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Services for Families

ALPS serves district-identified students through a multi-tiered system of support.

The purpose of ALPS identification is for NVUSD to assist teachers with advanced learners who may not have all their learning needs met in the classroom.  Every student is required to learn their grade level standards. Once they have learned them, it's important for them to have opportunities to keep moving forward.  Our goal is to provide support to teachers and schools so that every student is challenged and makes significant progress during each school year.


How AlPs Identifies Advanced Learners

How can an advanced learner be recognized? Can a student be an advanced learner if he or she is not excelling in school?

These questions are not easy to answer. However, we can get a better idea if we look at the characteristics of three different types of children: High Achievers, Advanced Learners, and Creative Thinkers. These categories go a long way in helping us recognize advanced learners, including those who don't do well in school. 

“Children already come to us differentiated.  It just makes sense that we would differentiate our instruction in response to them.” – Carol Ann Tomlinson

The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)

The CogAT is a nationally normed test which means that it compares your child’s results with other children across the United States.  Universal screening using the CogAT occurs in the 3rd grade for all NVUSD Students. Students are tested on their verbal, quantitative (mathematical), and non-verbal reasoning. 

Why use the CogAT to identify Advanced Learners?

The CogAT measures students’ reasoning abilities in the three areas most linked to academic success in school: Verbal, Quantitative (Mathematical), and Nonverbal. While CogAT is well-suited to help educators identify Advanced Learners, it can also be used to expand the educational opportunities of all students.

The CogAT differs from other achievement tests such as the SAT and the CST in that the CogAT does not measure how much a student has learned, but focuses instead on a student's reasoning and problem-solving abilities using verbal, quantitative, and spatial (non-verbal) methods to find the answers.

When are Students CogAT-tested?

  • Any student entering NVUSD from another district after third grade may request testing through a referral by a school Student Success Team. 
  • K-2 students can be individually evaluated upon referral by a school Student Success Team.
  • Students can be referred for re-testing upon referral by a school Student Success Team. An ALPS Office representative is available to attend these meetings if necessary. 

Identification Criteria

The ALPS office is responsible for having an identification process in place that is representative of ALL of our NVUSD students.  Our goal is to provide resources to school sites to meet the needs of all advanced learners during the school day. 

To accomplish this, we have developed identification criteria based upon second language acquisition research, input from the English Learner Services department and from teachers. 

Multi Measures data points are reviewed that include scores from Reading Inventory, Math Inventory, District Writing Assessment and California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) in addition to CogAT scores. 

The Student Success Team (SST) is an early intervention process that brings together the student, parent/guardian, teachers and administrators to identify student needs and develop an improvement plan to address those needs. School staff can request an SST meeting for individual students.  If parents feel that an SST is needed, they can contact their school ALPS Lead, who will request an SST meeting.   The outcome of the SST meeting provides school staff with recommendations and strategies to support and challenge the students in the local school.   

How to schedule an SST

  1. Parents should let the teacher or ALPS Lead know if they would like to schedule an SST.
  2. The teacher or ALPS Lead can notify the ALPS Office and relay the student needs, parent concerns, and teacher perspective.
  3. Once the ALPS Coordinator has this information, an SST will be scheduled.
Updated version of SST Planning Guide "Parent-Teacher Planning Guide for SST Conference."




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