What is GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) Testing?

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In California, the legislature has provided for special education opportunities for students who have been identified as gifted. Parents are often told that their child will be taking the GATE test and they wonder what the GATE test is. In fact, there is no actual GATE test. Throughout the state, different school districts rely on any number of publicly available tests to assess their students for the GATE program.

Most often, we hear about students taking the OLSAT®8 (Otis-Lennon School Ability Test®) or the CogAT® (Cognitive Abilities Test®) to qualify for their school’s GATE program. These tests emphasize questions assessing a student’s intelligence and thinking abilities, as opposed to material they learned in school. Sometimes this test will be paired with some kind of achievement test, such as the ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills), that measures a child’s abilities in areas of math, language, science and social studies – subjects studied in school.

If you find out that your child will taking a GATE test, you may need to research the name of the test(s) that will be given. Look on your school’s website. If the information isn’t there, ask the person at the school who is in charge of the GATE program. Chances are they will tell you the name of the test. If they don’t, try to find out the type of test that will be given – an intelligence test or an achievement test? If you know the name of the test, or the type of test that will be administered, you visit TestingMom.com to see if the site has materials to help your child prepare. If you aren’t sure, contact help@testingmom.com for assistance.


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