Guidance for Interpreting the Expectations of the Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students
The Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students provides the standards for G/T education in Texas. The guidance on this page was developed from frequently asked questions and best practices in the field. The G/T Education FAQs have been reformatted for usability and updated with current State Plan standards.
Open-enrollment Charter Schools
- Open-enrollment charter schools are not required to serve G/T students unless G/T services are included in their charter (TEC §12.059). Charter schools can amend their charter to include Gifted/Talented services.
- Private schools are not under the authority of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and do not receive G/T state funding, so they are not bound by state law and rule.
- Homeschoolers are not under the authority of the Texas Education Agency (TEA).
Note: Local Education Agencies (LEAs) are not required to assess or provide services for students enrolled in charter schools and private schools or homeschooled.
Best Practices are organized according to the State Plan 2019 edition.
Fidelity of Services
Responsibility for Compliance with State mandates for G/T Services
- The LEA board of trustees or directors has primary responsibility for ensuring the district complies with state education programs' applicable requirements. The board of trustees is to annually review the effectiveness of the G/T program. School district superintendents may provide G/T training to board members. The school board training can be obtained from the Regional Education Service Center (TEC §7.028(b), TAC §89.5, & State Plan 6.8).
- G/T services' effectiveness must be evaluated annually, and the data must be used to modify and update district and campus improvement plans. Parents must be included in the evaluation process (State Plan 6.8). Districts shall evaluate services annually through a locally developed process that meets the requirements of law and rule.
- Students in Kindergarten to grade 12 must be assessed and, if identified, provided G/T services (Texas Education Code (TEC) §29.122; 19 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §89.1(3); Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students (State Plan2.16).
- LEAs are encouraged to use various measures in consideration of kindergarten students for G/T services. (State Plan 2.17, 2.21, & 2.28)
- To code identified G/T students through the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) and include eligible students in a district’s G/T funding, students must be identified and receive services before March 1 (Student Attendance Accounting Handbook (SAAH), Section 8.2).
Participation in the G/T assessment process
- One criterion should not remove a student from the G/T assessment process.
- The LEA must collect data from multiple sources according to each area of giftedness defined in the G/T program services according to the Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students (TAC §89.1(2) and State Plan 2.16). For grades 1-12, the district must collect qualitative and quantitative data for three or more measures and use it to determine whether a student needs G/T services (State Plan 2.22).
- As the state plan requires a minimum assessment for G/T program participation once a year, the district must still assess the student, even if a prior assessment result is considered valid by the district for more than one year. In short, the “continued validity” of a G/T assessment cannot be used to counter the state plan requirement of annual assessment for G/T program participation, which would include the area previously assessed and otherwise considered valid (State Plan 2.15).
Assessment Accommodations and/or Modifications
- Access to assessment and, if needed, G/T services must be made available to all district populations (TAC §89.1(3); State Plan 2.24). Students must be assessed in languages they understand or with nonverbal assessments (State Plan 1.5.2C).
- If a student has testing accommodations recorded on an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or a Section 504 plan, then the student’s specific accommodations must be available when assessing for G/T services.
Providing G/T Services
- Parents must have the opportunity to deny services. However, students identified as G/T through PEIMS must be served through a district’s defined G/T services (TEC §29.122; TAC §89.1(3) and (5); State Plan 2.16). School districts are required to provide an array of learning opportunities for G/T students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 and shall inform parents of the opportunities (TAC §89.3).
When Offering G/T Services
- While LEAs have the flexibility to determine the classes that are most appropriate for serving G/T students, districts are statutorily required to serve all G/T students. Please note that districts are required to provide an array of learning opportunities for G/T students in Kindergarten to Grade 12. Please note that G/T students served in AP, Pre-AP, IB, and/or dual credit courses must still receive differentiated instruction from a G/T-trained teacher (TAC §89.3).
- A school district must offer in-school learning opportunities relevant to the student’s area(s) of strength throughout the entire school year (TAC §89.3(3) and State Plan 3.1). A district may offer supplemental services outside of the regular school day.
- While there is no minimum time requirement for G/T services, identified G/T students MUST be served according to the LEA’s defined program services and policies. LEAs must ensure that G/T program services occur during the school day for the entire school year (TAC §89.3(3) and State Plan 3.1).
- G/T students may be served in the regular classroom; however, if this instructional design is used, the regular classroom teacher must have 30 hours of foundational G/T training (TAC §89.2(1)) and 6 hours of annual professional development in G/T education (TAC §89.2(2)). Campuses and districts must ensure that their service plan provides G/T students opportunities during the school day throughout the entire school year (TAC §89.3(1) and (3); State Plan 3.4).
- School districts are not required to participate in the TPSP. Please note that the TPSP was developed to align with the State Goal for Services for Gifted/Talented Students and provides one option for schools to meet the Texas State Plan's requirements for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students. TPSP is available for any Texas public school district or charter school to improve the rigor and relevance of its advanced academic instruction in Kindergarten to grade 12. For more information on TPSP, please visit texaspsp.org.
- When G/T students are provided services in the regular classroom, they must be provided with opportunities to work together within that classroom during core subject instruction (State Plan 3.4). All G/T students must be assured an array of learning opportunities that are commensurate with their abilities and that emphasize content in the four foundation curricular areas throughout the school year (TAC §89.3(1) and (3); State Plan 3.1).
- To ensure successful delivery of differentiated instruction, modification of curricula (State Plan 4.9), access to the opportunities required in State Plan 3.1 and 3.4, and gifted programming consistent with the State Plan, the Commissioner's Advisory Council on the Education of Gifted Students provided input on guidelines for defining a group when G/T students are provided services in the regular classroom.
- A group is defined as a minimum of four.
To be consistent with the State Plan, a group is composed of gifted students assigned to a classroom where a minimum of 33% or more of the classroom roster is made up of their G/T peers.
- Alternatively, if fewer students than 33% of a classroom roster are G/T identified in the campus grade level*, to be consistent with the State Plan:
- The G/T-identified students in a campus grade level* are placed in one group during core subject instruction.
- An LEA may make alternative grouping assignments with parent permission or when necessary to meet a G/T student's documented instructional needs. G/T services must be delivered in the alternative grouping assignment unless the furlough or exit process has been completed for the student. The rationale for alternative grouping assignments should be described in LEA certification submitted under TEC §29.124.
For additional information on research supporting gifted students' grouping and the factors necessary for successful implementation of differentiation, LEAs may submit a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* in the secondary setting, “grade level” may be interchanged with “course.”
Continuation of G/T Services
- Policies regarding exiting or furloughing identified G/T students are made at the local level. Provisions regarding furloughs and exiting of students from program services are required to be included in written policies approved by the local board of trustees and disseminated to parents (TAC §89.1(5); State Plan 1.2C).
- When exiting a student from G/T services, a local district should have procedures demonstrating that the student’s non-performance or response to the district’s G/T services (State Plan 2.12).
Curriculum and Instruction
- A continuum of learning experiences refers to articulated intellectual, artistic, creative, and/or leadership activities and opportunities built upon one another each year a student is in school. Instruction must be seamless and vertically aligned to achieve the state goal of developing advanced-level products and/or performances (State Plan 4.3 and State Plan Glossary).
- The State Plan requires an array of appropriately challenging learning experiences in each of the four foundation curricular areas be provided for G/T students in Kindergarten to grade12 and that parents be informed of the opportunities (TAC §89.3 and State Plan 3.1).
- An array of learning experiences is a menu of challenging activities or opportunities that fit the unique interests and abilities of advanced-level students (State Plan Glossary).
- Districts meet G/T students' needs by modifying the depth, complexity, and pacing of the curriculum and instruction ordinarily provided.
Foundation Curricular Areas
- Opportunities commensurate with G/T students’ abilities and that emphasize content in the four foundation curricular areas must be provided for G/T students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 (State Plan 4.1). Students should be served based on individual strengths and should not be required to participate in all four foundation curricular areas (State Plan 2.1C).
- Acceleration is a recommended service option for gifted students. Especially highly gifted students can exhibit extremes in asynchronous development. Single-subject acceleration helps districts address the “appropriately challenging” requirement (State Plan 3.3,4.9 and State Plan Glossary).
- Districts must provide “opportunities to accelerate in areas of strength” for GT-identified students in grades K-12 (19 TAC §89.3(4); (State Plan 4.5)). The process of identifying “strengths” for purposes of 19 TAC §89.3(4) and determination of eligibility for these acceleration opportunities are left to local districts to decide. Acceleration should allow students to move ahead in the curriculum without requiring them to repeat content the following year (see State Plan Glossary for Acceleration definition).
- Credit by Examination: Districts must also permit acceleration through the Credit by Examination process for all students, regardless of GT identification (19 TAC §74.24). The process and criteria for qualifying for full-grade acceleration in grades K-5 and both single-subject and full-grade acceleration in grades 6-12 are specified in the statute. Section 74.24 does not prohibit additional acceleration placements made according to 19 TAC §89.3(4), and §74.24(5) specifically provides flexibility in acceleration assessment and placement.
- Subject acceleration for GT students in grades K-5: Because 19 TAC §89.3(4) is separate from the Credit by Examination statute, specifically applies to GT-identified services, and specifies acceleration in “areas of strength,” districts should develop a process for identifying GT students as candidates for single-subject acceleration in grades K-5 and facilitating acceleration in “areas of strength,” per statute.
LEA policies may include requirements related to G/T training's acceptable expiration time for the 30-hour foundational G/T training, administrator training, and/or counselor training.
- Teachers who provide instruction and services that are a part of the district’s defined G/T services are required to receive a minimum of 30 clock hours of professional development before their G/T assignment. This 30-hour training must include
- nature and needs of G/T students,
- identification and assessment of G/T students’ needs, and
- curriculum and instruction for G/T students.
- Teachers without required training must complete the 30-hour training within one semester of their G/T assignment. Teachers must also receive at least six hours of annual professional development in G/T education (TAC §89.2(1), (2) and (3); State Plan 5.1, 5.2, 5.6, and 5.8).
- All teachers who provide instruction and services that are a part of the district’s defined services program for G/T students must receive a minimum of six hours of annual professional development in G/T education that is related to state teacher education standards (TAC §89.2(3); TAC §233.1; State Plan 5.6).
- The annual update should be based on individual teacher needs related to the district’s G/T program services' objectives. The six-hour update intends to provide G/T students teachers with training that will enable the teacher to differentiate and adjust the depth, complexity, and pacing of lessons to meet the needs of G/T students. (State Plan 5.6) The teacher and his/her supervisor may collaboratively decide based on the needs identified in campus and district improvement plans (TAC §89.2(3); State Plan 5.4).
- “G/T certified” refers to a teacher who has obtained the G/T Supplemental Certificate available through the State Board of Educator Certification after successfully challenging the G/T TExES Supplemental Exam. This certificate alone, however, does not qualify a teacher to teach gifted students in Texas. It must be accompanied by the 30-hour foundational G/T training required by TAC §89.2. A teacher with the appropriate 30-hour training but without the supplemental certificate is considered G/T trained (TAC §89.2 and State Plan 5.1).
- If Pre-AP/AP or IB classes serve as the mode of delivery for G/T students' services, teachers must have the required 30-hour foundational G/T training. Substitutions from the College Board's five-day summer institute or IBO training may be made for part of the curriculum and instruction component of the 30-hour foundational G/T training. However, the teacher would still require training in G/T students' nature and needs, identification and assessment of G/T students’ needs, and differentiated instruction (State Plan 5.1). It is recommended that one of the following 6-hour G/T update training would be depth and complexity training.
- LEA considerations for accepting, approving, and designing G/T professional learning:
- The basic 30-hour G/T training should be provided by an expert in gifted education who, at the very least, is an experienced, trained (according to TAC 89.2) G/T teacher. Professional development providers should have passed the G/T TExES or advanced degree in Gifted Education.
- When developing a six (6) hour G/T update training, it should meet some or all the following criteria:
- Designed specifically to prepare teachers to meet the needs of gifted students
- Designed specifically to provide teachers with content knowledge above and beyond that gained in a typical undergraduate teacher-preparation program
- Designed based on identified needs either of the district or G/T students
- Designed to increase understanding of nature and needs of G/T students
- Provided by an expert in gifted education
- Provided by an expert (practitioner-level) in the content area
- G/T Training should align with the G/T Standards approved by the State Board of Educator Certification.
Administrators and Counselors
- Administrators and educational leaders who have authority for service decisions for G/T students are required to receive six hours of professional development that includes nature and needs of G/T students and service options for G/T students (TAC §89.2(4); State Plan 5.8 and 5.9).
- Counselors who have authority for service decisions for G/T students are required to receive six hours of professional development that includes nature and needs of G/T students, service options for G/T students, and social & emotional needs of G/T students (TAC §89.2(4); State Plan 5.8 and 5.9).
- Any campus or district-level administrator (including the superintendent) or counselor who has authority to make scheduling, hiring, and/or program decisions should also have the six hours of training (TAC §89.2(4); State Plan 5.8 and 5.8).
Family and Community Involvement
Parent Awareness Session
For a district to be consistent with the State Plan, an annual parent meeting is required (State Plan 6.3). School districts are required to provide certain information to parents. This includes informing parents of the array of learning opportunities available for G/T students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 (State Plan 6.5) and disseminating written policies on student identification to parents (State Plan 6.1). Orientation and periodic updates are provided for students' parents identified for and provided G/T services (State Plan 6.7).