Gifted & Talented

Gifted & Talented

The State of Connecticut offers the following two descriptions of students who may be identified as gifted and/or talented:

  • Those with extraordinary learning ability (commonly referred to as gifted). This  pertains to academic achievement and intellectual creativity. 

  • Those with outstanding talent in the creative arts (commonly referred to as talented). This pertains to achievement in music, the visual, or performing arts. 

Students in these classifications are collectively referred to as gifted and talented. The State of Connecticut requires that each board of education provide referral, identification and evaluation services only for gifted and talented children enrolled in grades kindergarten to twelve. The referral may come from any source including the teacher, administrator, parent, guardian, or child. It is important to note that while the gifted and talented identification and evaluation of students is mandatory, the provision of services for identified students is not required and is left to the discretion of the district.  Newington Public Schools does not offer a distinct, separate program for students who are identified as gifted and/or talented. However, an important result of the process is determination of the student’s actual or potential educational needs, which is shared with the student’s parents and teachers.  Teachers employ research-based strategies to differentiate instruction for high ability and creative students. These strategies may include, where appropriate:

  • Personalized goal setting

  • Curriculum compacting

  • Course or grade acceleration

  • Advanced curricular resources

  • Grouping strategies

  • Independent and small-group advanced learning

  • Advanced-level readings, problems, or projects that engage learners at a higher level


Identification requires the following:

  • Completed form (May be accompanied by student work samples and/or portfolio)

  • Assessment review, to include Smarter Balanced Assessment, Universal Screening Assessments, PSAT, SAT, and any other standardized assessments administered (see Assessment Review below)

  • Designation of Talent in one or more areas, including but not limited to:

    • Musical

    • Visual and/or

    • Performing/Kinesthetic Arts (including sports)

Assessment Review:

When reviewing assessments, the following shall apply:

  • Eligibility determination is based on the collection of data from multiple sources. 

  • Eligibility or ineligibility decisions should not be based on one test score alone. 

  • Newington Public Schools recommends the team adhere to the following guidelines when determining eligibility:  

    • SBA scores (grades 3-8): Performance results must be at or above the upper 98th percentile in any subject area. 

    • Universal Screening Assessments (grades K-10): Results must be “Exceeding Benchmark” 

    • Additional scores to be considered at the high school level include GPA, AP scores, and PSAT, SAT 

  • Teacher nomination for areas admissible for students that are “talented” that would not be measured by academic data (arts, music, sports, etc). 

Additional Information:

The following is a brief summary of the essential guidance for this process: 

  • Identification instruments need to be sensitive to underserved and culturally diverse populations. Standardized tests, used carefully and cautiously, can yield helpful data in assessing the potential of traditionally underserved or underachieving students. They should not be used exclusively, however. In these cases especially, greater emphasis needs to be placed on parent, teacher, peer, or self-rating scales. Additionally, portfolios and performance rating scales may be more direct assessments of student potential or accomplishment. 

  • Identification plans will be written and communicated to all parents in languages that reflect the demographics of the community

  • Districts may use group testing or individual testing as part of their process for identification. Identification using group testing can occur without parent consent. 

  • Parent consent is required prior to any individual evaluations.  

  • All districts must use a PPT to identify students as gifted and talented. This PPT is different from a PPT to identify students with disabilities.  

  • The results of a PPT for gifted and talented evaluation must be communicated to parents in writing.  

  • The frequency for re-evaluation is not defined. 

  • The PPT for gifted and talented education is encouraged to consider new evidence.  

  • Group tests have the advantage of objectivity and the potential for identifying gifted students from among members of historically under-represented groups of students.

  •  Personal referrals can indicate gifted and talented students in non-tested areas.  

  • The PPT process can supply parents and educators with an inventory of specific educational needs that can be used to effectively differentiate instruction regardless of classification as gifted and talented. 

  • Educators should be aware that gifted and talented students have unique social and emotional needs.  

  • Educators and administrators tasked with the responsibility of identifying and serving gifted and talented students should seek professional development to improve procedures and services. 

Source: Gifted and Talented Education: Guidance Regarding Identification and Service, March 2019 Connecticut State Department of Education