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(updated information as of  January 2022)                                                       

The San Mateo-Foster City School District offers testing for actively enrolled 3rd and 5th grade students for our district GATE program. For 2022 the GATE assessment will be held at each school site during the regular school day between February 22nd - March 4th.  If you have questions about, or are unsure whether your child should take the assessment, please contact your child’s teacher. Please note: This Test is Optional and you should only sign your child up to take the test if you want to see if they are eligible for the SMFCSD GATE program.


What is the GATE Program in SMFCSD?

GATE stands for Gifted and Talented Education. In the SMFCSD we have a self-contained class for 4th-5th graders at College Park Elementary School. Our program continues at Bayside Academy for 6th-8th graders who are identified for the program.


When is the GATE assessment?

The District GATE assessment testing window will occur between February 22nd - March 4th.  Each school site will determine their specific test date(s) to take place during the test window. Families who register their child to take the assessment, will receive notice of site test date(s) on Feb. 17th. Assessments are given only to students who presently, are actively attending school in one of our SMFCSD schools, at the 3rd or 5th grade level.


How do I register my child to take the GATE Assessment?

If you would like your child to take the GATE Assessment, please complete this form by Friday, February 11th at 3:00 pm.  After the registration period has closed, an email confirming test date(s) for your school site will be sent to you by the evening of Thursday, February 17th from the district office. 

This sign-up form cannot be used for students who are not actively attending school at one of our district schools at this time.  If you are new or returning to our district after a break in attendance, please check back in mid May 2022 to see if we will have the opportunity to provide assessment to pre-enrolled students.  Pre-enrolled students, who will begin 4th or 6th grade at one of our district schools in August of 2022 will be contacted directly, if we are able to offer the assessment to incoming students.

Again, 2022 Assessment Registration Closes at 3:00pm, February 11th (Fri).   (currently active students only)


What assessment is being used to identify students for the GATE program?

There is not one way to assess giftedness and it is not our intention to do so with one assessment. SMFCSD will administer the CogAT Screening Assessment, Form 8, in order to identify students for our GATE program. This assessment includes questions measuring quantitative, verbal and non-verbal reasoning. We selected this assessment to provide a more comprehensive analysis of student performance. The assessment is administered in-person only, and on district-issued Chromebooks at your child’s school. Although this is an untimed assessment, most students seem to finish within 45-60 minutes.


Test Directions in Spanish

Students will have the option to have the directions read to them in Spanish. If you would like your child to have this accommodation, please indicate that on the registration form.  This accommodation can only be provided if you indicate in your registration form. We may not be able to provide this accommodation if requested on the day of the test.


Are students selected to take the assessment or can I opt my child in?

It is our goal to ensure that any 3rd or 5th grader who might do well on the assessment has the opportunity to take it. Any parent/guardian can sign up their child to take this assessment, as long as the child is actively enrolled in one of our district schools at the time of the regular assessment window.


How can I prepare my child for the GATE assessment?

The best thing to do is to ensure your child is happy and healthy. There is no test-prep. The more stressed your child is, the harder the test will be for them.


When will I find out if my child is being invited to the GATE program?

Letters will be emailed the week of March 25th letting you know if your child will be invited to the GATE class along with your child’s assessment results.


What if my child is invited to the GATE class and I want them to go? Do they need a transfer?

Admission to the GATE program is separate from the SMFCSD transfer process, and is considered an administrative placement. If your child is invited to join the GATE class, and you decide it is the best placement, you will be given directions on how to enroll, as well as a site tour date. We will invite students until the class is filled to the district average (28-30 students).


Please do not contact your child’s school with questions about these GATE Assessment procedures. All procedures are handled through the District Office.  Brianne Bishop can be contacted via email if you have additional questions.


General Information about GATE services and funding in California

Our students are prepared to positively impact a dynamic and diverse world as they:

  • Develop life and career skills through academic excellence and personal wellness
  • Become critical thinkers while taking responsible risks in their learning
  • Acquire and exchange knowledge through collaboration and effective communication
  • Utilize creativity and technology to maximize their potential
  • Demonstrate socially responsible citizenship

Prior to 2001, GATE was seen as a program that offered a different curriculum to students who met a particular set of criteria (determined by each district as GATE has not been a mandated program in California).  At the beginning of this millennium, a new paradigm emerged from the passage of AB2313, and services for gifted students became an integral part of the core curriculum, resulting in improved teaching and learning for everyone. 

A decade and a half later, the adoption of the Common Core State Standards promises to enhance that core curriculum with literacy standards aimed at developing students who are college and career ready in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language.   From the California Department of Education Website, Students who are college and career ready in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language:

  • Demonstrate independence
  • Build strong content knowledge
  • Respond to the varying demands of audience, task, purpose, and discipline
  • Comprehend as well as critique
  • Value evidence
  • Use technology and digital media strategically and capably
  • Come to understand other perspectives and cultures

Similarly, math standards call for content to be connected as students engage in mathematical tasks.  These connections are essential to support the development of students’ broader mathematical understanding (to develop mathematical giftedness in students).  The Standards for Mathematical Practice are summarized as:

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  • Model with mathematics
  • Use appropriate tools strategically
  • Attend to precision
  • Look for and make use of structure
  • Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning


Information in this website is based on the following resources

1Booster, M., Clark, B., Gosfield, M., Kerr, J., & Littrell, B.  (2006). CAG Position Paper: Highly and Profoundly Gifted Children.  Sacramento:  California Association for the Gifted.

1Booster, M., Clark, B., Gosfield, M., Kerr, J., & Littrell, B.  (2008). The Leadership Challenge: A Guidebook for Administrators.  Sacramento:  California Association for the Gifted.

Additional References:

Clark, B. (2008).  Growing up gifted (7th ed.).  Columbus, OH: Merrill/Prentice-Hall.

Davis, G., & Rimm, S. (2004) Education of the gifted and talented (5th ed.).  Boston:  Allyn & Bacon.

Gross, M. (1993).  Exceptionally gifted children.  New York:  Routledge.

Kaplan, S. & Gould, B. (2003).  Depth and Complexity Icon Cards.  Los Angeles:  Educator to Educator

Silverman, L. K.  (1993).  Counseling the gifted and talented.  Denver, CO:  Love.