Advanced Learning

Advanced Learning - Enrichment. Extension. Experiences.

Dr. Andrew Kutscher
Supervisor K-12

Dr. Andrew Kutscher

Lisa Kappel
Administrative Assistant
P: 770-426-3324
F: 678-594-8581


Angela Wilson
Consultant K-12

Tracy Matthews
Consultant K-12


The Vision of the Advanced Learning Programs Department is to promote rigorous curricular content in conjunction with critical inquiry, creativity, communication of complex thoughts, and an authentic approach to learning. We support the balance of curricular depth and breadth while fostering the development of academic habits and skills.

The goals of Cobb’s Advanced Learning Programs Department are:

  • Develop cognitive skills
  • Develop affective skills
  • Extend and enrich the Georgia Standards of Excellence

Advanced Learning - Talent Development & Identification

Advanced Learning - Talent Development and Identification

Gifted Learner Services

The Cobb County School District provides services for identified gifted students at all grade levels that are designed to meet the specific academic needs of gifted students. Cobb adheres to the rules and regulations established by the Georgia Department of Education for identification and service of gifted learners.

The Gifted Learner Program provides services for identified gifted students at all grade levels. Gifted services are designed to meet the specific academic needs of gifted students by emphasizing the following competencies:

  • Critical and creative thinking

  • Higher order reasoning

  • Comprehensive and thorough research skills

  • Advanced and accelerated academics

The requirements for identifying and placing students in the gifted program are governed by Georgia State Department of Education Rule 160-4-2-.3.

Please contact your local school for specific information about available gifted program services.

Gifted Evaluation Process

All gifted assessments in the Cobb County School District adhere to the rules and regulations established by the Georgia Department of Education. There are three steps in the process of identification and placement of students into the gifted program: referral, assessment, and determination of eligibility.

The referral process is the first step of the gifted services eligibility process. A referral may come from teachers, parents, students, or as the result of system wide testing. Referrals are reviewed by each school’s local eligibility committee to determine whether further assessment of a student for gifted eligibility is appropriate.

Students are assessed in four areas: mental ability, achievement, creativity, and motivation. Instruments include nationally normed tests, rating scales, and other approved measures. All assessments comply with state rules and regulations. Once assessment is complete, the data is evaluated for determination of eligibility.

Determination of Eligibility
Eligibility may be established in one of two ways:

  • Option A: The student must meet eligibility requirements in both Mental Ability and Achievement:

    • Mental Ability: 99th percentile (K-2) or 96th percentile (3-12) on a standardized test of mental ability – Composite Score only

    • Achievement: 90th percentile in total battery, total reading, or total math section of a standardized achievement battery

  • Option B: The student must meet eligibility requirements in three of the four following areas:

    • Mental Ability: 96th percentile on a standardized test of mental ability –approved component or composite score

    • Achievement: 90th percentile in total battery, total reading, or total math section of a standardized achievement battery

    • Creativity: 90th percentile / 90 percent on a creativity assessment or rating scale

    • Motivation: 90th percentile / 90 percent on a motivation evaluation or rating scale OR for grades 7-12 only, a GPA equivalent to a 3.5 on a 4.0 scale

NOTE: A rating scale can only be used to establish eligibility in one area.

Transfer Students:

  • In-State Transfers: Any student who meets the eligibility criteria for gifted education services in Georgia is considered eligible to receive gifted education services in Cobb County upon verification of records.

  • Out-of-State and Out-of-District Transfers: There is no mandated reciprocity between states for gifted eligibility. Outside data must be considered when determining eligibility but does not automatically supplant school-generated data.

Delivery Models

All schools may not offer all options listed below – contact your local school for more information on course offerings and placement requirements.

  • Resource Class – All students are identified as gifted according to Georgia State Board of Education criteria. Examples: ES Target, MS Resource class, HS gifted electives

  • Advanced Content / Honors – Students are homogeneously grouped on the basis of academic performance/achievement in a specific academic content area. Classes include gifted and highly-able students who have demonstrated exceptional ability and motivation in a particular content area as determined by criteria.

    • Elementary Advanced Content courses in reading/ELA and math are available at most schools.

    • Middle and high school advanced content/ honors levels courses are available in core content areas. High school courses taught in the middle schools are also considered AC/ Honors level courses.

    • High schools may offer honors classes, Advanced Placement/AP classes (9th – 12th grade) and/or International Baccalaureate/IB classes (11th and 12th grade).

  • Cluster Grouping – Identified gifted students are placed as a group (recommended 5-8 students) into an otherwise heterogeneous classroom, rather than being dispersed among classes at that grade level.

  • Collaborative Teaching (K-12) – A maximum of eight identified gifted students are placed as a group into an otherwise heterogeneous classroom. Direct instruction is provided by the students’ regular classroom teacher who collaborates with a designated gifted teacher.

  • Continuation of Gifted Services – Students identified as gifted shall receive at least five segments per week (or the yearly equivalent) of gifted education services. Cobb County sets continued participation guidelines. Probation allows for students to receive interventions when their performance in any gifted service class falls below continuation criteria. Discontinuation of service occurs when a student no longer demonstrates a need for any gifted service.

Continued Participation

Elementary School

  • Resource
    Acceptable progress in the gifted resource classroom is defined as maintaining a majority of S’s and P’s each semester. Students must also earn at least one S per standard in 7 out of 10 standards over the course of the year.
    Elementary gifted resource students will receive a Target Progress Report provided they are in attendance approximately 65% of the classes offered each semester. Quarterly feedback is provided as needed. At the end of the 4th quarter, student performance for the entire year will be reviewed. The annual review section at the bottom of the progress report will indicate services for the following year. The gifted resource teacher must notify students and their parent/guardian if data indicates probation is a possibility.

Middle School

  • Advanced Content
    Acceptable progress is determined separately for each advanced content area in which a student is served and is defined as:

    • Maintaining a grade average of 80 or higher in the advanced content class for which gifted service is provided.

    • Meeting standards on the state required competency test in the content area for which gifted service is provided.

High School

  • Advanced Content
    Acceptable progress is determined separately for each advanced content area in which student is served and is defined as:

    • Maintaining a semester grade average of 74 or higher in the advanced content class for which gifted service is provided.


Elementary: When the student’s performance does not meet the Cobb County criteria for continued participation, a student may be placed on probation. The student’s probationary status remains in effect for a minimum of 18 weeks for elementary; continuation past 18 weeks requires LEC consultation. Probation may carry over from one grade to the next with the exception of school level changes (elementary resource class to middle school AC course).

Secondary: For middle school, a student’s probationary status remains in effect for a minimum of 18 weeks. For high school, probation remains in effect until the end of the course.

Note for elementary resource model: The LEC may place a student on probation for the following year if the student did not meet standards on a state competency test and the lack of performance can be linked to missed regular education instructional hours while in the gifted resource room. A record of intervention should be completed for any child receiving gifted services who does not meet standards on any portion of the state competency test.

Discontinuation of Gifted Services

  • Services may be discontinued due to student performance or by parent request.

Due to performance:

All levels: A student’s progress and performance during probation will determine if gifted service is discontinued. There must be documented evidence of an implemented intervention plan.

Elementary School: Gifted service must be discontinued for a minimum of 18 weeks before any reconsideration of service can occur.

Middle School: Discontinuation of service occurs only when a student no longer demonstrates a need for any advanced content class.

High School: Discontinuation of service occurs only when a student no longer demonstrates a need for any advanced content class. Gifted students not receiving gifted service through AP, Honors, gifted resource class, IB, or dual enrollment for more than two consecutive semesters must be discontinued from service.

Parent Request/Voluntary Discontinuation

A parent may request a student be removed from gifted service at any time by providing written notification. Gifted service in elementary resource must be discontinued for a minimum of 18 weeks before any reconsideration of service can occur, barring extenuating circumstances.


Once identified eligible for gifted service in the state of Georgia, students are not required to re-establish gifted eligibility regardless of the length of break in service. All re-entry decisions are made on an individual basis by the Central Eligibility Committee.

Breaks in service occur when:

  • A student has been removed from gifted service due to academic performance.

  • A student has been removed from gifted service due to parent request.

  • A student has a change in enrollment status (i.e. residence, private school, etc.).

Elementary students served in a resource classroom whose break in service was due to academic performance or parent request may be reconsidered after 18 weeks. Middle and High School students may request re-entry when performance indicates the need for advanced coursework. Students whose break in service was due to an enrollment change may be re-entered immediately. Academic performance during the break in service will be considered in the re-entry decision.


Talent Development (ES)

Gifted teachers may offer talent development services at some schools in order to address the needs of high ability learners and provide opportunities for all students to learn to think critically and creatively. Contact your local school for further information.


Advanced Learning - Academic Rigor

Advanced Learning - Academic Rigor

Advanced Content and Honors (ES/MS/HS)

Elementary students may participate in advanced content classes in English/Language Arts and Math; secondary grade students may enroll in advanced content/honors classes in ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Foreign Language. These courses include more complex subject matter at an accelerated pace. The ALP department works with subject area supervisors to review and revise honors level curriculum. For questions regarding content curriculum, contact the content supervisor. Inquiries regarding qualification and placement for AC/honors courses should be directed to the local school.

Magnet Programs

The Cobb County School District recognizes that students who demonstrate exceptional potential in a specific area may benefit from a specialized program. Cobb’s magnet programs allow high school students to pursue their interests, develop their talents, and extend their competencies beyond the usual scope of high school.

Magnet Program Information



Whole Grade Acceleration (ES/MS)

Parents/Guardians of students who exceed current grade level expectations and standards may request to have their child considered for whole grade acceleration (grade skipping). Local schools adhere to Cobb’s Board-approved acceleration policy to identify students whose needs cannot be met at their current academic grade level. Contact your local school for further information.


Advanced Learning - Post-Secondary Education

Advanced Learning - Post Secondary Education

Advanced Placement (AP)

Advanced Placement (AP®) courses provide high school students a college-level academic experience. The College Board partners with colleges and universities to develop an appropriately challenging curriculum, to create college-level assessments, and to train teachers to deliver instruction that meets college-level standards.

The College Board offers AP courses in English, math, social studies, science, foreign language, technology and fine arts. The scope and variety of courses meet every student’s interests and academic needs.

Cobb county students participate in a variety of Advanced Placement Courses. The following is a sample of AP courses offered in Cobb county schools. Course offerings may vary from school to school.


Click here for a list of study and preparation resources (Georgia Virtual, Khan Academy, EdX, etc.)

AP exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5. Many of the nation’s colleges and universities award credit or advanced standing to students scoring 3 or higher on exams. Student should contact specific institutions for details. All Cobb AP students are expected to take the AP exam.


  • Most two- and four- year institutions offer credit, advanced placement, and/or consideration in the admission process for qualifying AP Exam scores.

  • AP examinees, particularly those taking two or three AP Exams, were more likely to attend a four-year institution than non-AP examinees. Chajewski, Mattern, & Shaw (2011).

  • AP examinees, particularly those earning course credit or scoring a 3 or higher, attended more selective institutions and had higher college-level GPAs and higher freshman-year retention rates than non-AP examinees. Hargrove, Godin, & Dodd (2008) Murphy & Dodd (2009) Mattern, Shaw, & Xiong (2009)

  • AP examinees, especially those scoring a 3 or higher, were more likely to graduate from college than non-AP examinees; the finding held across race/ethnicity and income groups. Dougherty, Mellor, & Jian (2006) Hargrove, Godin, & Dodd (2008)

Advanced Placement Links for Parents & Students:

College Board Links

State of Georgia Links

 Learn more information about Advanced Placement® Programs from The College Board.


Governor’s Honors Program (GHP)

The Georgia Governor’s Honors Program (GHP) is a four-week summer residential instructional program designed to provide intellectually gifted and artistically talented high school students challenging and enriching educational opportunities not usually available during the regular school year. The state level Governor’s Honors Program (GHP) Interview Event is by invitation only for state semi-finalists. The selection process begins with local school competitions in early fall.


  • Students interview at the local school level

  • Selected students interview at the system (county) level

  • County ‘winners’ complete the state application process

  • The state selects semi-finalists

  • Semi-finalists interviewed by state

  • State names finalists

Cobb’s county level interview process is similar to the state GHP interview system and provides only one date and one format for county level interviews. The date for county level interviews is set several months before county level interviews. The interview process may vary based on the area of major study.

Please contact your local high school for more information regarding the GHP interview process.

Visit the State Governor’s Honors Program Website


Dual Enrollment

Georgia’s dual enrollment program allows high school students to earn college credit while working on their high school diploma. This new program makes it easier to take advantage of the available options to enroll in college courses while still in high school. Students must meet the MOWR/dual enrollment admissions requirements set by the participating postsecondary institution they wish to attend. More information is available from the links below and your school guidance counselor.

Cobb Dual Enrollment


Helpful Videos


Gifted Characteristics


Gifted Eligibility Process


Summer Opportunities



Various summer opportunities are listed below. Interested students should research these opportunities and contact the organizations directly.

Atlanta Bar Association


Bank Of America Student Leaders


CDC Museum, Disease Detective Camp


Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta VolunTEEN and Explorer Programs


The Neuroscience School: Short Courses for High School Students


Research & Engineering Apprenticeship Program (REAP)


Summer Scholars Research Program (Emory: Winship Cancer Institute)


TAG-Ed Summer Internship Program


UGA Young Scholars Program


WellStar Kennestone VolunTEEN Program


Georgia Tech Summer Engineering Institute (SEI)


Compiled by the Advanced Learning Programs Department January, 2018


Additional Resources


Online Resources

Disclaimer: Listings of resources do not indicate either knowledge of or an endorsement of any organization, company, or individual. Many of these sites were obtained from the GAGC site.


College/University Programs

Journals and Articles

Books, Articles, and Games


Enrichment Resources