In California, students in grades 3-8 who are identified as gifted can participate in the Gifted and Talent Education Program. It is run differently from school district to school district and school to school. It might involve special grouping, additional instruction, and/or alternative curriculum. In general, GATE students receive special attention from teachers so that their minds can be challenged and their talents might thrive. Students’ are not placed in the program based on their level or achievement but rather, they are placed according to an assessment of their potential to achieve. In this way, California is attempting to allow disadvantaged students the same opportunities as other students.


Joining the Program


There are several different ways to become a part of the GATE program. One of the most common ways to become GATE qualified is based on annual State Standardized Testing. If a student scores at or above a 500 in both math and language arts, they are qualified for GATE. Or a student might qualify by scoring at or above 95% on the Otis Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT), the official GATE qualifying exam. The OLSAT is made up questions that test the students’ ability to analyze and comprehend verbally, quantitatively and symbolically. Finally, a student can be qualified based on his or her score on official IQ test, administered by a licensed educational psychologist.


The GATE Curriculum


The curriculum for GATE students is different at each grade level. In Irvine, students in grade 4-6 are grouped together and receive specialized advanced instruction and learn each subject more thoroughly and more in-depth. They can even choose to be a part of Alternative Program for Academically Accelerated Students (APAAS) at most schools, which is even more academically rigorous.


Once a student has joined the program, they remain a part of it until they leave the 8th grade or until they choose to leave it. They do not need to be retested and re-initiated into the program every year. On the other hand, a student may join the program during any year from grades 3-8. Once a student leaves the 8th grade, they may continue their advanced academic preparation in honors course if he or she so chooses.


At some schools, GATE instruction differs a great deal from regular instruction and at other schools, they differ only slightly. Some students benefit from the specialized instruction, whereas others do not like special attention. To decide if the GATE program is right for your student, you must take these factors into consideration. It is suggested that you approach your student’s school and learn about its specific GATE program and how it is run. Then, decide whether that program might benefit your child.



The qualification of the Gifted and Talented Education program can be determined by three main categories: Verbal, Quantization, and Nonverbal. Different students have different strengths; hence they only need to reach 95 percentile in any of the three categories to qualify for GATE. Their achievement in school is usually depended on high verbal and quantization comprehension abilities. Nonverbal, on the other hand, shows a difference in students’ methods of thinking. Intelligence is not necessarily equal to wisdom; a gifted student only represents a high IQ. Whether you are smart, gifted, or ordinary, everyone needs wisdom. Wisdom is referring to the ability to socialize, interact with people, and the ability to solve problems. It is a skill that all students should have. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how good of one’s learning ability, comprehension ability, or higher academic achievement the student has, he or she will always feel discontent. This is a great example of a high IQ but a low EQ. For high IQ students, parents should pay close attention to the development of the student’s EQ so that they can have balanced growth of both IQ and EQ. This will increase the success and happiness in life for each student.