Office of Advanced Academics
Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When will my child be reviewed for participation in Advanced Academics in elementary school?

A: Students are continually observed by their teachers to make sure that advanced academic needs are being met. A Universal Screening of all students takes place during third grade.  As part of this Universal Screening, all parents are given an opportunity to provide input through English/Language Arts and Mathematics parent surveys and all students are discussed. As a result of the Universal Screening, students may be recommended for initial access to Advanced Mathematics in Grade 4. Students may also be recommended for initial placement in an Acceleration cluster group (6-10 students) with other advanced English/Language Arts students.

Q: What is universal screening?

A: Universal screening is an equitable process.  A team of educators examines all students and their educational performance in order to evaluate the best instructional fit for students based upon their readiness, potential, and achievement.  This process helps ensure that access to Advanced Academics is provided to all students based upon a team assessment of multiple data points.  These data points include, but are not limited to, informal and formal classroom assessments, surveys completed by teachers, parents, and students, standardized test scores (where applicable), and grades.

Q: Does my child need to participate in Advanced Academics in elementary school in order to be considered for a GT/Advanced course in middle school?

A: No. Students may participate in a GT/Advanced Academic course in middle school without having instruction in Advanced Academics in elementary school – provided that data collected at the end of 5th grade supports such a placement. Click below to view the prerequisite skills that contribute to success in advanced coursework in social studies, science and mathematics in Grade 6: Prerequisite Skills Recommended for Successful Participation in 6th grade GT Social Studies, Science, and Mathematics

Q: What if my child did not take Advanced Mathematics in Grade 4? Can she take Advanced Mathematics in Grade 5?

A: Yes. Parents, teachers, and/or a student may request that the school team review a student for Advanced Mathematics during Grade 4 and Grade 5. If data indicates the student needs instruction in the Advanced curriculum, he or she may be recommended for that course at any time.

Q: Can students still be diagnostically placed (DP) in English/Language Arts and mathematics in elementary school?

A: If students participating in Advanced Academics are cluster-grouped (6-10 students) across classrooms, then students do not need to be diagnostically placed. The structure of the revised English/Language Arts curriculum allows all students access to enriched and accelerated learning opportunities. Likewise, the structure of Grade 4 Advanced Mathematics provides multiple opportunities for formative assessment and ongoing access for all students. Students may be diagnostically placed in Grade 5 Advanced Mathematics for a quarter based upon demonstrated readiness or potential. These students will be monitored in order to determine the most appropriate instructional placement.

Q: What is meant by "responsive instruction"?

A: A responsive instruction model is about responding to student needs during an instructional sequence. Through ongoing formal and informal assessment, teachers can adjust the pace and depth of learning based on student needs. The heart of responsive instruction is small-group, teacher-facilitated instruction. The small groups are flexible and fluid based on student needs.

Q: Can my child take GT 6 World History without having to take GT 6 English Language Arts? Can my child take GT 6 Science without having to take GT 6 Mathematics?

A: Yes. Middle Schools should offer students one GT/Advanced Academic class without requiring students to take another GT/Advanced Academic class.

Q: My child has been identified as gifted and talented in another jurisdiction; will he/she automatically be identified as "gifted" in BCPS?

A: There is no national process for identification of gifted students. However, with official documentation from your child's previous school or district, BCPS will honor the identification.

Q:  How can I request that my child be reviewed for placement in a GT/Advanced Academics class? 

A: Fill out the Request for Review form on our Resources for Parents page and submit it to your child’s school.

Q: How can I appeal a decision that the school has made regarding placement in a GT/AA class?

A: Read the Procedures for Advanced Academic Instruction Appeals and complete the Request for Advanced Academic Instruction Appeal form (download) and submit it to your child’s school. 

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