Seeking  Educational Alternatives to Reach and Challenge Higher-Level thinking skills  
     The Loudoun County SEARCH program provides  K-3 SEARCH lessons which focus on critical thinking skills and is designed to foster a classroom environment that encourages students to develop an excitement for learning and discovery.   SEARCH teachers work within the classroom to stimulate curiosity, practice problem solving strategies, incorporate higher level thinking, and to identify students with exceptional ability.  During the lessons the primary classroom teacher makes observations to gain insight into the student's various learning skills, strengths, and learning styles.  Both teachers work cooperatively to recognize and develop the potential for excellence in each student.  The SEARCH teacher is available to assist in the development of lesson plans and activities that promote higher level thinking, model or provide tips for differentiating instruction, and to offer enrichment to students who have been formally identified for gifted services.
    Gifted Information Night for Parents 
    Parent Information Nights are planned each year for parents who are interested in learning about the identification process for the Loudoun County Gifted Program.  During the current distance learning format, no in-person meetings are planned at this time.  Check the LCPS Gifted Education page for updates.

    Referral for LCPS Gifted Serivces

    Click here for a Referral  to print out at home and submit.


    For Parents of 3rd Grade Students


    District Referrals - Students with qualifying test scores on the CogAT and/or NNAT will receive a district referral via US mail in mid-February. With parent permission (via a signed referral form returned to school SEARCH teacher), these students will be evaluated for gifted services.


    Parent Referrals - Parents of students who did not receive a district referral letter, but who wish to have their children evaluated for gifted services, may submit a parent referral form to their child's SEARCH teacher in February.  If the students is new to our school, and has participated in a GT program in another county, you may contact me to discuss earlier testing.


    Referral forms submitted after February

    will be processed the next school year.

    Superintendent's Advisory Committee 

          Loudoun County sponsors an Advisory Committee for Gifted Education.  This committee serves as a support  to review and make suggestions about gifted programs and to promote community awareness of gifted education.  School personnel, community members and parents are selected to serve on the committee.  Every effort is made to have a broad-based group of committee members from all high school attendance areas.  
         The committee provides an annual report and serves in an advisory capacity to the Division Superintendent of Schools and reports annually to him.  Meetings are open to the public. Please check the LCPS Gifted Services page on the district website.
    Standardized Testing

    The NNAT2 test will be given in October and November.

      The NNAT2 test will be given during your child's  SEARCH class in October/November. 
     1. What does the NNAT2 measure?
    The Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test 2 assesses school learning ability without requiring a student to read, write or speak. Instead, students rely on reasoning and problem solving skills to complete the test items.

    Many people assume that intelligence is differentiated in two categories: verbal and nonverbal. The distinction actually refers to the content of the items on an intelligence test, not to the type of thinking or intelligence required. Verbal and nonverbal tests are two different ways of measuring intellectual ability.

    Currently in Loudoun County Public Schools, the main purpose for administering the NNAT2 is to identify students for gifted services in the area of general intellectual ability. The NNAT2 results may also be used to screen general ability for students whose school performance may be hindered by limited English proficiency.

    2. Why the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT2)?
    The NNAT2 was chosen because it was nonverbal.  LCPS was looking for a way to identify gifted students who may not perform well on ability tests with a large number of verbal items, including students with limited English skills or learning difficulties.

    3. What types of questions are on the NNAT2?

    There are four categories of questions on the NNAT2:

    • Pattern completion: requires the student to complete a pattern by determining both general orientation and design details of the missing portion.
    • Reasoning by Analogy: requires the students to recognize a logical relationship between several geometric shapes
    • Serial Reasoning: requires the student to recognize sequence of shapes and changes in a sequence
    • Spatial Visualization: the student must recognize how two or more designs would look when combined

    The geometric shapes and designs used for each test item are culture-free.  A sample test itemfrom the NNAT2 is shown in the figure below (actual test items use blue, white and yellow because these colors are most easily perceived by those with color-impaired vision).

    4. Who will take the NNAT2?
    Currently, all third grade students in Loudoun County Public Schools take the NNAT2 in the fall of the school year. The NNAT2 is available to students in grades K-12 for intellectual ability testing.

    5. How long is the test?

    The test has 48 items which must be completed in 30 minutes.

    6. How do I interpret the scoring report?
    Percentile ranks range from 1 to 99, and describe a student's test performance relative to other students of the same age in the national normative reference group. A student performing in the 95th percentile, for example, scored higher than 95% of the students at his/her age.

    Ranks between the 25th and 75th percentile fall within the average
    range of normative expectations.

    7. If there is a significant discrepancy between a student’s
    performance on the NNAT2 and his/her achievement in the classroom,
    should I be concerned?

    Students may score well on the NNAT2 who do not demonstrate high levels of achievement in the classroom. The NNAT2 demonstrates that these students have the ability to succeed in school, though they may not have acquired the skills required to achieve at that high level. Alternately, there are students who are very strong in the academic domain who may score poorly on the NNAT2.

    The NNAT2 helps us identify students who may not demonstrate their ability on more traditional tests of knowledge because of limited English proficiency, language or learning difficulties, or other factors that may hinder achievement. It should be kept in mind that the NNAT2 scores give only one piece of information about a student. As with any assessment, some tests will identify the strengths of students more than other tests.

    8. How does the NNAT2 help my child qualify for Gifted Education services?
    The NNAT2 is one of the tests used by Loudoun County Public Schools to identify students in the area of general intellectual ability.

    Cogat Ability Test
    Below is a link to a website from Riverside Publishing that will explain the exam.   
    Definition of Gifted by Virginia Department of Education
       Gifted is:   "students who demonstrate or have the potentials to demonstrate 1) superior reasoning;  2) persist intellectual curiosity; 3)  advanced use of language; 4) exceptional problem solving;  5) rapid acquisition and mastery of facts, concepts and principles; and 6) creative and imaginative expression across a broad range of intellectual disciplines beyond their age-level peers.
    Virginia Department of Education (2011)
    Eligibility FAQs