LAUSD Gifted and Magnet Programs - The OLSAT
Read about LAUSD GATE programs, including Gifted/High Ability Magnet Centers. Learn about which programs require students to take the OLSAT, as well as more gifted education opportunities in Los Angeles.
Identifying Gifted/Talented StudentsThe Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has a wide variety of Gifted/Talented programs available. To be eligible for one of these programs, children must first be identified as gifted. Under the LAUSD Gifted/Talented heading, children fall into seven different categories:
- Intellectual Category
- Specific Academic Ability Category
- High Achievement Category
- Creative Ability Category
- Visual Arts Ability Category
- Performing Arts Ability Category
- Leadership Ability Category
Identification for some of these categories may involve standardized testing. For example, to be placed in the High Achievement Category, students must perform well on the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT). The OLSAT is administered to all second graders at all LAUSD schools during the months of March and April. Children will receive their scores in the mail approximately two months later. Students who score in the 95th percentile or higher are identified in the High Achievement Category and will be eligible for certain gifted programs. Once a child is identified as gifted, that student will remain in the gifted category as long as they are in the LAUSD system.
For information about preparing for the OLSAT, see our OLSAT Practice Tests.
Gifted/Talented ProgramsThere are three different types of Gifted/Talented programs in LAUSD for which the OLSAT may be necessary:
- Magnets for gifted and highly gifted students
- Schools for Advanced Studies (SAS)
- Cluster programs
1. Gifted/High Ability Magnet CentersGifted/High Ability Magnet Centers are highly regarded in the Los Angeles area. These schools often receive thousands of applicants for only a couple hundred available seats. Gifted/High Ability Magnet Centers are designed for gifted students who show abilities to work two years above their grade level. These centers place students in a challenging and mentally stimulating academic environment.
Students who wish to apply must meet at least one of three requirements. One of these requirements states that a student must be identified in the High Achievement Category, meaning they would have to score highly on the OLSAT.
It should be noted that there are two different kinds of gifted magnet schools in Los Angeles: Gifted/High Ability Magnet Centers and Highly Gifted Magnet Centers. Highly Gifted Magnet Centers require intellectual giftedness tests not associated with the OLSAT. A high OLSAT score will only allow students the opportunity to apply to Gifted/High Ability Magnet Centers.
Below is a list of Gifted/High Ability Magnet Center Elementary Schools:
Cowan Int Humanities
Harbor Math/Science at Park Western
Multnomah Highly Gifted/Gifted High Ability
2. Schools for Advanced Studies (SAS)Schools for Advanced Studies (SAS) programs provide gifted children with a rigorous and innovative education, designed specifically to match students’ level of ability. These programs require a student to be identified in any one of the seven categories listed above. A high score on the OLSAT would allow a child to be identified in the High Achievement category, thus making them eligible for an SAS program. However, since a student can be eligible by being placed in any of the other six categories, taking the OLSAT is not always required.
3. Cluster ProgramsCluster programs are programs in which gifted students are grouped together for parts of the day within their regular community school. Cluster programs are designed for gifted students, but may include other students who have not been identified as gifted.
Preparing for the OLSATThe OLSAT is a very difficult test. With competition for LAUSD gifted programs at an all-time high, it is important that your child be prepared for test day. Our age-specific, comprehensive study packs include practice tests, sample questions and study tips to ensure that your child is ready for the test. You can start practicing with a free sample practice test.
If you have more questions about the OLSAT, check out our OLSAT Frequently Asked Questions.
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