REACH ID & Appeal

Identification Overview

The majority of District 205 students are best served in the general classroom. Students who demonstrate an extraordinary aptitude for learning, or a degree of readiness to learn at particularly high levels, are identified for REACH. The criterion used to evaluate the aptitude of students include, but are not limited to, multiple standardized instruments. This is in an effort to identify students who perform at a high level and those who demonstrate a potential for high performance in academic settings, whether enrichment in the area of ELA and/or acceleration in Mathematics.

All students in grades 2 and 5 are screened for REACH beginning in grades 3 and 6, respectively. The following academic data are analyzed:

  • NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP): MAP is a nationally-normed criterion-referenced achievement test.

  • Cognitive Ability Test (CogAT): CogAT is a standardized assessment measuring learned reasoning and problem-solving ability.

  • Teacher Observations: teachers provide feedback regarding students' progression along grade-level standards.

Identification reflects local performance, or in other words, a student's performance in comparison to his/her Elmhurst District 205 grade-level peers. Students consistently demonstrating above-grade-level performance are identified for REACH. Notifications are sent to students who qualify for programming.

Families of students identified for REACH programming are notified via SchoolMessenger by February 1.

Students New to District 205

Students who are new to Elmhurst District 205 are considered for REACH based on available assessment and performance data. Previous gifted identification and/or placement in another school system does not guarantee placement into Elmhurst District 205 REACH. New students should provide the district with any standardized assessment results from a previous district, which may include, but are not limited to NWEA MAP, OLSAT, CogAT, IOWA, etc. In the event that standardized assessment data is not available, screening assessments are administered by District 205 staff.


Students mature and grow at different rates, and a change in placement may be warranted later in a student's academic career. However, earning a high grade in a particular course or wanting more challenge does not necessitate REACH placement; in most cases, a high grade is indicative of appropriate placement and strong success in the current course.

Students who are identified for REACH consistently demonstrate above grade-level performance. For students demonstrating a need for academic extension or acceleration that is beyond the regular classroom, parents, teachers, or administrators may submit an Application for REACH Appeal. Appeals are considered and reviewed each Spring for identification and placement beginning in the next school year.

The following academic data are reviewed by a committee comprised of teachers and administrators:

  • NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)
  • Cognitive Ability Test (CogAT)
  • Fountas & Pinnell (F&P) reading level
  • District 205 Common grade-level assessments
  • Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) test
  • Student work (e.g. writing sample or problem set)

Applications for Appeal may be submitted by a parent, teacher, or administrator once per school year. Applications for Appeal are available following the release of REACH notifications each year. Appeal decisions are final for the subsequent school year.