Above-Level Testing


Above-level testing is a crucial component of the 7th Grade Talent Search—which is why the cost of one ACT or SAT test registration is included in the enrollment fee. Above-level testing provides insights into your strengths and abilities that you wouldn’t receive otherwise. Think of testing like a measuring tape for academic talent: you wouldn't use a five-foot long measuring tape to determine the height of a six-foot tall person—all you would be able to tell for sure is the person is over five feet tall. Instead, you'd get a longer measuring tape. That's the role that above-level testing plays for students who top out on grade-level exams. Grade-level tests don't offer much insight into gifted students' strengths and abilities because they don’t have a high enough ceiling. On the other hand, an above-level test originally designed for older students can reveal academic strengths in younger students that may otherwise remain undiscovered. With more precise information, educators and parents can create better educational plans for gifted students in high school and beyond.

What we offer

As part of the talent search enrollment, Duke TIP will register students to take the same ACT or SAT that college-bound high schoolers take. The test is meant to be diagnostic, discovering how far above grade level they really are. As a bonus, it offers a low-stress, low-risk opportunity to experience the same exam they will have to take again during the college admissions process.

After taking the ACT or SAT, you and your student will receive a score report from the testing agency comparing your student’s scores to recent US high school graduates. However, to make sure that you receive the greatest benefit from the experience, we provide an additional results summary that allows you to compare your student’s scores to other seventh graders in the talent search. We also provide suggestions for how to use that knowledge to create an educational plan.

A final benefit of taking the ACT or SAT is that these scores are also used to determine qualification for TIP's recognition ceremonies and for some educational programs, including the Summer Studies Program and eStudies.

Learn more about enrollment deadlines, test content, and more in the Taking the ACT or SAT section.

Students qualify for the 7th Grade Talent Search by scoring at or above the 95th percentile on a grade-level standardized test. Enrollment provides benefits that last through the end of high school, including the opportunity to take the ACT or SAT, specialized publications, college prep advice, and access to educational programs.