Talented and Gifted (TAG) Program

  • Updated Talented and Gifted (TAG) Screening Procedures for 2020-2021 School Year (Spring 2021)

    English (PDF) | en español (PDF) | አማርኛ (PDF) | بالعربية (PDF)

    In the Fall of 2020, Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) adapted the gifted identification procedures for this school year because the universal screener of nationally normed, in-person ability testing was not an option at the beginning of the year. Instead of testing, teachers created a work-sample portfolio for all students in the 1st and 3rd grades. These portfolios include samples of the student work that both the teachers and students selected to showcase the student's strengths. The work samples were screened throughout the early Spring to determine if a more detailed portfolio was needed.

    At the end of April 2021, the Talented and Gifted (TAG) screening committee looked over the data from the portfolios, and it has been determined that we need additional information to complete the screening. This additional information includes testing, but with the limited timeframe, multiple test windows open, and resources, we have been required to update screening for this year. Below is a chart outlining the final screening procedures for this year. Please note, the only changes occur in the 1st and 3rd grades.

    A message was sent to families of 1st- and 3rd-grade students on June 17, 2021.

    Grade Level Students Referred by Parents/Staff Universal Screeners for All Students Testing for Next Year Notice of Eligibility
    Kindergarten Will receive the NNAT before 6/23/21. Not applicable to this grade level.

    All rising 1st graders will receive the NNAT in Fall 2021.

    End-of-July 2021
    1st Grade Will receive the NNAT before 6/23/21.

    The universal screening is paused until additional information can be collected. Only students referred will be tested and screened.

    All students will go through universal screening in 2nd grade during the 1st quarter of the 2021-2022 school year.

    All rising 2nd graders will receive the NNAT in Fall 2021. End-of-July 2021
    2nd Grade Will receive the NNAT before 6/23/21. Not applicable to this grade level. All rising 3rd graders will receive the CogAT in Fall 2021. End-of-July 2021
    3rd Grade Will receive the CogAT before 6/23/21.

    All 3rd-grade CogAT testing is paused, except for students who were referred by January 28, 2021.

    Oversight Committee Process: Regardless of taking the CogAT test, all 3rd-grade students will go through an oversight committee for SAA Language Arts and Math services. The committee will review information from previous ability test scores, new achievement test scores, gifted rating scale scores, and report card grades.

    All rising 4th graders will receive the CogAT in Fall 2021.

    End-of-July 2021
    4th-8th Grade Will receive the CogAT (Grades 4-5) or NNAT (Grades 6-8) before 6/23/21. Not applicable to this grade level.   End-of-July 2021

    We thank you for your flexibility as we work through this school year. Our ultimate goal is to provide the best services to children. As a result, we had to reexamine our screening procedures this year to ensure we have the most robust data to determine service eligibility for students. We will notify parents of any eligibility decisions by the end of July. If your child is not found eligible, we welcome you to refer your child in the Fall.

  • Program Identification Update Under the Virtual PLUS+ model (Fall 2020)

    During Virtual PLUS+, students referred during the first semester will create a digital portfolio. These portfolios will include samples of the student's work that are selected by both the teachers and students to showcase the student's strengths. When we return to in-person learning, additional assessment data will be available to complete the evaluations.

    New referrals from parents, community members, teachers, and students are being accepted until the end of the second quarter, January 28, 2021.


  • ACPS believes that students among all ethnic, racial and socioeconomic groups should be provided with an education that enables them to achieve excellence, developing their abilities to the fullest. Differentiated services beyond the regular curriculum will be provided for children in grades K-12 whose accomplishments and/or demonstrated abilities indicate the need for such services.

    "Gifted students" means those students in public elementary and secondary schools, beginning with kindergarten through graduation, whose abilities and potential for accomplishment are so outstanding that they require special programs to meet their educational needs.

    ACPS has recently undergone an evaluation of its talented and gifted services. For details of the evaluation and links to content around it please read more in the ACPS Express.

    Overview of TAG Program Process:

    • Screening
    • Referral - Deadline for submitting referrals is January 28, 2021!
    • Permission for Assessment
    • Data Collection
    • Placement Committee Review
    • Notification
    • Student placed in appropriate curriculum
    • Appeals possible within ten (10) school days

    Who can be eligible for the TAG Program?

    A student who shows evidence of superior performance and exceptional academic potential. This includes:

    • All ACPS students, K thru 12
    • All genders, cultures & backgrounds
    • All English Language Learners

    What does my child do to qualify for TAG?

    Students are referred to the TAG Program. Referrals may result from ability tests given to all students in grades 1 and 3, along with assessment data in K thru 5. Referrals may also be submitted by parents, teachers or community members during the first ninety (90) days of the school year.

    Once referred, students must show evidence of superior performance in at least three of the qualifying criteria, one of which MUST be a standardized test (including):

    • Ability Test
    • Achievement Test
    • Classroom Grades
    • Characteristics & Classroom Behaviors
    • Advanced Transfer Tasks

    When does the TAG Program support students?

    Kindergarten through 3rd grade: those who exhibit superior General Intellectual Aptitude (GIA)

    4th through 12th grade: those who show superior achievement in Specific Academic Aptitude (SAA) (in language arts, math, science or social studies)

    ACPS TAG Program services include:

    Grades K-3: General Intellectual Aptitude (GIA)

    Enriched & integrated classroom activities designed to enhance creativity and problem-solving without being specifically tied to any one subject area.

    Grades 4*-5: Specific Academic Aptitude (SAA)

    Math and Language Arts
    Direct instruction from a teacher who specializes in teaching talented and gifted children with curriculum that is accelerated and significantly above grade level expectations.

    Science and Social Studies
    Differentiated Educational Plans (DEPs) which outline individual enrichment & extension activities to be completed in the general education classroom.

    * For rising 4th grade GIA students, a new referral is required to transition to SAA services, otherwise GIA services continue.

    Grades 6-12: Specific Academic Aptitude (SAA)

    • Online Courses
    • Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) Classes
    • Independent Study
    • Dual-Enrollment in college courses
    • Access to Summer Residential Governors School
    Talented and Gifted Department Description (PDF)
  • CONTACT INFORMATION

    Dr. Megan Tempel-Milner
    Gifted and Advanced Academics Programs, Director
    ACPS Central Office, 4th Floor
    1340 Braddock Place
    Alexandria, Virginia 22314
    703-619-8093
    megan.tempel-milner@acps.k12.va.us