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    Advanced Learning Decision Appeals

    Parents/Guardians of students who participate in the eligibility evaluation process may appeal the decision of the Multidisciplinary Selection Committee (MSC). Families of students who receive the results of Not Eligible for Advanced Learning services and programs, or eligible for Advanced Learner or Continuing Advanced Learner may appeal the committee's decision.

    Please read through this process carefully, and note that we do not offer appeals of appeals. Appeals decisions are final; there are no appeals of appeals.  If your student is deemed ineligible, you may refer the student again for retesting the next year.

    Timeframe to Appeal

    Appeals must be received in the Advanced Learning Office within three weeks from the decision date as posted on the Source (for current SPS students) or on the USPS post-mark (for non-SPS students). No extensions will be made.

    What to Include in the Appeal

    Appeals should contain a signed letter of explanation for the appeal as well as compelling information demonstrating that the test scores in the student’s eligibility decision notification are not representative of the child's abilities in the areas that did not meet the initial eligibility criteria. Additional current cognitive and/or achievement test results may be submitted in the appeal. This information will be reviewed as an added data point in conjunction with the scores reported on the eligibility notification.

    Please note: We only accept complete appeals packets. We will not add any information once the appeal paperwork is submitted. Please make sure it is complete before you send it.

    For families who choose to appeal and who qualify for the free or reduced lunch program, SPS will provide in-house testing during the appeals process free of charge.

    It is important to note that a successful appeal for HC eligibility will need to include supporting evidence that the student qualifies as “Most Highly Capable” or “Highly Gifted.”

    Those qualifications usually indicate that the student’s scores approach three standard deviations (approximately 99.6%) above the norm on standardized cognitive and achievement tests. This threshold does represent a higher standard than that required for initial eligibility because the student has been given the benefit of individually administered assessments. Students who meet the published cognitive and achievement test threshold scores are not guaranteed a successful appeal. All documents submitted for the appeal will be considered in conjunction with all other academic performance data, including, but not limited to: recent achievement assessments, classroom performance, and teacher input.

    Appeal Packet Guidelines

    An appeal should include a signed statement from the parent/guardian with the student's name, ID number, and referral number. You will need to provide compelling information demonstrating that the decision of the MSC should be reconsidered.

    What could you include?

    Results of additional assessments.

    • Qualifying fall or winter achievement scores in math and reading when available may be used to support an appeal. There must be documented math and/or reading scores at or above the 87th percentile (for Advanced Learner eligibility) and above the 99th percentile (for Highly Capable eligibility) from nationally normed achievement tests administered within the last 12 months
    • Additional assessments must cover all areas needed for the desired eligibility category. Depending on the test scores in your eligibility notification, parents may consider providing cognitive tests and/or reading and math achievement tests through privately administered testing. Click here for more information on using Private Evaluators to support your appeal.
    • Seattle Public Schools will provide in-house appeals testing for families who qualify for the free or reduced lunch program. 

    Written teacher comments. Teacher comments can be compelling when they provide data and specific information about your child's exceptional performance such as specific skill levels in reading and math and the results of recent classroom assessments.

    How To Submit: We do not accept emailed or faxed appeals. Complete appeals packets (including the the signed cover letter, and all supporting documents) must be mailed to the address below, or placed in the Advanced Learning box in the lobby of the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence. There is a Date/Time Stamp available in the lobby. Submit no more than 10 pages, no larger than 8 1/2" by 11", no notebooks, plastic covers, plastic sleeves or fasteners. Submitted materials are not returned.

    Mail appeals to:
    Advanced Learning
    MS 32-936
    PO Box 34165
    Seattle, WA 98124-1165

    Drop Appeal off in the Advanced Learning Box on the counter during business hours (M-F, 8:30-4:30):
    JSCEE
    2445 3rd Ave. S.
    Seattle, WA 98134

    The following table below details the information needed if providing additional assessments for an appeal.

    Eligibility Guidelines for an Appeal
    (Private evaluators are required to furnish a copy of their current Washington State license)

    Eligibility Category
    Grade When Tested
    COGNITIVE
    Full Scale IQ or GAI. Please send complete report including all scores from nationally-normed intelligence test.*
    ACHIEVEMENT
    Broad reading and math standard scores on a nationally-normed achievement test**
    Enrollment Options
    Highly Capable
    K-8
    99.6% 
    or above
    99.6%
    or above
    Highly Capable Services (Grades K-8), including Highly Capable Cohort (HCC) (Grades 1-8)
    AL/Spectrum (Grades 1-8)
    IBX at Ingraham (Grade 9)
    Advanced Learning
    K-7
    87th percentile or higher
    87th percentile or higher
    Advanced Learner/Spectrum
    (Grades 1-8)

    *Approved Intelligence tests include the WISC-IV, the WISC-V, the Stanford-Binet V, or the WPPSI. The Appeals Committee will consider results from privately administered intelligence tests that have been completed within the last three years. Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores from the ERB if done in a school setting within the previous 12 months.


    **Approved standardized achievement tests (Grade Norms) include the Woodcock-Johnson IV Achievement, the current WIAT and KTEA. ERBs, MAP (except for K), and other standardized nationally-normed reading and math achievement tests done in a school setting may also be submitted. Only achievements tests that have been completed within the previous 12 months are acceptable. (Tests of early reading skills are not acceptable. HC eligibility requires advanced word reading and reading comprehension skills.)

    Most Common Reasons for Unsuccessful Appeals

    There are three common reasons for unsuccessful appeals.

    Reason 1: The additional testing information submitted did NOT demonstrate performance levels in ALL areas needed for program qualification. (The most common error is to only provide cognitive/intelligence test assessments when both cognitive AND reading and math achievement tests are required. Please review your child's test scores and read the chart above carefully.)

    Reason 2: The evidence provided was insufficient to support a decision change.

    Reason 3: No evidence was provided beyond a cover letter asking to appeal the original decision resulting in insufficient information to support a decision change.

    If you've not received your appeals decision by the start of the Open Enrollment cycle, we recommend that you enroll as if your appeal will be successful, ranking your choices in the desired order. If your appeal is not successful, those choices for which your child is not eligible will be dropped automatically by the Admissions office. See the Enrollment Forms.

    Appeals decisions are final; there are no appeals of appeals.

    Private assessments are not accepted as the basis of initial eligibility; all students MUST participate in the district testing cycle.

    Open Enrollment Timeline

    The Open Enrollment is the best time to apply for the school and program you desire for next fall. If you have not yet received an Advanced Learning eligibility decision, or if you are appealing that decision, you should still apply for the school and program you hope to attend. Read more about Seattle Public Schools Open Enrollment