While all schools use a similar process for identification each school’s identification processes and procedures may vary slightly.

All schools, through its program plan, shall use identification assessment and review by a team, as described in state board rule, to identify gifted children. The team shall use a body of evidence upon which to base the determination of giftedness, which evidence must include, at a minimum, the identification assessment results, parental input and multiple types of measures and data sources. 

GT Identification Flowchart

A review team should include at least one person trained or endorsed in gifted identification and programming. The review team provides opportunity for input from all teachers working with the student and the student’s parents.  The review team examines the body of evidence and may make one or more of the following determinations:

  • Move to formal gifted identification
  • Identify student for a talent pool
  • Select new tools to collect additional data
  • Determine data does not support identification at this time
  • Determine a student may need to be referred for special education assessment in addition to his/her gifted identification (twice-exceptional students)

The program plan shall describe the assessment process used by the school for identifying students who meet the definition specified in ECEA, section 12.01(16) and for identifying the educational needs of gifted students.

The assessment process shall recognize a student’s exceptional abilities or potential, interests, and needs in order to guide student instruction and individualized planning and programming. In traditionally underrepresented student groups and visual/performing arts student groups or talent pools, identification may require the collection of student information over time, using additional data points from a response to intervention approach.

Not meeting criteria on a single assessment tool shall not prevent further data collection or consideration for gifted identification, if other indicators suggest exceptional potential as observed in a body of evidence.

All qualifying data points in a body of evidence must be regarded equally. Placing greater emphasis on a specific test or awarding more points to a test score above a specific percentile is not considered an ethical practice in gifted identification. This practice is often referred to as a “weighted matrix.” This creates an opportunity for unintentional bias and is unfavorable in culturally different students (Ford, 2013). Additionally, this could be a violation of a student’s civil rights. No one assessment or source of information should carry more weight than another (Johnsen, 2004). Once a student has been identified, programming continues through graduation. Instead of eliminating gifted students who underachieve from gifted programming, efforts should be made to target the source(s) of the students’ underachievement


Webinar: CSI Gifted Identification Training SY16
Slides: Gifted Identification SY16



CDE Website: Gifted Identification Resources
The CDE maintains a website with a variety of resources for Gifted Identification. The site is updated frequently, so make sure to visit regularly.

The CDE Gifted Education Identification Guidelines provide guidance on issues ranging from student assessment and referral to the gifted identification process to multiple pathways for identification and universal screening.

Matrix of Commonly Used Measures

There are numerous assessments and measures that can be used as a part of the gifted identification process. This document lists a variety of measures that can be used as a part of the portfolio or to help build up a body of evidence for the performance and readiness criteria.

Colorado Rules for the Exceptional Children's Educational Act (ECEA)

The Colorado State Board of Education promulgates the rules for the implementation of statutes and they recently approved updates to the rules for the administration of the Exceptional Children’s Educational Act (June, 2015). The rules provide the administrative framework for schools and districts for the provision of services to gifted students. Each section of the program plan lists the relevant statute/rule at the end of each section within this document as a reference. 

Early Access