Talented and Gifted children are those children who require special educational programs or services beyond those normally provided by the regular classroom. A icon

Talented and Gifted children are those children who require special educational programs or services beyond those normally provided by the regular classroom. A



1. What is TAG? Talented and Gifted children are those children who require special educational programs or services beyond those normally provided by the regular classroom. An intellectually gifted or academically talented student is one who performs, or has the potential to perform, at or above the 97th percentile on nationally standardized tests of mental ability or academic achievement. In addition, multiple criteria are used, including social and behavioral data, academic history, classroom achievement, etc. No single test is to be used as the sole determiner of TAG identification.

In K-8 schools, TAG Instructional Plans are written in the fall outlining services for instructional level and rate of learning. In Middle and High Schools, TAG Instructional Plans are written upon request only. The forecast sheet is the official notification of programs and services.

2. What are the attributes of TAG students?

Learning: Retains and learns information easily; Uses complex language/has a large vocabulary; Shows strong memory, quick recall; Carries out complex instructions with ease

Skills: Reads/comprehends on an advanced level; Shows high level thinking; Uses advanced computations and/or complex math systems; Displays academic/artistic creativity

Interests: Demonstrates unusual or advanced interests; Is considered an “expert” on certain topics

^ Reasoning/Problem Solving: Recognizes patterns & connections; Is a keen observer; Makes mental connections; Devises strategies to solve problems; Has “out-of-the-box” ways to solve problems; Is a Nonconformist

Motivation/Leadership: Is a Self- or Independent starter; Is an independent worker; Does not follow the typical path; Self-confident; Well-liked.

(These attributes are listed on the IDentification Process Form on the TAG website: www.tag.pps.k12.or.us - click on Identification, and scroll down to Parent/Teacher Nomination Process Form.)


^ 3. How can I recognize if my child is potentially a TAG student? See attributes listed above. Also, talk to your child’s teacher for classroom behaviors and indicators.


4. How is a child nominated for TAG? Either parents or teachers may nominate a student for TAG services. Parents may get copies of the IDentification Process Form from their neighborhood school, or they may download the form from our website. (Click on the Identification section.) The TAG identification schedule is posted on the TAG bulletin board in every school. Ask in your school’s office for the location of the TAG bulletin board.


^ 5. Are all children screened for TAG? At this point, not all students are screened for TAG identification. Both you and your child’s teacher must complete an IDentification Process Form for your child to be tested.

6. What can I do if my child’s teacher doesn’t think my child is likely to be TAG, but I do? You can fill out a nomination form and give it to your school’s TAG coordinator. The teacher is then obligated to fill out the Teacher Section of the form. We look at multiple criteria for identifying students for TAG in PPS.


^ 7. What types of tests are given to screen for TAG? We use the ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills) to assess for academic talent in Reading and Math. (Performance on the OAKS-Oregon State Test- may be used as an indicator of academic talent.) We use the CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test) and the NNAT (Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test) to assess for intellectual giftedness.

We also use and accept scores from such tests as the Stanford-Binet, Woodcock-Johnson, WIPPSI, and WISC if they were given within two years of nomination.

^ 8. Once my child is identified, will they be retested in the future? No further testing is required for TAG identification unless you wish the student to be tested in a different area later. If, at some point you want your child to apply for ACCESS (see description under #23), your child may need to test again to receive current testing information.


^ 9. What should I realistically expect once my child is identified as TAG? Your child’s teacher will create a gifted student plan each fall, which remains active until another plan is written the following year. The plan is based on assessments, observations and work samples, and will include strategies to modify the curriculum, if necessary. These modifications should enable the student to be challenged at their individual rate and level of learning.

^ 10. What does “rate of learning” mean? “Rate of learning” means that students are challenged at the highest rate or speed at which they can comprehend and process information, concepts and ideas, while making it their own. A student would be able to demonstrate, work with, show relationships and synthesize new understandings from this new knowledge.

^ 11. What does “level of learning” mean? Students working at their appropriate “level of learning” would be challenged at their highest ability to take in, process and respond to information. Instruction would take them to an appropriate depth and complexity of understanding about a topic or subject for each student.


^ 12. Will my child be grouped with other TAG students? Best practices suggest that TAG students be grouped together for a least part of the day. There are many options for grouping students: some may be grouped with other high ability students in specific subjects, some may be clustered together in a classroom, and some may be grouped together in an accelerated school.

^ 13. How is TAG implemented in K-8 schools? TAG services center primarily within each student’s classroom. These classrooms are mixed-ability classrooms, where the teacher differentiates instruction according to classroom assessments. Teachers use these assessments to see if there is a need for differentiated curriculum, more individualized instruction and/or opportunities for independent study. If so, they develop strategies to meet instructional rate and level in the regular classroom.

^ 14. How is TAG implemented in middle schools? TAG services center primarily within each student’s classroom. Students are either randomly placed in classrooms or they are placed in classrooms for math and/or reading according to ability, determined by pre-assessment. In classrooms where students are randomly assigned, one should see instruction differentiated for each student’s level and rate of learning. In classrooms of like-ability students, one would see instruction at a higher rate and level.

^ 15. How is TAG implemented in high schools? As in the Elementary and Middle grades, TAG services occur primarily in the student's classroom. The enrollment in most high school classes is by mixed-ability, and instruction should be differentiated to meet the student's rate and level of learning. High Schools also offered a variety of advanced courses. These include AP (Advanced Placement), IB (International Baccalaureate), Dual Credit (High School and College Credit using the college text and syllabus) and Honors level courses. Some high school students take online courses, independent study or correspondence courses; or co-enroll in high school and college at the same time to meet their academic and intellectual needs.


^ 16. What is acceleration? This term is used in 2 ways when referring to TAG students.

1. Acceleration is a term used to describe when a student is placed in a grade level above his or her chronological grade/age. Examples include single-subject acceleration, where a student may be in a 3rd grade class but goes to math with 5th grade students to best meet his/her instructional level; or whole-grade acceleration, when a student goes through an evaluation process that determines that he is a good candidate for skipping an entire grade.

2. Sometimes teachers and parents also refer to accelerated curriculum. The focus here is providing advanced curriculum but keeping the child with same-aged peers.


^ 17. What is ability grouping? We call groups “ability groups” when they are formed based on pre-assessment of a particular skill or content knowledge. Ability groups are designed to acknowledge each student’s current assets and to focus on helping students acquire similar skills or content knowledge. These groups should remain flexible and should change frequently based on multiple assessments.


^ 18. What is differentiation? Differentiating instruction means creating multiple ways for students of different abilities, interests or learning needs to experience appropriate ways to absorb, use, develop and present concepts as a part of the daily learning process. Materials, lessons, and/or instruction can be differentiated based on student interest, student readiness, the content of the material, the process used to access the material, or the product the student creates as a part of their interaction with the lesson or material.

^ 19. How will I know if my child is being instructed at the right rate and level?

A conversation with your child’s teacher is always the best place to start. The teacher will indicate the types of pre-assessments used to determine your child’s rate and level of learning, and how the teacher uses this information to help provide the appropriate instruction in the classroom.


^ 20. What should I do if I feel my child is not being instructed at the right rate and level? Again, start with a conversation with the teacher. He or she may not be aware that your child feels bored or unchallenged. If you still have concerns after meeting with the teacher and offering observations about your child, make an appointment with the school’s TAG coordinator or administrator. We want parents and teachers to be in communication with each other, but keep in mind that TAG TOSAs are available to help moderate discussions and find workable solutions with teachers and parents if other options haven’t worked.

^ 21. There aren't very many TAG students at my child's school. How can the school best meet my child's needs? Different schools meet students’ needs in different manners. (See answer to question 11 above.) Some schools cluster group or flexibly group students for instruction, either within the classroom or within a grade level(s).

In addition, each school now has a TAG building plan, which communicates to parents exactly how each school provides services for their TAG population. Ask your principal for a copy of the plan.


^ 22. How can I request that my child skip a grade? The district provides a method for Early Entry into Kindergarten, Early Entry into First Grade, and Grade Acceleration. There is more information about all of these programs on our web page at tag.pps.k12.or.us

  • Grade Acceleration: Call the TAG Office for the application, meet with the principal to discuss options, and then call a psychologist for an cognitive evaluation. Once the evaluation is received, our TAG staff will go out to the child’s school to complete the academic testing and interview process. We use the IOWA Grade Acceleration Scale to guide this process. For more information, go to hoagiesgifted.org/iowa_accel_scale.htm

  • ^ Early Entry into Kindergarten – Those children who turn 5 years of age between Sept 2 and Dec 31, may be considered for Early Entry. The first step is for you and your child to meet the principal at your neighborhood school. The principal will conduct a quick evaluation, and make an initial recommendation, including talking to the family about the pros and cons of Early Entry. The principal then signs the application, and the family sends this application to our office. Concurrently, the family calls a psychologist to schedule an evaluation – cognitive, academic, and social-emotional readiness. Additionally, the family sends the Preschool Evaluation to the daycare provider; after completion, this evaluation is sent to the TAG Office. Once all the pieces are gathered at the TAG Office, we will confer with the neighborhood principal to make a final recommendation for advancement. Should the family wish to appeal a “no” decision, the TAG Office will explain this process. If the family wishes to pursue the School Choice option, testing must be completed by March 1, in advance of the School Choice lottery deadline. Should the family wish to attend the neighborhood school, testing can be completed in the spring or summer.

  • ^ Early Entry into First Grade - If the family wishes to pursue the School Choice option, the evaluation process must be completed by March 1, in advance of the School Choice lottery deadline. Should the family wish to apply for a neighborhood placement, the family should then register the child for Kindergarten. The TAG staff will test the student in September, and make a decision with the parent, teacher, and principal, in conjunction with the TAG staff recommendation.


^ 23. Which schools or programs provide the most support for TAG students?  Different schools provide a different emphasis, which may also change over time depending on the present staff, administration, and student need. It’s best to find out all you can about the school, tour the school, and then make your decision.

-^ ACCESS Alternative Program (ACCESS Academy): An alternative program for students who score at the 99% or above on one or more nationally normed academic or cognitive test. Other supporting evidence is also used in the decision-making process; including but not limited to the parent, teacher, and student recommendation. Students are generally working 2-3 years above grade level. The grades 1-8 program is presently located at Sabin Elementary School; the high school program is located at Grant HS. All testing is conducted at no charge, either through the TAG Office or through ACCESS. Students may enter the program from the tri-county area, with first consideration given to Portland Public School students. accessalt.pps.k12.or.us

-Winterhaven: Math, Science and Technology focus, grades K-8. Students are from throughout the Portland area. There are a high number (in 2007-08, 46% TAG-identified) of identified gifted students, as well as strong parent participation. Located at the former Brooklyn Elementary School, near the Ross Island Bridge. winterhavenschool.org

-Odyssey: Social Studies focus, integrated learning, grades K-8. Students are from throughout the Portland area. High number of identified gifted students. Located at Hayhurst Elementary, a K-5 school. hayhurst.pps.k12.or.us

-Neighborhood schools: Visit your neighborhood school, ask for a tour, and talk to the school secretary, the principal, teachers and students. Get a feel for the community. Ask questions regarding parent participation, how the day is structured, how students test on statewide and district wide assessments, if students are grouped flexibly by content, and/or how they are clustered in classrooms. www.oregonlive.com (The Oregonian newspaper) provides state data regarding each school building’s test scores and satisfaction ratings.

-AP Courses: Advanced Placement courses are rigorous classes offered at the high school level. All AP teachers are required to submit a course syllabus to CollegeBoard and must meet particular curriculum requirements as a part of the class. For the 2007-08 school year, Portland Public High Schools offered 26 out of the 37 available AP courses. Madison and Wilson each offered 12 AP approved courses. Grant and Franklin offered 11 AP approved courses. AP Courses were also available at SEIS (9), ACT (5), Pauling Academy (4), POWER (3) and Benson (1). There are many reasons that students enroll in AP or IB courses: possible college credit, improve writing and problem solving skills, develop college study skills, demonstrate maturity and readiness for college, study subjects in greater detail and depth. www.apcentral.collegeboard.com

-IB Programs: International Baccalaureate offers all the same incentives as AP, except that it has several unique opportunities: some of the students’ exams are scored abroad and there is an opportunity to be awarded an internationally-recognized Full Diploma based on a minimum number of IB courses, an extended essay, and community service. Presently only two PPS schools offer IB, Cleveland and Lincoln. Students that live within the boundaries of these schools are automatically able to participate in IB. Students from outside the attendance area must apply to Cleveland or Lincoln IB through School Choice (lottery). www.ibo.org

-Dual Credit Courses: Dual Credit courses are typically courses offered at the high school that are aligned to already existing college courses. The teacher uses the syllabus and text from the college class, and a student earns both high school and college credit upon successful completion of a dual credit course. Benson, Cleveland, Franklin, Grant, Madison, Wilson, SEIS, POWER, BizTech, and Jefferson all have dual credit courses with PCC or PSU.

-College courses for advanced students:

  • PSU ^ QUICK ENTRY Any student at any age may apply to attend PSU through Quick Entry. Should the student seek credit on their school transcript, students should complete an “Off Campus Learning” form, and submit that information to their counselor or principal prior to registering for the course.

      • PSU – LINK Primarily HS students apply for PSU – LINK. Sally Hudson and Vicki Sparks are your contacts at PSU: 503-725-3430. Applications, due April 1 for the following year’s admission, are on the PSU web site and the PPS TAG “Resources and Links” section. No cost to apply. (challenge-link.clas.pdx.edu/challenge/index.php)

      • PCC – Primarily HS students, and the occasional MS student, applies to PCC. If the student is 16 years or older, you can apply online at www.pcc.edu Should the student be under 16, the student needs to take the ASSET test to demonstrate proficiency in math, reading, and writing. All three areas are required, even though the student may only be taking a math class. The testing is free and takes around 2 hours. The PCC counseling office can give you information regarding test taking days and times. Immediately after taking the ASSET test, the results are available in print. Take the printed report, along with a copy of your photo identification, and a copy of your social security card to a PCC counselor. That person will register you for the first class, and then you can register for subsequent courses online.

      • ^ Reed, Lewis & Clark, and University of Portland – These private institutions offer a scholars program for high school students, while the student is enrolled in high school. The fees are minimal, around $100-200 per course, per semester; generally, students are limited to one course. Applications are on the TAG web site, and are due April 1. There is no fee to apply. The intent of these institutions is to offer additional course work for the student who has exceeded all that his school has to offer. (e.g.) Student has completed through AP or IB Calculus at their high school, and is looking for an additional math class during their senior year in high school. For more information, Reed – Barbara Amen (503) 777 7259; Lewis & Clark – Robert Eisinger (503) 768-7642; University of Portland, James Stemler, (503) 943 8000.

      • Reed Young Scholars web.reed.edu/outreach_programs/

      • Lewis & Clark Templeton Scholars


  • University of Portland www.up.edu (DO NOT apply online)


^ 24. Do TAG students receive any preference in the lottery? Generally, TAG identification does not play a part in the lottery. But there are factors that may play into preference in the lottery. For instance, if your neighborhood school offers no, or few, AP courses, this may be a factor in the student’s lottery preference. The primary factors influencing admission in the lottery are giving some students a “bump” in admission if they are from NCLB schools and/or if they have a sibling at the school they are applying for in the lottery. The Enrollment & Transfer Center can help you with the number of openings at each school.

^ 25. How can parents be involved in TAG at the school level?

This is a great question, and one that can best be asked of the school principal and classroom teacher. Some schools offer a vast array of opportunities for parents to be involved – from teaching groups of students one afternoon per week, to supervising the library. One way that parents do become involved is to coordinate after-school competitions, such as: Lego Robotics, National Geography Bee, National Spelling Bee, Oregon Writing Festival, Chess Club, Math or Science clubs. Working parents can always ask the classroom teacher, if he/she needs help in running off materials, or completing some tasks at home. Other ways to be involved as a parent of a TAG child, are to give the teacher input for the Gifted Student Plan, or course scheduling; to be an advocate for your child; and to attend building and district TAG parent meetings. You may also want to attend local, state and national meetings regarding gifted children. You may even ask to help the building TAG coordinator or principal to bring speakers or other resources into your school. Another way to be involved is through the building Site Council and/or the Local School Advisory Committee.

^ 26. How can parents be involved in TAG at the district level?

There are two primary ways for parents to be involved – through the TAG Parent Advisory Council (TAGAC) and through attendance at district evening parent meetings. (See our website and/or your school’s TAG bulletin board for information regarding dates and speakers for the district TAG meetings.) TAGAC meets every other month, during the lunch hour. This council has parents representing each high school cluster. Council members serve three-year terms, and we welcome all parents from PPS schools and the general community. Parents work with Roxanne Coleman, district TAG Teacher-on-Special Assignment (TOSA) to schedule agendas and speakers. The council acts on behalf of the parents they represent to bring best practice to the forefront of the Office of Teaching and Learning. Through this advocacy, and constant questioning, the council advocates for positive changes in the services offered their children. Contact Roxanne at 503-916-3358 if you are interested in attending meetings or participating in the TAGAC.

You might also get involved by joining parent groups such as The Student, Family, and School Support Committee (503-916-3170) or the Office of Communications and Community Engagement (503-916-2000 ext. 4824). Don’t forget that you might also attend School Board meetings. Call 503-916-3741 for meeting dates.


^ 27. What resources are available for TAG families to learn more about TAG?

The TAG Coordinator or designee at your school has a list of parent TAG resources. A TAG Guide has also been provided in each school’s library so that parents can easily access TAG information.

Another way to learn more is from organizations such as:

  • Oregon Assn. for Talented and Gifted (OATAG) oatag.org

  • Washington Assn. for Talented and Gifted (WAETAG) waetag.org

  • National Association for Talented and Gifted Children (NAGC) nagc.org

  • Hoagies Gifted hoagiesgifted.org

  • Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth cty.jhu.edu

  • The Davidson Institute davidsonacademy.unr.edu


^ 28. I’ve heard there is a lawsuit concerning TAG. What is that about? In 1997, several parents filed a class action complaint with the Oregon Dept. of Education (ODE) regarding services for gifted students in Portland Public Schools (PPS). PPS was released from this complaint in 2004. In 2005, these same parents filed a complaint against the State for releasing PPS. In 2007, ODE returned to PPS to investigate services for gifted students. In 2008, ODE issued a final finding and asked that PPS do the following:

  • “…require assessments for identification of academic achievement when there are no standardized tests available in the students’ native language.”

  • “Provide for and carryout policies for identification of ELL students who have the potential to perform at the 97th percentile for academic achievement…”

  • “Establish a procedure for written notice on an annual basis to all parents of middle and high school TAG students to advise parents of their right to provide input to and discuss wit the district the TAG programs and services to be received by their children and how parents may exercise that right.”

  • “Institute a monitoring process to make TAG program policy implementation and practice consistent across the entire district…”

  • “Develop a system to require all teachers to document (a) those students who are TAG eligible and (b) the differential instruction for each TAG student based on their student’s level…and rate of learning…”

  • “Provide access for all TAG students to accelerated programs, including that which may not be available in a student’s own school.”

  • “Provide regular and sustained professional development for PPS staff…”

  • Provide documentation and verification of professional development.

  • Provide written quarterly reports.

The Oregon Mandate was broadly written regarding (e.g.) identification, and programs and services. The lawsuits around the state, have attempted to bring rules and regulations regarding those areas of the Mandate that are not well defined.

^ 29. What resources are available for TAG families to meet each other?

A Fall Parent TAG Meeting is announced at schools in September. This is a great way to meet each other.

Another opportunity is the Johns Hopkins CTY Family Academic Camps cty.jhu.edu. Several of those camps are in Portland and Seattle. On a space available basis, families may register for the activity without having the student test into the program.

Other opportunities are offered through OMSI, Portland Audubon Society, Hands On Portland, Oregon Zoo, Free Geek, and Saturday Academy. Hands On Portland is a great way to experience a short- or long-term volunteer opportunity. These and more opportunities are on the TAG web page.

The TAG administrator also compiles a list serv of TAG parents who would like to receive information regarding TAG in our District, the State, and the Nation. Email awelch@pps.k12.or.us to be added to the district TAG listserv.

^ 30. What resources are available for TAG families to learn more about TAG? There are many ways for families to learn more. For a complete list, go to the TAG web site. Some of the ways to learn more are:

  • Oregon Assn. for Talented and Gifted (OATAG) oatag.org

  • Washington Assn. for Talented and Gifted (WAETAG) waetag.org

  • National Association for Talented and Gifted Children (NAGC) nagc.org

  • Hoagies Gifted hoagiesgifted.org

  • Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth cty.jhu.edu

  • The Davidson Institute davidsonacademy.unr.edu





TAG FAQs February 8, 2008

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