- Schools must base their admission decisions “on a comprehensive appraisal of the student.”
- Schools must consider both subjective and objective factors.
- Schools must consider multiple criteria, “with no single criteria [sic] eliminating a student from participation.”
- Schools must consider data “with direct relevance to program goals, objectives and activities.”
- If there are more openings than applicants, the school must select students “according to the extent to which they can benefit from the program.”
Interestingly, judging from the superintendent’s email, the district appears to consider grades and grade point average to be “subjective” criteria—which implies that it considers standardized test scores to be the only objective measure of a student’s performance. This seems clearly wrong. The whole point of requiring “subjective” criteria is to ensure that the school engages in “comprehensive appraisal of the student,” rather than reducing the student to a number. Moreover, it’s discouraging to think that the district would see teachers as incapable of objectively grading a student’s performance in a class.
Here are the questions I recently asked the superintendent, with his answers inserted in boldface:
I’m writing to ask about the district’s criteria for admitting kids to gifted and talented programs. I’ve been hearing different things second-hand from different parents about what they’ve been told—for example, about what it takes to qualify for 8th grade seminar in junior high. I know that the Iowa regulations require districts to use both objective and subjective criteria in admitting kids to gifted and talented programs. My questions are:
(1) Which offerings in the ICCSD qualify as “gifted and talented programs” that fall under that regulation?
- Elementary ELP
- Seventh grade Literacy 7E
- Eighth grade Seminar
- High School ELP Guidance and Counseling
(3) In the programs and offerings that do fall under that regulation, what subjective criteria does the district use?
- Elementary ELP - parent and teacher information about students’ academic performance as well as medical professional recommendations/diagnoses.
- Seventh grade Literacy 7E will begin during the 2014-2015 school year; eligibility criteria are in development.
- Eighth grade Seminar - medical professional recommendations/ diagnoses; we are reviewing subjective criteria to include GPA scores as well as teacher or parent information.
- Senior high - medical professional recommendations/ diagnoses; GPA scores; we are reviewing subjective criteria to include teacher, student or parent information.