LAUSD offers two types of magnet schools for gifted children: Gifted/High-Ability Magnets and Highly Gifted Magnets.
Gifted/High-Ability magnet programs are intended for students who demonstrate the ability to work two years above their grade level in academic subjects. By contrast, Highly Gifted magnet programs are only open to students who score 99.5% and above on an LAUSD intellectual assessment, with priority given to those who score 99.9%. Unlike other magnet schools, which are open to all students, verification of a student’s abilities are required before a student will be considered for a Gifted/High-Ability or Highly Gifted Magnet.
Gifted/High-Ability Magnet Programs
Applicants to a Gifted/High-Ability Magnet must meet one of the following criteria:
1) Demonstrate the ability to meet all four of these critical thinking and problem solving skills in their primary language:
- Explain meanings or relationships among facts, information or concepts that demonstrate depth and complexity;
- Formulate new ideas or solutions and elaborate on the information;
- Use alternative methods in approaching new or unfamiliar mathematical problems; and
- Use extensive vocabulary easily and accurately to express creative ideas
The child’s teacher and principal will determine if the child meets all four characteristics. This is generally the type of assessment used in the lower grades before students begin taking standardized tests. Teachers are directed to consider these characteristics regardless of a child’s behavior in the classroom (e.g., quiet children who do not speak up in class are not automatically presumed to lack understanding).
2) Have percentile scores of 85% or above on standardized norm-referenced tests in both total reading and total math. For the California Standards Test, that means students must achieve scaled scores as follows:
- 445 or above in English-Language Arts (Grades 2-11) and
- 450 or above in mathematics (Grades 2-7) or 450 or above in Algebra I, II, Geometry, Integrated Math I, II, III, or High School Summative Math
At LAUSD schools, standardized testing begins in the second grade. However, note that while these criteria are still listed as current on the LAUSD web site, the district no longer administers the CST due to the switch to Common Core Standards. Thus, this method of determination of eligibility is apparently being re-evaluated by the district.
3) Be identified as gifted by an LAUSD school psychologist in the intellectual, high achievement or specific academic ability categories.
Highly Gifted Magnet Programs
To be eligible for admission to a Highly Gifted magnet, students must score 99.5% or higher on an LAUSD intellectual assessment. Priority for admission is given to students who score 99.9%, and students who score above 99.5% are admitted depending on space availability.
Schools may identify prospective students for assessment. Alternatively, parents may request an assessment through the child’s current LAUSD school.
Note that LAUSD cannot use test results from private sources in place of the LAUSD-administered assessment. However, test results from private sources may be used to supplement the evaluation.
If your child attends a private school, contact the Gifted/Talented Programs Office at (213) 241-6500 to learn how your child can be verified for the magnet program you are interested in.