Highly capable students, as defined by WAC 392-170-035, are students who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others of their age, experiences, or environments.  Outstanding abilities are seen within student’s general intellectual aptitudes, specific academic abilities, and/or creative productivities within a specific domain.

These students are present not only in the general populace, but are present within all protected classes according to chapters 28A.640 and 28A.642 RCW.

Students who are highly capable may possess, but are not limited to, these learning characteristics as defined by WAC 392-170-038:

  • Capacity to learn with unusual depth of understanding, to retain what has been learned, and to transfer learning to new situations;
  • Capacity and willingness to deal with increasing levels of abstraction and complexity earlier than their chronological peers;
  • Creative ability to make unusual connections among ideas and concepts;
  • Ability to learn quickly in their area(s) of intellectual strength; and
  • Capacity for intense concentration and/or focus.

What does a highly capable student look like?  Visit The Myth of Average:  Todd Rose at TEDxSonomaCounty for more information


In Kindergarten, instruction is adjusted to meet the individual learning needs of highly capable students.  In grades 1 through 5, a school-wide cluster grouping model is used to meet the needs of highly capable elementary students in their neighborhood school.  Identified students are grouped in classrooms based on their abilities, while all other students are grouped according to their achievement levels. Cluster grouping with this method is designed to carefully structure classroom composition with two main goals:

  • to ensure a balance of abilities throughout the grade level without returning to the practice of tracking and
  • to reduce the learning range found in every classroom.

This inclusion model allows highly capable students to integrated into mixed ability classrooms where teachers are expected to provide appropriate differentiation opportunities for any students who need them.


Highly Capable students in secondary schools are placed in challenging courses during the regular school day.  Student schedules will be filled with classes that meet the characteristics of highly capable students. Often these are higher level course in English, Math and Science which are not restricted to only highly capable students but open to all learners.  School counselors will use the identification to guide students and parents into the course work.  Families, in cooperation with schools, can choose to select other courses.

In Middle Schools (Grades 6-8), students participate in:

  • Honors classes (English Language Arts and Math) based on HiCap program enrollment
  • Advanced subject placement (Typically in math)
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Courses
  • Middle School Music and language electives.

Students in grades 9 – 12 can access a menu of Advanced Placement (AP) courses that offer students the opportunity to pursue college-level studies (advanced material) while attending high school.  In addition to these options Longview High Schools offers participation in honors classes and Running Start.

Compacting – Giving students full credit for what they know about an upcoming unit and/or providing advanced students opportunities to learn new material in a shorter time period than needed by classmates

Independent Study – Ongoing in-depth research on a topic of a student’s own choosing

Flexible Grouping – Grouping and regrouping students throughout the year according to readiness, interest, learning style, achievement level, activity preference, or special needs

Tiered Assignments – Varying the level of complexity, depth, or novelty of a lesson so students can go beyond basic requirements of an assignment

Extension Menu – A selection of topics from which a student can choose to pursue an independent study that extends the learning beyond already mastered content standards

Evaluation and Referral

Students are evaluation annually in grades K-12.  Parent permission is required, and parents may apply for the HiCap program multiple times.  All district 2nd graders are screened for the Highly Capable Program.  Parents/guardians may request their students be excluded from this assessment by submitting a completed Highly Capable Opt-Out Form.  Contact your school for this form.

Annually, parents, guardians, teachers and community members may complete a referral for student for screening by completing the permission form.

Once identified, students remain in the program until they graduate or are exited by their parents/guardians.


Multiple measures are used to evaluate students for the HiCap program:

Intellectual-Cognitive Ability Test (CogAT):

  • CogAT7Screener (Grades K, 1, and 2) –45 minutes
  • CogAT7 (Grades 2-12) –90 to 120 minutes
    • Verbal
    • Quantitative
    • Non-Verbal
    • Composite scores (Average of V, Q, and NV)

Academic-Achievement (MAP, MSP, DIBELS, MCA)

  • Reading
  • Math

Creativity-Gifted Rating Scale

  • Intellectual
  • Academic
  • Creativity
  • Artistic
  • Leadership
  • Motivation


The selection committee consists of a principal, psychologist, Several HiCapteachers and a special education teacher.  Student and school names are removed from the data sets. Student scores are converted into national percentile rankings where available.
1.The committee looks first at the cognitive ability test results – Look for Age and/or Grade percentile ranking >90
2.Review achievement data (DIBELS, MCA, MAP, SBA, Grades) – Look for higher percentile rankings >90
3.Review Gifted Rating Scale (GRS) for teacher recommendations. – Look for higher percentile >90

Student data profile for students meeting all criteria is reviewed by a multidisciplinary team in early spring, and parents/guardians and resident school of student are notified.

Appeals must be based upon one of the following conditions:

  • A condition or circumstance believed to have caused a misinterpretation of the testing results, such as incorrect birthdate or grade level used in calculating the student’s score.
  • An inequitable application of the identification procedures, such as the applicant’s proficiency with the English language.
  • An extraordinary and temporary circumstance that negatively affected the validity of the test results, such as a traumatic event or physical distress immediately preceding the test.

To formally appeal, parents/guardians will need to submit the following items and information within 10 days of notification of qualification results:

  1. A letter to the Superintendent’s Office, c/o Bill Ofstun, at 2715 Lilac Street, Longview, WA 98632 stating the reason you believe your child is in need of gifted services. Include your name, address, and phone number as well as your child’s name, grade and school.
  2. A recent report card and any information that further supports your appeal such as state tests and district assessments. Only school district administered tests will be considered.

Appeals are reviewed by an Appeals Committee that consists of a Psychologist, Principal, Teacher and any other professionals the District has chosen to place on the committee. All submitted documents are closely and carefully reviewed. The Committee is looking for evidence that the results of the testing are not a true representation of the child’s abilities. The decision of the Appeals Committee is final.

A student identified for the Highly Capable Program is eligible to continue in subsequent grades. Students who are not making progress may be referred to the Building Multi-Disciplinary Team and Hi-Cap Coordinator. Following established procedures, suggestions for interventions and support will be implemented. If the student is not achieving, the parents/guardians can confer with the team to determine the best placement for the student and/or modification of the service option.

Once identified as a highly capable student, this identification continues whether or not a student exits services over a short or extended period of time.

Reasons to exit a student from the highly capable program may include: student graduated, student is no longer enrolled in the district, parent/guardian/student withdrew from program, student no longer qualifies for program based upon multiple object assessment results, and/or parent/guardian/student declined services for the year.

Elementary Science and Technology after school club using MakeyMakey boards.
University of Washington Math Day for high school students (requires algebra II math enrollment).
Purchase more Chomebooks for Highly Capable Classrooms.
Provide Google training for Highly Capable teachers.
Send several teachers to the Washington Association of Educators of the Talented and Givted(WAETAG) October 28-29).

Bill OfstunCoordinator