A student receiving a medal and shaking hands during a ceremony


Duke TIP believes that academic talent should be commended through personal and public recognition and that gifted students should take pride in their accomplishments. That’s why we celebrate our students’ achievements in a number of ways.

Certificate of achievement

We send every student enrolled in the 4th–6th Grade Talent Search a personalized merit certificate that recognizes their outstanding abilities and achievements. We also tell schools which of their students enroll, and encourage schools to recognize their Duke TIP talent search participants.

Press release templates

Parents may notify local media of their student’s academic success and TIP participation using a press release template that we’ve put together. Simply download the template (Word) and fill it out with your child's information. There is also a template for students invited to recognition ceremonies (Word).

Special recognition

In addition to offering above-level testing, each year Duke TIP recognizes students in grades four through six who have achieved exceptional text scores on the  PSAT 8/9. The method of special recognition for 2018–2019 testers will be announced by October 1, 2018.

Fourth through sixth graders who tested during the 2017–2018 academic year and achieved exceptional scores will be invited to attend special recognition ceremonies at the completion of the academic year ending in May 2019. Parents of these 2017–2018 academic year testers will be notified by email in mid-May 2018 if their children have met the qualification to be recognized at next year’s ceremonies. In the meantime, all ceremony-qualifying students for 2017–2018 are listed on this document as our 2018 PSAT 8/9 Honorees (PDF). They will receive special recognition medals in the mail by late August 2018.

View the 2018 PSAT 8/9 Honorees (PDF)

The recognition ceremonies are like graduation ceremonies, complete with a keynote speaker and a chance to walk across the stage to receive a commemorative medal. They are meant to bring families together to celebrate their gifted scholars and to encourage students to feel pride in their academic accomplishments. We will hold at least one ceremony in each of the states with the largest TIP enrollments: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Some states will have more than one ceremony. In those cases, students will be invited to a ceremony close to their homes, though space limitations mean it may not necessarily be the closest. Fourth through sixth graders invited to one of the 2019 ceremonies will be honored alongside of 7th Grade Talent Search students who are being recognized for exceptional scores on the ACT or SAT.

Qualifying scores

To determine whether or not your child will receive an invitation to a TIP ceremony, keep in mind that only those scholars who score in the top 10 percent compared to national test takers four grades above their current grade level will qualify for ceremony recognition. This means that fourth graders are compared against eighth graders nationally; fifth graders are compared against ninth graders nationally; and sixth graders are compared against tenth graders nationally. It also means that the percentile rankings sent to you by the College Board (which compare TIP test takers to eighth graders only) may indicate that your child did extremely well on the PSAT 8/9 but does not necessarily indicate that your child qualified for TIP ceremony recognition. Instead, if you want to know if your child qualifies to receive a TIP ceremony invitation, please take a look at the scores your child received from the College Board. To qualify for the 2017–2018 recognition ceremonies, students must meet at least one of the following score criteria:

Grade Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Math


≥ 520

≥ 500


≥ 560

≥ 540


≥ 600

≥ 580

Qualifying score criteria is subject to change.

Please keep in mind that, regardless of your student's test scores, just being able to take an above-grade-level test through Duke TIP is an honor that only the top 5 percent of students in their grade level receive.

Students qualify for the 4th–6th Grade Talent Search by achieving a score in the 95th percentile or higher on a qualifying exam. Once enrolled, for a onetime fee, they receive access to benefits until the end of sixth grade, including optional above-level testing; enrichment activities like the book club, writing and illustration contest, and specialized publications; and eligibility to apply to TIP’s educational programs.