Talented and Gifted (TAG) Testing
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
If a child TAG test was:
95% on Quant/Cogat** needed a 96%***
Achiev 94% reading
Motivation 62% needed a 90%***
Do you have any recommendations on how best to retest him so
he can get into the TAG program? He needs * a Yes in one of
the two areas above***
He is in 1st grade, but was moved up to the 2nd grade Math
class. He was evaluated in motivation by a 1st grade
teacher- should he be evaluated by his 2nd grade Math
Is Motivation a matter of opinion or is it a test?
Would the student with these scores be automatically given
another assessment given that he is 1% point behind in Cogat
and well above in Creativity, Total Reading and Total Math?
A: Briefly for all readers, the
TAG Test program is an academic program that caters to meet
the needs of excelling and above average students. Students
are required to qualify in three out of four main categories
as the following:
Mental Ability 96th or higher percentile composite
OR appropriate component score on a nationally normed mental
ability (IQ) test.
Achievement 90th or higher percentile Total
Reading, Total Math, or Complete.
Battery/Composite on a nationally normed achievement test OR
above level continuous achievement level as determined by
Creativity 90th or higher percentile composite
score on a standardized test of creative thinking (Torrence
Test of Creative Thinking).
Motivation above level continuous achievement level
as determined by the system; or 90%+ on the Motivation
Mental ability (IQ) and Creativity scores are considered
valid for a period of two years. However, achievement test
scores can change from year to year depending on the whether
an achievement test is scheduled to be administered at the
child's grade level. Motivation scores can also change if
the child's reading and math levels change and need to be
updated. A qualifying score for motivation is valid for two
years but it may be re-administered after one year by
another teacher (but only if the child is referred again for
TAG testing). In this child's case, he should be evaluated
by a different teacher, possibly his 2nd grade math teacher.
Motivation refers to a child's desire to achieve a goal or
complete self-selected tasks. It is not a distinct type of
giftedness but rather demonstrated by the energy that drives
a child to achieve. Motivation is neither a matter of
opinion nor a test; rather it is a rating scale done
objectively using a motivation rating scale, which is
completed by a teacher. It is based upon a child's
motivational behaviors in an academic setting. The teacher
completing the scale is usually selected by the local school
TAG Eligibility Team. The teacher should be familiar with
the child for at least a month.
The main guidelines for selection are as the following:
Student assessment data should come from multiple sources.
Both quantitative and qualitative measures should be
Both ability and achievement measures should be considered.
Although students may have the cognitive resources for
outstanding achievement in school, not all of them use their
resources effectively in the classroom. Hence, students who
show promise for outstanding academic achievement may also
differ from their typical age peers in a number of
non-cognitive attributes, such as motivation, curiosity,
persistence, independence, and the nature and depth of their
Admission criteria should provide for the best possible
match between the students' abilities and the demands of the
The eligibility of a retest is usually on a case to case
basis as determined by the school TAG Eligibility Team. You
may need to find out from the school. Based on the scores,
it appears that a retest should be given. You may also want
to find out the reason for very low scores in Motivation as
compared to the rest of the score. I would view motivation
as an important criterion to succeed in a gifted and
To prepare for such test is something that is not possible
in a short period of time with the variety of instruments
used. The skills that are tested here are developed as a
result of all school and life experiences, hence it spans
over some time. It would be best to speak to someone in the
school. Best of luck!