Comprehensive Assessment for the Right Fit

The process for determining highly capable eligibility is comprehensive and multi-layered. We look beyond classroom grades to assess a student's cognitive abilities. We review cognitive screening scores and overlay additional factors such as state and local assessments, grades and social and emotional traits to place students in the program that is the best fit for them individually.

Identifying Eligible Students

There are several pathways for students to enter the identification process.


District-wide second- grade screening: Tacoma Public Schools screens all 2nd grade students using the NNAT screener. The screening takes place in October with program placement the following school year. If you wish to opt your child out of screening, send an email to hcservices@tacoma.k12.wa.us, stating that you wish to opt out. Please include your child's name and school in the email.

If your child has a 504 plan or an IEP and requires special accommodations, send that information in an email to hcservices@tacoma.k12.wa.us. Please include your child's name and school, and any other pertinent information in the email.


Referrals: Students may be referred by their parent/guardian, teachers, community members, and through self-referral using the our online Referral Form. After a referral is received, the Highly Capable Office will gather achievement scores and cognitive ability scores on file.  Additional information from others who know the student,  may be gathered. If there is no cognitive score on file, the student will be screened using the NNAT screener following the Highly Capable Evaluation Cycle.  If there is a cognitive score on file, the student will not be rescreened. 


Students transfer with documentation: Students that qualify for highly capable in another district or state are reviewed for eligibility in the Tacoma Highly Capable program. The Highly Capable team works with parents on a case by case basis to gather information and place transfer students into the appropriate Highly Capable services. Call 253.571.1120 for more information, email official identification documentation to hcservicestacoma.k12.wa.us, or FAX official identification documentation to 253.571.1189.​