scoring method.

What should I know about the Highly Capable screening process?

  • No preparation is needed.
  • Screening takes place at school.
  • Administered by a qualified test proctor in a group setting with other students from the classroom.
  • Lasts about 60 minutes, including instructions, practice problems, and 30 minutes for the actual screening.
  • Results are mailed to parents/guardians within approximately 60 school days.
  • If screening indicates that a student may be eligible for Highly Capable services, their eligibility is determined via a review by the Multidisciplinary Selection Committee (MDSC) as required by the state of Washington.
    • The MDSC considers screening results and performance on other district and state assessments (e.g. iReady scores), as applicable.
    • Parent/guardian permission is required before MDSC review and program placement decisions.

Opt-out of the Highly Capable screening process

If you prefer that your student not participate in the 2nd grade Highly Capable screening process, please complete the Highly Capable Screening Opt Out Form.

You may also send an email to dsaxton@Tacoma.K12.Wa.US stating that you wish to opt out. Please include your child's name and school in the email.

Please direct all questions about the Highly Capable Screener to dsaxton@Tacoma.K12.Wa.US.


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