Highly Capable Universal 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.

What is the Highly Capable Screener?

TPS screens all 2nd grade students using the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT3). The NNAT3 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 NNAT3 differs from an IQ test because it lacks a verbal component and employs a different scoring method.

Students in other grades are screened using the same method, by referral only.

What should I know about the Highly Capable Universal Screener?

  • No preparation is needed.
  • Takes place at school.
  • Administered by a qualified proctor in a group setting.
  • Lasts about 60 minutes, including instructions 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.

Family Resources