721 East Cota Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
805•730•7775 • Fax 962•7196
Office Hours: 7:30am - 12:30
pm
 
  
 
 
 
 

 
 

GATE Testing Policy

GATE Program Guidelines and Criteria
for the Elementary and Secondary Districts

Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Programs are designed to serve students who have special needs that might not be met in a regular educational setting. These students have special needs based on their high cognitive abilities, which often means that they need faster-paced instruction and higher level instruction. In order to identify these special needs students, IQ and/or cognitive ability tests are used as the primary indicator. A secondary indicator is a district-approved achievement test. The Santa Barbara Unified School District uses a group administered cognitive abilities test, the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) with a set point percentile of 95%. There are three ways to meet the identification criteria as described below.

Criteria for GATE Identification

To participate in the GATE Program in the Santa Barbara Unified School District, students can qualify if they attain any of the following admission criteria. Placement guidelines into appropriate classes/programs follow these admission criteria.

  • An overall (includes all subtests) composite score on a district-approved cognitive abilities test in the 95th percentile or above.

OR

  • Two or more subscale scores, with one having to be a non-verbal, on a district-approved cognitive abilities test in the 95th percentile or above.

Appeal Process to the GATE Identification Committee

In special circumstances a student who is close to qualification may be brought before the elementary or secondary GATE Identification Committee for further review, based on the following criteria. (Note: Secondary students will automatically be reviewed on the following criteria without submitting a portfolio, but if the following criteria were not met, may appeal by submitting a portfolio as directed below.)

  • An overall composite score on a district-approved cognitive abilities test in the 93rd percentile AND two subscale scores in the 93rd percentile or above, with one having to be a non-verbal score, AND advanced achievement scores equal to or above two standard deviations above the mean (about the 98th percentile) or higher on either a district-approved English achievement test (e.g., for the 2007-08 ELA CST this was a score of 451) or a district-approved math achievement test (e.g., for the 2007-08 Math CST this was a score of  531) within two years of applying for the GATE program.

Students who have been selected for review by the GATE Identification Committee should submit a portfolio of their work. A portfolio of exemplary work, illustrative of a student’s outstanding achievement in two areas, should be submitted to the GATE Office as part of the process for determining eligibility for participation in Santa Barbara Unified School District's Secondary GATE Program.

The portfolio should consist of the following required components:

  • One piece of writing from the most recent school year. For secondary GATE, the piece should represent outstanding work in literary analysis (not a book report). Note: Each piece of writing should include a draft one with teacher's comments and a final copy showing revisions.
  • One example of the student’s outstanding ability in math should be included. The piece could be a work sample (test or homework) from a high level math class.
  • Portfolios will be evaluated by a committee consisting of at least the Secondary GATE Coordinator, one school Site Trainer, and for the secondary district, a math and English Honors teacher.

English Language Learners may be admitted to the GATE program through distribution analysis and will automatically have their records reviewed by the appropriate (elementary or secondary) GATE Identification Committee for placement in the GATE program in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

Placement in Honors English/Social Studies or Math/Science

(Secondary GATE Only)

In the secondary district, students may be placed in Honors for either English/Social Studies OR Math/Science. Following are the criteria for GATE qualification for either English/Social Studies or Math/Science:

Honors English/Social Studies

  • A sub-scale score of 93rd percentile or higher on the verbal section of a district-approved cognitive abilities test

OR

  • A sub-scale score of 91st percentile or higher on the verbal section of a district-approved cognitive abilities test AND a district-approved verbal achievement score equal to or above two standard deviations above the mean. For the 5th grade CST this is a scaled score of 451 or higher on the ELA section. We will only look at the latest achievement test that is available. For instance, for entering the 7th grade the CST tests might not be available from 6th grade, so the 5th grade CST will be used, but we will not consider the 4th grade test. If no recent acceptable achievement scores are available, only the 93rd percentile for the Verbal section of the ability test will be considered.

Honors Math/Science

  • A sub-scale score of 93rd percentile or higher on the quantitative section of a district-approved cognitive abilities test

OR

  • A sub-scale score of 91st percentile or higher on the quantitative section of a district-approved cognitive abilities test AND a district approved quantitative achievement score equal to or above two standard deviations above the mean. For the 5th grade math CST this is a scaled score of 531 or higher. We will only look at the latest achievement test that is available. For instance, for entering the 7th grade the CST tests might not be available from 6th grade, so the 5th grade CST will be used, but we will not consider the 4th grade test. If no recent acceptable achievement scores are available, only the 93rd percentile for the quantitative section of the ability test will be considered.

Phase-In for the Revised GATE Identification Criteria
(Phase-In Began in 2008)

Realizing that the GATE Identification Criteria represent a change from the previous identification process, the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) will implement the criteria as follows:

  • 2008-09 school year
    • All students in grades 3-6 already GATE identified by the Santa Barbara, Montecito, Cold Spring, Hope or Goleta districts will maintain their GATE status.
    • All students being promoted from grade 6 at the end of the 2008-09 school year to grade 7 in the SBUSD will have their GATE status transferred. 
  • 2009-10 school year
    • All students in grades 4-6 already GATE identified by the Santa Barbara, Montecito, Cold Spring, Hope or Goleta districts will maintain their GATE status.
    • All students in grade 3 already GATE identified by the Goleta Union School District and entering the SBUSD will be required to follow the current identification criteria as listed previously.
    • All students being promoted from grade 6 at the end of the 2009-10 school year to grade 7 in the SBUSD will have their GATE status transferred.
  • 2010-11 school year
    • All students in grades 5-6 already GATE identified by the SBUSD or by a feeder district (Santa Barbara, Montecito, Cold Spring, Hope or Goleta Union) will maintain their GATE status.
    • All students in grades 3-4 already GATE identified by the Goleta Union School District and entering the SBUSD will be required to follow the current identification criteria as listed previously.
    • All students being promoted from grade 6 at the end of the 2010-11 school year to grade 7 in the SBUSD will have their GATE status transferred.
  • 2011-12 school year
    • All students in grade 6 already GATE identified by the SBUSD or by a feeder district (Santa Barbara, Montecito, Cold Spring, Hope or Goleta Union) will maintain their GATE status.
    • All students in grades 3-5 already GATE identified by the Goleta Union School District and entering the SBUSD will be required to follow the current identification criteria as listed previously.
    • All students being promoted from grade 6 at the end of the 2011-12 school year to grade 7 in the SBUSD will have their GATE status transferred.
  • 2012-13 school year
    • All students entering the SBUSD will be required to follow the current identification criteria as listed previously.

Protocol for the Cognitive Abilities (GATE) Test

One of the criteria used to identify GATE students is the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT).  This type of test is not a measure of what has been learned in school. Rather, it is intended to help ascertain the child’s natural level of reasoning and problem-solving abilities.

To be valid, the CogAT must be taken “cold,” meaning there should be no previous exposure to the questions. Previous exposure to the test or its type of problems would invalidate the results. Thus, the CogAT is a protected test to be viewed only by students under the formal district testing environment.  Because of this we cannot share the test with parents or recommend practice materials or programs. 

Any student who practices for the Cognitive Abilities Test invalidates his/her test score as a measurement tool for GATE identification in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

Other Pertinent Information

The new qualification criteria are not retroactive to prior years’ test scores.

  • Elementary GATE testing is conducted January-March. Deadline for enrollment is the end of November.
  • Secondary GATE testing is conducted January-May and in August.
  • Because of new criteria in elementary GATE qualifications, all SBUSD children may test in 2009-10. Beginning in the 2010-11 school year, a student may test for GATE in 2nd grade and again in 3rd grade, but not in successive years from grades 3-5. A student may test in 6th grade for the Secondary GATE Program whether or not he/she tested previously.
  • Students from outside the SBUSD or any of its feeder districts who enter the SBUSD and wish to transfer their GATE identification must demonstrate eligibility from the transferring district. Eligible students must meet the GATE identification criteria established by the SBUSD, using a district-approved cognitive abilities test.
  • The SBUSD does not accept GATE testing results from private evaluators.
  • For more information about secondary GATE in the SBUSD, please visit:
  • http://secondarygate.sbsdk12.org/
  • For more information about elementary GATE in the SBUSD, please visit: http://www.teacherweb.com/CA/GATEProgramSantaBarbaraElementarySD/TeresaKoontz/

Secondary GATE only

Students who were identified as GATE qualified in the Santa Barbara Unified School District, the Montecito Union School District, Cold Spring School District, or Hope School District who leave those districts for two or more years, will NOT be required to re-test should they enter the Santa Barbara Secondary School District.

08/20/2012


The Cognitive Abilities Test

The test used to screen prospective GATE students is the Cognitive Abilities Test. It is composed of three batteries or parts and provides information about an individual's ability to solve word, number, and spatial problems.

The Verbal Battery tests a student's vocabulary, as well as his/her comprehension of ideas, efficiency and verbal memory, and ability to discover word relationships. Statistics show a high correlation between high verbal ability and success in a variety of school subjects.

The Quantitative Battery tests the student's quantitative reasoning and problem solving ability and provides an appraisal of the student's general level of abstract reasoning

The Nonverbal Battery provides an opportunity for individuals who process information in a holistic way to show how well they can reason. Scores on this section of the test are not influenced by reading ability or language facility. Students who score high have well-developed reasoning abilities, but they process information quite differently from the highly verbal student.

The scores from the three batteries of the Cognitive Abilities Test are combined with other indicators. If this information meets the general level expected for GATE students, students are then considered for identification in one of the following categories

• Intellectual Ability

• Specific Academic

• Other High Potential

• Provisional

Many people ask “How can I prepare for the GATE test.” This is an abilities test which predicts a students projected achievement in a given area; it tests the students’ knowledge. The following is a description of the three batteries on which students are tested.

Three tests are administered in the verbal section. Each test is approximately 20 questions and the student is given ten minutes to complete each test. These three tests comprise the verbal score.

Verbal Classification: The student is given a list of three words that are alike in some way. The student is asked to choose a word, from a selection of five words, that is also alike in the same way.
Example: Green  Blue   Red
Choices: color; crayon; paint; yellow; rainbow

Sentence Completion: The student is given a sentence with a word left out and is asked to choose a word that makes the best sense in the sentence.

Example: Apples  on trees.
Choices: fall; grow; show; bloom; spread

Verbal Analogies: The student is given three words in dark type. The first two words go together. The third word goes with one of the answer choices. The student is asked to choose the word that goes with the third word the same way that the second word goes with the first.  

Example: new (is to) old : wet (is to)
Choices: rain; drip; hot; sun; dry

Three tests are administered in the quantitative battery. The first test has twenty-five questions and students are given 8 minutes to finish. The second has 20 questions with a 10 minute testing time. The third has fifteen questions with a 12 minute testing time.

Quantitative Relations: The student is given two problems numbered one and two with three answer choices. The student is to solve the two problems and determine if the answer is greater, less than, or equal to.

Example: 1. 0+3 2. 3+0
Choices: a) 1 is greater than 2; b) 1 is less than 2; c) 1 is equal to 2

Number Series: The student is given a series of numbers and is asked to decide which number should come next in the series.

Example: 5 10 15 20
Choices: 25; 30; 35; 40; 45

Equation Building: The student is given numbers and signs. The student is asked to combine the numbers and signs to get a solution that is an answer choice.

Example: 1 2 3 - x
Choices: 1; 2; 3; 4; 6

The Nonverbal Battery tests present the most novel problems to students. The items on these tests use only geometric shapes and figures that have had little direct relationship to formal school instruction. The tests require no reading and no outside fund of knowledge. The Nonverbal Battery is particularly suitable for obtaining an accurate estimate of development for students who have difficulty with reading; who have limited competency in English; or who have limited opportunities. The tests in the nonverbal battery are between fifteen and twenty-five questions each and students are given ten minutes for each test. It is not possible to give you visual examples with choices on this page, but the descriptions are as follows.

Figure Classification: The student is given three figures that are alike in some way. They are given three answer choices and five pictures to choose from. They are asked to decide which figure goes best with the three answer choices.

Example: The student is given three items that are odd shaped but each one has 4 sides and is black.
Choices: a black circle; a black triangle; a 4 sided white object; a black 4 sided object; six-sided white object.

Figure Analogies: The student is given three figures. The first two figures go together; the third figure goes with one of the answer choices.
Example: The first two figures are a large square that goes together with a small square. The second pair is to go together the same way that the first two figures go together. For the second pair you are given a large circle.
Choices: a small triangle; a large circle; a small square; a small circle; and a large rectangle.

Figure Analysis: The student is shown how a square piece of dark paper is folded and where holes are punched in it. The student is to figure out how the paper will look when it is unfolded. The student is not allowed to have scratch paper during this exam.

Example: If a dark piece of paper is folded in the center from top to bottom and a hole is punched in the bottom right hand corner, what will the piece of paper look like when it is unfolded.
Choices: A) one hole in the bottom right hand corner; B) one hole in the bottom right hand corner and one in the top right hand corner; C) one hole in the top right hand corner; D) one hole in the bottom right hand corner and one in the bottom left hand corner; E) one hole in the bottom right hand corner and one in the top left hand corner.

If you would like to register you student for secondary gate testing, please call the secondary GATE Office at 730-7775 to schedule a testing date.