Frequently Asked Questions


My child was assessed and identified as GATE.  What does that mean?
If your child is in 2nd grade, then he/she scored at or above the 98th percentile on the Raven's Progressive Matrices.  If your child attends Miller, Battles or Bruce, then he/she scored at or above the 77th percentile on the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT).  

If your child is in grades 3-8, then he/she scored at the 95th percentile or above on the Raven's Progressive Matrices.  

Your child qualified based on multiple measures.
Multiple Measure Criteria include:

  1. Artistic – child demonstrates natural gifts and talents in the arts;
  2. Language – child demonstrates rapid language acquisition and/or biliteracy as indicated by three years of CELDT scores;
  3. Gifted/Talented Behaviors and Attitudes – child demonstrates natural gifts and talents in behaviors and attitudes as indicated on the Teacher Referral Form.

Regardless of grade level, your child qualified because his/her teacher submitted an Appeal Packet on their behalf and the GATE District Advisory Committee approved it.

How is the current GATE assessment being conducted?

  • Grade 2: Universal – nearly all enrolled 2nd grade students are tested at their site.

  • Grades 3-8: Referral - all students referred by their classroom teacher, site administrator or site counselor are tested at all sites.  Parents can request a referral from their child's teacher.
  • Testing is administered in group settings at sites during the months of January and February only.

What tool is used for identifying GATE students in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District?

The Santa Maria-Bonita School District is in the process of transitioning from using the Raven's Progressive Matrices test to using the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT). The Raven's is an untimed, non-verbal, spatial reasoning test that becomes progressively more difficult as the student works through the test. Scoring is normative and based on the student’s age.  The CogAT is an online assessment that measures students' verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal reasoning abilities.

Can a student be tested outside of the school’s designated testing block for any of the following reasons: referral outside of the allowed window, less-than-optimal conditions, sick, did not eat breakfast, nervous, etc.?

Not at this time. The district has teachers testing the eligible students at the school sites during a designated time period. Therefore, all testing administrations, including make-ups can only be offered and completed during the designated testing blocks. Make-up days will be provided only within the testing block.  The CogAT has strict limitations on testing outside of the window.

Who handles parent and/or educator concerns/questions about GATE assessment, including, but not limited to, re-testing, make-ups, changing identification, programs, and existing criteria?

Director of Curriculum, Olivia Bolaños
Teacher on Special Assignment for GATE, Gina Danley
GATE Advisory Committee 

How does the Santa Maria-Bonita School District meet the needs of GATE identified students?
The district makes its best effort to offer a classroom with a GATE Certificated Teacher to every GATE identified student at every site for grades 3-6, and for Honors English Language Arts in grades 7-8. The SMBSD GATE Certificate requires an initial 24 hours of approved professional development. Every year thereafter, three hours of approved professional development are required.  Approved professional development opportunities for this school year can be found on the page for Teachers.

How are GATE assessment appeals handled?

All GATE appeals are submitted to the Teacher on Special Assignment.  These are reviewed with the GATE Advisory Committee after all GATE assessments have been completed.  All appeals are handled on a case by case basis based on data. For example, a student from out of state enters the district and has been previously found eligible for GATE. The team may want to consider their assessment process and determine if it meets the established criteria and act accordingly. 

GATE District Advisory Committee (DAC)

This committee consists of the following members:
-Teacher on Special Assignment for GATE
-Director and/or Coordinator of Curriculum;
-2-3 district site administrators;
-1 classroom GATE Certificated teacher per grade level for grades 2-7/8;
-GATE parents, depending on attendance.
The purpose of this committee is to review the GATE Qualification Process on an annual basis, to review GATE appeals, and to evaluate overall program processes.  This committee currently meets twice a year for these purposes.