Skip to main content

Now Enrolling for Fall 2024 Online Programs

Assessment for Talent Development

Understand Your Abilities. Find Your Strengths. Chart Your Own Path.

Writing on test
Talent Identification

What is assessment?

Good assessments can provide insights about or a "snapshot" of academic achievement, instructional readiness, and various types of abilities related to school learning and cognitive development. Understanding a student’s academic potential and current level of achievement are important to the talent development process. Assessment for talent development is aimed at identifying strengths and determining the need for enrichment, acceleration, or supplemental programming.

Grade-level versus above-grade-level tests

Tests are one of the tools of assessment. School-based tests are often designed to measure academic achievement on grade level content or benchmarks. They are helpful starting points for guiding decisions. However, particularly for older students, grade-level tests, even computer-adaptive tests, can be limited in providing information about advanced learners' needs. This is where above-grade-level tests are useful. When we give younger students tests designed for other students--with more challenging content--the tests provide insights into academic ability and potential and allow CTD to recommend pathways for talent development and resources that go beyond a student's current grade level.

Assessment Through CTD

CTD offers a variety of grade-level and above-grade-level testing options for students. Choosing a test will depend on your child's age, experience in school, experience with testing, and the objectives for doing the assessment. Young children, students with limited testing experience, or students who need a benchmark of their performance against grade-level peers and content, should consider a grade-level assessment. Older students who are already demonstrating high achievement or advanced learning needs are likely to be ready for an above-grade-level test that will provide access to more advanced content and the opportunity to benchmark their learning against other advanced learners.

Following testing, CTD provides recommended pathways for talent development, normative data that provides a benchmark for understanding performance, resources for instruction and programming, and access to a supportive, community of experts.

CTD Pathways
Talent Development Pathways

Understanding Strengths and Learning Needs

CTD exists to help young people with exceptional academic potential and demonstrated talent reach their full potential. CTD’s unique Pathways approach to talent development gives students opportunities to identify their academic strengths and interests, explore potential career trajectories over time, develop critical knowledge and skills, and monitor their progress.

"Who knew that waking up early on a Saturday morning to take a test would change my life?" - CTD Assessment Participant

four elementary school students writing at desks in a classroom
CTD Assessment in Schools

Above-Grade-Level Assessment Options for Schools

Helping students reach their full potential is an important mission for educators. Above-grade-level assessments provide essential data and resources to help ensure educators have the tools to fulfill that mission for advanced learners.

Using the above-grade-level assessments and resources (Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT), SAT®, or ACT®) available through CTD, schools gain a more nuanced profile of advanced students’ learning needs. When given as above-grade-level assessments to high-achieving students, the tests reveal the type of content students are ready to learn and assess readiness for acceleration, allowing educators to differentiate instruction to the appropriate level and make well informed decisions about programs and services. But more importantly, CTD Assessment helps schools:

  • Accurately identify academic strengths and learning needs;
  • Analyze and understand the data to address students' learning needs;
  • Determine the level of differentiation or acceleration required for students' growth;
  • Plan programming to support talent development and;
  • Measure the impact of programming.

Learn More

Need Help Getting Started? 

If you would like to work with a CTD staff member to discuss your child’s strengths, interests, or talent development pathway, consider setting up a consultation.

2023 © Northwestern University Center for Talent Development