Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

When and how are students identified for the HAL program?

Students' MAP Reading and MAP Math tests are reviewed by the District HAL Team after each round of testing: fall, winter, and spring. This is a total of six tests per academic year. If/When a student accumulates two tests with scores in the 95th percentile or above, they are identified. This means that a student could earn one of those scores in the fall and the other in the winter, or they could earn both scores during the same seasonal testing period. Both scores could be in math only, reading only, or a combination of math and reading.

How old do students need to be for identification?

We identify students in grades 2 through 10.

Do students have to qualify for the program each year?

No. Once a student has qualified, they remain in the program. It is not required that they qualify again.

What are MAP tests?

Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments are computer adaptive achievement tests. "MAP Growth allows students, parents, and educators to identify learning needs, track growth toward proficiency levels, and, starting in 2019, to predict performance on the NSCAS Summative assessment" (Nebraska Department of Education). If you'd like to know more about MAP tests, check out the Parent Toolkit.

Is there a definition of "gifted"?

Yes. The current federal definition of gifted students was originally developed in the 1972 Marland Report to Congress, and has been modified several times since then. The current definition, which is located in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESSA), is:

Students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.

What does the state of Nebraska require, when it comes to gifted education programs?

The state of Nebraska requires all school districts to identify gifted students using specific criteria/methods determined at the local level, but does not mandate that gifted students be served.

What can I do to advocate for the gifted?

Are you a member of the Nebraska Association for the Gifted (NAG)? This organization works with parents, educators, legislators, and the public to provide services and to recognize the needs and contributions of gifted children in our state. To find out more, please visit negifted.org.