How do I get into Merit?
South Panola School District serves intellectually-gifted students in 2nd - 12th grades through its Merit classes.
Any student in grades 2-8 may be referred by the district, a teacher, a parent, counselor, administrator, peer, self, or anyone else having reason to believe that the student might be intellectually gifted.
All persons interested in eligibility determination for MERIT class shall contact:
Office of Special Services
SPSD District Office
209 Boothe Street
Batesville, MS 38606
The person initiating the referral shall sign and date it.
Procedures for identifying students for Merit class:
Referrals will be given to the district-wide Local Survey Committee (LSC) which includes, but is not limited to, gifted education teachers and administrators. It may include regular education teachers, school psychologists, or psychometrists, and parents. It should include a special education teacher when a student is being considered for eligibility under the twice-exceptional criteria.
District personnel shall collect the data required to satisfy the district's referral criteria. All measures collected throughout the identification process shall be selected based upon the strengths of the individual student being considered. once the referral has been initiated, signed, and dated, only the LSC or parents can stop the identification process.
The LSC will consider the following information:
- Group measure of intelligence administered within the past twelve months
- Published characteristics of giftedness checklist
- Published measure of creativity
- Published measure of leadership
- Existing measure of individual intelligence administered within the past twelve months
- Mastery of core skills/state curriculum test
Scores must fall at or above the 90th percentile, or in case of the state curriculum test, all scores must be in the advanced category.
Students who meet at least two of the six criteria listed above will be considered for assessment.
Phase I Assessment
At Phase I Assessment the LSC will consider the following information:
- A full-scale score at or above the 90th percentile on a normed group intelligence test
- A score at or above the superior range on a normed characteristics of giftedness checklist
- A score at or above the superior range on a normed measure of leadership
- A score at or above the 90th percentile on a normed measure of cognitive abilities
A score at or above the 90th percentile on Total Language, Total Math, Total Reading, Total Science, Total Social Studies, or Composite on a normed achievement test
A student must met at least three of these six criteria in order to move to Phase II Assessment.
At this time if written permission has not already been obtained, district personnel shall obtain written permission for testing.
Phase II Assessment
After a student has satisfied minimal criteria on at least three measures in Phase I Assessment he moves to Phase II Assessment. The examiner reviews all data on the student and selects the appropriate individual test of intelligence.
No more than one individual test of intelligence shall be administered to a student without an appropriate waiting period between administrations.
A student must score at or above the 90th percentile composite/full-scale to satisfy eligibility criteria.
South Panola School District follows guidelines set forth in the Regulations for Gifted Education Programs in Mississippi (2006)
South Panola School District follows guidelines set forth in the Regulations for Gifted Education programs in Mississippi (2006)
After the Assessment Report is completed the LSC shall review all data and make an eligibility ruling.
District personnel shall notify the parent/guardian in writing about the assessment results and about their rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Students who fall below the cut-off score on the individual intelligence test but are within the standard error of measure will be re-scheduled for individual testing by the district after six months.
At the request of a parent, a student who does not score within the standard error of measure will be re-scheduled for testing by the district after six months. The test examiner, and the date will be assigned by the Office of Special Services.
The school district will evaluate a student only two times. If the second test score falls within the standard error of measure, a third evaluation may be done at the parents' expense by a private examiner; however, the test, the examiner, the date, and the location of the evaluation must be approved through the school's Office of Special Services, 209 Boothe Street, Batesville, MS 662.563.6057 or 662.563.9361.
What do you do in Merit classes?
The skills or "gifted strategies" we use in Merit Class are process skills that can be practiced in any context. The 52 skills fall into 5 categories---creativity, research, communications, thinking/problem-solving, and group dynamics/leadership.
The goal of gifted education programs is development of self-directed learners.
How are students graded in Merit?
Evaluation in Merit Class is based on student growth. Numerical grades are not given. We use checklists, rubrics, and student self-reflection. Each student's notebook serves as a portfolio. Participation and effort are important considerations.
What are the Merit skills?
- Attribute Listing
- Creative Problem Solving
- Creative Writing
- Creative Thinking Skills
- Divergent Thinking
- Fluency, Flexibility, Originality, Elaboration
- Intuitive Reasoning
- Morphological Analysis/Synthesis
- Preparation, Incubation, Illumination, Verification
- Spontaneous Thinking
- Study Skills
- Data Skills/Graphing
- Research Mechanics
- Descriptive Research
- Historical Research
- Scientific Research
- Debating Skills
- Fact and Opinion
- Listening Skills
- Propaganda Techniques
- Speaking Skills
- Writing Skills
- Goal Setting
- Interpersonal Relationship Skills
- Learning Styles
- Leadership Styles
- Group Membership Skills
- Appropriate Decisions
- Peer-Adult Interactions
- Analogical Thinking
- Critical Thinking
- Decision Making
- Deductive Reasoning
- Ethical Awareness/Global Implications
- Evaluation Techniques
- Figural Reasoning
- Higher order Thinking Skills
- Inductive Reasoning
- Interdisciplinary Connections
- Resource person
- Field Experience
- Career Exploration/Life Skills
- Visual/Performing Arts
- Questioning Techniques
Self-Directed Learning/Independent Study
How do I find out more about gifted education?
Visit the Mississippi Association for Gifted Children website for more information.
What is the purpose of gifted education in Mississippi?
The purpose of Mississippi's gifted education programs is to ensure that gifted children who demonstrate unusually high potential as described in the definitions below are identified and offered an appropriate education based upon their exceptional abilities. Because of their unusual capabilities, they require uniquely qualitatively different educational experiences not available in the regular classroom. These uniquely different programs are required to enable gifted students to realize their abilities and potential contributions to self and society.
How does the state define the various types of giftedness?
Intellectually Gifted Children shall mean those children and youth who are found to have an exceptionally high degree of intelligence as documented through the identification process.
The Jacob Javits Act (PL 107-110 sec. 9101) declares that intellectual ability and academic ability are two distinct and separate areas of performance. Accordingly, while grades and/or achievement test scores might be an indicator of giftedness, neither grades nor achievement test scores shall eliminate a student from the identification process for the intellectually gifted program. Grades and/or achievement test scores are more appropriately an indicator of academic giftedness. Many intellectually gifted students are not going to be high achieving, teacher pleasing students.
Academically Gifted Children shall mean those children and youth who are found to have an exceptionally high degree of demonstrated academic ability as documented through the identification process.
Artistically Gifted Children shall mean those children and youth who are found to have an exceptionally high degree of creativity and an exceptionally high degree of ability in the visual arts as documented though the identification process.
Creatively Gifted Children shall mean those children and youth who are found to have an exceptionally high degree of creativity and an exceptionally high degree of ability in the performing arts as documented through the identification process.
Gifted Education Programs (GEP) shall mean special programs of instruction for intellectually gifted children in grades 2-12, academically gifted children in grades 9-12, artistically gifted children in grades 2-12, and/or creatively gifted children in grades 2-12 in the public elementary and secondary schools of this state. Such programs shall be designed to meet the individual needs of gifted children and shall be in addition to and different from the regular program of instruction provided by the district.
What services does Mississippi provide for gifted children?
The Mississippi Gifted Education Act of 1989, as amended in 1993, mandates that each public school district within the state provide gifted education programs for intellectually gifted students in grades 2-6. All local public school systems may have gifted education programs for intellectually gifted students in grades 7-12, artistically gifted students in grades 2-12, creatively gifted students in grades 2-12, and/or academically gifted students in grades 9-12, subject to the approval of the State Board of Education.