Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166

Office Hours:

Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166


Identification Process

Nomination and identification have been completed for the 2020-2021.  Please check back for updates in Winter 2020.

Notification to Families about Testing

In late fall, a letter will be sent home via School Messenger of all 1st-7th-grade students notifying families of the Highly Capable Program and the process for testing and identification.

Program Pathways

Nominations and Referrals

All students in kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade in Highline are screened to receive highly capable services and for the Challenge program. We think this is critical in the early years because brain development is so rapid and variable at young ages, and intelligence does not always present itself in a traditional way, for students with a variety of backgrounds and exposure to early learning experiences.

Students in any grades 1-7 may be nominated for testing by their parent/guardian, teacher, principal, another staff member, other students or a community member.  If a student is referred to the program and their grades/test scores are generally proficient, they will be offered testing. For student nominations, you may call the Teaching and Learning Office at 206-631-3101 or submit your nomination online.  Nominations for the 2020-2021 school year have ended. 


In addition to the nomination and referral process, Highline screens all students for highly capable services. The screening process varies depending on the grade the student is in. The table below shows the assessments that may be used in our screening process.

  Kindergarten Grades 1-2 Grades 3-5 Grades 6-12
District Benchmark Assessments - iReady


Fountas & Pinnell    X X  
SBA, EOC & State Assessments     X X
CogAT Screener    X    
Course Grades       X

Classroom Observation & Assessment


Once the screening data is collected, students’ scores are shared with the Multidisciplinary Committee who review the data and make recommendations about which students will be given further testing. Families of students who are recommended for further testing are sent a letter asking permission for the student to take an additional test to determine eligibility to receive highly capable services. Families may also email Highly Capable to find out more about their student's assessment data.

Assessment and Selection

All 1st-7th-grade students who qualify for the 2nd round of testing take the full CogAT as the 2nd round test (Phase II). This assessment has three sections: Verbal, Quantitative and Nonverbal. This assessment gives us more information about students’ cognitive processing ability in areas that inform literacy, math, and general problem-solving. After the 2nd round (Phase II) testing, the Multidisciplinary Committee reviews student data and collection of evidence to make a recommendation for placement. All families of students who took the 2nd round (Phase II) test will receive a letter letting them know their student's results.

In District Students for the Challenge Assessment (CogAT):

Assessment screening (phase I) for the Challenge program for 1st and 2nd-grade students will begin in December and will last until early February. Students will test with their class, and schools will determine their testing schedule within the testing window. Phase I Challenge testing takes approximately 45 minutes.

Students in grades 1 through 7 who qualify for the 2nd round of testing (Phase II) will be tested late February - late March. Second round (Phase II) testing will happen during the school day at the students' schools. Phase II Challenge test takes approximately 2 hours.

Please note – Challenge assessment periods and communications might be subjected to change due to unanticipated circumstances, (i.e. weather).

Non Enrolled Students for the Challenge Assessment (CogAT):

Refer to our FAQ for additional information.