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Gifted Identification

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The Exceptional Children's Education Act (ECEA) defines "gifted" children as:

Those persons between the ages of four and twenty-one whose aptitude or competence in abilities, talents, and potential for accomplishment in one or more domains are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational programming needs. Gifted children are hereafter referred to as gifted students. Children under five who are gifted may also be provided with early childhood special educational services. Gifted students include gifted students with disabilities (i.e. twice exceptional) and students with exceptional abilities or potential from all socio-economic, ethnic, and cultural populations. Gifted students are capable of high performance, exceptional production, or exceptional learning behavior by virtue of any or a combination of these areas of giftedness:

  • General or specific intellectual ability
  • Specific academic aptitude
  • Creative or productive thinking
  • Leadership abilities
  • Visual arts, performing arts, musical or psychomotor abilities 12.01(16)

ECEA defines "identification" as:

The assessment process used by the AU for identifying students who meet the definition specified in section 12.01(16) and for identifying the educational needs of gifted students. 12.02(2)(c)

ECEA Areas of Gifted Identification: (12.01(16)(a-e)

  • General Intellectual Ability
  • Specific Academic Aptitudes
    • Reading
    • Writing
    • Mathematics
    • Science
    • Social Studies
    • World Languages

  • Specific Talent Aptitudes
    • Creative or Productive Thinking
    • Leadership
    • Dance
    • Music
    • Performing Arts (theater, speech and debate)
    • Visual Arts
    • Psychomotor


Identification Assessment

The Exceptional Children's Educational Act (ECEA) requires all administrative units (AUs) in Colorado to identify and serve students between the ages of five and twenty-one, and age four in administrative units with Early Access, whose aptitude or competence in abilities, talents, and potential for accomplishment in one or more domains are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational programming needs.  AUs include: school districts, Charter School Institute (CSI), multi-district administrative units and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES).

ECEA Rules guide an AU's development of procedures and processes for identification assessment and making gifted determinations while still providing opportunities for local decision-making.  The Office of Gifted Education provides an identification guidebook to support administrative units with implementation of ECEA Rules.

Body of Evidence

Assessment means methods, tools, and data collected as a body of evidence (BOE) for use in identification and programming. [C.R.S. 22-20-202(5)]. 

A review team, with at least one person trained or endorsed in gifted identification and programming, reviews the BOE in order to make a determination.  While some of the data in a body of evidence will be used to meet the criteria for gifted identification, other data or information may be used to build a learner profile for the purpose of developing appropriate programming options defined in the Advanced Learning Plan (ALP). Criteria are the rules for evaluating a level of exceptionality for identification.

View more information about BOE


ECEA Rules specify a student's "state-approved" identification in one or more categories of giftedness transfers to any district in Colorado.  This is defined as "portability."

"State approved" means the AU followed ECEA criteria for identification.  If an AU chooses to identify students not using state criteria, the student's identification is not portable.  If the student moves to a new AU in Colorado, the AU determines if the identification meets the new AU's requirements.  If the student moves out-of-state, the identification is not portable.  If a student moves to Colorado with an identification from a previous state, the AU makes a determination if the student's body of evidence meets criteria for a gifted determination in Colorado.  Criteria for gifted identification varies from state to state.      

Universal Screening

AUs are strongly encouraged to include universal screening in identification procedures.  “Universal Screening” means the systematic assessment of ALL students within a grade level for identifying students with exceptional ability or potential, especially students from traditionally underrepresented populations; and/or screening in conjunction with creation of each student’s individual career and academic plan (ICAP).  AU’s may apply for annual grant funds to offset the cost of universal screening assessment.

Talent Pool

The body of evidence for some students may not lead to formal gifted identification, but data may demonstrate the student should be included in a “talent pool.”  AU’s have the autonomy to determine if a talent pool is developed and how long a student may participate in a talent pool.  Students selected for talent pool participation receive appropriate programming options and/or interventions to address strength areas.  The purpose of a talent pool is to foster potential over time.

Military Students

The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children created legislation to ease school-to-school transfers for military children. The intent of the Compact is to minimize the disruption in education when a military child is forced to move as a result of a transfer or deployment.

The Compact states:

Educational Program Placement:

As long as the program is offered by the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), acting as the receiving Local Education Agency (LEA), it will honor placement of the child in educational programs based on current educational assessments and placement in like programs in the sending State. Such programs include, but are not limited to, gifted and talented programs and English language learners. The receiving State school may perform subsequent evaluations to ensure the child’s appropriate educational program placement. Continuing the child’s academic program from the previous school and promoting placement in academically and career challenging courses shall be a primary consideration when DoDEA considers the placement of a transferring child.

ECEA Rules for Identification

View ECEA Rules for Identification Procedures, Talent Pool and Portability

Resources for Identification

Note: If you are not able to access the resources or need additional support, please contact the Office of Gifted Education Program Administrator.