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

Office Hours:

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

Identification Process

The nomination window for the 2019-2020 school year is now closed.  Please check back in November 2019 for updated information.

Notification to Families about Testing

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

Program Pathways

Grades K-1

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

Grades 2-5

Challenge Programs 

  • Des Moines Elementary School
  • Shorewood Elementary School

Highly Capable learning plans are offered at all our elementary schools for identified students.

Greades 6-8

Challenge Programs

  • Chinook Middle School
  • Sylvester Middle School

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 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 are brought in for testing. For student nominations, you may call the Teaching and Learning Office at 206-631-3101 or submit your nomination online by January 31. 

Screening and Identification

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 Asessments     X X
CogAT 7 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 (CogAT7):

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).