NUMATSImagine that you’re measuring a roomful of kids with a yardstick. That’s fine for the kids who are shorter than three feet, but for those who are taller, the yardstick is an inadequate tool. The same is true for gifted kids—to measure their abilities, you need a better tool than a grade-level test, one that can measure above that 99th percentile where the yardstick ends.

That better tool is Northwestern University’s Midwest Academic Talent Search (NUMATS). Started in 1982, NUMATS is a program of the Center for Talent Development (CTD) that offers above-grade-level testing for high-performing students in grades 3 through 9. This Talent Search approach is an extremely well-researched and respected program model in gifted education.

NUMATS uses tests intended for older students to provide a more accurate measurement of aptitude, because studies show that students who score in the top 10% on school achievement tests differ widely from average students in their abilities and educational needs. In-grade achievement tests just don’t accurately represent these gifted students’ potential.

NUMATS uses the EXPLORE test—developed by ACT and normally given to students in grade 8—to determine the abilities of students in grades 3 through 6. The ACT and the SAT tests, typically used for college admissions, provide a more accurate picture of the mathematical and verbal reasoning abilities of students in grades 6 through 9.

After students test, parents receive comprehensive information from CTD about how their student measures up to other gifted students. This valuable feedback helps families plan for the future.

The top scoring students are recognized by special invitation to the Talent Search ceremony in Evanston, IL, on the campus of Northwestern University. There is also an award ceremony in St. Paul for Minnesota top scorers.

The Edina Center for Academic Excellence will host a test site for the January 26, 2013, EXPLORE test at South View Middle School in Edina for children that are in grades 3-6*.  There are also many other test sites around the metro area that will offer both SAT or ACT testing for this coming NUMATS search. The deadline for registering for our test site is December 15, 2012. Register online (choose “South View Middle School,” #208480 as your test center site) at:

While students take the EXPLORE test at ecae’s test site, parents can relax in a nearby room and enjoy refreshments.  Representatives ofecae will be available to discuss gifted education and answer questions about academic opportunities available through ecae.

The Edina Center for Academic Excellence School Code is 8302562.   Families may enter this number during the registration process to have a copy of their student’s NUMATS results sent to us.  ecae will begin a student file which will be used to advise families, at their request, on academic planning, course recommendations, acceleration guidance, underachievement guidance, and college planning.  Feel free to contact any one of the Directors at any time with your questions.  We understand that the hardest part of being a first time parent is simply not knowing what is available and out there to support your bright student.

Questions about NUMATS EXPLORE testing? Email us.

* While we welcome students in 3-6th grades to take the EXPLORE with us, we have found that students in grades 4-6 are better suited for this intensive test.