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GATE Test Administration

GATE Test Administration is administered annually to all 3rd graders unless a parent chooses to opt their child out from testing. Students are given the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test Third Edition (NNAT3).  The NNAT3 is a nonverbal measure of general ability for students. 

The GATE Test Administration window can be found on the District’s TUSD Testing Calendar.


  • What is GATE and its purpose?

    GATE is Gifted and Talented Education.  The purpose of a GATE program is to meet the unique needs of gifted children.

  • What are the benefits of a GATE Program?

    The GATE program will promote complex levels of thinking by working collaboratively, seeking innovative solutions, and challenging students’ creative abilities. Students will become critical thinkers and problem solvers. Students will use increasingly complex levels of thinking and production.

  • How is the program differentiated or enhanced?

    The GATE program meets the needs of gifted learners by enhancing the standards with depth, complexity, novelty, and acceleration.  The program also meets the social and emotional needs of gifted learners.

    GATE students are asked to develop scholarly behaviors like pondering, considering different perspectives, taking intellectual risks, striving for excellence, and perseverance.  GATE teachers focus on developing these skills by using:

    • Novelty
    • Depth and Complexity of Knowledge
    • Acceleration
  • What are characteristics of gifted children?

    Because gifted children are so diverse, not all exhibit all characteristics all of the time. However, there are common characteristics that many gifted individuals share:

    • Unusual alertness, even in infancy
    • Rapid learner; puts thoughts together quickly
    • Excellent memory
    • Unusually large vocabulary and complex sentence structure for age
    • Advanced comprehension of word nuances, metaphors and abstract ideas
    • Enjoys solving problems, especially with numbers and puzzles
    • Often self-taught reading and writing skills as preschooler
    • Deep, intense feelings and reactions
    • Highly sensitive
    • Thinking is abstract, complex, logical, and insightful
    • Idealism and sense of justice at early age
    • Concern with social and political issues and injustices
    • Longer attention span and intense concentration
    • Preoccupied with own thoughts—daydreamer
    • Learn basic skills quickly and with little practice
    • Asks probing questions
    • Wide range of interests (or extreme focus in one area)
    • Highly developed curiosity
    • Interest in experimenting and doing things differently
    • Puts idea or things together that are not typical
    • Keen and/or unusual sense of humor
    • Desire to organize people/things through games or complex schemas
    • Vivid imaginations (and imaginary playmates when in preschool)

               *National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC)

  • What are traits of giftedness?

    No gifted individual is exactly the same, each with his own unique patterns and traits.   There are many traits that gifted individuals have in common, but no gifted learner exhibits traits in every area.  This list of traits may help you better understand whether or not your child is gifted.


    Traits of Giftedness


  • What are the locations of the District’s elementary GATE Program?

    Julien Elementary School and Cunningham Elementary School

  • What are the grades levels of the elementary GATE Program?

    4th-6th grades

  • Is there a GATE program at the middle school /junior high school?

    TUSD offers GATE ELA courses for 7th & 8th grades at Dutcher Middle and Turlock Junior High Schools.  Additionally, both sites offer accelerated math course, which include Integrated Math 7, Integrated Math 8, Math 7 e, Math 8 e, Integrated Math I 8 Honors, and STEM Math 7 and 8.

  • What is the criteria for GATE ELA courses at Dutcher Middle School and Turlock Junior High School?

    GATE Identified students will have the opportunity to enroll in the GATE ELA courses at Dutcher Middle School and Turlock Junior High School.

  • How does my student get into the STEM Program at Turlock Junior High School?

    Parents apply for their student(s) to be in the STEM Program at Turlock Junior High School.  Students’ grades and California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) scores are considered; there is a lottery process to make final selections.

  • What programs are offered at the high schools?

    All students at the high school level have opportunities for the following classes/courses or exams:  Honors and Advanced Placement, Advanced Placement Exams, Modesto Junior College Dual Enrollment, and CSU, Stanislaus courses.

  • What is the focused framework in the GATE classes?

    The focused framework in GATE classes is Depth and Complexity, which is a set of tools that allow teachers to differentiate for any grade level or content area in a way that is straightforward to implement and effective. It is composed of eleven elements represented by a set of icons or pictures.

    The most recognizable part of the Depth and Complexity framework is the set of eleven icons that represent the eleven thinking prompts.


    Depth and Complexity


  • Is transportation provided to GATE Programs?

    At this time transportation is not provided to the District’s GATE schools.

  • If my child is placed in GATE, can siblings attend the school where the GATE program is located?

    Enrollment of siblings is based on space availability.

  • Are the common core state standards and adopted core taught in the GATE classes?

    Yes, both the common core state standards and adopted core are taught in GATE classes.

  • How are GATE classes different from a regular class?

    GATE students are grouped with their intellectual peers with the goal of building the capacity for highly complex thinking and analysis in an interactive environment.

  • Is there more homework in a GATE class?

    Acceleration does not mean more homework or more assignments.  Acceleration means altering the pace or speed of learning and providing more sophisticated resources for learning.  Homework is the same as regular classes.

  • How are students identified for GATE?

    All third-grade students, unless parents/guardians “opt out”, are administered the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test 3 (NNAT3).

    Two pathways are used to determine GATE Identification:

    1. Score of 110 or higher on the (NNAT3)
    2. Score of 100-109 on the NNAT3 and multiple measures
  • What is the process for GATE placement?

    Based on the highest scale score ranking on the NNAT 3 and/or consideration of multiple measures.  Parents are mailed a qualifying letter with their student’s NNAT 3 score sheet and an Enrollment form for GATE placement at Cunningham or Julien. Depending on the number of qualified students wishing to enroll, there could be either a waiting list to enroll in a self-contained GATE class or a GATE strand offered within a self-contained 4th grade class.

  • If my child is eligible for GATE, what are my choices?

    If your child was identified as GATE eligible, you would have two choices:

    1. To keep your student at his/her current school, and the District will document GATE Identification in your student’s profile in our student information system. No further steps to complete. 
    2. If you would like the opportunity to enroll your student in the GATE class, the process includes parents completing and returning the GATE Enrollment Form.
  • Are the GATE classes self-contained or a GATE strand within a self-contained class?

    Depending on the number of qualified students wishing to enroll, the class could either be self-contained or a GATE strand offered within a self-contained 4th grade class.

  • If I do not get my school of choice, is there a waiting list?

    Yes, there is a waiting list to enroll.

  • Is there a GATE Parent Orientation Night?  When?

    Yes. The GATE Parent Orientation Night is held in January/ February.

  • When does testing occur?  Where?

    See District’s Testing Calendar.

    Testing occurs at each elementary school.

  • When will I get the results?


  • Will my student have to be retested each year to stay in the GATE Program?

    Once students have been identified as GATE, they will not have to retake the test.

  • Is the grading the same for GATE and non-GATE students?

    Yes.  All students are graded on their report card using the State Grade Level Standards and the District’s Standards-Based Report Card.

  • Do GATE students have the opportunity to be a part of the school activities?

    Yes. GATE students participate in all grade-level school activities.

  • Where can I find more information about gifted children?

    California Department of Education
    National Association of Gifted Children