K-1 Holistic Learners

What are Holistic Learners?

Students at the kindergarten and first grade level who exhibit highly capable tendencies may qualify as holistic learners. This is not part of our formal highly capable services.

Families of Holistic learners receive a letter that they are part of a “watch list” for their learning potential. Teachers also receive this information and provide differentiated instruction by modifying the content, depth, or pace of a lesson. For students who screen as part of the “watch list” for holistic learner services, differentiated instruction is designed to accelerate and enrich academic instruction.

Teachers plan and facilitate lessons for holistic students using grade-level curriculum. Teachers may construct lessons and materials to meet the needs of a diverse learning community, including holistic students.


How are students identified for Holistic Learner tendencies?

In the first half of the school year, all enrolled kindergarten students participate in the WaKIDS process and take the Naglieri Non-Verbal Ability Test (NNAT3). The Accelerated Models and Programs Department reviews data from both of these tools as part of the annual highly capable eligibility process. You can learn more about the NNAT3 and WaKIDS on our Instruments page: Instruments.

In order to qualify for holistic services, kindergarten students must meet at least one of the following criteria or qualify under the WAC 392-170-055:

  • NNAT3: 95th percentile or higher. (This is equivalent to a Naglieri Ability Index of 126.)
  • WaKIDS: A score of 9 or higher on at least one of the six focus areas. 
    • Persistence
    • Problem Solving
    • Emergent Reading Skills
    • Counting
    • Quantifying
    • Connecting Numerals and Quantities

Do I need to register my Kindergartener for any tests?

We screen all currently-enrolled kindergartners for holistic learner tendencies. You do not have to register your student for testing. After testing is complete, our department will contact you with your student's results.


How will I know if my student is a Holistic Learner?

When the Accelerated Models and Programs Department finishes reviewing data for all kindergartners, they will mail letters home to families.  These letters include a score report and students' holistic learner status. The letter will let you know if your student is on the “watch list” for their learning potential.


How long is my student a Holistic Learner?

We will notify teachers who their holistic learners are during the second half of kindergarten through the end of first grade. Students considered holistic learners (as well as all other first graders) will participate in the universal screening and eligibility process again in first grade for entry into our formal highly capable services beginning in second grade.