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New talent identification programs offer above-grade testing

When Duke University shut down its Duke TIP program in 2020, it left a worrisome hole in the available resources for gifted children and their parents. Fortunately, leaders in gifted education immediately began working on new programs to fill this gap, and two talent identification programs are now up and operating.

Baylor University

Baylor University, in Texas, recently launched Baylor TIP, which has begun offering above-grade testing for students in grades 4 through 8 who meet certain academic qualifications. Students in grades 7 or 8 can take a college-readiness exam that is designed for high-school juniors and seniors. Students in grades 4, 5 and 6 can take a different version of that exam, which has been modified for students in grades 8 and 9.

The exam can be taken online at any time. A paper version is also available. Parents can sign their children up individually, or schools can arrange to administer a test to multiple students. An informational session for school administrators will be held via Zoom this Friday, April 29.

Participating TIP students will receive a score report with educational recommendations. Those who participate will automatically qualify for enrichment programs offered through the Baylor Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. Baylor TIP also will host an awards program for those with exceptionally high scores.

Western Kentucky University

The TIP-KY program is currently focused on testing students within the state of Kentucky, but the program director said they will try to assist students in other states who don’t have another option.

Why take an above-grade test?

Above-grade testing is valuable for gifted students, who often peg the meter on the standardized tests they’re administered in school. Taking a standardized test that was designed for an older student can help a student’s parents understand just how far ahead their child is, which can be useful in advocating for advanced learning in school.

In the now shuttered Duke TIP Talent Search, 7th-grade students took the SAT or ACT right alongside high-school juniors and seniors. That option seems to be off the table for now, as both the ACT and College Board now limit test registration to students who are 13 or older.

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