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

Office Hours:

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

Identification Process

Notification to Families about Testing

After winter break, a letter will be sent home in the backpacks of all kindergarten-2nd-6th-grade students notifying families of the Challenge program and the process for testing and selection. All 3rd-6th-grade students may receive a letter once they are identified as a student who may be eligible for highly capable services.

Program Pathways

Grades K-1

  • All students considered
  • Academic extensions for identified students in literacy and/or math

Grades 2-8

Challenge Programs 

  • Shorewood
  • Parkside
  • Chinook
  • Sylvester

Grades 9-12

  • Advanced Placement courses
  • International Baccalaureate
    • Mount Rainier High School
  • Dual Enrollment 
    • Running Start
    • Puget Sound Skills Center
    • College in the High School

Nominations and Referrals

All students in kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade in Highline are nominated 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 grade (including K-2) may be referred to the program by their parent/guardian, teacher, principal, another staff member, other students or a community member by calling or e-mailing the Inclusive Education department at any time until the testing process begins. If a student is referred to the program and their grades/test scores are generally proficient, she/he is brought in for testing. For student nominations, you may call the Inclusive Education Office at 206-631-3101 or make a request by email at In grades 3 and higher, a student may be nominated for the program by the Inclusive Education team after a review of assessment results. Students may also be identified by school teams as they conduct regular data summits.

Screening and Identification

After 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 are used to screen students.

  Kindergarten Grades 1-2 Grades 3-6 Grades 7-12
Highline Benchmark Assessment   X X X
Fountas & Pinnell    X X  
SBA, EOC & State Tests     X X
CogAT 7 Screener    X    
Grades     X 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 for permission for the student to take an additional test to determine eligibility to receive highly capable services. Families may also email the Inclusive Education department to find out their student's test screening results by connecting with the Highly Capable Specialist via email at

Assessment and Selection

All 1st-6th-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 [CogAT7]:

  • Assessment screening (phase I) for the Challenge program for 1st and 2nd-grade students will begin in February and will last until the end of March. Students will test with their class, and schools will determine their testing schedule within the testing window. Phase I Challenge test takes approximately 45 minutes.
  • Students in grades 1 through 6 who qualify for the 2nd round of testing (phase II) will be tested in the month of May. Second round (Phase II) testing will happen during the school day at the students' schools. Phase II Challenge test takes approximately 2 hours. 

Out of District Students for the Challenge Assessment [CogAT7]:

  • Students outside of Highline Public Schools will be tested during winter period in the month of February and we welcome parents to nominate their students before the assessment period by email at For assessment updates please click here.

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