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Gifted and Talented Education and Testing (GATE)
Talented and Gifted (TAG)

Despite what you may have been told you can prepare your child for GATE or TAG testing.  You can't drill your child like you might for a math facts or reading test but you can work with your child developing the skills they'll be tested on.  Every child will benefit from being taught how to effectively analyze and integrate information.  You’ll get pay off not just in higher test scores now but in more effective learning in the future.  Children who can make connections and understand their own thinking processes learn faster and retain more.  It’s a benefit for life.
If you don't have much time before testing it's still worthwhile to introduce your child to a range of thinking activities.  If this is new to your child you'll, at a minimum, reduce the uncertainly factor associated with testing.  With any luck your child will learn something they didn't know before too.  For many parents uncertainly is the issue.  Seeing the contents of a book like Building Thinking Skills (the appropriate level of this series is included in each of our Test Prep bundles below) helps parents to understand what the buzz words like "non-verbal reasoning question" mean and to appreciate that their child isn't going to be blindsided. 
GATE is an acronym for Gifted and Talented Education.  TAG is an acronymn for Talented and Gifted. The terms mean different things to different people.  Your school district may use the term GATE or TAG in reference to a test or group of tests administered to see if a child qualifies for the gifted program.  The term GATE or TAG may be used to refer to a school or enrichment program where gifted children are educated.

The terms GATE and TAG aren't used everywhere.  Many school districts have a specific name for their gifted program (like Prism, Spectrum, or Enrichment) or refer to it by the name of the school the special program is provided at.

In some school districts the GATE/TAG test is a specific test (usually the Naglieri Non-Verbal Ability Test (NNAT), Otis-Lenon School Abilities Test (OLSAT) or Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)).  In others Gifted and Talented Program entry involves passing a series of steps which may include parent recommendation, teacher assessment (perhaps informal or perhaps using a checklist of attributes), achievement testing to ensure a high level of math and reading competence, and cognitive ability testing.

Some school districts test children as a group.  The OLSAT and CogAT are group timed tests of verbal, non-verbal and quantitative reasoning.  The Ravens Progressive Matrix and Naglieri Non-Verbal Ability Test (NNAT) are group tests of non-verbal reasoning ability.  Some school districts test children one on one with a school psychologist using a full scale IQ test like the WISV-IV or Stanford-Binet.

If your child is going to be screened for GATE/TAG program entry the best place to get more information is your local school district’s website.  They probably have a page or two devoted to their gifted program and explain the process they use for qualification. 
If you can't find anything more about the testing procedure for your child a good place to start is the Test Prep bundle below for your child's current grade.  The contents of these bundles were chosen to cover the skill areas most commonly tested
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Non-Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantative Reasoning
  • Logic
If your child is new to testing a conventional test preparation book can also be helpful.  We recommend the Spectrum range.  While these books were written for traditional standardized achievement tests and focus on reading and math practice answering mini-tests, using a bubble sheet and managing time is important for some children.
For further assistance please contact us and we'll do our best to help.