The Georgia Board of Education defines a gifted student as “a student who demonstrates a high degree of intellectual, creative, and/or artistic ability(ies), possesses exceptional leadership skills, or excels in specific academic fields and who needs special instruction and/or special ancillary services to achieve at levels commensurate with his or her abilities.”

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Education for gifted students is part of the Curriculum and Instruction department and is funded by the state. The procedures for identifying and placing students in the gifted program are governed by the Georgia Department of Education as indicated by the SBOE Rule 160-4-2-38. Gifted Instruction shall focus on developing cognitive, research, and metacognitive skills. DeKalb County Schools offers the Discovery Program in elementary schools and the Impact Program in the middle and high schools.

Discovery Program

Elementary students participate in the gifted program for a minimum of 225 minutes per week and are supported by a certified teacher of the gifted.

Impact Program

Middle and senior high school gifted students are taught at least one period per day in a content-based program by a certified teacher of the gifted. In high schools, gifted students may also participate in advanced placement (AP), directed-study courses.


Students in grades one, three, five, and seven are automatically referred through a district-wide assessment process (gifted identification testing cycle). This process usually begins with a mental ability assessment (CogAT) and an achievement test (ITBS) during the fall semester. A creativity and motivation assessment is provided during the first week in November.

A reported referral may be made by teachers, counselors, administrators, parents/guardians, peers, self or others with knowledge of student’s academic abilities for an eligibility review conducted by the local school’s Eligibility Review Team.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for gifted services, students must qualify in three of the following four areas:

Mental Ability
Minimum score of 96th percentile (or higher) in at least one sub-test area
Minimum score of 90th percentile (or higher) on the total reading, total math, or complete composite
Minimum score of 90th percentile (or higher) on an assessment for creativity
Minimum of 90th percentile (or higher) on an assessment for motivation (Grades K-12)
Grade point average of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, using an average of core grades over the previous two school years in English, math, science, social studies, and foreign language if applicable (Grades 9-12)

If a student qualifies for the gifted program, parents will be notified.

Assessment Scores

  • A qualifying score on a nationally normed test is required to meet the criteria in at least one area.
  • Any data used to establish eligibility in one area shall not be used to establish eligibility in another area.
  • Assessment scores are valid for two years.
  • Private test data may not be used to determine eligibility; it may be used as a referral for further evaluation.
  • Assessments administered outside of the district-wide gifted identification testing cycle are inadmissible.

New Students

Students new to DeKalb County School District may be evaluated for Gifted Program eligibility if the following documents are provided:
  • Gifted Program Eligibility Report/Satisfactory Gifted Program Continuation Report from the transferring school.
  • National Standardized Required Test Scores — These scores may only be used to determine eligibility for Gifted Program evaluation. The scores may not be used to determine Gifted Program eligibility.
  • Teacher or parent recommendation based on current academic performance evaluated over a sufficient observation period.
Students from an out-of-state school, private or home school must complete all tests required by the state and local systems to determine Gifted Program eligibility once enrolled in the DeKalb County School District.


Reciprocity will be granted to students whose households include a member of the United States uniform services according to laws O.C.G.A. 20-2-2140 through 20-2-2180.

If a student in a gifted program is transferring within the DCSD, s/he will automatically become part of the receiving school’s gifted program.

A student already participating in a gifted program in another Georgia school system will be eligible to participate in the DeKalb County School District’s Program for Gifted upon receipt of a gifted eligibility report confirming gifted services.

Continuation Policy

All identified gifted students are given a Continuation Policy form that must be reviewed and signed by the parent and the student. All Gifted Students must maintain a minimum 80% or higher in the gifted class and regular classes.

Probation Policy

If students receiving gifted services fail to maintain a minimum of 80% or higher in the gifted class and regular classes, the student will be placed on probation for a period of one semester.