As a district, our goal is to provide support to teachers and schools so that every student is challenged and makes significant progress during each school year. GATE is a district designed and funded program for highly capable students. Each district in the state of California develops identification procedures and designs programs to meet the needs of their GATE students K-12.

Novato has designed the GATE program with 5 principles in mind:

  • Giftedness is dynamic and constantly changing.
  • Giftedness is found among students from a variety of backgrounds.
  • Student education is focused on student outcomes rather than practices.
  • All educators are responsible for the education of students with gifts and talents.
  • Services should be provided throughout the day in all environments based on their abilities, needs and interests.


Each winter, all NUSD third grade students are screened unless parents opt out of testing. Fourth and fifth grade students that have never been tested in Novato will be tested as well at this time.


Parents, teachers, or other advocates of a child may request a GATE reevaluation in the winter for children in fourth or fifth grade that have already been screened in previous years. Parents, who wish to have their child reevaluated to receive GATE services should request a GATE reevaluation form from their child’s teacher in November and submit it to the teacher by the due date.

GATE Evaluation Process

All NUSD 3rd grade students may participate in the testing during the winter of each school year. NUSD uses the Cognitive Abilities Test Form 7 (CogAT) which is administered between December and February.

The purpose of the GATE identification process is to seek and find students who may require additional support services beyond the core curriculum. GATE is a very small percentage of the population, representing only about 3-5% of students.


Eligibility requirements are stringent and students identified must meet the district criteria by scoring in the superior range in a comprehensive evaluation process. The GATE Student Study Team looks at our GATE Matrix with multiple measures of qualitative and quantitative data in order to determine eligibility. These measures include cognitive ability test results, standardized test scores, MAPs performance data, referrals, recommendations, and cultural, economic and other factors that may be masking exceptionally high intellectual or academic potential.

The GATE Student Study Team meets to review each Student Profile Matrix and to make recommendations for placement based on the student evidence.

The eligibility for GATE placement will be determined on an individual basis with all measures of the matrix of diagnostic information to be considered by the GATE Student Study Team.  This profile will include the following major categories:

  • Ability Test Results
  • Available achievement test data
    • MAP scores demonstrating Advance Levels or Significant Growth
  • Student Work Samples
  • Referrals, endorsements, and pertinent comments from teachers, psychologists, principals, or parent
  • Cultural, economic and other factors that may be masking exceptionally high intellectual or academic potential
    • EL identified students in proficient range
    • ELPAC Scores demonstrating Significant Level Growth

Qualification from another district

California does not have mandated GATE program services and there are no specific identification guidelines. Therefore, each district develops its own criteria for identification. Upon parent request, the files of students identified as gifted in another state or district will be reviewed when the student enrolls in NUSD. However, to be identified for GATE services in NUSD, students must meet the identification criteria established for the GATE services in NUSD.

Private Assessments

Private assessments are not accepted as part of the identification process because the state of California requires that identification of gifted students be equitable to all students in the district.


Once a fourth or fifth grader is GATE identified, they have a choice to stay at their neighborhood school in a GATE cluster or transfer to Olive’s self-contained program. At the middle school level, GATE students are clustered for English and social studies.

By utilizing a variety of differentiated instructional teaching strategies focused on the specific learning needs of each individual child, NUSD teachers strive to ensure that each child in their class is engaged and challenged academically.

Parent Meeting Information

GATE Identification Parent Information Night for all 3rd Grade Parents

Thursday, March 19, 2020
GATE Parent Meeting
4:00-5:00 pm in the District Office Board Room
GATE Program Presentation Slides
Link to Live Stream Recording

GATE Testing Information

GATE identification testing will be conducted during the months of December 2019, January 2020, and February 2020.  

What is the CogAT?
CogAT measures learned reasoning and problem-solving skills in three different areas: verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal. Reasoning skills are good predictors of success in school but does not measure factors such as effort, attention, motivation, social-emotional learning, and work habits, which also contribute to student achievement. CogAT is nationally normed and an individual’s test performance can be compared with the test performances of other students throughout the nation who are the same age.

Why is CogAT administered?
Students are tested in the winter of 3rd grade to gain more information about students learning. The GATE Student Study Team (GSST) will review both qualitative and quantitative data to determine GATE eligibility. This includes CogAT scores, standardized test results, work samples and recommendations.

How do the three batteries of CogAT differ?
The Verbal Battery measures flexibility, fluency, and adaptability in reasoning with verbal materials and in solving verbal problems. These reasoning abilities play an important role in reading comprehension, critical thinking, writing, and verbal learning tasks.

The Quantitative Battery measures quantitative reasoning skills: flexibility and fluency in working with quantitative symbols and concepts; and the ability to organize, structure, and give meaning to an unordered set of numerals and mathematical symbols. These reasoning skills are significantly related to problem solving in mathematics and other disciplines.

The Nonverbal Battery measures reasoning using geometric shapes and figures. To perform successfully, students must invent strategies for solving novel problems. They must be flexible in using these strategies and accurate in implementing them.