• Teaching and Learning Department

    Gifted Education Program


    Forsyth County Schools Gifted Education Program supports The Learner Profile in the social, emotional, and academic development of all identified gifted learners.


    The consideration for gifted education services may be reported or automatic as defined in the Georgia Resource Manual for Gifted Education.

    • Reported Referral 

    A student may be referred for consideration for gifted education services by teachers, counselors, administrators, parents or guardians, peers, self, and other individuals with knowledge of the student’s abilities. 

    • Automatic Referral 

    A student may be referred for further assessment to determine eligibility for gifted services if he/she scored at specified levels on a norm-referenced test as defined in the GaDOE Resource Manual for Gifted Education Services.


    *Transfer students from out-of-state must have official documentation of former gifted program eligibility before they will be automatically referred to the Gifted Evaluation Team. State of Georgia gifted eligibility rules do not allow for reciprocity of gifted eligibility from out-of-state or private school programs.  Students transferring from out-of-state, private school, and home school programs will require updated testing in order to determine gifted program eligibility.  

    *Transfer students who meet the initial eligibility criteria for gifted education services in another Georgia school district shall be considered eligible to receive gifted education services in Forsyth County through reciprocity. There is no reciprocity between states unless the student is a dependent of military personnel as provided in O.C.G.A § 20-2-2140 et. seq.

    Testing for gifted eligibility will occur within the windows below:
     What    Grades  Testing Window
    Fall Administration  1-8 August 28-September 15, 2023
     Spring Administration  K-8 March 1-March 22, 2024
    What tests will my child take for determination of gifted eligibility? 
    FCS administers state approved tests for gifted eligibility. The tests administered adhere to the State of Georgia Board of Education Policy, 160-4-2-.38, having been reviewed for bias and are normed on a nationally representative sample with respect to race, religion, national origin, sex, disabilities, and economic background within a 10-year period prior to administration. In accordance with Professional Standards Commission Educator Code of Ethics assessment regulations, test security will be maintained among all levels of test administration. Test security measures include that other than the name of the evaluation instrument, further information will not be shared about gifted eligibility assessments with regard to form, section, or level.  

    Outside Test Data

    Any assessments approved by the GaDOE may be considered for gifted eligibility if the following applies: less than 2 years old and administered by a certified school-based educator or a school-based psychologist.  Assessments administered by a private-practice psychologist can be considered as part of the body of evidence but cannot be a reported score in any of the 4 criteria areas for determining gifted eligibility.

    Likewise, assessments administered by a private-practice psychologist can be considered as part of the body of evidence for purposes of whole grade and/or content acceleration but cannot be a reported score used for final whole grade and/or content acceleration determination.

     Test Preparation

    Gifted eligibility assessments measure four different areas of a student’s abilities:  mental ability, achievement, motivation, and creativity. Only one of these areas, achievement, is the actual result of content learned and measured in the school setting.  The other three areas are typically innate abilities and traits that a student possesses at varying levels. If your child has been referred and you have been notified by the school that eligibility testing will take place, the best preparation available is to make sure your child gets a good night’s rest on the nights prior to testing and a good high-protein breakfast on the days of testing prior to coming to school.  You should also encourage perseverance, but not to the point of inducing stress.

    Score Validity Period

    Gifted eligibility scores are valid and applicable for two full years after administration.  Students with valid scores will not be re-tested prior to the end of the validity period.


    Gifted Education Curriculum Overview

    Curricula for gifted education learners must incorporate the SBOE approved curriculum. Local BOE curricula for gifted students shall focus on developing cognitive learning, research and reference, and metacognitive skills at each grade grouping using principles of differentiation. 

    Differentiated instruction is a teaching theory based on the premise that instructional approaches should vary and be adapted in relation to individual and diverse students in classrooms (Tomlinson, 2011). The model of differentiated instruction requires teachers to be flexible in their approach to teaching and adjust the curriculum and presentation of information to learners rather than expecting students to modify themselves for the curriculum (Hall, 2011). 

    A differentiated curriculum for gifted learners includes the following expectations: 

    Content: Complex and challenging subject matter that:  

    • Requires intellectual struggle 
    • Utilizes primary documents  
    • Integrates research skills and methods 
    • Incorporates relevant and real-life experiences 
    • Integrates interdisciplinary connections 

    Process: Instructional strategies are designed to:  

    • Emphasize higher-order thinking, problem-solving and communications skills  
    • Foster self-initiated and self-directed learning  
    • Promote creative application of ideas  
    • Model and encourage academic discussion 

    Product: Gifted student products should demonstrate a developmentally appropriate capacity for:  

    • Self-directed learning  
    • Meaningful collaboration  Effective problem solving of challenging and complex issues 
    • Effective communication  
    • Social and emotional understanding of self relative to community, culture, and physical environment 

    Environmental: Physical setting and work conditions to:  

    • Change the actual place where students work 
    • Allow flexible time 
    • Provide opportunities for independent study and in-depth research 
    • Provide opportunities for mentorship 

    Assessment: Gifted learners need various methods and opportunities to document mastery of curriculum, such as:  

    • Pre/post tests  
    • Self assessment through rubrics  
    • Creation of goal-based checklists  
    • Conferencing, commentary, and qualitative feedback (Cobb, 2012) 
    Georgia DOE Gifted Website (including GA BOE Gifted Education Rule)

    STEM Academy (FCHS)
    For more information on Forsyth County Schools' Gifted Education Program, contact Katye Carlson, Coordinator of Academic Services, 770.887.2461 ext. 202251.