Appeals Process

Appeals Process

Families of students who are 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 carefully, and note that we do not offer appeals of appeals.


Parents/Guardians of students who participate in the eligibility evaluation process may appeal the decision of the Multidisciplinary Selection Committee (MSC). 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). 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. 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.

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.

Appeals decisions are final; there are no appeals of appeals. Also please note that if your student is deemed ineligible, you may refer the student again for retesting the next year.

Appeal 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 at or above the 95th percentile (for Highly Capable eligibility) from nationally normed achievement tests no older than spring of 2016.
  • 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. List of private providers.. Private assessments from a provider not on this list should include a copy of the practitioner's license.
  • Seattle Public Schools will provide in-house appeals testing for families who qualify for the free or reduced lunch program. Questions? Contact Advanced Learning Consulting Teacher Matt Okun

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 at:
2445 3rd Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98134

The following table below details the information needed if providing additional assessments for an appeal.
Eligibility Criteria for an Appeal
(Private providers are required to furnish a copy of their current Washington State license)
Eligibility Category
Grade When Tested
Full Scale IQ or GAI. Please send complete report including all scores from nationally-normed intelligence test.*
Broad reading and math standard scores on a nationally-normed achievement test**
Enrollment Options
Highly Capable
98/99th percentile
95th percentile or higher
Highly Capable Services (Grades K-8), including Highly Capable Cohort (HCC) (Grades 1-8)
Spectrum (Grades 1-8)
IBX at Ingraham (Grade 9)
Advanced Learning
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 include the Woodcock-Johnson III Achievement, Form B (Grade Norms), the WIAT-II, WIAT-III, and the KTEA-II. ERBs, MAP, 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.

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 Admissions website for 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 period for the 2017-18 school year is February 13-24, 2017. This 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.

Choice applications that are received after February 24 are late, do not receive tiebreaker priorities, and are much less likely to result in your student being assigned to the school and program you desire. Choice assignments to the Highly Capable Cohort Pathway are guaranteed through May 31, 2017. Eligible HCC 8th grade risers who are not in an existing designated middle school cohort do not have a guaranteed pathway to Garfield.

The results of Open Enrollment will be available online in mid-April. Students who receive a choice assignment will be notified directly by Admissions.

Important Additional Resources for the Advanced Learning Eligibility Decision Process:

Enrollment Information
Submitting a Referral
Appeals Process
Contact Advanced Learning
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