By Paul D. Slocumb, Ed.D.

When the demographics of district vary greatly from campus-to-campus, or when the district’s demographics are not similar to that represented in a national representative sample, local districts need to consider developing their own local norms in the gifted/talented identification process.  The following information is designed to guide district personnel through the process of making decisions and performing the calculations necessary to establish local performance norms.

When do I establish a campus norm versus a district norm?

If a school district has attendance zones within the district that cluster students who are significantly different from the overall population than it is appropriate to consider local campus norms.  For example, if the overall district has a low SES population of 30 percent, but a given campus in that district has 50 percent low SES students, then that campus is not typical of the overall district.  Without the use of local campus norms, students on the campus(es) with high numbers of low SES students would not be able to compete against more affluent students on other campuses.   This makes it appropriate to establish a local norm for that campus.  If local campus norms are not used, some campuses may end up with very few students who meet the district’s criteria for the gifted/talented program.  If the campuses within a district are similar in their demographics, then district data may be used to establish district norms.

What kinds of data can be normed at the local campus level?

 Any student performance data can be normed at the campus level.  School personnel can take students’ performance scores at a given grade level and norm that performance data.

Where do I start?

 Select the performance tasks that you wish to use on the Preponderance of Evidence grid.  The performance tasks could be those mentioned in the book, Removing the Mask: Giftedness in Poverty by Paul D. Slocumb, Ed.D. and Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D., or some other instruments the local district has selected.  Make a decision about the point distribution that is to be used on the grid.  To implement the process advocated in Removing the Mask: Giftedness in Poverty, the total points distributed on the grid must equal 66 points.  Therefore, some instruments might receive points on a 5-point continuum while others might be on a 3-point continuum.  This is a local decision.  The key is that they must equal 66 points because the Environmental Opportunities Profile is a maximum of 66 points.

Below is a sample grid in which the points are distributed on a 5-point scale.

5 4 3 2 1

How do I determine the distribution of scores?

Have student complete the performance task selected.   Let’s say that the activity used is scored on a scale of 0 to 100.  After the students’ performance has been scored, rank the students’ scores from high to low.  Putting the student data in an Excel spreadsheet can greatly reduce the amount of time personnel spend with this task.  Let’s also assume that 50 students are represented in the data collected.  Rank the performance of those 50 students from high to low.  The following is an example of such a ranking.

Student # Raw


1 97
2 97
3 97
4 93
5 93
6 89
7 89
8 89
9 89
10 88
11 84
12 84
13 84
14 84
15 84
16 80
17 81
18 81
19 81
20 81
21 81
22 80
23 80
24 80
25 79
Student #’s cont. Raw Scores cont.
26 79
27 78
28 78
29 75
30 75
31 70
32 70
33 70
34 70
35 70
36 68
37 68
38 68
39 63
40 63
41 63
42 63
43 52
44 50
45 49
46 44
47 35
48 35
49 34
50 25

Determine how many students would be in the top 25 percent (top quartile of those students tested). The top 25 percent of the students is used so that more students receive points on the grid.  Some of these students may receive 1 or 2 points on the section of the grid and no points on other sections.  By collecting the data on the top 25 percent, the net is cast a little larger tin order to find those students who may excel in some areas while not in others.  Their overall performance, however, could qualify them for the program.

Since there is a sample of 50 students, the top quartile would be 12.5 students.  Rounding the number up, the top 13 scores will be distributed on the grid.  Look at the score of student #13.  That student has a score of 84.  Students 14 and 15 also have scores of 84.  Therefore, all of these students are going to receive points on the grid.

To determine the point spread, take the highest possible score (which would be 100 and subtract 84. The difference is 16.  Divide 16 by 5 and you get 3.2.  Points on the grid will be distributed on a scale of 3 to 4 points.  Since no student scored in the 100 to 98 range, it is advisable to put the extra point in the top range of the grid.  Thus, 5 points would be given to students who scored 100-96, 4 points to those scoring 95-93, 3 points to those scoring 92-90, 2 points to those scoring 89-87, and 1 points to those scoring 86-84.  The grid would then look as follows.

5 4 3 2 1
100-96 95-93 92-90 89-87 86-84

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