Identifying Students

A group of four girls smiling for the camera on a green lawn

Students in fourth, fifth, or sixth grade may qualify for the 4th-6th Grade Talent Search through one of the following three methods:


Students only need to meet the criteria on one approved subtest-area to be eligible (e.g., Math or Verbal). Students may qualify using scores from any time in the past two years—for example, a sixth grader may use scores from either fourth or fifth grades. 

  • Scoring at or above the 95th percentile on an accepted grade-level national standardized test
  • Scoring at or above the 95th percentile on a state assessment. When percentiles or their equivalent scale scores are not available, qualifying with score in the top level (e.g. Advanced/Exceeds).
  • Scoring 125 or higher (full scale or composite) on an accepted IQ test


  • Students identified as gifted and talented through school in academic ability/intellectual ability

Educator, Parent, and Community Referrals

Duke TIP remains strongly committed to the use of state- and nationally-normed tests as a qualifier for the Talent Search. However, we realize that there are situations, especially as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, where a student may not have had the opportunity to take an approved qualifying test or who narrowly missed qualifying. We recommend that you consider the following questions in order to make a referral.

Has the child exhibited the following?

  • demonstrated advanced aptitude in verbal or mathematical reasoning,
  • performed exceptionally well in academically demanding course work in his/her school or homeschool,
  • demonstrated a consistent need for additional academic challenge.

Use our look-up tool to find qualifying scores for any of our dozens of accepted tests. If you have any questions about tests not included here, email us at


Important test notes

  • Students only need to qualify on one accepted subtest to be eligible for the program.
  • Students may qualify using scores from any time in the past two years. If the most recent test results for your state haven’t been released by September 2019, we recommend using 2017–2018 scores.
  • Because state assessment schedules vary and results are often delayed, be sure to keep your contact information current at so we can keep you updated on qualifying scores in your state!

Students only need to enroll once to receive benefits until the end of their sixth-grade year—they do not have to be renotified each year. You can email us to request a list of students who have already enrolled.


Enrollment is open from October 1 to April 30.

Identifying students early gives them a chance to maximize their benefits. Some—including the Writing and Illustration Contest and PSAT 8/9 testing—are available only during specific times of the year, so notify your students early!

Benefit Online Enrollment Deadline
1/20/2020 PSAT 8/9 test date 12/9/2019
2/8/2020 PSAT 8/9 test date 1/6/2020
2/9/2020 PSAT 8/9 test date 1/6/2020
Writing Contest Runs from 12/1/2020 to 1/21/2021
Illustration Contest Runs from 3/12/2020 to 4/15/2020

Notifying students

Once you’ve identified eligible students, you’re ready to notify them.